Daily news roundups

All hail Maidana, the blame for Union’s culture problem, more news

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Following his three-assist performance in Sunday’s 3-3 draw with Chicago, Cristian Maidana has been named to SI’s Team of the Week. And to ProSoccerTalk’s Team of the Week. And to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week. And to ESPN’s Team of the Week. And rightly so. (Understandably, Maidana also killed it in the fantasy league numbers.)

Articles at Like Fernando Aristeguieta said after Sunday’s game, “If you’re a striker, the player that you want behind you is a player like him.”

In the wake of the latest example of the Union’s ongoing history of blowing a winnable game, John Smallwood at the Daily News writes, “This is culture. There is something in the core nature of a franchise that continues to foul up in the same ways despite changes in managers and players.” Echoing longstanding criticism from Union observers and fans, Smallwood places the blame for this culture, this core nature, at the feet of ownership:

[T]this derailed train is a reflection of ownership. That is the way it works in professional sports. Sustained success or failure always comes back to ownership and the decisions it has made…

This is about the Union not having the financial ability to swim with the sharks of MLS. Deep pockets are not a sure-fire path to success, but they are a good start. The Union cannot spend like the top-tier franchises. Management has conceded that in words and actions.

That makes Philadelphia what it should not rightfully be – a middle-market club…

In world soccer, the richest clubs are the ones that regularly play for championship silverware. With each season, MLS grows closer to following that model. As the league continues to loosen financial restraints to bring in better talent, the teams with more money get better players.

Guess where Union ownership does not fall?

There is no evidence of a hidden cash cow or an intent to sell, so this problem will continue to grow.

Sadly, yep.

At Brotherly Game, Barry Evans looks at what went wrong in Sunday’s draw with Chicago. Al Dia News and Philly Sports Network have recaps.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game in Montreal, there’s this:

Power rankings: At SI, the Union drop one spot to No. 19. At ESPN, they move up one spot to No. 19. Same at SBI.

Mo wants a Lamborghini.

The Examiner has summaries of the Union’s 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons. Why? I have no idea. There hasn’t been a Union-related match report on the site since the 5-1 loss to LA back in June.

The Town Dish takes a look at the food and beverage offerings at PPL Park (and the Sons of Ben tailgates).

Bethlehem

As noted in Monday’s roundup, the Union is scheduled to make a “major announcement” on Wednesday in Bethlehem, an announcement that is widely expected to be about the launch of a Union-owned USL team. USL president Jake Edwards was asked about the league’s expansion plans in an interview at MLSsoccer.com, and while he gave no specifics and did not mention the Union, he did say in addition to the already announced FC Cincinnati and Rio Grande Valley FC expansion teams, “there are a couple more to be announced over the next month or so. I won’t give you the exact figure, but we’ll be very close to 30 teams.” In addition to the Union-backed USL team, Orlando City announced on June 30 it will launch a Central Florida USL team in 2016 which, along with the Cincinnati and Rio Grande Valley expansion teams, would bring the league’s roster of teams to 28.

MLS

LA Galaxy host Comunicaciones tonight in CONCACAF Champions League play (10 pm, Fox Soccer 2Go).

DC United defender Chris Korb is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.

San Jose Earthquakes defender Jordan Stewart is out for the rest of the season with a torn left Achilles tendon.

Sky Sports considers why so many English footballers are coming to MLS.

NWSL

It’s official: Portland’s Providence Park, home of the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers, will be the site of the 2015 NWSL championship game on Thursday, Oct. 1 (9:30 pm: Fox Sports 1). While previous finals have been hosted by the finalist with the most regular season points, league commissioner Jeff Plush said in a statement the decision to change the final to a pre-determined location was made by “Prior to the 2015 season,” this despite only making the official announcement on Monday after news of the change was first reported on Friday. While Portland has led the league in attendance since the launch of the NWSL in 2013, the Oregonian notes, “The Thorns could very easily miss out on even earning a playoff berth. Portland is currently in fifth place in the standings with three games to play.”

US

Five USWNT players have been named to the 2015 Women’s World Cup All-Star Team: Meghan Klingenberg, Julie Johnston, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, and Hope Solo. The announcement comes with the release of the tournament’s 234 page technical report, which includes “the main findings and comprehensive statistics of the 52-match analysis and as well as various reports, including technical and tactical analysis, trends, confederations analysis, a refereeing report, a goal-line technology report and a medical report.” Click here to download the report.

ASN wonders how the World Cup Victory Tour helps preparations for next summer’s Olympic Tournament. Also, how is it that the Victory tour isn’t tied in with promoting the NWSL?

Lori Chalupny has announced she will retire from international soccer at the end of the Women’s World Cup Victory Tour.

With the Confederations Cup playoff game against Mexico eight weeks away, Soccer America has five roster questions to consider.

Elsewhere

Are the days of the FIFA Executive Committee numbered? Reuters reports:

An official overseeing reform efforts at FIFA has produced a radical blueprint for reform of soccer’s scandal-hit governing body, including the abolition of its powerful executive committee, according to a person with knowledge of the plan. Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee, proposes replacing the executive committee with a dual structure. There would be a management committee including independent professionals charged with ensuring FIFA’s day-to-day running, and a governing council playing more of an oversight role, the source said.

The report notes the proposal to eliminate the executive committee is likely to face strong resistance.

Reuters reports, “Outgoing president Sepp Blatter hit back at Chung Mong-joon, one of the candidates to replace him, for labeling FIFA a ‘corrupt organization’ on Monday and said the South Korean’s remarks were ‘disturbing.’ Swiss Blatter also pointed out in a statement issued by soccer’s governing body that Chung was an influential member of FIFA for 17 years until 2011.”

