Daily news roundups

Mbolhi signs with Antalyaspor, recaps and reaction to Union win in Montreal, more

Photo: Courtesy of Antalyaspor

Philadelphia Union

Mbolhi signs with Turkish side Antalyaspor

Update: On Monday afternoon, the Union announced, “Philadelphia Union and MLS have mutually terminated the contract with goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi…Per club and league policy, additional details were not disclosed.”

Turkish side Antalyaspor have announced on their website and Twitter account the signing of Rais Mbolhi.

While the deal has not been officially announced by the Union — the paperwork is being finalized by the league in New York — club sources confirmed to PSP the deal is complete.

Details of the deal are pretty nonexistent at this point, but The Bolton News reported last Thursday that Mbolhi, who was trialing with Bolton Wanderers, was available on a free transfer.

Whatev. Let’s just rejoice in the news that the Union have closed the books on the most disastrous signing in the team’s short history (and with time to spare in the European summer transfer window!), freeing up an international spot and at least $350,000 from the cap, ending a summer transfer season that also included the termination of the Carlos Valdes contract ($400,000), the trade of Sheanon Williams ($150,500) and an international spot to Houston in return for “general allocation money and future considerations,” and the signings of Tranquillo Barnetta and Warren Creavalle.

Win in Montreal

I admit it, I thought the Union would go to Montreal on Saturday and get smoked. They had not won there in four previous attempts, being outscored 10 goals to 4, including being shutout twice. And there was the little matter of Saturday being the debut of one Didier Yves Drogba Tébily, which resulted in Montreal’s first sold-out home game since 2013.

This time, it was the Union who were the shutout winners.

Jim Curtin said after the win (postgame quote sheet here at PSP), “That was very important…Real important. We’ve had a lot of inconsistency — we’re either a clean sheet or we’re giving up three goals, which is not what I want. So, again, this was something to build on…they out possessed the heck out of us, but still, in the key department, which is the creating chances, I thought we had the better chances.”

Montreal head coach Frank Klopas said, ‘We knew they were going to be a team that would sit back and counter. They are a good team in transition and we weren’t sharp in the first half. In the end, we tried to push the game as much as we could, and they scored so it was disappointing, especially with the great crowd tonight.”

Said Impact forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel, “It’s frustrating to lose a game like this. When you’re home, you can’t afford to lose these types of games.” Yes, Anthony, Union fans know all too well the frustration of which you speak. If they had defeated Chicago two Sundays ago, the Union would be above the red line in sixth place.

Getting the shutout for the Union was Andre Blake, making his first start of 2015, and only his second MLS start since being selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 SuperDraft. Curtin confirmed after Saturday’s win that he’ll get the start against New England at PPL Park on Saturday.

Sadly, there were no postgame quotes from Sebastien Le Toux, who scored the lone goal of the game. But, dang, is he on one of his late summer tears again or what? Saturday’s goal is his fourth in five league games. If you include his game winning goal in the US Open Cup semifinal, he’s scored five goals in six games. Keep ’em coming, Seba.

Le Toux’s celebration face after his goal in Montreal has been named the Armchair Analyst’s Face of the Week.

Recaps and reports from PSP, Philadelphia Union, Delco Times, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game (recap, analysis), Philly Sports Network, VavelMLS Multiplex, MLSsoccer.com (recap, Union, Impact), Montreal Impact, Montreal Gazette, Sports NetThe Canadian Press, SBIProSoccer Talk, Goal.comYahoo Sports, The GuardianSky SportsSports Mole, Press AssociationReuters, and the APUSA Today has a photo gallery from the game.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young notes CJ Sapong comes in at No. 11 in the league for in Goals + Assists per 90.

Union loanee Leo Fernandes had a goal and an assist in New York Cosmos 3-1 win over Carolina RailHawks on Saturday. Fernandes leads the team in goals (7) and is tied for the lead in assists (3).

Following the USL-Lehigh Valley announcement, PSP contributor Steve Holroyd talks to Last Word on Sports about the history of Bethlehem Steel FC.

