Daily news roundups

Downed in Toronto, notes from Sugarman presser, league results, USMNT news, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

No bounce back in Toronto

Perhaps it was inevitable after playing 120 minutes last weekend only to lose the US Open Cup final for the second year in a row that the Union would fall short on Saturday in Toronto. (Perhaps not: US Open Cup champions Kansas City flew across the country and defeated Portland, 1-0, on the road.)

Head coach Jim Curtin said after Saturday’s loss, which ended the Union’s improbable playoff hopes, “It was always going to be tough coming off the heartbreaking open cup loss, kind of rallying the troops. After 120 minutes I thought we put up a decent fight. I thought Andre Blake was a guy who stood out and had a good day. Overall disappointing, as good as Toronto was on the day I thought the goals we gave up were a little strange and silly.”

The Union’s lone goal came from Steven Vitoria, who was playing his first-ever pro game in the city of his birth. Vitoria said, “It was exciting finally having a chance to play in BMO Field in front of many family members and close friends. Getting a goal is always nice but that’s secondary, I’m not happy with the result, with the loss.”

That’s alright, no one was.

Recaps and reports at PSPPhiladelphia UnionPhilly Soccer News, Brotherly Game (recap, analysis), Vavel,  MLSsoccer.com (recap, analysis, Union, Toronto), Toronto FC, Toronto SunThe Star, CBC Sports, TSN (recap, five thoughts), SportsNet, Red Nation, Canadian PressWaking the Red, ProSoccerTalk, SBISports Mole, OmnisportReuters, and the AP. Photogallery at USA Today.

Post Sakiewicz

Union majority owner Jay Sugarman spoke to reporters via teleconference on Friday following the dismissal of Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz.

Sugarman said of the reasoning behind Sakiewicz’s departure, “When his employment agreement ended last year, we really needed to take a step back and decide how we were going to move the ball forward. There were some issues that just didn’t seem to be getting resolved…We don’t always see eye to eye. There were things that are very important to me that weren’t important to Nick. From just a perspective of how we were going to run the club and what were the important philosophical underpinnings, it was clear that we weren’t necessarily on the same page.”

Perhaps one of the philosophical differences had to do with Sakiewicz’s handling of fan discontent. Sugarman said, “Our counsel was to try to ignore the uniformed rants or the flamethrowers. but when fans are telling you a message that is thoughtful, they’ve put in the work (and) are asking honest questions, you need to give them honest answers. The fan input is an important input. It is never good when your fans aren’t happy, and I do take that as one of the signals that we’ve got to do better.”

Three topics are of immediate concern: Sakiewicz’s ownership stake in the club, Jim Curtin’s position as head coach, and the search for a sporting director.

Currently, Sakiewicz holds class B shares in the club, but these don’t hold much value. That situation will be sorted out later, Sugarman said.

Sakiewicz has no vote on the team board of directors.

Basically, Sakiewicz is pretty much gone.

Regarding Jim Curtin’s position as head coach, Sugarman said that will ultimately be up to whoever is hired to be sporting director. But Sugarman seemed confident Curtin will remain: “Almost all the candidates that I have talked to are definitely going to keep Jim in place. They like what he brings, the passion, the connection to the players, the connection to the community. I have almost no doubt and I think Jim should have no doubt that he should be preparing to be our coach for next season. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”

As for the search for a sporting director, Sugarman said,

No decision has been made. My goal is to have somebody in place by the end of the year, so there’s no imminent decision. We are looking for somebody who covers as (much of our) criteria as we can, but we also understand that it’s important to have somebody in place.

We can’t wait for perfection, but we think we’ve seen some strong candidates. We think they have helped us really think through what the opportunity set is. We have a few more we’re continuing to talk with, and certainly by the end of the year we can put somebody in place that’s going to elevate all parts of our team.

Sugarman confirmed Octavio Zambrano is among the candidates for sporting director, but he is one of several.

Sugarman was confident about the future of the team. “There are a lot of great things going on here that have been clouded because we’re not winning and because we’ve handled some things really poorly. But that doesn’t stop me from believing that this will be something we’re all going to be proud of.”

