Daily news roundups

Report says Stewart visiting US, notes from Curtin’s presser, Nogueira, new trialist, more news

Photo: Paul Rudderow. Eric Ayuk is shadowed by Rochester’s Onua Thomas Obasi in June’s US Open Cup match at PPL Park.

Philadelphia Union

A report from Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf (crappy Google translation here) says reported Union sporting director candidate Earnie Stewart is visiting the US for three days this week. The report says, “Both the timing and length of the trip is an indication that he indeed had been offered the job.” The report also notes AZ manager John van den Brom “spoke several times with Philadelphia Union” for the head coach job before he signed with the Dutch club in September of 2014. (H/t Union Rumors).

In his weekly press conference on Wednesday (full transcript here at PSP), Jim Curtin said Sunday’s loss to NYRB was not characteristic of the team: “I thought that first half in particular was not us. The response in the second half was good but at that point the game was won and Red Bull took a little bit off the gas, the foot off the gas.”

Curtin also described the thought behind Andrew Wenger playing at right back:

The initial thinking there is to give him a position where, and give him a look, where he has a little more time and space on the ball. For whatever reason — obviously because of our poor start and getting behind in goals — we didn’t get to see it how we wanted to, we wanted to see him getting balls passed to out of the back and getting a head of steam and running at guys. That almost never happened in the game because Red Bull, to their credit, put us under the gun and pressed us. It didn’t happen in New England a lot either because of the tight field so, again, we haven’t really had a good true look at it. Again, it’s one position — I still Andrew as an attack-minded guy even if he is playing at a fullback spot, I still see him as a guy who can get forward and create problems.

Curtin also talked the futures of Brian Carroll, Conor Casey, and Fred with the team: “They’re all guys that were on one-year deals with options, so we’ll have some decisions to make. They’ve contributed a lot to me off the field, you know, behind the scenes, keeping the locker room going in some tough times so, for that, they still were very valuable. Each guy will be evaluated, though, and each case is a little bit different.”

Could they perhaps be involved in the new USL team? “Yeah, it’s something we’ve discussed,” Curtin replied. “Those guys, it’s no secret age wise, they are getting up there in age. They’ve been active pursuing their licences as coaches, and preparing for that next phase of their career. I think all three guys — again, I don’t want to speak for them — but they do have an interest to coach down the road so, yeah, that is a possibility for one or more, the idea of a player coach and keeping them in the organization because they’re guys that have done it at the highest level, and guys I respect a great deal.”

On the topic of trialists, Curtin said a decision on James McFadden will be made after the end of the season. He also said Rochester Rhinos left back Onua Thomas Obasi is currently trialing with the team. (Video of Obasi with Rochester in 2014Central Connecticut State University in 2012, and playing for Great Britain in the 2010 World University Futsal Championships.) Curtin said Obasi is “a guy we monitored all year, a guy we’re high on,” adding,

[W]e evaluate him now and see if he’s ready to take that next step at a key position, a left back position that’s a tough one for clubs all MLS and the world to find. Unique skill set, he’s taller than me – 6ft 4in, 6ft 5in — and has very good feet and is composed on the ball, good passer. Great first day but, again, one day. So, again, he’ll have to put together a good week and then we’ll make an assessment there. But, impressive.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George notes, “Obasi has been an omnipresent fixture in a defense that surrendered a mere 15 goals in 28 regular-season matches and 17 in 34 games overall (including playoffs and the Open Cup).” De George also reports Harrisburg City Islanders defender and Drexel alum Ken Tribbett is still trialing with the team.

De George tweeted Vincent Nogueira, who is in the final year of his contract with the Union, is “hopeful of coming back next year.” (The Union have an option to extend Nogueira’s contract.) De George tweeted further,

Look for an article from De George at the Delco Times later today with more from Nogueira.

Orlando head coach Adrian Heath on Sunday’s game at PPL Park against the Union:

It’s the last game of the season. It’s their last home game of the season. It’s the last chance for some of them to make an impression on them. There’s a lot of change going on in Philly at the moment. Obviously their GM left and there’s questions about the coach. It’s going to be a bit more difficult than people think but we’re just going to go in there with the confidence that we gained from five wins on the bounce. We’ve got too much at stake to coast through this game. I want to win this game badly.

Some previewing of Sunday’s season finale at PPL Park from OC Lions Fan. Hey, that’s Eli as the guest!