Union Academy

Philadelphia Union Academy defenders Nykolas Sessock and Rayshaun McGann went the full 90, while midfielder Brenden Aaronson played the first 47 minutes, of the US U-15 BNT’s 3-3 draw with England last Wednesday at the National Training Center at St. Georges Park in Staffordshire. The match report on the US Soccer website notes, “The match officially ended in a 3-3 draw, but both team’s decided to do friendly penalty shootout. The U.S. triumphed 4-3.” The teams played to a 2-2 draw the Sunday before in their first meeting. In that game, Aaronson came on in the 79th minute, while Sessock and McGann were unused substitutes. You will recall the US U-15s are coached by former Union head coach John Hackworth.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders were thumped 4-0 on the road by Rochester Rhinos on Saturday. With the win, Rochester becomes the first USL team to clinch a playoff spot. More at USLPenn Live,  WHAM and The Bent Musket.

Meghan McCool (F: Penn Fusion; Glenside, Penn.) has been called up for the US U-20 WNT camp in Carson, Calif., Aug. 23-30.

The Temple and Drexel men’s teams played to a 3-3 draw in their preseason finale on Friday.

The Drexel women’s team opened up the new season with a 1-0 win over Villanova on Friday before falling 1-0 to Buffalo on Sunday.

On the La Salle women’s team’s plans for the new season.

Ahead of the start of the fall season on August 29, the American Soccer League has announced it will move away from the current fall/spring split season to a spring-to-fall season along the lines of MLS, but with a summer break. The league will therefore play “a limited 2015 fall schedule that consists of exhibition games and a limited tournament format.” Among the teams participating in the fall season are three expansion sides, including the Delaware Copperheads, which is owned by Jeremiah White, and the Lancaster Lions. (An announcement on the league website says the new season was supposed to begin on Aug. 22 with Lancaster hosting Mass United, but I can find nothing on the league and team websites and Twitter accounts to confirm if the game took place.) The league, currently at seven teams including expansion sides, hopes to start the spring 2016 season with “possibly 14 to 16 teams.”

There’s still time to sign up for the Building Bridges 3v3 charity tournament in support of the Camden Youth Soccer Club and Kensington Soccer Club. The tournament will take place on Sunday, Aug. 30, at Camden High School Athletic Field.

MLS

In the Eastern Conference, first place DC (44 points), coming back from their CONCACAF Champions League win in Panama on Wednesday, lost 2-0 at home to San Jose on Saturday, their second loss in league play in a row. Second place NYRB (39 points) had the weekend off. Third place Columbus (38 points) came from behind twice to defeat Kansas City 3-2, with former Union man Jack McInerney scoring the 88th minute game winner. Fourth place Toronto (34 points) thumped eighth place Orlando City (28 points) 5-0, with Sebastian Giovinco scoring his 17th goal of the season, and Jozy Altidore scoring two late goals. Fifth place New England ( 34 points) had the weekend off. Sixth place Montreal (28 points) was defeated 1-0 at home by ninth place Philadelphia (27 points). Seventh place NYCFC (28 points) was thumped 5-1 on the road by LA. Last place Chicago (23 points) was defeated 1-0 at home by Colorado.

In the Western Conference, first place LA (46 points) defeated NYCFC 5-1, with Robbie Keane scoring a brace. Second place Vancouver (45 points) defeated fifth place Dallas (38 points), 1-0. Third place Kansas City (40 points) was defeated 3-2 on the road by Columbus, their second loss in a row. Fourth place Portland (40 points) came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home with eighth place Houston (32 points). Sixth place Seattle (35 points) fell 2-0 on the road to ninth place Salt Lake (32 points). Seventh place San Jose (35 points) defeated DC 2-0 on the road for their third win in a row. Last place Colorado (27 points) defeated Chicago 1-0 on the road.

Steven Gerrard on the level of play in MLS: “A lot better than what I thought. It surprised me. The level is very good. The level is a lot stronger than what other people suggested when I came. I’ve been really surprised.” I can’t decide if I want to go with “MLS: Better Than You Thought,” or “MLS: You’ll Be Really Surprised” for my next ad campaign.

