Daily news roundups

“Desperate to win it”: Fire’s Yallop on Union and USOC semi, FIFA names Reform Committee, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Pre-Open Cup semi presser today

Jim Curtin will hold his weekly press conference today at 12:30 pm ahead of Wednesday’s US Open Cup semifinal against Chicago Fire, undoubtedly the biggest, most important game of the year for the Union. Perhaps the most important information will concern the injury status of several key players, particularly Maurice Edu (groin), Vincent Nogueira (quad), and Cristian Maidana, who limped off the field before the end of Saturday’s draw in Orlando with what all of us hope was merely some cramping.

Monday’s practice update from the club’s Behind the Crest blog reported,

Brian Sylvestre was back in goal today, still working his way back from his hand injury. Andrew Wenger was able to do some light jogging/conditioning around the field during practice and Raymond Lee and Vincent Nogueira were able to participate in the passing drills.

Sylvestre is Cup-tied and, barring a catastrophe, Lee is unlikely to be selected. Can’t say either Nogueira and Wenger sound unlikely to available for selection for Wednesday’s game, and not mentioned are Edu or Maidana. No doubt we’ll learn more from Curtin today.

Yallop on the Union and the Open Cup

Chicago head coach Frank Yallop spoke to reporters on Monday about Wednesday’s game. He said of the Union,

They have quality. Every team in our league has certain qualities that you’ve got to be ready for and they’re no different. They’re a very high pressing, high tempo team at home. We’ve to expect that. We’ve got to make sure we don’t concede an early goal. We’ve got to make sure we do all the right things to maintain a clean sheet and do well and be way more dynamic and better in the final third than we were in Portland…

Philadelphia is in the semifinal of a Cup and they’re at home. They’re going to come out and get at us and we’ve got to be ready for it. We’re no different if we’re at home playing somebody in a semifinal. We’re going to go for it. We’re going to try our best to get that result and move forward. We have a good idea who’s going to start. The system they do play is very similar to most teams in the league with an underneath forward in Madaina. For me it’s making sure that we figure out their system and play our game and come out a winner.

Chicago will host the final if they defeat the Union. Yallop said,

First things first. We’ve got to get a result in Philadelphia. We’re primed and ready for that but I think it’s massive for the club especially when the season hasn’t gone well in the league play. We’ve started to get looking at the team I envisioned and hopefully it’s enough to get past this game and host it and go on and do well but I’m not getting ahead of myself. We have a tough, tough game in Philly that we’re getting ready for. We want to win that one and then look forward to the next one once that gets done.

The importance of winning on Wednesday is compounded by the poor season Chicago is having in league play. Yallop said,

We’re desperate to win it, that’s for sure. I’ve been talking to Jeff Larentowicz, and it’s like “this it – this is the one.” In league play you get a chance to play another game but this one, you lose and you’re out. We want to win this game and we’re desperate to do it.

Yallop said several key players who have been injured or otherwise unavailable will be available for selection on Wednesday, including David Accam, Mike Magee, and new DP signing Gilberto. The quotes above come thanks to the hard work of Guillermo Rivera at Chicago Fire Confidential. You can listen to audio of some of Yallop’s comments at the Fire website.

Also from Chicago, SB Nation Fire blog Hot Time in Old Town’s failing attempt at a humorous “pre-Open Cup semi-finals mood-setter” on why Philadelphia sucks.

More Union

The US Soccer website has a good read on John McCarthy ahead of Wednesday’s US Open Cup semifinal against Chicago.

In the latest Inside Doop, Dave Zeitlin underscores the fact that Curtin must keep in mind the Union host Chicago in league play on Sunday:

There’s no denying that the Open Cup is the more important one but Curtin will still likely try to keep at least a few guys fresh for Sunday, which will take on a new level of importance if the Union are bounced from the Open Cup. Trying to beat the same team, in the same venue, twice in the same week will also be a challenge. Meanwhile, if the Union lose both, they might not have anything left to play for in the final two-and-a-half months of the season.

By the way, the referee for Sunday’s nationally televised match? Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Geiger.

The Union website has a scouting report on Chicago.

Brotherly Game has several Chicago-related posts including a preview of Wednesday’s game, an attempt to determine whether the Union or the Fire are the worse team, and a review of some of the recent sports rivalry between Philadelphia and Chicago teams that also includes some music criticism.

