Daily news roundups

USOC final tickets on sale, notes from Curtin’s presser ahead of Montreal, more news

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

US Open Cup final tickets on sale

First things first: Tickets for the US Open Cup final on Tuesday, Sept. 30 go on sale today to the general public. Sales opened for season ticket holders on Tuesday and they have until Sept. 3 to purchase tickets for the final through their online account. Otherwise, call 877-21-Union or visit www.philadelphiaunion.com/tickets.

One could find a lot of grumbling about the price of tickets before the semifinal, and the same will probably be true about tickets for the final. So, grumblers, know this: Ticket prices for the US Open Cup are set by US Soccer, not by the Union.

Curtin presser and Montreal

So, the Union are looking at facing a Montreal side on Saturday (8 pm: TCN, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick) in a game featuring Didier Drogba making his MLS debut at a sold out Saputo Stadium (first sell out in two years), a stadium where the Union over four previous tries have lost four times, being outscored being outscored 10 goals to 4.

Should be fun, right?

In his weekly press conference (full transcript here at PSP), Jim Curtin said it’s unclear if Drogba will start:

If he’s out there as a starter, we’ll have to have not only our two center backs focused on him, but also a holding mid coming back to try to help out and win balls off of him in that regard. The hope is that he’s not 90 minutes fit, I don’t know where he’s at from that standpoint. We’re preparing like he’s starting the game though.

Unfortunately, Curtin confirmed Maurice Edu is very unlikely to be available for Saturday’s game as he continues to recover from a groin tear. How unlikely is very unlikely? Curtin said, “It would be a miracle if he’s ready by the weekend; I don’t anticipate that.”

Tranquillo Barnetta said of facing Drogba,

It will be dangerous for us, because he’s truly still very dangerous, usually in the box with his strong body. We have to be focused on him, and not only on him…You can’t let him out of your sight,” Barnetta said. “You have always to be focused and know that he can shoot because he always tries to score. If he has a little bit of space, he will try to score, and that will be what I tell our defenders. You have to be always on him, and he can turn because he push his body against a defender and then turn and shoot directly.

Curtin also made clear the early return from vacation of Impact center back Laurent Ciman is something the Union were not expecting.

With the cut to Brian Sylvestre’s still not healed, Curtin is considering starting Andre Blake in goal for the first time this season. Matthew De George notes at Union Tally that if the Union start Blake against Montreal, it will be only the second time in the last five MLS seasons a team has used five goalkeepers in one season.

Vincent Nogueira is recovered from his quad injury, the only concern is match fitness. “He’s close,” Curtin said. “He will play a role this weekend, it’s still to be determined whether it’s as a starter or off the bench.”

Related to Nogueira’s availability from a roster perspective, Curtin confirmed Fabinho has received a green card, which means the Union now have seven internationals on the roster: Nogueira, Barnetta, Rais Mbolhi, Cristian Maidana, Steven Vitoria, Eric Ayuk, and Fernando Aristeguieta. (Recall the team sent an international spot to Houston in the Sheanon Williams trade.)

In related international spot news, Curtin confirmed Mbolhi is trialing with Bolton Wanderers. Bolton News says, “It is most likely that Wanderers would have to sell or loan out one of their existing players to be in a position to offer a contract.” Shame we’re all full up on international spots if it would be a loan coming this way.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game and the remaining games on the schedule, Curtin said, at this point, draws do nothing for the club in terms of its ever fainter hopes of reaching the playoffs. “You have to push the right way to get three points, on the road and at home, from here on out because the one point doesn’t really do you any good at this stage. So, we’ll have to push in the right way — if the game is tied late we can’t be conservative and be just happy with one point.” In other words, it might be a good idea to prepare yourself for the disappointment of more late goals being conceded as the Union throws everything forward.

Finally, Andrew Wenger has begun to practice with the team again in non contact drills following the concussion he received in Toronto on July 18.

More on the presser at Delco Times.

Our preview and quick reference for Saturday’s game will be up later this morning. In the meanwhile, here are previews at Philadelphia UnionMLSsoccer.com, Philadelphia Inquirer, Delco Times, Brotherly Game, Metro (sort of), and The Guardian (sort of). Also, fellow SB Nation blogs Brotherly Game and Mount Royal Soccer ask each other three questions. Mount Royal Soccer rounds up video related to Saturday’s game.

Assuming he plays on Saturday, former Union man Justin Mapp will be the youngest player to appear in 300 MLS games.

Union USL

Jim Curtin made some interesting comments in Thursday’s press conference about what the Union launching a USL team means for the club. If you haven’t already, give the posts we published yesterday from Chris Luczkowiak and Dan Walsh for some useful perspective on the Union USL announcement. For more, Lehigh Football Nation on why a Lehigh Valley based USL team is a good thing. Sons of Penn on the best parts of the Union having a USL team.

Preaching to the choir from England, The Telegraph says Bethlehem Steel FC should be the name of the new team. Lehigh Valley Live has a good read recounting some of the failed names of past Lehigh Valley pro soccer teams.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders are on the road to face league leading Rochester Rhinos on Saturday at 7 pm (YouTube).

The Drexel women’s team opens up its season at home today against Villanova at 4:30 pm.

The Rowan University men’s soccer team will host Philadelphia Fury in a friendly on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 7 pm.

USWNT star, and Delran native, Carli Lloyd has a book deal.

Philly native and LA Galaxy defender Dan Gargan, continues to make the case for being one of the funniest guys in the league:

MLS

Sportsnet.ca reports Toronto “has begun talks with the U.S. Soccer Federation about working out a deal where they can keep Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore for the Reds’ game away to the Seattle Sounders on Sept. 5.” Uh, F’off Toronto.