Orlando Sentinel reports, “Orlando City is considering Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne as a venue for its new USL franchise.

At American Soccer Analysis, Jared Young compares the value of MLS teams to other US professional sports leagues following last week’s Forbes rankings of the most valuable MLS teams,

San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor says the city is committed to helping to bring a MLS team to her city.

US

Peru have announced their roster ahead of the friendly against the USMNT on Sept. 4 at RFK.

The Daily Record reports, “Rangers manager Mark Warburton has confirmed the Ibrox club have secured a loan deal for Arsenal kid Gedion Zelalem.” That’s USA and Arsenal kid to you, Daily Record.

Elsewhere

Francois Carrard, the man leading the FIFA’s reform committee, said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Le Matin Dimanche, “But for the US, football, soccer, does not have the same weight as baseball, basketball and American football. There, it’s just an ethnic sport for girls in schools.”

Reuters reports further that Carrard, who acknowledged he’s being paid by FIFA to lead the “independent” reform committee, believes Sepp Blatter is being unfairly treated: “There is something unfair about the way he is being treated. I say this in all independence. We’re burning him. Certainly he has made mistakes but he has also brought positive elements. Unfortunately it is always like that when someone stays on too long, the negative gets the upper hand.”

Here’s the original Le Matin interview, and here’s a crappy Google translation. Carrard also says in the interview that the reform committee will have 12 members instead of 14 as originally announced. The last two spots were supposed to be to represent the interests of FIFA sponsors but Carrard says he persuaded sponsors at the meeting with them last Thursday that he would represent their interests. Encouraging stuff from FIFA’s lead reformer, right?

Reuters reports, “FIFA’s independent ethics committee is probing ‘many’ cases of suspected corruption, is accelerating its investigations and expects life bans for all but minor offences, according to a source familiar with the matter. Investigators are probing three main areas: cases related to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process, the distribution and use of development funds and match-fixing, which the source described as soccer’s ‘big story.'”

Meanwhile: “FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-Joon said on Saturday that a report he was being investigated by the soccer body’s ethics committee was proof that outgoing president Sepp Blatter was trying to interfere in his campaign and should step down.”

From Reuters: “Scandal-hit FIFA can never be dominated by one continent, outgoing president Sepp Blatter said on Saturday. Without going into details or naming anyone, Blatter said that in the past one continental federation had tried to exert a dominance over the others, using proposed reforms as an attempt to grab the presidency.”

Then there’s this: “A Swiss criminal investigation into corruption at the world soccer body FIFA has hit some roadblocks, according to U.S. and European sources familiar with the matter. Barriers to progress include reduced levels of collaboration with U.S. authorities. who are conducting a parallel probe that is much more advanced, and an increasing acknowledgment by prosecutors in Bern that their powers under Swiss law are constrained in this kind of case, these people said. The faltering communication across the Atlantic and legal limits on the Swiss probe could mean the combined investigations will not have as far-ranging an impact as some FIFA critics had hoped. It could also take some of the pressure off of FIFA for the more significant reforms sought by the organization’s sponsors and others.”

40 Comments

  1. ‘Hey Rais Suck on My Balls.’
    .
    You cannot stop me.
    You can only hope to contain me.
    .
    In other news, yet another injury to Tiger Woods. Looking more and more like golf is in good hands though.

    • 1) Yes! (definitely el p’s for Rais)
      .
      2) would never dream of it
      .
      3) Who cares..he’s like the Tebow of golf. Too much hype for no return. needs to go back to those hookers.

      • Boy there was a time when Tiger was all powerful and captured every square inch of my imagination the likes of Zizou.

      • True, and he deserved it. But there are the new kids on the block now. And they deserve the accolades, not the distraction that Tiger has become.

  2. Watched the second half of that NYCFC / LA game. Wow. Even though LA did the same to the Union, the Union didn’t look so awful. Gerrard, Lletjet and Keane were able to do almost anything they wanted. NY is a pretty big embarrassment for the league.

