Daily news roundups

Union bits, All-Stars face Spurs tonight, Platini announces he’ll run to replace Blatter, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference is scheduled to take place today at 12:30 pm.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George recounts the Union’s limited, and largely unsuccessful, track record with Homegrown Player signings and notes two factors that will be key going forward. First, the new CBA rules limit roster size to 28 players: “The premium of spaces, down from 30 under the new collective bargaining agreement, essentially mandates a player on the roster be capable of contributing in MLS. Vacancies to stow promising youngsters for the future, a necessity for organizations seeking growth from within through an academy, are at odds with the expediencies of competing in MLS.”

This means the importance of the team launching a USL team for 2016 is paramount: “Under one umbrella, the two teams train together, permitting senior coaches oversight in burnishing young players not yet ready for MLS while offering indispensable match time. Though it’s a hefty expense — the Union would assume contracts of players and coaches, instead of using Harrisburg as a proxy — maintaining a stable of players and circumventing limitations on MLS squad size is worthwhile.”

Speaking of Homegrown Players, Zach Pfeffer entered Tuesday’s MLS Homegrown Game as a sub in the 59th minute. I didn’t see the game but he apparently played at right back. (Is this the backup plan Jim Curtin mentioned when discussing the Williams trade? I kid. No, really, is this the plan?) The Homegrown’s lost the game on penalty kicks — Pfeffer scored his — after finishing regulation time tied at 1-1. Anyway, Homegrown Team head coach Landon Donovan had a good time.

By the way, Tranquillo Barnetta was training with the Union on Tuesday, as was Danny Cruz, who’s on break for the week from his club in Norway.

In the latest Inside Doop, Dave Zeitlin considers the national team prospects of CJ Sapong and Maurice Edu.

Philly Sports Network talks to Edu.

From the New York Post regarding new NYRB signing Shaun Wright-Phillips: “Asked if he’s ready to play 90 minutes in Saturday’s match against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park, Shaun said: ‘I’m ready to go whenever needed.'” He ought to be, he’s been training with Red Bulls for nearly two months. Indeed, the announcement from NYRB of his signing said, “He will be available for the Red Bulls Saturday when the Red Bulls travel to PPL Park to face the Philadelphia Union.”

And looking ahead to the US Open Cup semifinal against Chicago on Aug. 12, head coach Frank Yallop said in the announcement of the acquisition of former Toronto FC DP Gilberto the Brazilian forward “is in the prime of his career and can immediately help our club.” Reporting on Yallop’s weekly conference call with reporters on Monday, Chicago Fire Confidential says, “Gilberto is expected to arrive early next week and Yallop hopes that he will be available for the Portland game on August 7. Fitness should not be an issue since Vasco da Gama is in season and he has been training and playing regularly.” Gilberto was on loan from Vasco da Gama when he was with TFC and returned there when the loan was terminated. So, yeah, expect Gilberto to suit up against the Union in the semis.


After scoring a brace against Pittsburgh on Sunday, including the stoppage time winner, Harrisburg’s Jason Plumhoff has been named USL Player of the Week. Craig Foster, who also scored two goals in the 4-3 win, was named to the Team of the Week.

An article at Vice Sports on supporter-owned Nashville FC includes the news earlier this year that Harrisburg City Islanders have examined the possibility of moving to Tennessee if they can’t get funding to renovate Skyline Sports Complex.


The MLS All-Stars face Tottenham tonight in Colorado (9 pm: Fox Sports 1, UniMás, Univision Deportes, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go).

With Michael Bradley, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, and Chris Tierney all withdrawing due to injury, Sam Cronin, Ethan Finlay, Waylon Francis, Juninho, and Gyasi Zardes have all been added to the All-Star Game roster. Nice to see those commissioner picks really pay off, right, Don?

At ESPN, Jason Davis has an All-Star starting XI based “on merit, not reputation.” No Union players make the list.

All-Star team head coach Pablo Mastroeni and Clint Dempsey agree it’s time to return to the East vs. West format. Dempsey suggests the winner of an East-West game could host the MLS Cup final, as is the case in baseball with the winner of the game between the American League and National League all stars.

