Daily news roundups

Union bits ahead of NYRB, local USOC play begins Saturday, Copa America Centenario news, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

The Union face New York Red Bulls on Sunday at 3 pm (TCN, MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick, SiriusXM FC). Look for our preview and quick reference later today. In the meanwhile, previews at Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia InquirerBrotherly Game.

Speaking with CSN Philly’s Amy Fadool, Union Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer Dave Rowan, who is running the club’s day-to-day operations since the dismissal of Nick Sakiewicz, said, “We need that sporting director and I think you’ll see that very, very shortly.” Rowan also said a new Sporting Director will help to ensure a “tightened process” for player acquisitions.

Speaking of player acquisitions, at Union Tally, Matthew De George has a very informative review of what is known about the contracts of players currently on the Union roster.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin reports on Fernando Aristeguieta’s desire to remain with the Union after this season on loan with the team. Aristeguieta, who’s scored five goals in 19 games, including 14 starts, says of his season,

It could have been better. But I’m happy. I’m happy because it was a really tough year for me. I started off very good, but then there were injuries, then I went to the national team, and obviously that was a very disappointing thing for me not to make the list for Copa America. And then I came back and had the second longest injury of my career. So it was tough. It was like a roller coaster.

But I’m enjoying it here a lot. I’m coming here in the morning every day with a lot of motivation. We have an amazing group, and those are the things you appreciate.

Aristeguieta doesn’t believe the last two games of the season will make or break his chances with the team. “Of course every game counts and every practice counts. But I don’t think that, after nine months of training every day together and watching me play, they’re going to decide based on two games.” More from Zeitlin on the prospects of Aristeguieta and Steven Vitoria at CSN Philly.

Maurice Edu, Cristian Maidana, and John McCarthy are among the players in consideration for theCup.us Player of the Tournament award for the 2015 US Open Cup. You will recall PSP’s Adam Cann wrote the article for theCup.us when John McCarthy was named Player of the Round after the quarterfinal win over NYRB.

At the Union website, a good short video on the English as a second language instruction the team’s international players and coaches receive.

Local

The opening round of qualifiers for the 2016 US Open Cup begins on Saturday with Vereinigung Erzgebirge hosting Salone FC in Warminster (2 pm) and Junior Lone Star hosting West Chester United at YSC Sports in Wayne (6:30 pm).

Wales Online celebrates Welsh History Month with a profile of Bethlehem Steel FC’s Edgar Lewis.

MLS

Are members of Sporting Kansas City’s ownership group looking to buy Everton?

Frank Lampard says he won’t go on loan in the offseason. We’ll see.

Average announced attendance is up by 12 percent to 21,404 per game compared to last year’s season average of 19,147. In case you’re wondering, the Union’s season average is down 1 percent compared to last year.

Two members of the MLS Players Union front office, former USMNT defender Eddie Pope and MLSPU staff counsel Mike Senkowski, are leaving to join sports marketing firm Octagon. SI reports, “MLSPU executive director Bob Foose said the departure of Pope and Senkowski was amicable.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Dell Loy Hansen.

Star Tribune reports Minnesota United’s ownership group is looking for more investors.

The Miami Herald reports, “A Miami-Dade commissioner on Thursday backed off the idea of using property taxes to purchase David Beckham a stadium site, saying land acquisition for soccer shouldn’t be eligible for a new taxing district he wants to create in Little Havana.” The Beckham’s group said in a statement that it did not ask for the proposed legislation and remains committed to building the stadium with private funds.

Orlando City and USL announced on Thursday it will field a USL team, Orlando City B, beginning in 2016. OCB will play its home games at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, Fla.

In a conference call with reporters following the Orlando announcement, USL president Jake Edwards said the league applied for Division II status in January, starting in the 2017 season. Edwards explained, “It’s an ongoing project. We were seeking sanctioning for the 2017 season, but we are in the process of doing that now.” You will recall the league announced its intention to seek Division II status when it launched its rebranding in February. More from Edwards here and here.

The USL championship final between Rochester Rhinos and LA Galaxy II takes place today at 7:30 pm (ESPN3).

New York Cosmos announced Raul, who joined the club last December, will retire at the end of the season.

