Daily news roundups

Bournemouth, Sak says Union USL team in Bethlehem possible, Mbolhi update, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Bournemouth friendly

So, the Union were easily defeated 4-1 by newly promoted Premier League side Bournemouth on Tuesday evening.

At least it didn’t rain.

For myself, I struggle to see the point of these summer friendlies, but Jim Curtin said Tuesday night’s game “helps us for sure with our season.” He explained, “No team right now in MLS presses like that, and closes the ball down like that, and has the big physical bodies that they do. Everyone always wants to say ‘MLS, it’s such a big, strong, fast athletic league.’ I think we have some players that are in that mold but these guys are a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, and a little faster. Again, you learn from it and try to move on.”

Perhaps the most notable bit of news to come out of Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference is that we can expect Ethan White to be paired with Richie Marquez — who scored a nice goal against Bournemouth — in Saturday’s road game in Toronto. Curtin said,

We wanted to play Ethan next to Richie, get them re-acclimated with each other. They know each other well from preseason and obviously this season they’ve played some games together. Coincidently, they paired together against Toronto [in May] for a pretty good spell there and did a good job, I thought, on Jozy and Giovinco. With Jozy coming back from the Gold Cup I believe he will factor into [Saturday’s] game so, obviously, two top forwards that we’ll have to deal with and our center backs will have to be on top of their game. Ethan is a guy who has been through the battles and I think him and Richie will get it together. They have a couple days of training now to work through some things but I think it could be a good pairing.

Recaps and reports at PSP, Philadelphia Union, Inquirer, Daily News, Delco Times (report, analysis), CSN PhillyMLSsoccer.com, Brotherly Game, Philly Sports NetworkVavel, Goal.com, AFC Bournemouth, Bournemouth Echo, Daily Mail, Blackmore Vale MagazineSports Mole, and Soccer Laduma.

Sakiewicz on Union launching a USL team

At MLSsoccer.com, Nick Sakiewicz tells Dave Zeitlin the team is confident it will be able to launch its own USL team in 2016, possibly in Bethlehem.

It’s been a missing rung in the ladder. We have that whole pathway to college but there was a hole in the ladder so to speak where there was a step but it wasn’t a robust step. We are just evaluating everything in that missing piece and we’re about to make investments to figure out the right solution to make sure there isn’t a gap in our development system.

While praising the team’s relationship with Harrisburg City Islanders, Sakiewicz said the inability of the Union technical staff to observe loaned players and have no control over “their whole regimen – whether it’s nutrition, their living accommodations, how their commuting, the kind of surface working on every day” are factors in the need for the Union to run its own team.

We need to step it up a notch and be able to see what guys are doing every day. It’s the holistic part of the players’ [development] that we’re lacking right now because we’re not involved on the technical side over there. Basically the arrangement right now is we send players to get game time and we’re out of it. But in the modern MLS, we have to be more involved.

While exploring “all options,” Sakiewicz clearly seems to like the idea of Bethlehem being the home of the team. “You know my love affair with the Bethlehem Steel and the jersey and I’m very proud we were able to revive that history. We’re studying that market closely, absolutely. There’s a lot of great soccer fans in the Lehigh Valley and they certainly deserve a team.” Why not play the games at Steel Field, right? Turf does suck, though.

By the way, Harrisburg City Islanders and the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball have a press conference today beginning at 3 pm at Lancaster’s Clipper Magazine Stadium. The press release from the City Islanders says the press conference will be to announce a “Major Sporting Event to Take Place in Lancaster at Clipper Magazine Stadium,” but another line in the release says the press conference will “announce two events to be held at Clipper Magazine Stadium in August.” The Union’s Andrew Wenger, a Lancaster native, will be in attendance so perhaps one of the events will be that the annual Harrisburg-Union friendly is going to be played at the 6,000 seat baseball stadium. (Curiously, no other Union representatives are mentioned as attending the press conference in either the Harrisburg press release or the one from the Union.) If that is the case, what might the second event be? We’ll soon find out.


At the Inquirer, Marc Narducci has an update on the Union’s efforts to offload Rais Mbolhi, reporting “a source familiar with the proceedings said the Union thought they had two deals for Mbolhi that fell through at the last minute. One was with a team in England.” The source tells Narducci, “There is interest in him, but it has to make sense for the team.”

More Union

At SBI, the Union move up two spots in the power rankings to No. 17.

