Daily news roundups

“So close”: Reaction to Unions USOC final loss, more news.

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Speaking to reporters after his postgame press conference following the Union’s loss on penalty kicks to Kansas City in Wednesday night’s US Open Cup final, Jim Curtin said when asked how the team can recover from the loss after last year’s devastating loss to Seattle in the final,

We’re double devastated now. I don’t know, it’s bad. I mean, there’s no worse feeling than losing a final, and we’ve done it now twice at home. So, it’s hard. It’s hard to get the guys back up and motivated, but we have to, we have three games left in the year. It’s just a challenge to try to find positives in what was, again, so close to being a really special night. It’s a fine line in our game, though, between the wins and losses. So, we’ll try to keep them upbeat as best we can, but I’d be lying if I said it’s going to be easy to bounce back from. It’s a tough loss.

Before that, Curtin said of the loss,

It’s a shame. You try and learn from these experiences as best you can even though right now everybody’s crushed and devastated, just like all the fans…The guys executed everything I could’ve asked, they really limited a good Kansas City team, I don’t think they had a ton of clear looks at goal, everything was at least contested. It’s just a tough one, man. They’re a good team, and Nemeth makes a great play, hits a world-class goal. And we weren’t able to get the second one.

During the press conference (full transcript and video here at PSP), Curtin said any blame for the loss should be directed at him, not his players: “No fault of my players, they put everything into the game, emptied their tanks for me…We had the opportunity in a final, in front of our home crowd, and we came up a little short. I won’t hide from that; if anyone wants to pass blame or anything like that, I’m right here. It goes to me because my players played a great night, had a great night.”

Curtin also said, “Our fans were amazing. They stuck with us, like they always do. The atmosphere was all we could have asked for. Again, all I can say is sorry for not delivering something that we’ve talked about achieving.”

And so, the business remains unfinished. Looking to the future, what should happen next? Writes Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle,

Please don’t fire Jim Curtin. Please don’t blow up this roster. Please don’t sign anymore goalkeepers. Please just give this group one gorram offseason of continuity, because the first 60 minutes of this one produced really high-quality, entertaining stuff.

They do need, though, to figure out how to use the ball in possession and defensively.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes-yes.

Recaps and reports at PSPUS SoccerTheCup.usPhiladelphia Union, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Delco Times (recap, report), CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly GameVavel, Philly Sports Network, MLSsoccer.com (recap, analysis, Union, KC, KC), Sporting Kansas City, Kansas City Star (recap, three thoughts), The Blue Testament, Reporting KCSoccer America, SI, Fox Soccer, ASNProSoccerTalk, Goal.com, SBI (recap, reportEmpire of Soccer, The Guardian, and the AP.

Photo galleries at Philadelphia UnionKansas City Star, Getty Images,

At Soccer America, Ridge Mahoney wonders if the Open Cup final should be held at a neutral venue such as FC Dallas’s home field since the National Soccer Hall of Fame will be there. “Under the current format, one of the Open Cup finalists is named to host the championship game. As it is, the Union had five weeks to sell tickets and prepare operations to host the game at PPL Park and for the second straight year, the game didn’t sell out.” Hopefully Mahoney is playing devil’s advocate because a neutral site is a very dumb idea, even if the previous quote is true.

Local

Despite playing two overtime periods, the Temple-Delaware match ended in a scoreless draw. Villanova defeated La Salle, 2-0. Hofstra thumped Drexel, 5-1.

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta talks to Hershey, Pa.’s Christian Pulisic ahead of the U-17 World Cup, which starts Oct. 17.

MLS

The District of Columbia and DC United have announced the District has filed for eminent domain to acquire full control of the Buzzard Point site of United’s proposed stadium. Once that is completed, construction can begin.

From the Sacramento Bee: “A Sacramento development firm completed the long-awaited purchase of downtown Sacramento’s abandoned railyard Wednesday, setting the stage for a new era of development that’s expected to include a hospital, Major League Soccer stadium, university institute and thousands of homes.”

My San Antonio has an update on the sale of Toyota Field, home of the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions, which will be necessary for the stadium to become the home of a MLS team: “A source confirmed details of a non-compete clause that could prevent Bexar County from participating in the potential sale and/or development of Toyota Field, but noted that the city can still provide the necessary assistance.”

NWSL

The NWSL championship final takes place tonight in Portland (9:30 pm: FS1, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports Go).