As expected, it looks like Shaun Maloney is leaving Chicago Fire for Hull City. Fire head coach Frank Yallop said, “It’s not official yet, but basically Shaun, for family reasons, has asked to have a chance to go back. We’re working on it right now…We did fine on the deal, because in the end we sort of had to make it happen for Shaun, for him and his family.” Maloney signed with Chicago as a DP only eight months ago.

LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena on rumors that Gyasi Zardes is leaving the club soon for Europe: “I think that if you believe anything you read today in papers or websites, you’re a dope. Well, most things, you’d have to be pretty stupid to believe. My guess is that Gyasi is going to be playing with us.”

Interesting comments from Houston Dynamo forward Erick “Cubo” Torres on the differences between MLS and Liga MX:

Sure, they are different. The United States is faster, more physical, a little bit stronger and the defense doesn’t let you hold onto the ball as long because they are so fast and they are so intense with their feet…

In Liga MX there are players who could be walking or jogging on the pitch. You can look up and take three, four even five seconds and nothing happens. Here you have a few seconds with the ball and they are right on you, pressuring you.

Vice Sports on the “rise of ultras” in MLS.

Vavel notes recent protests by Chicago Fire fans against the club’s ownership is just the latest in a series of recent protests, including those in Philly.

The Star Tribune and MinnPost report a resolution in support of building a soccer stadium for Minnesota United will go before the St. Paul city council. The sponsors of the resolution are confident it will pass. The resolution comes after St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman met with Minnesota United FC owner Bill McGuire on Thursday.

Following the publication of the list of the most valuable MLS teams by Forbes, Charlotte Business Journal says backers of a move to land a MLS franchise there will likely have to look for investors from outside of the area.

Meanwhile, fans of NASL side Charlotte RailHawks are getting antsy about the continuing search to replace Traffic Sorts USA as the club’s owner in the wake of the FIFA corruption scandal. You will recall Traffic Sports USA president Aron Davidson was among those indicted and that both Traffic USA and its Brazil-based parent company Traffic Sports International pled guilty to wire fraud charges.

Officials from USL side Louisville City are meeting with Louisville’s mayor to discuss the possibility of building a new stadium with the ultimate goal of landing a MLS franchise.

Finally, mere weeks after former Union man Freddy Adu joined the club, Tampa Bay Rowdies have fired head coach Thomas Rongen and general manager Farrukh Quraishi. Freddy Adu: is he cursed, the curse, or both?

US

Looks like Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti will be the interim head coach for Mexico when they play the Confederations Cup play-in game in October. Ferretti is currently head coach of Tigres.

USMNT defender Tim Ream has been signed by Fulham from Bolton Wanderers. Great, now Bolton should have more money to buy Rais Mbolhi. More on the Ream deal at ProSoccerTalk.

Elsewhere

From Reuters: “FIFA discussed reforms with some of its leading commercial partners on Thursday during a secretive meeting at the headquarters of world soccer’s scandal-plagued governing body. FIFA told its partners it was committed to reform and transparency but would not comment further on the meeting which it described as ‘internal.'” Among the World Cup sponsors in attendance were adidas, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa. Representatives from Gazprom and Hyundai did not attend.

Meanwhile, FIFA Reform Committee chairman François Carrard has announced the committee’s first meeting will take place on Sept. 2-3 in Bern. Reuters reports, “The body is likely to consider a series of reform proposals from FIFA’s Audit and Compliance chairman Domenico Scala, who last month outlined to the executive committee a series of plans for changing the governance of the scandal-hit organization.”

Looking ahead to the FIFA presidential elections, Reuters says, “An increasingly bitter rift between FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini looks set to define the campaign to elect the next leader of soccer’s corruption-plagued world governing body.” An unnamed former senior FIFA official says in the report, “Blatter will do whatever he can to stop Platini becoming president of FIFA. He hasn’t yet found the candidate he thinks can beat Platini, but you can be sure he is searching for one.”

Another Reuters report says, “American and Swiss criminal investigations into corruption in global soccer are unlikely to lead to any threat to Russia retaining the hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup, according to U.S. and European sources familiar with the probes.”

FIFA announced on Thursday it will create “a global club licensing framework by the end of 2016, working with the six regional confederations to improve club football by setting minimum standards in key areas such as stadium safety, fan experience and youth football development.” More at Inside World Football.

Reuters reports, “State prosecutors raided the headquarters of the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) in the provincial city of Cochabamba after it failed to cooperate fully with an investigation into corruption, the prosecutors’ office said on Thursday.”

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer matches on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week. There’s a gazillion of them, including the start of play in La Liga and Serie A.

9 Comments

  1. FIFA is trying to improve club football?

  2. WilkersonMcLaser says:

    Wouldn’t sending Rais to BWFC open up an intl roster spot to accommodate a possible loan?

    • The Little Fish says:

      Yea. Now that Fabinho has his green card it would seem we could theoretically take back (on loan) a player from BWFC if we send M’bolhi there, no?

  3. That’s so Freddy.

  4. Carles Puyol says:

    Is the international spot we sent in the Sheanon Williams trade only for this year? I hope so, that would hurt so much more if it carries into next year. Anybody know?

  5. The Open Cup Final on September 30th is on a Wednesday…

  6. I bought the US Open tickets for our season ticket seats and saved some money.
    .
    Q – How many chances do you get to see your team play for hardware?
    .
    A – Never take one chance for granted.

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