US

At ESPN, Doug McIntyre reports,

CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and U.S. Soccer are finalizing plans to move forward with the Copa America Centenario in the United States next summer, multiple sources told ESPN FC, after corruption concerns threatened the tournament.

An official announcement of the tournament could come as early as Friday, sources said.

ESPN has a roundtable on Jurgen Klinsmann and the state of the USMNT. BeIN Sports wonders if we expect too much from the team.

Borussia Monchengladbach manager André Schubert on Fabian Johnson:

Fabian has a thigh problem, but I’m assuming that he will be available [for Saturday’s game] in Frankfurt. We won’t know that until tomorrow either though. I can vehemently deny everything that has been written and said about him recently. I know Fabian to be a top professional who has a great mindset when it comes to the team, his job and his health. When a player feels a tightening of their thigh in added time in a game and could then be on the verge of a more serious injury, I only think it’s the responsibility of the team and himself to have him subbed off in that situation.

The U-17 MNT begins play in the U-17 World Cup in Chile on Saturday against Nigeria (4 pm: FS2, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go, NBC Deportes En Vivo). Soccer America looks at how the team has done in past editions of the tournament.

US Soccer announced on Thursday the first of the final four matches of the USWNT’s World Cup Victory Tour will take place in Honolulu against Trinidad and Tobago on Dec. 6 (8 pm, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Go). “The match in Honolulu on the island of Oahu marks the first trip for the U.S. Women to the 50th state and the first international match hosted by U.S. Soccer in Hawaii.”

Sports Business Daily reports, “Sources said that ESPN outbid beIN Sports, Fox Sports and NBC Sports this week for a U.S. package of European soccer rights that include the ’20 European Cup and its qualifiers, European World Cup qualifiers and the planned UEFA Nations League tournament of friendlies. Univision picked up the Spanish-language rights to the same package. Sources said ESPN agreed to pay more than $110M for the rights – a huge increase from the rights fees UEFA currently is making.”

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “Sepp Blatter says the payment to Michel Platini that led to them being suspended by FIFA was based on a ‘gentleman’s agreement.'”

Following a meeting on Thursday of UEFA’s executive committee and representatives from its 54 members concerning the 90 day ban issued by FIFA to Platini resulted the following statement was issued:

We support Michel Platin’s [sic] right to a due process and a fair trial and to the opportunity to clear his name.

We strongly call on all instances involved in the current process: FIFA’s Ethics Committee, FIFA’s Appeal Committee and, ultimately, the Court of Arbitration for Sport to work very rapidly to ensure that there is a final decision on the merits of the case by, at the latest, mid-November 2015.

UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino said, “The truth at the end, will be the truth that will be decided by an independent body. There is an independent body that is recognized by all sports organizations which is the CAS(Court of Arbitration for Sport). And ultimately the CAS will have to take the decision, hopefully quickly, so that we all know what the situation is.”

Contradicting earlier reports of unanimous support for Platini, Reuters reports Infantino also said there were “different opinions” among UEFA’s member associations and that another European candidate could the FIFA presidential race. The report adds, “A source from a national association told Reuters that European associations would decide next week whether to pick another candidate from UEFA. He said there were several alternatives as options to Platini.” Dutch Football Association president Michael van Praag will not be one of the candidates. More from AFP, CNN, Bloomberg, and Reuters.

Citing information learned from Michel Platini’s lawyers at the UEFA meeting, England’s FA has announced it is suspending its support of Platini’s candidacy for the FIFA presidency. Reports at The Guardian, Goal.com,

Meanwhile, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the head of the Asian Football Confederation, is expected to announce he will run to become FIFA president. Reports at BBC, The GuardianAFP, Sky News, and the AP.

Bloomberg reports,

The current crisis at FIFA could wind up lifting the shroud of secrecy around the internal workings of global soccer as early as next week.

The 25-member executive committee will vote next Thursday on a rule change that would allow its ethics arm to make details of its investigations public, according to an agenda for the Oct. 20 meeting.

ESPN reports, “The German football federation (DFB) is investigating whether a multi-million-euro payment it made to FIFA in 2005 was misused but said there were ‘no indications at all’ of delegates’ votes being bought for the 2006 World Cup bid.”

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.