On Wednesday, the league announced its partnership with Nike has been extended through 2019.”The continued relationship solidifies Nike’s role as the league’s official club kit, apparel and equipment, supplier of the league ball, and provider for all nine NWSL teams, as well as any future teams.” SI and The Huffington Post on what the deal means for the league.

US

The US opens its Olympic qualification campaign tonight against Canada in Kansas City (9 pm: NBC Universo, NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra). Previews at US Soccer, FIFASoccer America, ProSoccerTalk, Kansas City StarLA Times,

Will the Confederations Cup playoff match on Oct. 10 at the Rose Bowl feel like a home game of an away game for the US? The Washington Post reports ticket sales indicate it should be a fairly even split between US and Mexico supporters.

The US drops one spot to No. 29 in the latest FIFA rankings. Mexico drops one spot to No. 27.

US Soccer will unveil plans to build a new National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum at FC Dallas’ home field in Frisco, Texas, Toyota Stadium, on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The Dallas Morning News reports, “The Hall of Fame is expected to be part of a newly constructed second level of the stadium located above the south end zone.” Unbelievable. More at Frisco TimesNBCDFWSoccer America, and Soccer Wire.

Elsewhere

At ESPN: “The German Football League (DFL) president Reinhard Rauball has said that only a re-founding of FIFA can end its crisis.”

From Reuters: “Key nations backing European soccer boss Michel Platini as the next FIFA President are adopting a more cautious approach to his bid while Swiss authorities investigating graft at world soccer’s governing body look into a $2 million payment it made to him.”

57 Comments

  1. That first half was pretty fun; had a sweet view of Nog’s beauty assist. We really needed to add another goal in that first half (how many times in our history have we gone up 2-0 in first half?) I won’t lament this loss cause we are what we are and it’s been a rough season reguardless.

  2. Ad Finem fidelis

  3. Team played well last night. Not why they lost bit officiating was terrible…once again! Zusi mugging guys all night with attitude “I’m on USMNT, better not blow whistle on me” and got away with it most of the night. On a different note, that pitch is slippery in spots after slight watering before games…how does Union not have proper foot ware for those conditions last night on their own field?!

    • Agreed. Honestly, conservatively, he should have had 3 yellows (obviously you don’t get to three – but you know what I mean). When he finally got his FIRST, I freaked because I already assumed it was his second. I couldn’t believe he only had one. I can’t believe no one on KC got a red with how many cards they deserved… let alone were given. Wouldn’t say the officiating lost it for us, but it was not good… at all.

  4. The one glaring thing I just don’t get is why bring in Wenger at the end of the game. I assumed that Wenger was brought in as a penalty kick taker. But then he didn’t take his turn in the first 5, so obviously that was not the case. Why not bring in Fernando Aristeguieta? and why not sooner? CJ was tired and not making many opportunities in the both overtime periods. Once again I figured maybe CJ was staying in to take penalties but then he is replaced by Wenger. Was Aristeguieta hurt? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Aristeguieta was not available because teams can only include 5 foreign players on their game-day roster. Aristeguieta was the odd-man out…

    • I wasn’t at the game; I was watching on ESPN, and what the analysts said when Sapong came out made sense to me at the time and still does: if there’s any team that knows how he’d approach a penalty kick situation, it’s Kansas City.
      So taking CJ out right before the end does make sense from that angle. Why Wenger would go in instead in that situation with the sort of season he’s been having is something I can’t figure out, though.

      • Hindsight is 20/20, but I sure would’ve loved to see Ayuk there instead.

      • Wenger had more of a chance to fight through KC’s clutch-and-grab than Ayuk did. I guess that was the reasoning.

      • Agreed. He’d be much scarier running at defenders in those conditions. And despite his youth, I would expect him to have much more confidence going into a PK shootout.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      In addition to Mark Z’s explanation the roster rule difference, at one point in the OT period during which the Union was attacking the River End goal, Vincent Nogueira ran over to Jim Curtin on the bench during a stoppage and made a gesture with hand to left leg to indicate some kind of physical problem, for someone else, since he himself sprinted to get there. Maybe CJ had tweaked something? A wet field takes much more from your legs than does a dry one. I am only guessing it had to do with CJ.

  5. Please PSP…no more pictures of the other team holding the trophy. I’d rather see pictures of Andrew clapping. Or the helicopter departing. Or those two boys holding their heads in sorrow under the steel beams.
    .
    Certain I was going to know what it feels like to float today…but instead it is the haze of coming out of surgery blowing off the anesthesia. At least I have the blues and my trusty guitar…
    .
    … Wail away.

