Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin’s presser, more news

Photo: Paul Rudderow

REMINDER: Season ticket holders have until noon today to purchase their season ticket seats for the US Open Cup final. After that, season ticket seats will become available to the general public. Login to your season ticket account to buy tickets.

Philadelphia Union

Much of Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference on Wednesday (full transcript here at PSP) concerned the repercussions of Cristian Maidana receiving additional suspensions to the automatic one-game suspension for the stoppage time red card he received for “deliberately spitting” at Lee Nguyen in Saturday’s loss to New England.

Curtin said he believes Maidana did not intentionally spit his gum at Nguyen. “I’d rather get punched in the face than spit on,” Curtin said. “Chaco told me he didn’t intend that so, in that regard, we’ll…I believe him.” Curtin said of the disciplinary committee process,

They have a good committee that it goes to, guys that I’m friends with and old teammates that are on it, so there’s been some dialogue as to where they’re at but no official word has come forward yet. I’m kind of wait and see. But anytime you are judging intent, whether he meant it or not, is a gray area because only one guy really knows, you know, and that’s Chaco, Chaco’s the only one who really knows deep down the decision that he made.

At CBS Philly, Kevin Kinkead, who reports sources tell him Maidana is likely to be suspended for a total of three games, looks at the length of additional bans handed out after previous spitting incidents. At the Delco Times, Matthew De George reports Curtin does not believe any additional bans will affect Maidana’s eligibility to play in the US Open Cup final. If Maidana is suspended for three games, he would miss Saturday’s game in San Jose, and the home games against Columbus (Sept. 12) and Houston (Sept. 20), returning for the road game against New England (Sept. 26) before the Open Cup final on Sept. 30.

Curtin said Tranquillo Barnetta will move centrally with Maidana suspended with either Eric Ayuk or Andrew Wenger on the wing. He also said changing the formation to a 4-4-2 is also a possibility but wants to know how long Maidana will be suspended before making “drastic” formation changes. “[W]e are at our best with Chaco on the field. So, to prepare without him is a risky one until we know the final verdict on the suspension.

While the cut on Brian Sylvestre’s hand is finally healed and he has been cleared to train, Curtin said John McCarthy is likely to start against San Jose. Further on the injury front, Curtin said CJ Sapong left training early with some tightness in his quad but that he doesn’t expect it will affect his availability for Saturday’s game. Zach Pfeffer is listed on the latest injury report on the league website but Curtin did not mention the injury and Matthew De George reports Pfeffer participated in full training on Wednesday.

Curtin also said Maurice Edu continues to recover from his groin injury and reiterated comments he made in last week’s press conference that a plan is in place to get Edu game time ahead of the Open Cup final. Noting a similar plan will be needed if Maidana receives an extended suspension, Curtin explained,

We have a plan, hopefully his rehab continues to progress and it’s seamless and we can get him the necessary minutes before a big game in the final because you need live action to be ready for a big moment like that. Chaco would be the same thing. We’ve already discussed and, at least, talked about it because there is the possibility of a longer suspension, to at least be prepared, whether it’s getting a friendly for Mo and Chaco down the road to maintain that game fitness, whether we bring in an academy group, or whatever that looks like, just to keep them sharp, as sharp as possible. An outside team could give a good test, there’s intrasquad things you can do, but there is no fitness like the game. So, we have to really monitor that. It makes it tricky.

Curtin said Andrew Wenger playing left back in Monday’s friendly against Harrisburg was mainly an effort to get him a full 90 minutes of game time. “I have a good idea of what I see him as, and that’s a left-sided winger that can give teams fits like we saw a lot last year, and he’s trying to get that form back again now.” More on Wenger as left back at Union Tally.

Finally, Curtin said the team is continuing to track possible additions to the roster, now that Rais Mbolhi’s departure has freed up an international spot. “[W]e have a couple guys that we’re looking at. Obviously, they’re guys that are free from contracts at this stage and, yeah, there’s a couple of options we’re exploring. That’s why we were able to make that move, which was positive to clear some not only cap space but also roster spots.”

