Daily news roundups

“Definitely sad”: Reaction to the Williams trade, Union face DC, USA-Panama at PPL on Saturday, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union face DC United at RFK on Sunday in a nationally televised game (5 pm: ESPN2, ESPN3). Look for our preview later this morning. In the meanwhile, there’s a scouting report at Philadelphia Union, a preview at MLSsoccer.com, and Brotherly Game has a preview and poses three questions to fellow SB Nation blog Red and Black United.

Philadelphia Union announced on Thursday the trade of Sheanon Williams and an international spot to Houston Dynamo in exchange for “general allocation money and future considerations.”

Williams told the Inquirer’s March Narducci of the trade, “It is definitely sad. I love this club and would have liked nothing more than to spend a long time here, and it didn’t work out that way.”

Williams said of scoring the opening goal of the penalty kick shootout in Tuesday’s US Open Cup quarterfinal win, “I am glad I can go out with that as my last contribution to this team. I always tried to do my best to do anything I can for this team. That can be my last moment.”

Houston VP/general manager Matt Jordan said of the deal,

We felt it was important to add a player to our team who possesses Sheanon’s unique ability to play every position along the back line. The timing of this addition is important, especially due to the unfortunate injury to Jermaine Taylor in the Gold Cup.

As our team enters the second half of the season, we feel the addition of Sheanon, the recent arrival of Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres and the upcoming return of our National Team players positions us well for an exciting push toward the MLS Cup playoffs.

The trade announcement from Houston notes, “The Dynamo will hold the acquired international roster slot through the end of the 2016 season.”

At The 700, Dave Zeitlin writes, “Williams’ departure is just the latest example of the club’s glaring player development problem.”

At Delco Times, Matthew De George notes, “The move, coupled with the announcement last week that Andre Blake received his green card, means that the Union have all seven of their international spots occupied. In order to add another international player, they’d either have to offload one (such as earmarked-for-transfer goalie Rais Mbolhi), acquire an international spot from another team or change the immigration status of a player as with Blake.”

More on the Williams trade at PSP, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly.com, Delco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Philly Sports NetworkHouston DynamoDynamo Theory, MLSsoccer.com, and MLS Multiplex.

In related news, MLSsoccer.com’s Armchair Analyst, Matthew Doyle, has named Ray Gaddis to his midseason Best XI.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George on why it is time for Jim Curtin to play Steven Vitoria so that he can earn his $400,000 salary. “How highly Curtin rates Vitoria six months into his Union career remains an open question. But at one juncture, Curtin thought enough of him to shell out those funds. That warrants at least an opportunity to prove his value, especially on a team that seems in desperate need of an impact defensive player.”

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders host Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday (6:30pm, YouTube). Harrisburg lost away and at home against Pittsburgh in their two previous meetings of the season.

The Daily News on how the grass surfaces at PPL Park and the Linc will be welcome to players who have had to deal with temporary grass surfaces in much of the tournament.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George has a fine long form piece on Jeremiah White and his journeys, and accomplishments, on and off the field.

MLS

From MLSsoccer.com: “MLS newcomers Orlando City SC have confirmed they are taking top Brazilian club Sao Paulo to court in a bid to recover almost $5 million in lost payments and interest from their Kaká loan to the club last year.”

Praise for former Union man Amobi Okugo from his new head coach, Sporting KC’s Peter Vermes: “He can play three positions, the way I see it. He can play central defender, he can play defensive midfielder and he can play the No. 8 in the attacking midfield role. So he’s a versatile guy, which is a huge, huge benefit to us, because we’re going to have to go out and get at least two guys to cover those roles and now we’ve got one that’s covering three, which is tremendous.”

Andrea Pirlo says it was easy for him to make the decision to move to MLS — so long as he was playing in New York: “I didn’t need to speak to [Sebastian] Giovinco or anybody else, I decided and that was that. I never had any doubts. I wanted MLS. I’d followed it on TV and I liked it. And being able to play in New York did the rest. I don’t know if I would have accepted an offer from any other city.”

Whether Pirlo will make his debut in Sunday’s game against Orlando and Kaka remains up in the air.

At US National Soccer Players, Jason Davis considers how the MLS All-Star Game might be revitalized.

American Soccer Analysis presents Elo ratings for MLS teams with a nice interactive graph.

Zlatan says, “I would like to play in US, absolutely. I would like to play. Which team? Am I allowed to say that? No, I cannot say that.” Apparently, he spends a lot of time in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.