  6. Spider’s “little birds” are saying that the Union are hiring Octavio Zambrano as their Sporting Director? Even now any “good news” seems like an “ill guest.”

  7. I’m surprised so many people are on the Curtin band wagon.

    He was playing for PKs from normal time, holding 2 subs for two long.

    Shoulda ben Ayuk instead of Wenger.

    Wenger isn’t in a “slump”, he just isnt very good.

    • Not so much ‘on the Curtin bandwagon’ as ‘off the fire-the-coach-every-year bandwagon’.

      • Yeah, this. I’m interested in stability. I really wish the team had hired an experienced coach and returned Curtin to being an assistant instead of removing his interim tag.
        .
        That all said… if they really are hiring a new sporting director, he needs to be free to make a change if that’s what he thinks is necessary. “Keeping Curtin” cannot be a condition in the hiring. If the SD wants Curtin out, then he’s out.

      • Exactly, cszack4.

      • Bingo. The damn team needs some stability, both in the coach’s chair and on the roster. I totally agree with Matthew Doyle that neither firing the coach nor blowing up the roster is the appropriate reaction here.

      • Section 114 says:

        Amen. Curtin had four tests last night: (1) Edu at CB, (2) Blake at GK,(3) trust your gut, and (4) keep Andrew Wenger off the field as anything other than an emergency fullback. He passed the first three and has already learned from his mistake on the fourth.
        .
        This team has problems. But (1) not wasting resources on another GK — a MacMath return would be OK with me, (2) not changing the head coach, (3) finding a punishing scorer, and (4) making a meaningful change in the front office are my offseason wish list. I think I will get the first three too.

  8. To summarize a few things I said in various places on the game recap (and add one more):
    .
    Nothing wrong with McCarthy coming in for the PK’s. It didn’t hurt and it could have had a psychological effect on some of the early kickers.
    .
    Mo shouldn’t have taken a penalty kick and Wenger shouldn’t have been on the field. Vitoria took up an international spot. He is supposedly a PK specialist. He should have been the second sub, either for Edu or for Sapong (pushing Edu up).
    .
    KC is a VERY dirty team. The crime is that someone like Ted Unkel is allowed to ref. As I said earlier in the week, he was lousy in the WPS so no reason to expect him to be any different in MLS.
    .
    The Union need to adapt to conditions better and not try fancy moves on defense with the wet field. It didn’t cost them but it easily could have when the defenders kept losing their footing. On a wet field you need to have the game played at the other end.

    • Very good point about Vitoria.

    • I forgot that Vitoria is supposedly a PK specialist. Also, as soon as Wenger stepped up to the spot I knew we were goners.

      • I knew Wenger was going to miss, and I knew Edu was too. Wenger has a lack of confidence, Edu has too much and it results in a lack of focus.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Agree with your conclusion about Edu, but not your reasoning. He got absolutely clobbered at the end of the first OT on the corner kick. The bench had Vitoria up, warmed a little and taking off his warmup suit. Then Edu indicated he could go. Given KC’s speed up top, I would have also preferred Edu to Vitoria even badly battered.
        .
        And if your captain says he’s good to go for the PKs, telling him no could be destructive. As I recall Edu made one well in the previous USOC PK shootout. But it

  9. The better clubs manage that “fine line” Jim, its all about the little nuances…………maybe someday you’ll get that.

  10. The Chopper says:

    Curtin played with penalty kicks on his brain. That’s why LeToux stayed in when brining on Ayuk and playing for the goal in over time would have made sense. Ayuk would have been fresh against very tired legs.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I really knew both Edu and Wenger would come up short. I am sure I am not the only one who felt that way. Based on current form, I would have given Fabhino a kick before both of them.

    Things will look up tomorrow, They will. I promise.

  11. “Please don’t fire Jim Curtin. Please don’t blow up this roster. Please don’t sign anymore goalkeepers. Please just give this group one gorram offseason of continuity, because the first 60 minutes of this one produced really high-quality, entertaining stuff.
    .
    They do need, though, to figure out how to use the ball in possession and defensively.”
    .
    See, that last sentence relates very much to that first paragraph. Jim Curtin is awful, has been awful, and should have been replaced last offseason. Please fire him. This roster doesn’t need to be “blown up”, but outside of the top 8 or 9 guys, most of these guys should go and we need a good 6-7 guys brought in. Keep the core (Sapong, Maidana, Barnetta, Le Toux, Nogueira, Edu, Marquez, maybe Gaddis and Blake depending on how you feel about them) and re-do the rest. Continuity doesn’t help when you’re continuing with sub-par players and tactics. Let’s actually fix our problems instead of doing nothing and saying they’re fixed. We did that last offseason, it didn’t work.