In a look at how national team callups will impact MLS teams during for this weekend’s games, Soccer America notes, “The most lopsided situation involved San Jose-Philadelphia. The Quakes will be without four players, all of whom played in the 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy, while the Union is only missing Andre Blake on international duty. (It will also be without suspended Cristian Maidana.)”

MLSsoccer.com on the staying power of former Unionman Shea Salinas at San Jose.

Brotherly Game has visual aids to Homegrown Player catchment areas.

At the Sporting Kansas City website, a look at the record setting attendance for US Open Cup games at Sporting Park this year. The team set new records for the modern era for games in the Round of 32 (19,298), the Round of 16 (19,113), Quarterfinals (17,589), and Semifinals (16,117).


Harrisburg City Islanders fell 4-0 on the road to Louisville City on Wednesday evening. Louisville’s Matt Bondy, who scored four goals in the 5-1 win against the Islanders when the teams played in August, scored a first half hat trick to set a new single-season USL record for goals scored at 21. With the win, Louisville also became the second team in the league to clinch a playoff spot. Harrisburg is in seventh place, one point behind Pittsburgh and a playoff spot, with four games to play in the regular season. Recaps at USLPenn Live, The Courier-Journal, WDRB, WLKY, and Louisville Coopers.

The Daily Collegian has more on new Penn State soccer supporters group, the Sons of Jeffrey.


Football Italia on the significance of Sebastien Giovinco and Andrea Pirlo being called up to the Italian national team from MLS.

German national team manager Oliver Bierhoff supports a salary cap and draft system along the lines of MLS. “I am a friend of the American system because it is about how can we keep this competition interesting. That should be our aim. To keep football on a high quality and keep the competition interesting for fans…I like the American regulation which strengthens smaller clubs either through drafts or salary caps but I know it is difficult under European Union legislation.”

The Washington Post reviews “Muerte o Gloria: The Rise of the American Soccer Fan,” a new documentary about the history of DC United supporters group Barra Brava.

The Star Tribune reports, “St. Paul appears to be the choice of Minnesota United team officials as the home for a new Major League Soccer team and stadium, sources told the Star Tribune Wednesday…Several sources with knowledge of the situation said an announcement could come this week.”

In an interview with Sky Sports, David Beckham says of efforts to secure a location to build a stadium for his Miami Franchise, “We are getting closer. There’s a lot of positivity around the city and I’ve always said that Miami is a place that will love a team. They need a team. They want a team. Hopefully in the next couple of months we’ll be able to make an announcement.”

Deadspin has an opinion piece following reports on the NASL’s objections to proposed changes to the standards for Division I teams that endorses the NASL’s view of things. It thoughtfully includes a photo of US Soccer president Sunil Gulati with Sepp Blatter (and Carlos Bocanegra) in case you didn’t get the message that it’s all one big conspiracy.


Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters on Wednesday that Brad Guzan will be the starter ahead of Tim Howard for the Peru and Brazil friendlies as well as the Confederations Cup playoff game against Mexico, and DaMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson are currently his choices to start at fullback. More at Fox Sports and Soccer America.

Klinsmann said “there’s still a little bit of anger in me” over the way the US performed at the Gold Cup.

The US moves up one spot to No. 28 in the latest FIFA rankings. Mexico remains at No. 26.

The US U-23s face England today as they continue their preparations for the Olympic qualification tournament (2:40 pm, ESPN3). The U-20 MNT faces host country Serbia in the Stevan Vilotic Tournament.

From the USYS website: “The US Youth Soccer Board of Directors has approved the implementation of age group registration by calendar year, as mandated by the U.S. Soccer Federation…The board also approved a two-year phase in for the Small-Sides Games mandate.”


FIFA’s latest reform committee met for the first time on Wednesday. Reuters reports a spokesperson said “there would be no comment on the proposals under discussion until a news conference on Thursday afternoon.” Inside World Football details the reasons behind skepticism the committee actually has the will to achieve meaningful change. More from the AP.