ASN and Soccer America have some more ideas on how to improve the All-Star Game.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle talks to Chicago head coach Frank Yallop about how the Fire lost out on signing Didier Drogba to Montreal, which basically comes down to the forward wanting to live in a French-speaking city. Yallop, who last year had to deal with losing out on Jermaine Jones to New England, explains,

I would have loved to have had Drogba, but basically he chose Montreal, so there’s not a lot we can do about it. Montreal is French-speaking and it’s for his family and himself, and that’s what he decided he wanted to do…

Drogba never said, ‘Yeah, I definitely want to come to MLS.’ But then the more he thought about it, it seemed more realistic and then we started to talk to him…

Drogba was an honest guy. I spoke to him on the phone. There was no skulduggery done. Nobody was lying about anything. It was just an open relationship and very good and positive, and he just chose to go where he wants to go.

Carlisle writes, “The fact that the Fire ended up with some considerable monetary assets in return softens the blow. One source said the Fire received over $250,000 combined in targeted allocation money as well as regular allocation funds.”

Miami Today reports on how components of the deal the Marlins have with the city of Miami will present obstacles to David Beckham’s proposed MLS team. For example, Beckham can’t sell the naming rights to his proposed stadium until the Marlins find a stadium sponsor of their own, something they have not been able to do since their baseball stadium opened four years ago. And any sponsor of Beckham’s stadium cannot conflict with the sponsor of the Marlin’s stadium, the same going for any exterior ads (so, for example, if the Marlins have UPS as a sponsor, Beckham can’t have ads for FedEx). Construction of the soccer stadium can’t interfere with Marlins game days or other events at the stadium. Nor can home games at the soccer stadium be scheduled until the Marlins choose their own dates. No soccer games can be played until four hours after the end of a Marlins game. And on, and on.


Jakob Nerwinski (D, Lawrenceville, NJ), Keegan Rosenberry (M, Ronks, Pa.), and Connor Maloney (F, Harrisburg, Pa.) are among the 28 players called up by US U-23 MNT head coach Andi Herzog for a College Identification training camp in Carson, Calif., August 5-8, ahead of this fall’s Olympic qualification campaign. Rosenberry and Maloney are both Union Academy alums.


It’s official: Michel Platini has announced his candidacy to replace Sepp Blatter and so “give FIFA back the dignity and the position it deserves.” Reports from Reuters and The Guardian.

The Mexican Football Federation has fired head coach Miguel Herrera following reports that he punched a TV reporter at Philadelphia International Airport after Sunday’s Gold Cup victory. More at The Guardian.

From Soccer America: “The Gold Cup final between Mexico and Jamaica was watched by 6 million viewers on Univision, simulcast on UDN, and an additional 818,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1. That’s an increase of 46 percent from the 2011 USA-Panama final on Fox and Univision but down 23 percent from the 8.9 viewers on Fox and Univision for the last USA-Mexico final in 2011. One could imagine the Oct. 9 USA-Mexico playoff game reaching a cumulative audience of 10 million viewers.”

The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement in Las Vegas, has announced it will unveil a new display called “The ‘Beautiful Game’ Turns Ugly.” The announcement says, “The display provides an incisive and eye-opening look into the rampant corruption that plagues the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the organization that runs international soccer. Through photographs, media clippings and cover stories and expository narrative, the Museum’s new FIFA exhibit gives a breakdown of the kickbacks, secrecy and match-fixing associated with the scandal.”


  1. I don’t even get the MLS sometimes. How can they expect homegrown talent to grow when roster rules are so restrictive and limiting? The fact that the lower leagues are barely capable of keeping itself afloat, let along groom growing talent, should be a reason to LOOSEN roster rules in the mLS.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      See John Reed’s 1917 one words explanation of the Great War to the Portland, OR Chamber of Commerce.

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Haven’t commented in a while, but god I hate Union propaganda. Sapong is a nice player who is having a great season, but his first touch is way to sloppy for the international level. Edu has great moments as a CB, but he isn’t disciplined or attentive enough for the international level (of course neither is Brooks, but that is a whole other arguement).

  3. I’m on board with going back to East/West for the all-star game. 1) The league has enough marquee talent and younger up and coming talent to make the game interesting and draw viewers (assuming the big names actually play). 2) The all-stars against team X from big name Europe makes MLS still look a bit small-time. 3) East-West allows for more MLS players to be recognized for a strong performance…and maybe even gets a Union player into the fold.

    • But only if moved to after the season. I’m actually kind of happy that no Union player is in the ASG considering the current injury situation and midweek travel. It is nice to see Pfeffer get called in but then again with Noggy’s injury now he is likely to start this weekend but has been missing training now.

  4. I wonder what the viewer numbers would have been for a USA vs Mexico Gold Cup Final.

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