Neshaminy Creek Brewing in Croydon and Michael Lahoud will host a FIFA 15 charity tournament on Sunday, August 2 that will benefit Schools for Salone and the Mike Lahoud and Kei Kamara School in Sierra Leone. Click here to register.

The Buccini/Pollin Group — the “full-service real estate acquisition and development company” owned by Union ownership group members Robert Buccini, Christopher Buccini, and David Pollin — has purchased the 353-room Sheraton Raleigh Hotel in North Carolina, bringing their portfolio of hotels up “to more than 35 hotels, including seven new assignments in 2015, with multiple projects in the pipeline expected to close within the next 18 months.” I wonder if any of those multiple projects in the pipeline are happening in Chester?


Reading United keep their playoff hopes alive with Tuesday night’s come from behind 3-2 home win over Long Island Rough Riders with a brace from Colton Storm and a single tally from Neco Brett. Storm scored the game opening goal in the 19th minute, and the game winner from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute. It was a testy match, with two Long Island players being ejected, as well as Reading’s Nicolas Delgado. USL has a recap of the game.

Long Island Rough Riders are hosted by Lehigh Valley United Sonic tonight.

Harrisburg City Islanders midfielder Enric Valles has been named to the USL Team of the Week.


The LA Times reports LA Galaxy have signed Giovani Dos Santos from Villarreal. “Terms of the deal were not announced but a Galaxy official confirmed the Villarreal transfer price at about $7 million. Dos Santos, 26, was reportedly seeking an annual salary close to the $6 million the team is paying former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who joined the Galaxy last week.”

Orlando City have acquired left back Corey Ashe from Houston Dynamo in exchange for general allocation money and a second round selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

Shaun Wright-Phillips to NYRB?

Chicago hosts Columbus tonight in league play. A Fire win would put them level with Montreal on 21 points and one point behind seventh place Philadelphia. A Columbus win would move them to second place above NYRB. THe Fire and the Crew play again on Sunday, this time with Columbus as host.

MLS has partnered with beIN Sports to broadcast games in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Charlotte Observer on how big attendance at Gold Cup and International Champions Cup matches garners the attention of MLS. More at WBTV.

At Newsday, New York Cosmos CEO Erik Stover says if the state of New York doesn’t make a decision on the proposed Belmont Park stadium site by the end of the year the team will look elsewhere: “Stover said if the state does not make a decision on its bid by year’s end, the team will conduct a financial analysis of several other sites on Long Island and in Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester and New Jersey. He declined to identify them.”

It’s official: Freddy Adu has signed with NASL side Tampa Bay Rowdies.


DaMarcus Beasley, Joe Corona, and Alan Gordon have been added to the US Gold Cup roster ahead of the beginning of quarterfinal play. Dropped from the roster are Jozy Altidore, Greg Garza, and Alfredo Morales.

Jurgen Klinsmann said of the decision to drop Altidore and bring in Gordon,

We believe that Jozy’s just not there yet. Jozy never really got into this tournament and never really picked up the rhythm. He’s just simply not in the shape right now to help us. For Jozy it’s just simply going back to Toronto, picking up his rhythm, getting in shape, working on his fitness and then he will start scoring goals again. That’s why Alan Gordon was on the standby roster from the beginning and that’s why we brought him in. He’s fully fit, he’s so full of energy, he scores goals with the Galaxy, and he fits in right away. He’s a pure giver to the group, and he might be a player that can make a difference at any second when you bring him in.

Klinsmann praised Garza and Morales as up-and-coming players who just aren’t quite there yet, while Beasley adds a veteran presence and high quality, and Corona adds knowledge of playing against CONCACAF teams as well as strong technical skills that will help the team’s possession game.

The US faces either El Salvador or Guatemala in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Considering Guatemala plays Cuba tonight, they should be able to overcome their -2 goal differential to surpass El Salvador and their -1 goal differential, and so advance to the quarterfinals.

From Vice Sports: Reconsidering Jozy Altidore.

The Guardian profiles Aron Johannsson.

An 87th minute goal from Aaron Maund saw Real Salt Lake defeat LA Galaxy 1-0 in US Open Cup quarterfinal play on Tuesday night. Reports at US Soccer, theCup.us, Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy, MLSsoccer.comSalt Lake Tribune, and RSL Soapbox.

SI on Carli Lloyd’s long-distance wonder strike in the Women’s World Cup final. I will never tire of watching footage of that goal.