    • Section 114 says:

      That isn’t fair to Lahoud, Sylvestre and Ayuk who have been everything we could have wanted from them and more, and neither costs very much. With your nine, that’s a solid top 12. Bring back Fernandes and MacMath for depth, we have 14 of our necessary 19. Still need some goal scorers, a left back (sorry, Fabinho, you’ve been better, but time for a solar vacation) and some defensive depth. And reboot our young talent. This is doable. And not a complete reboot.

      • Agreed, though I’d be comfortable with Fabinho in the mix as one of the fullback options. Not a bad use of a roster spot if he’s your 3rd guy. Lahoud deserves to stay – he’s really raised his game of late.

  12. sorry, but does the team have a new sporting director or doesn’t it?
    I just want some news. I’m trying to forget about last night. I never enjoyed post mortem examinations very much anyway.

  13. They are gonna sack SAK!

    .
    .
    WHOOOOT!

  14. Old Soccer Coach says:

    The shootouts teaches our young that when taking a PK, if you can generate power with a short run up, take the short run up. Short gives the keeper nothing to read (for example Casey and Quintilla). Long Ives the keeper something to read.
    .
    I have convinced myself that when McCarthy saved Nemeth, McCarthy actually deked Nemeth. From memory, no tape review, did not He take a short jab step the wrong way and then utterly explode towards the other post? Only way I can figured he recovered so fast and exploded so powerfully is if it was a planned move, but I am not a goalkeeper. The length Nemeth’s run up allowed him to try it.

  15. SAK IS GONE

  16. Wow.
    Tomorrow is a new day

  17. If us losing the Open Cup last night got Nicky Sak the guillotine…100% in favor that. See ya later a$$hole!!

  18. After arriving by Chopper and getting all that criticism he had to do something dramatic! Also, had we won then an attendance of only 14K would not have made such an impact but after a loss it looks a lot worse. This city of more than 2million should easily have sold out the place.
    .
    Also not renewing. Went from 3 in the first year to 2 in 2012 to 1 this season. There will be ample seats next year to buy on stubhub or at the ticket office, if I want to see an occasional game.

  19. The two most significant numbers last night were not 2,1,6 or 7. They were 14k & 1k – attendance & visitor attendance. Who’s the new boss?

  20. If in fact Nick Sack is gone, it is only Sugerman’s attempt at being proactive and to try to get ahead of an off- season of almost certain fan revolt. I hope the majority of the STH don’t re-up and force Sugerman’s hand. The Union suck and I wish there was a better team closer to support but these dogs are the only team in town.

    • Look I think Sugarman has clearly done a pretty terrible job as an owner since he’s been here. But, you can’t fault the guy for trying to switch it up; clearly, Sak was a huge problem and he extricated the franchise of it. That’s a step in the right direction. Let’s see the next step.

    • I think you’re exactly right about the Sug being pro-active part. He knows it’s idiotic they would announce the intent to hire a GM last off-season and 11months later still not have anything to show. He knows no sane fan would believe anything he or Sak said this off-season because of it, so he had to do something dramatic.

      Agree on the STHs, too. Sugarman needs to understand he’s basically trashed the team’s relationship with the majority of the fanbase through inattention, inaction, and incompetence. Forget about attracting new fans, 6 years in and they need to win back what were once their most loyal customers. Maybe he’ll realize it’s time to drop the 28 year old Vice Presidents and department heads and spend some money on infrastructure to get people who know what they are doing. Steve Holoroyd was on Twitter being pretty insistent that Sugarman is the problem and not Sakiewicz. I respect his opinion, but don’t believe at all that Sak was just an innocent bystander. But even if true, Sugarman has no one to hide behind now. So if it continues to go south it will be 100% on him.

  21. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Go onto philly.com/sports under the Union drop down is a story by Marc Narducci dated tomorrow at 3:01 am, I am writing at 11:55 pm today 10/01, in which Sakiewicz is quoted as using the past tense about his time with the Union.
    .
    Read for yourselves, his language suggests that Kevin Kinkead’s rumor is correct, both the literal words and the grammar.
    .
    Perhaps the chopper was Sugarman coming down to deliver the news, as I would hope such news would be delivered face to face.
    .
    Otherwise why be so dramatic? He has been here for games before without calling attention to himself.

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