Kaka enjoys living in Orlando, so there’s that. Everybody on the team apparently enjoys footgolf.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young argues Fabinho’s statistics suggest the Union don’t need to prioritize finding a left back in the offseason.

Town Square Delaware says the only way the Union can connect with non-soccer fans is to win. Duh. This though, is just dumb to dumber:

When was the last time you heard fans in a bar debating/arguing about the Union? When was the last time you heard fans discussing the Union on sports talk radio? The answer to both questions is never, and the constant losing has to impact that.

The “constant losing” is often the subject of the many debates about the Union I’ve overheard at bars all around the city in conversations of which I was not a part. So far as a lack of Union talk on local sports radio, isn’t that the fault of the hosts and producers? Not to mention, as far as I can tell, this is the only time this year the author’s weekly column has discussed the Union, despite plenty of losing from other Philly pro teams.

Local

Temple’s bright start to the season continues to dim, falling 2-0 at home to UConn on Tuesday. La Salle was defeated 2-1 on the road by Massachusetts. St. Joseph’s fell 3-0 on the road to Davidson.

Hidden City Philadelphia has a good read on Kensington Soccer Club and its founder, Jim Hardy.

MLS

In Western Conference league play on Wednesday night, last place Colorado (37 points) defeated sixth place Kansas City (48 points) 2-0 on the road, leaving the door open for seventh place San Jose (47 points) to claim a playoff spot in the final game of the season if they can defeat first place Dallas (who is tied with first in the East NYRB at 57 points in the Supporters Shield race) on the road on Sunday, and Kansas City loses to at home to second place Los Angeles (51 points).

Speaking of LA, in CONCACAF Champions League play, the Galaxy conceded a 93rd minute equalizer to draw 1-1 on the road with Comunicaciones in Guatemala City. The draw means Los Angeles finishes as the 5th seed in the Champions League quarterfinals where they will face No. 4 seed Santos Laguna.

Also in the quarterfinals, the first leg of which will be played Feb. 23-25, No. 2 seed DC will face No. 7 seed Querétaro, No. 3 seed Salt Lake will face No. 6 seed Tigres, and No. 8 seed Seattle will face No. 1 seed Club America.

Although neither side can advance to the quarterfinals, Vancouver plays Olimpia tonight in Honduras. And with the final game of the MLS season and the playoffs fast approaching, the game is nothing but a headache of a distraction for the injury riddled Whitecaps.

At SI, Grant Wahl says NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis could be replaced by Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, currently Manchester City’s “elite development squad manager.” And this: Yaya Toure to NYCFC (eventually)?

Seattle Sounders are expected to break the single-season attendance record on Sunday.

Sporting Kansas City will announce today the launch of a USL team to begin play in 2016. The team will be the 30th USL franchise. With the announcement, Sporting will end its affiliation with USL side Oklahoma City Energy.

Speaking of the USL, founding Union president Tom Veit has been named the league’s new chief marketing officer.

The Miami Herald reports a deal is in the works that could see the transfer of city-owned land to the Miami School Board that would allow Beckham United to avoid paying property taxes on the site of its proposed MLS stadium.

The top ten selling MLS player jerseys: Four NYCFC players, two Seattle and two Orlando players, and one each from NYRB and LA.

Looks like the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks, which is owned by the disgraced Traffic Sports, has a new owner lined up. The US based branch of Traffic Sports and its Brazilian based parent company both pled guilty to wire fraud conspiracy as a result of the US investigation into FIFA corruption.

NWSL

Just announced expansion side Orlando Pride is apparently ready to make a massive deal to land Alex Morgan. At SI, Grant Wahl reports Orlando will receive Morgan and Canadian international Kaylyn Kyle from Portland Thorns in exchange for “Orlando’s first pick in the NWSL draft, two international slots, U.S. national team fullback Meghan Klingenberg (who’s expected to not be one of the two protected national team players from Houston) and likely Lindsay Horan as the first new allocation coming in from overseas if Horan decides to join the NWSL from PSG.” You will recall that Morgan is married to Orlando City midfielder Servando Carrasco.

US

The USWNT conceded in the 3rd minute before a 85th minute strike from Carli Lloyd (assisted by fellow Pennsylvanian Meghan Klingenberg) ensured the 1-1 draw against Brazil in Wednesday night’s World Cup Victory Tour game in Seattle, the fifth game in the celebration roadshow. The game, after which the team’s home unbeaten streak now stands at 101 games, was the last national team appearance for midfielder Shannon Boxx. Reports at Fox Soccer, SI, and The Guardian.