    • Trips to the MoMA, playing on a baseball field and $35 glasses of Cabernet may get old quick.

    • i know they are/were great players but signing lampard and pirlo does not appear to have been a very good idea

    • You’re all aware that they are a brand new team right? A brand new team that is still 2 places above the Union in the standings?

      • NYCFC has one more point in the standings than the Union, and are a complete and utter mess.
        .
        The Union, at least, are showing signs of improvement.

      • Yes 1 point more. This brand new team is, as I said, ahead of the Union. A team that in their 6th year should not be proud of being in that lowly position. I agree NYCFC is a mess but do you seriously think the U is not? As for the improvement, I hope and pray you are right but frankly I don’t like the taste of that Kool Aid you’re drinking.

      • Playing on that racket ball court they call a soccer field must get to them. They’ve got no room to move. At this stage of their careers they need all they space they can get.

  3. J in Section 125 says:

    All in all the last few days have been good for Union fans. New USL team, road win over Montreal, Rais gone and now plenty of cap room to improve the squad.

    • Leads me to wonder what’s next… wondering if a partnership with another club is still on the horizon.
      .
      Credit to the club and as the great Admiral David Farragut once said…’Damn the torpedoes…. FULL speed ahead.’ Lets spend that money.

      • We are partnered with other clubs remember AFC Bournemouth and Saprissa not that we do anything with partnerships. I believe this team has turned a corner when there is new ownership.

      • “Let’s spend that money” got us into this situation in the first place.
        Wasn’t there something along the lines of “Plan/Vision/Philosophy?” Oh…and a supposed Director of Soccer (or whatever they plan to call the GM?)
        .
        Let’s get someone capable of making decisions in place first, and then go spend that money.

      • Yea I’m giddy… too much oxygen and no sleep for 36 hours…disregard some comments by me this morning.

      • +1 – Hope the FO is more prudent about utilizing this cap room and focuses more on a longer term horizon than short term fixes.

      • Still no GM tho…
        .
        Would love that change asap.

  4. In other news, Marcelo Bielsa is still unemployed.



    I can dream, can’t I?

    • I love Bielsa, but he’s so unique in his style that when he leaves a club (which he typically does in 1-2 years), it takes a while for the club to fully recover. He’s great as an international manager as when he moves on, you’re not left with players that you can’t use any more who have bad contracts.

      • Accurate. Even if he wants a little break from high level football and comes to Philadelphia for a full 2 years, the club would be worse off for 3 after he leaves. But it’s a pipe dream. I suspect he’s going to Mexico.

  5. Obviously, M’Bohli is the big news today, but I wanna talk about Leo.
    .
    Do we think they’ll bring him back? He’s obviously finding success in the 2nd division, and he looked good in the couple Cosmos Open Cup games I watched this year. Frankly, he was decent when he played with us. He plays in our most crowded area of the field, though, assuming Nogueira comes back. Surplus to requirements maybe?
    .
    I think I’d rather have him than Pfeffer, Philly native stuff aside, but I don’t imagine the coaching staff feels the same.

    • If you have a midfield of Nogs Barnetta Chaco Ayuk and backups of Pfeffer Fernandes Le Toux Lahoud I think you may have something there. If you can empty out Wenger to either USL or another team then pickup someone to replace Carroll and let him retire I think its a solid start in the midfield. You then either loan Cruz again or stick him on the USL team as well. It opens possibilities I think.

      • WestmontUnion says:

        Great post Dr Union. I agree with you completely, Leo has to be in the team next year. With the new USL set up, it will give us a ton of flexibility. I’d love to see McCarthy (back goalie in MLS at best), Cruz, Leo, Pfeffer flip flopping between USL team and first team to ensure they’re getting playing time and staying sharp when not featuring on bench or as a spot starting. Midfield of Nogs Barnetta Chaco, and a more seasoned Ayuk, has me excited. One thing I’d also like to see is us go after Mapp and or Oduro as a back up winger/spot starter next season. Would love to see them on our team for the right price/trade.