You can view live video of today’s US Senate subcommittee hearing on FIFA on the subcommittee’s website, at C-SPAN 3 (sign in with your cable or satellite provider credentials), and at c-span.org. More on the goals of the hearing at National Journal.


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Regarding Mbolhi, by “make sense for the team”, I hope they mean that the Union won’t pay another team more than $1 million to take him off our hands. Anything less than that is probably worth it.

  2. 1. We could have had Corey Ashe for allocation money.
    2. As far a s Mbohli goes “There is interest in him, but it has to make sense for the team.”
    Translation: It doesn’t make sense to pay for what the Union are asking for a total reclaimation case.
    3. I like friendlies, they are fun, more fun than an ALL Star Game. They just don’t make much sense midseason.

    • Opposing GM: ” You want One Million in transfer fees for a goalie who was so horrendous and distrupting to your team he’s not even allowed to train with your squad? Let me guess Widener University?”

    • Corey Ashe trade would have been clutch.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Seriously, re: #1. Goodness. A day earlier on that trade, and it would’ve been my entire column.

      • Well we’ve all said it before this team does not know how to deal within the league to acquire players. I think this is the second or third player that would’ve been better then the current starter on our roster that we could’ve got for allocation money. Corey Ashe was one the other was a left sided player I believe as well but can’t remember who.

  3. I had to do a double take because Sak is actually making a lot of sense in his comments about Harrisburg. It really is an untenable situation to have an “affiliate” where you loan players to get game time only to risk them sitting on the bench or getting played out of position and be coached in a completely different training environment, not to mention at substandard facilities. I’ll give him credit for recognizing what the team needs to do in that area – I only hope that this endeavor doesn’t trump the glaringly obvious need for investment in the first team…

    • Don’t forget that SAK can just bundle his coaching duties and have Curtin and Co. coach both teams full time! I wonder if Fred will get a bump in salary for being a player and an assistant to two teams????

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Let’s step back a minute and compare 2014 with 2015 from the imagined perspective of the Harrisburg technical staff before we place all the blame on City Islanders.
      In 2014 Harrisburg got Jimmy McGlaughlin and Richie Marquez and Christhian Hernandez for their entire season. They were fully integrated into the side. THEIR PRESENCE COULD BE COUNTED UPON !!
      Furthermore, when Pedro Ribiero was sent their on what I took to be a baseball-like “rehabilitation assignment” to regain game fitness after his injury in preseason, his presence was certain. Ribiero commented at one point on the Harrisburg website in ways such that I inferred the four were practicing with HCI and may have been boarding there.
      However John Hackworth made it work, the Harrisburg coach could count on practicing and playing four players until Ribeiro got called back up. While the expected HCI center back, Cody Andrews, was recovering from a broken ankle, the HCI starting center backs were Ribeiro and Marquez, and McGlaughlin always played and evolved into the usual starter at flank mid. Ribeiro came back up mid season, the coach realigned his players into a possession configuration in the midfield, they sneaked into the playoffs, bushwhacked Orlando City in Orlando, beat somebody else as the away side in the semis and lost to Sacramento at Sacramento in the final. Richie Marquez led the league in Minutes played, and is now a starting Center Back for the Union.
      The keystone for all that success for both franchises was that the Harrisburg coach was guaranteed the presence of the loaned players for both practices and games.
      The Union built the practice fields, and they, indirectly, have changed the relationship. Also, Jim Curtin, understandably perhaps, wanted to control the development of his youngsters. So this season, the loaned players only show up for games. And several times there have been no loaner players made available at all.
      Now, look at the size of the Harrisburg roster in 2014 including the Union loaners, and the size this season. It looks to me as though Harrisburg assumed that once Philly made roster decisions after preseason, they would get three or four bodies. IF YOU MAKE THAT ASSUMPTION, HARRISBURG’S ROSTER SIZE FOR 2015 IS THE SAME AS IT WAS FOR 2014. But that’s not what happened.