US Soccer announced on Wednesday the USWNT will play China in the second to last game of the Victory Tour in Glendale, Ariz. on Dec. 13 (8 pm: ESPN2, Watch ESPN). The final game of the tour will be played against China on Dec. 16 in New Orleans, capping off a four December games in 11 days.

ESPNW has a Q&A with USWNT head coach about what’s next for the team.

Is there a power struggle going on at US Soccer between Jurgen Klinsmann as technical director and chief commercial director Jay Berhalter? Grant Wahl reports there is, a US Soccer spokesperson says there is not.

Wahl also reports USMNT head trainer Sue Falsone was fired by Klinsmann. A US Soccer Spokesperson says it was a mutual decision to part ways.

At Yahoo Sports, reaction from Leander Schaerlaeckens to the Wahl report: “Without another job to fall back on, Klinsmann has crept – or been shoved – closer to the exit at U.S. Soccer than ever before.”

ASN reviews the record of Klinsmann as head coach and as technical director.

This just in from the Department of Hilarante, former Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera says he’d be open to taking the USMNT head coach job, even though he has not been contacted by the federation.

Elsewhere

Following the lead of CONMEBOL, CONCACAF announced on Wednesday it had ended its commercial rights relationship with Datisa for the Copa America Centenario tournament. The announcement said, “CONCACAF will assume control of its commercial rights while it, CONMEBOL and their local operating partners identify and select new partners to market and sell the tournament’s commercial rights using a new and transparent process.” You will recall earlier reports have said the involvement of Traffic Sports in Datisa was the prime obstacle to US Soccer agreeing to host the Centenario in the US.

The FIFA ethics committee has confirmed Franz Beckenbauer and FIFA and UEFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar of Spain are under investigation. Reuters reports, “The committee said it had completed investigations into both Beckenbauer and Villar and the cases had been passed to its ethics judge for a final decision. A spokesman for the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee said both cases related to non-cooperation with the committee’s investigations.” Villar’s is acting UEFA president while Michel Platini’s ban remains in place.

Also under investigation are six other former FIFA executive committee members, all of whom have already been suspended or have resigned from office: Worawi Makudi, Jeffrey Webb, Ricardo Teixeira, Amos Adamu, Eugenio Figueredo and Nicolás Leoz.” Reuters notes seven of those named on Wednesday as under investigation were on the executive committee that voted in 2010 to award hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively. When you include Jack Warner, Chuck Blazer and Mohammed Bin Hammam, all of whom have already received lifetime bans, and Chung Mong-joon, who received a six-year ban earlier this month, that means “11 of the 22 men who voted to back Russia and Qatar have been banned or are under investigation.”

On Wednesday, the AP reported, “Germany’s influential regional football bosses have stepped up pressure on national federation president Wolfgang Niersbach to come up with a quick explanation on what happened to the money that one report has said was used to buy votes to bring the 2006 World Cup to Germany.” On Thursday, Niersbach called a surprise press conference to deny the 2006 hosting rights were bought, although there are plenty of grasping responses to questions from reporters.

Reuters reports, “As FIFA struggles with internal reforms to clear up a corruption scandal, some within the sport worry that the world governing body could be distracted from its commitment to international development programs.”

Stay tuned: “Spanish football faces a potentially huge match-fixing scandal after an unnamed linesman alleged that he had been told to favour Real Madrid in next month’s clásico against Barcelona.”

This: “Bastian Schweinsteiger is considering legal action against a Chinese toy company after it produced a Nazi doll which looks suspiciously like the Manchester United midfielder and is even called ‘Bastian.'” A company spokesperson said, “We think that all Germans look like that. Bastian is also a very common name in Germany.”

6 Comments

  1. There’s an error in your USWNT team note: Meg Klingenberg is a Pennsylvania native, but Carli Lloyd is from New Jersey.

  2. Well done, Jim Hardy!

  3. Actually Jim… the loss is completely characteristic of your team.
    .
    You can’t and should not say that… but I sure can.

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    Miguel Herrera said he also would be interested in coming to MLS… while I think that will never happen… it would certainly be entertaining.
    .
    Good new about Stewart… now just close the deal.

  5. That’s one heckuva ransom Portland charged for Alex Morgan. Seems like Orlando would have been better off trading Carrasco to the Timbers.

    • Morgan thought would be great for marketing the team. Especially in the Orlando market, get families to see games while visiting Disney and the other attractions.

      My daughter is hoping to see Alex in the stands on Sunday.

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