More on Sugarman’s comments at PSP, MLSsoccer.comDaily News, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, and SBI. Reaction pieces to Sakiewicz’s ouster at CSN Philly and The 700 Level.

Local

On Saturday, Penn Defeated Cornell, 2-0, to open Ivy League play. St, Joseph’s defeated UMass, 2-0, to start A-10 play. Villanova defeated Marquette 2-1 in their Big East home opener. Temple lost 1-0 to No. 17 USF. Drexel lost 1-0 to College of Charleston. La Salle lost 3-0 to Fordham.

From Daily Local News, “A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the parents of a former high school soccer player and her coach and the Downingtown Area School District over a head injury the girl suffered during a scrimmage and for which they say she was not properly treated.”

MLS

In the Eastern Conference, first place NYRB (51 points) came from behind to defeat fourth place Columbus (47 points), 2-1. Second place DC (48 points) overcame a first minute goal from Frank Lampard to defeat eighth place NYCFC (37 points) 2-1 with a game-winning stoppage time goal from Alvaro Saborio. Third place New England (47 points) lost 3-1 on the road to last place Chicago (30 points). Fifth place Toronto (46 points) defeated Philadelphia 3-1, ending the Union’s playoff hopes. Sixth place Montreal (42 points) lost 2-1 on the road to seventh place Orlando (41 points).

In the Western Conference, first place Los Angeles clinched a playoff spot with a 1-1 road draw with fifth Seattle (47 points). Second place Dallas (50 points) clinched a playoff spot with a 4-1 thumping of eighth place Houston (41 points). Third place Vancouver (49 points) drew 1-1 on the road with sixth place San Jose (44 points). Fourth place Kansas City (48 points) defeated seventh place Portland (44 points) 1-0 on the road. Ninth place Salt Lake (41 points) defeated last place Colorado (34 points) 2-1 on the road, eliminating the Rapids from the playoffs.

Former head coach Mike Petke, who was fired with great controversy before this season, was honored along with other former Red Bulls/MetroStars players before the game. He wants to return to coaching.

This:

https://twitter.com/MixDiskerud/status/650387334547001344?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The broadcast schedule for the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs has been announced. The 4pm final on Dec. 6 will be broadcast by ESPN and UniMás. Shame about that emissions scandal, right Audi?

The AP reports, “Gov. Mark Dayton says he’ll take an active role in advocating for law changes that could lead to a new professional soccer stadium and franchise in Minnesota.”

San Antonio Scorpions president Howard Cornfield has confirmed the team will play in the NASL in 2016 and Toyota Field will remain its home, despite efforts to sell the team and the stadium.

With its home stadium damaged by flooding over Memorial Day weekend, and no other stadium meeting USL standards available, Austin Aztex will sit out the 2016 season in order to develop its own a soccer-specific stadium for the 2017 season.

US

The US U-23 team defeated Cuba 6-1 on Saturday to guarantee advancement to the semifinals of CONCACAF’s Olympic qualification tournament. A win over Panama on Tuesday will clinch the top spot in their group for the US. Jerome Kiesewetter scored a brace and local lad Zack Steffen was in goal. Reports from US Soccer, CONCACAF, ASN (recap, analysis), Soccer America, ESPN, and SI.

The 23-player roster for the USA-Mexico Confederations Cup playoff on match on Oct. 10 was announced on Saturday:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (9): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Reading), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

The theme in reports on the roster is “experience.” For example, see  Goal.com (1, 2), Yahoo Sports, and Reuters. More at ASN and SI.

In a Q&A at US Soccer, Klinsmann said,

There are a lot of players that experienced different challenges over their careers and managed them and bring now their experience into this one-off clash against Mexico. That’s why you look for players – like a DaMarcus Beasley, a Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Kyle Beckerman and Chris Wondolowski – these types of players that have done so much for the National Team program that they understand exactly now what this is all about. This is about momentum. This is about high energy. This is about belief and a high-level of aggressiveness in a one-off game to beat Mexico and to get to the Confederations Cup.

Klinsmann says he’s “very confident” the US will win. More at Fox Soccer, Washington Post,

Hope Solo will again face domestic violence charges after a Washington state appeals court overturned a lower courts earlier decision to dismiss the case against her. Reports at Seattle TimesKOMOWashington Post, LA TimesESPNWYahoo Sports, and the AP.