Confirmed: “Nicaragua has charged former FIFA Development Officer Julio Rocha with money laundering and embezzlement, the country’s attorney general, Julia Guido, said on Monday, and is seeking his extradition.

33 Comments

  1. Good for Maidana. The praise and recognition is deserved. I wonder how long before Sak comes out on the offensive and says Smallwood is misinformed and doesn’t understand the way things are done. You know, like us fans.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Smallwood had good points, but he was wrong to hitch the cause to just money. We all know there are many other fundamental FO problems, besides spending.
      .
      I do enjoy the attention it brings though… some writing is better than no writing.

  2. So am I allowed to call bullshit to John Smallwood.
    .
    One part of me agrees and is thankful for him drawing attention…to what we already know, the other part of me wants to sock him in the mouth for picking on my kid brother…even if he has it coming.

    • I’d love it if the Union were spending like the big boys but MLS stats show we spent more this year than NYRB, DC and Columbus. So, is it really the guy writing the checks?

      • NYRB, DC, and Columbus are proof that with an executed plan, you can put together a solid team without spending a ton on DPs

      • But John wants a golden goose NOW!!!
        .
        Based on his replies I can deduct John will only support:
        Barcelona
        The Yankees
        The Dallas Cowboys
        The Cavaliers (after switching from The Heat)
        . . . until of course the money runs dry then his loyalty is once again for sale.
        .
        P.S. I’m still mad at all of you for making me read that!

    • Guys like Smallwood and DeGeorge are really the only ones going after this front office in local media and I think it’s incredibly necessary. They’ve all gotten a free pass for too long. I’d love to see a national writer really dig in to the workings of this club and make light of it but that’s not as easy an ask.

    • Damn, you guys are going to make me read a John Smallwood article aren’t you. I’d prefer the dentist, at least there I get Novocain.

  3. So we already know we will have to score 2 goals to win at a minimum Saturday because Drogba is certainly good for 1.5 by himself on his first MLS game… course he may score 7 too.

    • And don’t forget the Drogba special – diving for a penalty under the slightest contact, despite being one of the biggest and strongest guys on the pitch.

      • It is magic….you must know my philosophy on diving: please refer to article in PSP…The Art of the Dive.
        .
        Circa mid March 2015.

      • I’m glad it’s in MTL. I don’t want to have the chance to lose my S*** at PPL when he turns into Greg Louganis. And it’s only a matter of when, not if.
        .
        It’s truly a shame. He’s one of the great talents of our generation, and he will be mostly remembered for his theatrics.

      • ‘Remembered for his theatrics’ .
        .
        By you maybe. Not me.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Come on… the Union are gonna win. It’s the Union way… win a game you have no business winning… instill false hope in your fan base… immediately lose the next two games and put us right back in the hell we belong!!

    • They will be missing Ciman tho.
      .
      And he is really the only reason their defense improved since the beginning of the season.

  4. If I were to swing a guess at what might be the cause of the Union’s lack of a winning culture — and I have absolutely no real evidence for this opinion, it’s just a guess — I would say it’s a lack of accountability. I smell a level of acceptance in management and ownership with the team’s performance. I don’t expect Curtin to throw players under the bus in press conferences, but the attention that has been paid this season to bad luck and injuries and the talk of “we’re a small market club” and refs having it out for the Union suggests to me that there’s just not the level of accountability you need to keep your head in games and win. I might be completely wrong about this. It’s just an undertone in all the things I hear and read. That said, I do think Curtin reached a new breaking point on Saturday night. If he had yet to give a thorough tongue lashing to his team, I’d bet a box of doughnuts he let his team have it Saturday night.

    • In as much as Curtin called them out and threw them under the bus in his post game comments for running up the field ( particularly defenders) to congratulate Le Toux instead of organizing themselves mentally for the stoppage time push from Chicago.
      .
      I hope he read them the riot act. And don’t forget Mr Sakiewicz held JC and CA accountable to the M’Bholi issue.
      .
      Regarding accountability…I would like to stress that clearly Mr Sakiewicz, who likes to wear all black, and Mr Sugarman with tussled hair and the cornflower blue tie, (Fight Club reference) have expressed extreme accountability within the organization to be voted, best dressed club in MLS.
      .
      I do believe Pete you must view the whole of club wide accountability.

      • You’re right. They are the best dressed. I wonder if that’s worth allocation money at the end of the season…

        And perhaps if Mo does indeed win that Lamborghini, he can trade it for some fullbacks who won’t stop to watch balls bounce around the front of the goal.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Curtain was supposed to be a defensive coach… given his pedigree as a player. There was a lot of talk about being PIA’s at the end of games, and making it hard for the other team. How can we consistently give points away?!?! That is on Curtain IMO.

  5. Take another look at Mr Smallwood’s quote, now replace “professional sports” with “newspaper business” and “Union” with “Inquirer and Daily News” and tell me it doesn’t make almost as much sense. I’m so much happier and no less informed since I stopped reading our local newspapers. And their comments sections are positively toxic. So, apologies to PSP but I’m not following that link.

  6. We can talk about the culture of losing, which certainly exists on this team. But I would say the refs have screwed this team more than any other over the years. Three of our blown leads have come directly from horrible officiating (RSL game phantom penalty, DC game where the goals came from players that should have been red carded, this past Sunday). How much rosier would this team look if they had those points now?

    • More than any other team? No, not by a long shot. Every club is the victim of bad calls. Good teams play through them. In a culture of losing, the entire team stops playing and waves their arms in the air when there is a bad call.

  7. James Lockerbie says:

    Curtin, I got four words for ya, Play till the Whistle!!

  8. Time to clear the team of all foreigners ,, bring in some young American kids with heart they can do no worse than last place

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