36 Comments

  1. I think they are going to keep Aristigueta on the Union. The Union have *a lot* of money coming off the books not to mention a handful of promising young(cheap) players. I bet the logic is if you can find a way to get Barnetta, Maidana, Sapong, Aristigueta and Nogs out there. You already have Letoux and Wenger. You spend money on a 6 Shore up the back and some depth you just might have something.
    .
    U.S. This unreasonably optimistic sure. But it’s not completely wrong.

    • I’m happy to have Aristigueta on the Union–I love his hard-nosed attitude. But I expect he’d be a backup to Sapong, so he should get backup money–from 100 to 150k. I’m not sure if he’s willing to take that kind of pay cut, but IMO, that’s his value to this team.
      .
      What the Union really need is a speedy forward. Such a player wouldn’t even need to be that great–we just need a change of pace option on the bench who can start a game or two if the tactics call for it. And, like you said, a quality 6 who we can trust to play like a 6.
      .
      And if we can find someone–anyone–who can knock a decent corner kick into the box, I would be grateful. I don’t even get my hopes up on our corners anymore.

      • a thousand yes’s.
        .
        a guy who can get behind the defense…who is shifty- who is constantly ducking in and out of space to keep the back line honest… then sharing like mindedness with The Calm and…. Boom…. “He’s In!” as Ray Hudson says- – – which makes the hair on my arms stand up.
        .
        a thousand yes’s.
        .
        I want this someone.

      • Completely agree on Aristeguieta. It would have to be at back-up money, and a third change-of-pace forward needs to be added to the mix. While CJ is a little more mobile, the three main forwards this year were pretty similar stylistically.

      • I am willing to take Nado for one more year at his current salary. And I think we need a craft forward more than we need a fast one. No point in being a speed guy on a slow team. But a cagey little fuck who was waiting to get on the end of one of Maidana’s passes would be great.

      • just had a good chuckle here picturing Albright’s instruction to whatever scouts we may have to find him a “cagey little fuck”.

      • It’s probably happened.

    • I’d like to keep Aristeguieta. The year wasn’t great for him, but it’s easy to forget he’s still very young (22 when he got here, 23 now I guess?). He’s got a pretty high ceiling, I think.
      .
      I don’t think he stays, though. Even if we want him and if he wants to be here, I think it’s unlikely that the Union is willing to pay Nantes very much for him (nor should they), and there’s really no reason for Nantes to let him go for free or next to free.
      .
      Maybe some kind of package deal gets worked out for him and Bedoya? After all, the off season is a time for groundless optimism!

      • Nando is slow, that’s why his ceiling is not high

      • So is Drogba. And Ibra.
        .
        Forwards do not have to be fast to have success depending on how the team is set up around them. They just have to score goals and battle in the box.

      • Yea. I view Nando as an upgrade on Casey(he should have played in the open cup final.) Casey was essentially a pylon and nobody cared about his speed when he came on. I think if can grow into a Casey like player in his prime he I think like many foreign players he comes into his o he is worth the risk.Besides many foreign players need a season to adjust. I think he can make it.

      • To be fair to Casey, he can still do things that Nando hasn’t shown that he can do. Casey can hold up the ball better and is way more nimble with the ball at this feet. Nando really hasn’t shown enough in matches for me to want to pay either his current salary and/or a transfer fee for him.

      • Ding, ding, ding…exactly. Only way that he stays is if Casey is gone.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        When was the last time Big Country went 90?

      • May 17, 2015 vs DC.

      • Between Nando and Vittoria, I’d be more inclined to keep Nando. I also agree with the price for him being to high. I do think he has a higher ceiling, but not a huge one. As Osager states below, he doesn’t have speed, and his first touch isn’t the best. Though, with more consistent practice and playing time, I feel that first touch could get better.
        .
        I also agree with Juest that the team needs more speed. Speed kills. And usually players with speed lack skills on the ball, I.E. Cruz. So where this magical player comes from I have no idea. So in the end it’s probably wishful thinking.

  2. “Fabian has a thigh problem, but I’m assuming that he will be available [for Saturday’s game] in Frankfurt. ”
    .
    .
    You can all say what you want…but if Fabian Johnson plays this weekend (even the mention that he MAY play this weekend) than he damn well could have finished the game this past weekend and maybe Jurgen Klinsman is giving the player the nudge he needs to straighten up and fly right…along with sending a message to the US SOCCER community and media that “this shit DON’T fly.”
    .
    I repeat my assertion… round of applause for the USMNT manager.