Pioneer Press reports,

Minnesota United FC would need less than 10 acres to build a stadium in St. Paul for Major League Soccer, but city emails in June show team owner Bill McGuire saying an adjacent 25 acres “now is essential.”

“Concept would involve the stadium, office, retail, housing, hospitality, etc.,” wrote McGuire, who also inquired about the possibility of city or state government offices moving into the proposed spaces.

Another report at Pioneer Press explains why Minnesota United’s public relations strategy is to keep quiet as a stadium deal is worked out.

The Miami Herald reports, on Thursday, city commissioners in Miami “unanimously endorsed discussions to build a privately funded stadium on a site in Little Havana comprised mostly of city land.” The report explains, “The vote paves the way for administrators to delve into details about what will be built, how the city will be compensated for its property, and whether surrounding commercial and residential properties will have to be purchased to compile enough land to build a professional soccer stadium.”

US

The US plays Panama on Saturday at 4 pm at PPL Park in the third place game of the Gold Cup (Fox Sports 2, Univision, Univision Deportes, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go, Univision Deportes En Vivo). Yeah, that’s right, the game is on Fox Sports 2 because Fox Sports 1 is showing the Barcelona-Manchester United friendly cash cow International Champions Cup game at the same time because everyone expected the US to reach Sunday’s final. I have no idea how ticket sales are for Saturday’s game — how many US supporters bought tickets for Sunday’s game (tickets they now may or may not use) and now can’t afford to buy tickets for the third place game? More than a few, don’t you think?

Hell, what if Panama doesn’t show up for the game? (Panama’s FA has called for CONCACAF’s referee selection panel to be replaced following Wednesday’s semifinal loss to Mexico. Goal.com reports, “CONCACAF is investigating the events that took place during and after Mexico’s controversial extra-time win against Panama in Wednesday’s Gold Cup semifinal.” Meanwhile, PRO has backed Mark Geiger, the referee for the Mexico-Panama game.)

Anyway, Soccer America has a preview.

Brian Sciaretta writes at ASN,

Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Jamaica is not why the 2015 Gold Cup was a failure for the United States men’s national team. Sometimes upsets happen—they just do.

No, the reason why this tournament was such a disappointment is that the team played far below its potential in four out of five games.

More on the growing questions about Jurgen Klinsmann’s preparation of the team for the Gold Cup and his tenure at Fox SportsSoccer America, Goal.com (1, 2), Philadelphia InquirerUSA Today, and Business Insider.

At World Soccer Talk, Kartik Krishnaiyer argues that criticism of Klinsmann ignores an important reality: The US men’s talent pool might be deeper than ever but at the top it is also weaker than any time since the 1998 World Cup.”

At ESPN Jason Davis on where Wednesday’s semifinal loss ranks among the ten worst USMNT losses (No. 2). CBS has a list of the eight biggest losses in the history of US Soccer that includes the USMNT and USWNT.

US Soccer and New England Revolution announced on Thursday the USMNT will host Brazil in a friendly at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 8. That definitely makes the loss to Jamaica feel better.

The Guardian has a list of the 25 best USMNT players of all time.

Elsewhere

At the press conference in St. Petersburg announcing the preliminary schedules for the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 World Cup, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said he will step down when Sepp Blatter is replaced. Valcke said,

As the head of the administration I can be proud of what FIFA’s administration has done and the administration has never been part of any of the stories about Fifa.

Am I responsible for what has happened? I am not really involved and have anything to do with this case. The task of the secretary general is to implement the decisions coming from the congress and FIFA executive committee.

More at the AP. More on Valcke at ESPN.

The AP reports, “Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says the corruption crisis engulfing FIFA has thwarted communication with the embattled governing body.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports, “The striker Hulk has pulled out of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying draw days after he complaining of ‘gross and ugly’ racism in Russian football.” More at Vice Sports.

The Press Association reports, “The head of the leading FIFA sponsor Visa has delivered a stinging attack on Sepp Blatter, claiming there can be no meaningful reforms until he leaves as president of the organization…Visa chief executive, Charlie Scharf, said FIFA’s response to the corruption crisis had been ‘wholly inadequate’ and joined fellow sponsors Coca-Cola in demanding a fully independent reform commission.” More from the AP.

Wall Street Journal reports, “U.S. authorities have ramped up investigations into whether banks should have raised alarms about money flows linked to alleged corruption at soccer’s governing body, according to people familiar with the matter.” More at

Reuters reports, “The United States has sent Paraguay an extradition request for Nicolás Leoz, the former president of South America’s soccer confederation, who was arrested on suspicion of racketeering in a corruption probe, Paraguay’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.” Leoz has been under house arrest since June 1 following his inditement along with 13 others as part of the FIFA corruption investigation.