Yibada predicts Chicago will win on Wednesday. Soccer with Chris predicts the Union will win.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George delves into the Union’s continuing struggles with scoring from corner kicks. “In total over the last year and a half, the Union have scored five goals directly off corners, meaning that 1.22 percent result directly in goals. If we widen the parameters to consider goals indirectly created…the hit rate is still a paltry 2.19 percent.” Paltry, indeed.

Soccer America gives the Union a B- for their summer transfer window moves.

The Union are currently 19th place in the full league table. In the power rankings at SI, they are ranked at No. 18, up two spots from last week. At ESPN, they remain at No. 20. Same at SBI.


Five players from Lehigh University were among those named to the Patriot League Men’s Soccer 25th Anniversary Team.


Yahoo Sports on the ridiculous and pathetic display wannabe hooliganism in Newark before Sunday’s NYRB-NYCFC game.

American Soccer Analysis suggests MLS referees don’t give goalkeepers the kind of leeway found in the rest of the world and treat them much like field players when it comes to making penalty kick calls.

The Star Tribune on where the proposed site of a stadium for Minnesota United fits into the city’s plan to create an “urban village.”

NASL commissioner Bill Peterson says he is ready to “take action” to institute promotion/relegation in the US. The Telegraph reports “by that he means engage in discussions with the NPSL over promotion and relegation between the leagues.” The NPSL, you will recall is the sort of fourth division of the US soccer pyramid. Peterson says in the article the NASL has shelved expansion plans for Virginia and Oklahoma City but hopes to announce new West Coast teams — there are none currently — in the near future. While describing the league’s current membership is 11 teams, with Puerto Rico and Miami franchises set to begin play in 2016, The article makes no mention of Minnesota United’s imminent departure from the league to MLS, the precarious state of the Atlanta and Edmonton franchises, or growing momentum for an MLS team in North Carolina and how that may affect Carolina RaiHawks. Nor is there mention of the USL’s stated intention to request second division status. The USL currently has 24 teams scattered around the country and Canada with reports of as many as four new franchise joining the league in the near future.


It’s official: The USWNT will play Brazil as part of the ten-game World Cup Victory Tour on Sunday, Oct. 25, at the Orlando Citrus Bowl (2:30 pm, Fox Sports 1). Before that, they’ll play Brazil at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field on Wednesday, October 21 (10 pm, ESPN2 and WatchESPN).

The two Brazil games bring the number of announced fixtures on the tour to six, with the US playing Costa Rica in Pittsburgh (Aug. 16) and Chattanooga (Aug. 19), and Australia in Detroit (Sept. 17) and Birmingham (Sept. 20). Of the six announced dates, only Pittsburgh’s Heinz Stadium has a grass field (oh, the irony). The Washington Post reports, “The final four games will take place in early to mid-December, presumably at warm-weather locations or indoors. The venues and opponents are close to being finalized.”

At the Guardian, Caitlin Murray has an interesting read on whether it would be worth it for the US to bid for the hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup.

The U-23 MNT College Identification Camp has concluded in California with a 3-1 win over Club Tijuana’s Segunda Premier Team. You will recall that among the 28 players called up were Keegan Rosenberry (Georgetown; Ronks, Pa.) and Connor Maloney (Penn State; Harrisburg, Pa.). U-23 head coach Andi Herzog was assisted by current U-15, and former Union head coach, John Hackworth in running the three day camp.

NBC announced on Monday it successfully bid to retain the right to broadcast the Premier League in the United States through the 2021-22 season. The deal includes the rights to Spanish-language broadcasts. The New York Times reports the deal cost NBC nearly $1 billion. More on the announcement and what it means at SIWashington Post, The GuardianBBC, Sports Business DailyWall Street JournalForbesFinancial Times, Philadelphia Business Journal, and Yahoo Sports.


FIFA has announced former International Olympic Committee’s director-general François Carrard will lead its Reform Committee. Carrard said in a statement,

It is vital for the future of global football to restore the integrity and reputation of its governing body. As the independent chairman, I am committed to delivering the necessary package of credible reforms, working with representatives from within football and wider society. To that end, I will establish an independent advisory board, made up of representatives from outside football, to support the work of the committee and provide an additional layer of independent expertise.