    • On the SI Planet Futbol podcast this week, they were saying there have players on the US team have been critical of Johnson’s attitude since the World Cup. The further speculation was that Klinsmann calling him out might have actually played well with the players. Take that for what anonymously sourced speculation is worth.

    • I don’t really understand–what soccer player just up and decides that they don’t really want to play any more in the biggest game for his national team in the entire year? In minute 112 of 120? I can only imagine he felt that he was a detriment to the team by being out there, so he called for the sub. Not saying it’s the only explanation, just the only one that makes sense to me from my perspective.

      • he is a professional, he gets paid by his club, he does not want anything to impair his job performance where it really matters

      • Then do not accept the invitation to play for the national team… if this is an individual’s mentality.
        .
        No problem.
        .

      • As Craig Burley stated on ESPN FC, if the manager calls again, he wouldn’t answer the phone. And I totally agree with this. Maybe there is an internal problem with FJ. If so, then it should have been handled internally. Blaming a player publicly, when you yourself never accept responsibility as a manager, screams backstabbing coward to me. Sorry, but I wouldn’t play for that guy again either.

      • On the flip side though, calling him out in the press could be seen as a positive to anyone on the team who may have questioned FJ taking himself out and at the very least sets the precedent that you need to be fully committed.

      • If you’re looking to send the committed message, then just send him home. If anyone asks why say that there were internal issues we had to deal with and leave it at that.

  3. Glad to hear they seem to be prioritizing that SD hire. I didn’t like the thought of Curtin/Albright making a bunch of decisions on players coming and going then hiring their supposed boss in December. Get that hire made first and ASAP! I mean they’ve only had 10 months and counting to vet candidates.

    • Attention, Jay Sugarman. Read this post from Mikex.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      I am guessing from the acting CEO’s comment, that Sakiewicz was dragging his feet on the SD.
      .
      WE DON’t know the details of the agreement between Sugarman and Sakiewicz, but we heard nothing from Sugarman at all ever until that deal was over or almost over. We know the deal was that Sakiewicz had five years to create enough value in the franchise to become a part-owner, and I am guessing that meant sugarman stayed in the shadows to see whether Sakiewicz could pull it off. The public evidence suggests to me that Sakiewicz got an extra several months to finish the basic physical infrastructure and then was out as the conditions of the original deal had not been met.
      .
      Should the speculation above be correct, Sugarman’s time on the clock begins after this year’s USOC Final.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I see a dream sequence with an old two handed clock spinning in time lapse…. to eerie music and a phone booth door opening and closing.
        .
        something out of Dr. Who… the old Dr. Who… you know OSC- the one we remember.
        .
        I agree with your assesment…clock is ticking Mr. Sugarman. Good luck sir.

  4. I don’t know who’s doing the videos this season but i’m glad they are. They’re a VAST improvement over just about any that have come out of the organization in the past…

  5. In other news… things are so rough for Jozy Altidore at the present that he actually managed to get a red card in a game he wasn’t even playing in…
    .
    …It must be he didn’t want to watch Giovinco from the bench… (as it was quite chilly in Toronto and well obviously the Blue Jays were playing because NOBODY was at the game)…who not incidentally, procured yet another astounding goal against NYRB.
    .
    Leave it to MLS to allow the most exciting player who has ever (no it wasn’t Beckham) played in MLS – – to play in Canada – where nobody seems to give a shit – not a hint of a shit lately at least.
    .
    …while we here in Philly would have already erected a statue at the Museum in his honor.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Now, el P, really, Philly sports fans UNITED about anything other than a world Championship or equivalent? Pul-lueeeze. ;-). Half of us would want the statue; the other half would want him guillotined for myriads of reasons! After all, the argument’s the thing.

  6. A tip of the cap to Matthew DeGeorge for being one of the few local journalists that follows this team closely and provides good information (in addition to all the guys at PSP). If you haven’t read his story linked above I recommend it. It paints a very flexible picture of the Union roster at the end of this year. One thing I forgot about was the introduction this year of (severely) limited free agency. I wonder what effect that may have. DeGeorge speculates that Carrol, Casey, and LeToux will be out of contract and eligible for free agency this offseason.