Sigi Schmid, Kasey Keller, and the late Glenn “Mooch” Myernick (a native of Mercer County) were inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Elsewhere

On Friday, FIFA sponsors Coca Cola, McDonald’s, VISA, and InBev (which owns Budweiser) called on Sepp Blatter to immediately resign as president of FIFA. His US-based lawyer, Richard Cullen, said Blatter “respectfully disagrees,” explaining, “(He) believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reform and therefore, he will not resign.” FIFA sponsors adidas and KIA did not join in the call for Blatter to resign.

From the AP: “Envy and hatred, rather than any illegality, is to blame for Sepp Blatter’s reputation being ruined and it will take several people to do the FIFA president’s job in future, according to his daughter.” More at ProSoccerTalk.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was sacked this weekend. Colorado Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers wants everyone on Twitter to know he is not the now former “Liver pool” manager.

29 Comments

  1. Old Soccer Coach says:

    ‘Twasn’t Ray Gaddis’s luckiest day, judging from the MLS Live video highlights.

  2. I would not mind if at all if Curtin is replaced with Petke.

    • be interesting to see how the off season plays out.Petke would be a step up. though if too late for the SD to overhaul the team, i see Curtain holding on to the job.

    • The fact that Curtin has held this team together through this crap year without any fighting has earned him another year in my book. If the new SD wants someone else I’m not going to be upset though.

      The real shame of the whole thing is if we had made the USL team last year we could have given that job to Curtin. That where he should have started because he does appear to have potential. He will never take that demotion at this point though and who can blame him for that.

      • Or if it was two years ago they could’ve held on to Brendan Burke, who was great at Reading United and did a great job at recruiting. For example CJ, Ray, Wenger, McCarthy, Steve Neumann, Pedro Ribeiro, Zarek Valentin, Leo Fernandes, Matt Hedges and Deshorn Brown all played under Burke at Reading. Those are just players in MLS and abroad, not to mention the players that currently play in USL or NASL. Can you imagine the team he could assemble, then bring players up through the academy, Reading United then Bethlehem?

    • I sit, where I have sat all season, I can’t say what Curtain is yet. But if they want Petke, I think he’d be an upgrade, and I couldn’t argue with it.

  3. With the Eagles appearing likely to tank this season, the Union again will have a chance to make a splash with a winning club next season. It’s the same chance they squandered this season. Let’s see if Sugarman can get this team moving in the right direction. There’s not a lot of room for not getting it right.
    .
    Petke would be interesting. …

    • It is a glorious time for Philadelphia sports though isn’t it- so glad I have been roundly strengthened in character over the years of ineptitude to tighten the masseter – lock the TMJ and grimace into the gail … bent over holding my ankles – – maybe it was the outbreak of radon in the 80s that brought about this long suffering.
      .
      The Philadelphia sports fan …. a living embodiment of resilience.

      • I wonder how the owner would view my sentiments were he to read them…. I mean they are well thought out, honest criticisms meant not to be retarded by a flamethrower.
        .
        Get it right Mr. Sugarman.

      • I grew up a Red Sox fan and know something of that suffering (I was around in ’86 and thought ’03 would kill me for good). But this city’s sports suffering is on another level all together. Few locales are forced to endure such bottomless wells of pure mediocrity. If not for the Phillies in ’08, this city would be done for.

      • As an addendum, the first Union game I took my then 7-year-old son to, he and his friend said matter-of-factly, when the Union went down a goal: “Philadelphia teams always lose.” It wasn’t something they were upset about. It’s just a fact.

      • after the loss last wednesday i realized i don’t know what it feels like to have a team i like win a trophy. unless you count gold cup i guess

  4. Really though (I know he wont play… right?), how does Wondo keep making the squad?

    • Presumably Johansson would have had that spot if healthy, but you’re right…Wondo just keeps popping back up. It’s amazing.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    Well because of his vast contributions to the USMNT… just like JK said.

  6. The tweet from Mix was awesome. Haha. “Unathletic American…”, see: FAT
    .
    Oh, and Wondo sucks. Pick someone else. He better not play.