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.

27 Comments

  1. I kept my tickets for Sunday, as have 7 out of 8 fellow fans. I also went and got 2 for Saturday figuring the next time the USMNT comes to town, good seats are going to be more than $50.

    The St Paul mayor might want to talk to the Chester mayor about what gets developed after the stadium gets built.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I went and kept my tickets for Saturday (with our names on the back of our seats) and will stay home and watch the Union game on Sunday like I planned to do all along.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I sold my tickets for Sunday and had to switch a day off work so I can’t go Saturday. Boo. Poor me. Yeah, I’m pissed. Oh well, I’ll get to watch the Union live on Sunday now

  2. I will not concede this trade was good. Anyone who still has a “wait and trust” approach with this team, God bless you, and I wish I was more optimistic, truly.

    • Good is relative.
      Houston were in a position of need for various reasons, so it stands to reason we got good value for Williams and the International spot. What they do with the money is has yet to be seen.

      • I disagree. Houston was in a position of need, but we still had to throw in a int roster spot? And all we got back was money? Typical Union

      • Depends on how much money and how soon they turn it around.

      • it also depends on what the “future considerations” are, that could potentially be something important but that remains to be seen

      • I think future considerations depends on whether or not Williams resigns.

      • Great One says:

        that’s my side of the argument I guess. Yeah, it depends, depends how much money, who we sign, what the considerations are… Etc. I just don’t trust this team enough to believe those will turn out on our side. Obviously it doesn’t mean much, but just look at the articles on Phillys side of the trade, and then those on Houstons side. It seems very lopsided

      • But it’s an International spot for TWO YEARS! That makes it doubly bad. An International spot alone is worth about 100K allocation. So 2 years for that spot is 200K. Horrible trade. We basically screwed ourselves for 2 straight years on International signings

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Here’s a random possibility on the Williams trade. Maybe it was really two trades in one. It’s possible that the Union and Houston were already in talks about an international spot for allocation money (certainly possible if the Union are still expecting to free up Mbolhi’s spot). Then the Houston defender got hurt in the Gold Cup. Now Houston badly needs a defender and the Union have an extra one. But the Union already have MacMath loaned out so they can’t loan out anyone else. So they make this “trade” with some sort of agreement that in a few months or at the end of the season there will be concessions going the other way.
    .
    This is pure speculation on my part but about the only thing I can think of that makes sense.

    • I think this makes sense. Union must be expecting to free up Mbohli’s spot, or else Barnetta would not even be a consideration right now. The Union’s release did speak of “future considerations”, which could be some sort of swapping of waiver or allocation order, or maybe additional allocation money tied to Williams’ performance? Probably not a draft pick because that would almost certainly have been announced outright.
      .
      In any case, a lot still needs to happen for this trade to look good..

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I was actually thinking that if Sheanon’s contract is expiring at the end of the year, he be encouraged to sign back with the Union (so it really would be a loan for allocation money).

  4. Dr. Union says:

    See the thing is everyone is speculating that the union will do other things after this Williams trade. While 4 years ago I might have thought the same history tells me otherwise. This is just another mistake in a long line of Union mistakes by the FO there is no reason to think optimistically because the Union has not made a suitable acquistion or right move in their history. Maybe minus the sapong deal which has kinda half worked out.

    • gabe farfan for a first round pick was an excellent trade

      • Dr. Union says:

        Tell me who did we get off that pick? Cause I can’t imagine its someone still playing for us. Plus I think Gabe farfan could have been the second best LB this team ever had.

      • Didn’t that end up being the pick used to draft Blake? Or swapped with DC to move up to draft Blake?

      • Jim Presti says:

        Used the draft pick for Blake after swapping with DC.

  5. How do we talk Zlatan into coming to Philly? Give him his own statue on the Art Museum steps, maybe?

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Based on the notice I got from the Union regarding tickets for the open cup semifinal, the game is on the 12th rather than the 11th as originally announced.

  7. Time to start the Geiger counter again on all of his matches. Even CONCACAF has acknowledged his “mistakes” in the Panama-Mexico fixture. Since he decided to screw up that Union-DC United game a few years ago, he continues to be soccer’s version of Cowboy Joe West, making the game news all about him instead of the players.Officials should be in the background, not the headlines.

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