    Between the low salary cap figure, the very restrictive free agency rules, the caps on player raises, and draconian contract clauses I really think the players got hosed on the last CBA. However, I can see why MLS insisted on it too. My extreme impatience (and advancing age) makes me hate to see such artificial controls on the growth of this league. For the next 5 or so years I don’t see the league meeting their “one of the top leagues in the world” goal, but the set-up should ensure slow, incremental growth which is important after the 1970s NASL fiasco. Combine that with dropping some of the above labor regulations over the next decade, and we could see an honest-to-goodness 5th major pro sport in this country. Exciting to watch it unfold from the beginning.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      DeGeorge stays. 100% agreement.
      .
      All the rest you say..while I respect and understand it… I still think MLS is hamstringing the growth of the game in this country by being a closed system. But hey, maybe someday… and they definately had/have a fear factor to work past.

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    And a tip of the cap to Mikex for the recommendation given above!
    .
    Well done Matthew DeGeorge. Sources are cited, speculation is identified and explained. It is a useful summary of what is known or intelligently guessed. I try to pay attention, but DeGeorge has things I had missed, e.g., that a Wenger option exists, e.g., that because LeToux played his first USL year under an MLS contract he may fit the requirements for the eight years of service for free agency.
    .
    You will very likely learn things.

  8. WestmontUnion says:

    I’m honestly excited for next season. Why? 1. Because Sugarman will be finally on the hook for the success of the team, and not in the shadows. I doubt he’ll let the value of the organization continue to decline or stagnate and I can see him investing in new players and a good SD hire. 2. A lot of money will be available, and a lot of players who weren’t pulling there weight or up to MLS 2.0 standards will be gone (hopefully). 3. We have a core group of players who we can build around, and my hope is that Curtin with a little less pressure on his shoulders will watch every imaginable coaching training video in the off season and deploy a far more entertaining and tacitically savvy system next year.

    With that said, great article by Matthew, and I would make the following decisions on players –

    Keep:
    * Nog & Maidana. No need to justify, they are the backbone of the team and with hopefully new talent on the team, and a star CDM covering for them defensively, they’ll go from strength to strength.
    * Marquez. Future CB All Star in my eyes. Great upside, and personality for the team to promote.
    *Sapong. Made great progress, and proves he can be a dangerous player in this league. Really needs a speedy, skillful strike partner to run off his flip ons, and also pull defenders a way from him with runs, so that he has more space to make an impact. Would also like to see Nando starting more games next season early in season to motivate him further to improve, and also to add to training ground competition.
    * Nando (young, great technique, and most importantly likes being here. We should not overlook this last fact).
    * Ayuk (young, has a lot to learn, and has great physical traits and flashes of skill that makes me confident he’ll be a great player in the league when he’s fully adjusted to the rigors of the MLS and settled in the US. I see him developing into a player with similar ability to Accam (Chicago DP), or at very least, Oduro).
    * Lahoud (serviceable back up and spot starter. I believe he’s still going to get better as a player, and most importantly he’s a great guy and wants to be here! – notice a theme!)
    * LeToux (sign at a lower wage, but give him a two year deal to fend off other teams who may come in for him. He should finish his career as a Union player, before moving into behind the scenes role. Most importantly he wants to be here, and his pouty competitiveness and passion for the club will only raise standards of everyone else).
    * Danny Cruz (he’s had a season to develop, and I saw him at the US Open Cup final and he looks in great shape (slimmed down). Like Lahoud, he’s a serviceable sub and spot starter on the wing. Most importantly, he wants to be here).
    * Leo Fernandes & Pfeffer (lumping these two together. Both have made progress benefiting from their respective roles at the Union and Cosmos, and both are young and have upside. They’re only going to get better, and are ideal candidates to shuttle between Bethlehem Steel and Union bench throughout the season).

    Release and Trade:
    * Wenger, Vitoria, Casey (unless USL squad player/coach), Fred, Fabinho, Berry, Carroll, Hoppenot, Creavalle. All either too old, not skilled enough, or have attitude problems. Freeing up that many spots on the team will require a competent SD to come in and sign the right players…

    Here’s to hoping!!

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