  7. With a win Jurgen ties Bob as all-time winningest USMNT coach & increases lead in win percentage. IF they win, the Gold Cup disappointment fades. Injuries and club play didn’t help his selections in that tourney and we learned a lot about many players (not that Bedoya isn’t a DM, admittedly). Let’s hope, because he’s not going anywhere until after Russia.

  8. Klinsi only picked one competent central defender (Besler). We are doomed.

    • I like Cameron as a CB.
      .
      Alvarado has talent but gets caught out of position too often. Same with Orozco.
      .
      Based on the roster list I would go to the diamond/4-1-3-2 that worked well before the World Cup:
      .
      …………..Guzan/Howard…………..
      ..Johnson…Cameron…Besler…Beasley..
      ……………Beckerman…………….
      …….Bedoya….Bradley….Jones…….
      …………Dempsey….Altidore………

      • 4-1-3-2 is the exact shape we went to Ireland with and got our doors blown off! You are going to have Beckerman hold by himself? Thats what they did in Dublin…….go ahead…..see what happens. Beckerman is not Yaya……..we do not have a quality holding mid that can lock it down by themselves. We have never played well in a 4-1-3-2….no one really does…..thats why you never see it!

      • may I suggest dropping Bradley or Jones into a double pivot…and then dropping Dempsey into the OMD….then you may have something……at least a proper 4-2-3-1 with a screen in front of the back four.

      • that wasn’t an out and out 4-2-3-1 they ran that night……check again. Instead of reading what someone else wrote or looking at what the TV tells you….look at what the levels are out on the pitch……then get back to me.

      • I did watch. I watch every US and Union game possible, including replays if I can’t watch live. Get off your high horse and accept that others can formulate valid opinions different then yours. I linked articles because I am not the only one referring it as a 4-1-3-2 and I don’t have fancy pictures to post on here showing what I mean.
        .
        No formation is 100% rigid as described. It could be called a 4-4-2 empty bucket or a 4-1-2-1-2 or a 4-4-2 diamond or a 4-1-3-2. It plays the same. Bradley could be listed as the top of the diamond or even with the outside mids, he still will drop when out of possession and the team will likely defend closer to a flat 4-4-2 regardless.
        .
        What I am describing is bringing in a dedicated defensive midfield to free up Bradley a little from defensive responsibility to allow him to get forward more. Playing Bradley and Jones as the double pivot has always had the issue that Jones is not disciplined enough to stay and let Bradley be the one to get forward when the US wins the ball even though Bradley is the more dangerous of the two when it comes to playing in another player or making a late run in the box looking to finish himself. I’d be just as happy with Williams holding in place of Beckerman or Zusi or Zardes in place of Jones.
        .
        When Bradley plays higher the US is better as pressing higher up the field and creating turnovers in dangerous areas that can lead to chances. Considering the US will likely lose the possession battle and recent reports suggest that Marquez will be healthy but dos Santos not, I would expect Mexico to go with the 5-3-2/3-5-2 that they have had success with lately to which I would personally look to bog down the middle looking to create turnovers and try to catch the wing backs upfield on the counter. As far as conceding the wings a little bit and defending from the inside out, Mexico will likely have Vela and Hernandez leading the line and I would not expect them to do well on crosses against Besler or Cameron.
        .
        Finally, the US does not have a true #10. When we play a 4-2-3-1 with Dempsey is it pretty much a 4-4-1-1/4-4-2 anyway. In a game this big, likely spending more time defending then in possession, I personally, would look to the veterans rather then younger players like Zardes or Yedlin.
        .
        .
        .
        Like you, I am a fan commenting on an article. Like you, I can formulate a well-thought, valid opinion about what the team I am of fan or should or should not do. Unlike you, apparently, I understand that others may or may not agree with those opinions and unlike you, I do not insult another fan when I do not agree with their opinion.
        .
        Good day sir.

      • waaaaah. Like you said…..they played in a 4-4-2 against the Germans….thank you! Not nearly as long winded as your rant either……and unlike you, I don’t trust any journalist talking footy who never played the game at a respectable level…..and only you have suggested your opinion was well thought……

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