    • Hobo – I, too, would like to see Leo F back in a Union kit next year. His performance early last season with the Union, coupled with his success this summer with the Cosmos, makes me believe that he can contribute on a regular basis at the MLS level.

      • He needed to get more consistent. He would make a play then disappear for long stretches. Haven’t actually watch any of his games but his stats suggest he is getting better in that regard.

    • Leo is exactly the type of player that should be playing in Bethlehem. He’ll be back, and he’ll start the season there.
      I love the idea of him playing off of CJ up top. Big, fast, athletic guys that can finish. Yeah, that would be fine.

  6. I would think the Mbohli move and Valdes termination would help things in trying to find a GM/Dir. Of Soccer. Pretty hard to sell a potential hire when you tell him the team is tight against the cap already and there really isn’t any money to do anything anyway. Minus Mbohli and not picking up loan on Vittoria and possibly Aristeguieta that would be 1million off the cap right there.

    I have been thinking what is taking so damn long to find somebody. Came up with at least these 3 possibilities:

    1) No one competent wants to work for Sakiewicz

    2)Sakiewicz never wanted a GM, and just said that last offseason because it’s what fans wanted to hear

    3) The plan all along was to hire Albright for the job, but they needed some good news in order to try and sell it (like a USOpen cup win)

    It has to be the world’s longest and quietest GM search.

    • wrote the other day in a different post… ‘I awoke’ in the early morning Friday…’and faintly bouncing around the room’…the nightmare was a dream I had… Mr. Sakiewicz announced he appointed himself Director of Soccer operations.
      .
      … I crawled from the bed, wandered down the hall- hardly able to see- stopped to pause before a pee, and assured myself this was just could not be, ‘and faintly bouncing around the room the echo of whoever spoke…’ went back to bed and rested my head more than fitfully.
      .
      speaking of sleep-time to go to sleep for me – – I am delirious.

    • Something does smell fishy (not Phishy, sorry el p) about the G.M. search. Either they aren’t looking too hard (i.e. with designs to make Albright the G.M. like you said) or Sak is even more incompetent than previously thought. If they do give it to Albright, how can anyone not see it as a move on the cheap. No matter how well he’s done/ will do, he’ll be behind the 8 ball because of the perception it was done for lack of cashola.

      • Yes, something smells bad. Just has the same feel to the “world-wide” coaching search from last year. They made the announcement just about this time of the year last year, shortly before the Cup final. We shall see…

  7. If there ever was a name ripe for stardom and a certain fast food giant endorsement… Meghan McCool.

  8. I don’t agree with letting Aristeguieta’s loan expire. I can’t imagine Casey playing more next year than he did this year and beyond that they’d be pretty thin. I don’t trust the FO to bring in anyone better in the offseason. Is it possible they go out and just get the best players they can and change the formation from there?

    • I would accept the formation change if they shore up their defense. Vittoria may have played well against Montreal, but one game doesn’t a season make. Curtain wants to go 4-4-2, so that leaves Maidana, Nogs, and Nets in the mid with Carroll again? Lahoud with Carroll off the bench? Without defensive upgrades, I don’t see this as feasible. I see most goals allowed again next year, if they try that.

    • I like Fernando and agree they would be thin at F if they let him go. Do have Catic, though I don’t know he’s done anything this year that you can rely on him. But has Aristeguieta been worth 350k? That’s not to mention that may or may not be his full salary (don’t know if Nantes is helping there or not), plus you’d have to buy him. You’d have to bring someone else in, but you might get similar production for a good bit less.

      • This is again where that all important trades come in, but we know this team doesn’t know how to conduct a trade. If they let Vittoria and Nando go they should trade for a CB and use the $800,000 to go after a competent striker. If you trade Edu then you likely have in the 1 – 1.5 mil range to go after a new striker (depending on who gets picked up in the trade).

  9. wow. Carrard’s comments and that “don’t worry, i got this” makes me think new boss, same as the old boss.

  10. Dear Union Front Office,

    Please don’t screw up the 2015/16 off season.

    Sincerely,

    The Fans.

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