FIFA’s announcement said, “Over the next six months, the committee will develop a package of reform proposals that will be put before the extraordinary elective Congress due to take place in Zurich on 26 February 2016.” Click here for a list of the Reform Committee’s members. Two more members that will be “appointed by FIFA commercial partners” will be announced later.

For more on Carrard, who lead the IOC through scandal over corruption in the bidding for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, click here.

The AP reports, “FIFA cannot make credible changes in the last months of Sepp Blatter’s leadership of the scandal-hit body, former presidential candidate Prince Ali bin al-Hussein said Monday.”

The Scottish FA has backed Michel Platini’s bid to become the next president of FIFA.

Reuters reports, “Qatar hope to decide how many stadiums it will use in hosting the 2022 World Cup by the end of this year, a spokesman for the organizing committee said on Tuesday.”

The BBC reports, “A journalist in Azerbaijan who criticised a popular footballer has died after an attack by supporters.” More at ESPN.

You will recall the report we linked to in Monday’s roundup on Hertha Berlin’s team bus being shot at over the weekend. Now comes this: “Fenerbahce have confirmed that their midfielder Mehmet Topal has been shot at in an armed attacked after training with the Istanbul-based club on Tuesday. Topal was returning home after training at the Can Bartu grounds when his car was shot at, although he emerged without serious injury thanks to his vehicle’s bulletproof glass.”


  1. That Yahoo article about the NYCFC/Red Bull thing gives a positive shout out to the SOBs.
    “Let’s be fair here. The league’s many and invariably pleasant and welcoming fan groups universally say they condemn violence. I once stood amid the Philadelphia Union’s dominant Sons of Ben fan group when a member threw an empty plastic bottle on the field during the game. He was instantly reprimanded by the exasperated leadership. The leaders of these proliferating groups are savvy and well-intentioned and do it for no other reason than their devotion to their local team and soccer scene.”

  2. Let’s hope this is only the second most important game this season with the most important one happening at the end of September.

  3. I took the bait and clicked through on the why Philly sucks article. Yikes. That crashed and burned. Any writer still going to the snowballs and Santa well should have their log-ins revoked immediately. Try something fresh fellas.

  4. New MLS pitch to prospective players from Europe: Come work here, and never have to read the phrase “thanks to his vehicle’s bulletproof glass” in an article about you.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Is that really a statement we can make for a team playing in Chester?

      • I am not aware of any shootings, assaults, or other life-threatening incidents involving Union fans or players resulting from the stadium’s location in Chester. Do you have any specific evidence to the contrary?
        Just because a stadium is located in a struggling city does not mean that it is unsafe to attend a game/concert/etc. there.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I don’t have any evidence and not only have I been to most of the games at PPL Park, I’ve worked in the building next to PPL Park for the last 10 years without incident.
        On the other hand, FBI statistics rate Chester as the most dangerous city in PA: http://www.homesecurityshield.org/news/dangerous-cities-in-pennsylvania/

      • Those same FBI statistics show that Philadelphia is also one of the most dangerous cities in Pennsylvania. Yet, despite that ranking, millions of people safely attend ballgames, concerts, and other events in Philadelphia every year.
        Seems to me that your first paragraph is more relevant to the Union player/fan experience than your second.

      • Jim Presti says:

        I’m not aware of any problems for players, fans, team staff, or event personnel – but Chester is without a doubt one of the most dangerous, crime ridden cities in the U.S.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Do remember the conclusions of WEB Dubois’ study of black folk in Philly at the beginning of the twentieth century, that the black neighborhoods were crime ridden, and that the vast majority of criminal activity was black on black.

  5. You know I get it that America has its hands everywhere and we are not clean…and are thought by many to be the Devil…but the last time I checked, our fanatics do not kill journalists for criticizing athletes … a bit extreme by those over there in Azerbijian… and reminds me with angst this great cultural and ideological battle we are in with certain sects of world civilization.

    • Yeah, I think the freedom of the press that we take for granted is so completely understated. We have our flaws in this country, but we are off the charts successful in that area.

    • Jim Presti says:

      Not just freedom of the press, but just an individual’s ability to make general life decisions without fear of death or physical harm. I have friends and family who have spent extended periods of time in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, and their personal accounts – admittedly anecdotal – are horrifying in many respects.

  6. Yallop says “We’ve got to make sure we don’t concede an early goal.” Really? Why? Has that been a problem for any of the Union’s opponents this season?

  7. No Madison for the 23’s……..mmmmm, ok?

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