      The union loaners presence has been unreliable, and unavailable for practice. In a team sport of continuous flow, or even the spasmodic flow of American football, the general principle is no practice no play. Only injured superstars gain exemptions, Alan Iverson’s utter selfishness notwithstanding.
      What do you expect the Harrisburg coach to do, fracture the system and fracture the chemistry he works all week to build on game day by playing strangers? Being a good coach – check his record and his longevity – he maintains his system and his chemistry and uses the strangers only where he knows them (Marquez, McGlaughlin, Hoppenot) or when they fill injury-created needs (Pfeffer covered Enrick Vallles being injured).
      Harrisburg seems to have assumed that the past would repeat. It did not. The Union decisions may turn out to be right in the long run. On the basis of absolutely no evidence, I wonder if it was a Meulenstein recommendation. But Harrisburg may have grounds for complaint, given the 2014 precedent, within the wider context of their need to upgrade their stadium to meet the pending requirements for league membership.
      The other culprit as causal in the affiliation going sour is the new CBA cutting off two roster spots, hence reducing the union’s cushion of roster flexibility and adaptability. As that became known after union preseason was done and while Harrisburg preseason was ongoing, after it had been planned, the cut has to have played a role in fewer loan candidates available.
      And Harrisburg’s thin roster may reflect trying to save some money towards a stadium and possibly a strategy of fewer but higher salaries to improve the quality of their players, as they have more foreign based players this season.
      Sad. 2014 gave the Union a 2015 starter. 2015 will not, clearly.

      • Interesting points, and I hope it didn’t seem like I was laying everything at Harrisburg’s feet. I do think that this is more of a situation (and it seems like this is what you’re saying) where many different circumstances have conspired to sour the arrangement. Clearly it has born fruit previously – Richie Marquez being the perfect example – but now it seems broken, and perhaps irreparably so especially given the roster issues you pointed out, as well as Harrisburg’s dire stadium situation.

    • Ok, I’ve got a Name for the UNION’s future USL team “UNION STEEL F.C.” what do you think??? Name ties the team to the UNION and Bethlehem Steel F.C.all in one and hopefully they play in Bethlehem, PA

  4. It stinks if Altidore plays against us. I figured he was dropped from the USMNT because of a nagging hammy so it would make sense to rest him for a bit. Congrats to the LA Galaxy on becoming back to back champions. What a joke that MLS just makes up new rules to get the best players to play on certain teams then no one ever knows how much money it costs.

  5. I think Klinsy should have kept Altidore. He definitely wasn’t getting it done as a starter, but he’s a great weapon to be able to bring in. Let’s hope that Beasley starts and allows Johnson to move to the right.
    Sak actually makes sense, all good stuff with the USL side and the Bethlehem area. Let’s just hope that doesn’t suck money out of the small overall Union pool.
    PLEASE just get rid of M’Bolhi. We can’t really expect anything back, just accept it as a bad business mistake and take the hit, move on.
    MLS and the big team rules are a joke, no doubt about it. But, It’s hard to say it’s a bad thing for the league, having guys like Dos Santos come. He’s significantly younger and more entertaining than a Gerrard or Lampard (although those are good moves too). I don’t blame the Galaxy for wanting better players, and paying to get that. They want to win, they want to grow. It’s not up to us to bitch and moan bc our owners have no money. We need these types of moves for the league to grow.

  6. Does pairing Ethan and Richie mean that Mo moves into the midfield? I don’t like this plan one bit. Neither Ethan or Mo did anything last night to make me feel good about that lineup. I’d much rather have Mo’s agility at CB to deal with Giovinco.

    • Mo is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. I suspect the White/Marquez pairing is a one-off…

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Mo moves to the bench thanks to the phantom yellow card against Portland. He’s up to 8 on the season which is a second suspension.

      • This along with Edu runs from the back is another thing I don’t like about him. Which leads me to think we could get more value for him in a trade. I mean 2 suspensions already on yellow card accumulation, whether warranted fouls or not have some control over yourself.

    • Mo is suspended for the Toronto game due to yellow card accumulation. That is why White and Marquez are being paired together with, I’m assuming, Carroll as the DM.

  7. Altidore dropped (which I’m pretty ok with by the way) for Alan Gordon? Where’s Bobby Wood? Kid lit it up in Europe. I know it’s the Gold Cup not a World Cup, but Alan Gordon?! I know he prolly (or at least shouldn’t) see big minutes, but not sure I get that. Anyone help me out?

    • Brad Wealand says:

      Wood wasn’t on the preliminary 35-man roster, so while you could question that decision (as he was featuring against Netherlands and Germany) he was not eligible to be called up at this time.

      • Also, I think Wood wasn’t called into the preliminary roster cause he is not currently at match fitness since it would be preseason for him just starting I believe.

  8. Andy Muenz says:

    Or the US plays Cuba Saturday…

  9. Bruce Arena: “We want another DP level player but we already have 3”.
    Don Garber: “I got you fam.”

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