Reuters reports, “Former Nigerian soccer star Segun Odegbami has announced his bid to run for president of the sport’s international governing body FIFA.”

Reuters reports, “South Korean FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon has accused the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) of sending unsolicited letters to its members urging them to support his rival Michel Platini at next year’s election.”

FIFPro wants the system of transfer windows to end and for transfers to be allowed to take place year round. FIFPro board member Bobby Barnes says, “The transfer window has done the reverse of what it set out to do. It’s not created stability and has not taken the heat out of transfer market. People are paying a premium to get deals done before the window closes. It would be healthier to close the windows because what you’d stop is big spikes of activity at these particular times.”


  1. el pachyderm says:

    I look forward to the implementation of small sided game play….see if US Soccer gets it right… I thought this was the plan with YSC and the new 6 and 7 year old PDP…especially after inviting Horst Wein to KOP for a demonstration last summer…but it is just more of the same….small sided in name only – and I am admittedly very disappointed. I’ve spoken with one or two people up there about it but they tend to look at me and smile as if I am just a helicopter parent.
    It is a challenge for me to watch my son play 3v3 free play SSG for 20 minutes in the beginning of a session then watch the senseless dribbling or passing activities for the remainder of the hour session…
    IMO- If they were doing it right…they would have a bag of 3 or 4 SSG activities that they let the kids play after each 3v3 SS warm up EVERY single session and if they find some particular kid or kids struggling with the SS activity – pull that individual child aside for remediation. This would allow for the laying down of ingrained neural pathways that know how to solve the problems of 2v2, 3v2, 2v1. The curriculum….yes curriculum…would build through each session– the new kids that sign up and pay to play beginning on one side of the field the kids that are regulars like my kid working through the SSG curriculum so when the kids are chosen for Union Futures and a Union Juniors their football IQ is proper.
    This is not advanced thinking by me. This is part of the club wide Vision. Plan. Philosophy.
    This should be standard operating procedure. Every single session. Session after session building little football robots…YES robots. Let them free play – then let them play – the SSGs you choose as the curriculum. It is all play and yes it will build little robots which is what is missing from our youth development.
    The lesson with my article? Just because we claim small sided game small sided game does not mean the implementation is in line with proper development. I would expect certain soccer developmental models to be utilizing this by now…particularly pricey and expensive ones.
    Phew I feel better. Had to get that off my chest. And if any of you who check in with this Blog are so affiliated with that lovely place in KOP and by lovely I am speaking truth…please….I am right about this.
    Use the education you brought Mr Wein in for.

  2. It’s kind of tiresome seeing the Minnesota story every day(wasn’t the original deadline in June?) when there are a number of viable markets that already have teams/plans/infrastructure in place.
    Jurgen… Lots of anger… But no changes

  3. I am not sure how the rest of us here see it, but I don’t believe for a second that Chaco did not do what he did intentionally. If we were winning 4-0 maybe I could believe it. But down 1-0 with time running out and your playoff life on the line … IMO, he was pissed, it was intentional.

  4. Andrew Wenger gives teams “fits”? Fits of what? Giggles?

  5. “At the Sporting Kansas City website, a look at the record setting attendance for US Open Cup games at Sporting Park this year.”

    I didn’t re-Doop but I did buy my seats for the final. I hope other STH’s did the same. I’d love to see PPL rocking with a record crowd. Albeit on rare occasions, the atmosphere can be electric in that place. Here’s hoping September 30th is one of those times.

    • You’re going to be really disappointed when you see the current seating map.

      • you are such a buzzkill

      • I bought my tickets for the final too, but I am afraid attendance will be lower than last year. The FO did a big marketing push to get people to buy tickets for the final last year, but this year the Papal visit will the weekend before the game, so I expect any marketing the FO does will be drowned out by that. Plus a lot of people probably chose to skip town that week rather than deal with all the craziness.

  6. “I have a good idea of what I see him as, and that’s a left-sided winger that can give teams fits like we saw a lot last year, and he’s trying to get that form back again now.”









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