Daily news roundups

Union land Stewart for SD, recaps and reactions to Sunday’s season ending win, more

Photo: Courtesy of AZ

Philadelphia Union

Talk about ending the season in the right way.

On Sunday, the Union defeated Orlando 1-0 in what was the final game of 2015 for both clubs. With the win, their first ever in the final game of the regular season, the Union ensured the 2015 season was not the worst in franchise history.

On Monday morning, the Union announced Earnie Stewart as their new Sporting Director, effective January 1, 2016.

Kapow!

Sunday’s game wasn’t exactly pretty, but a win is a win. As Jim Curtin said in his postgame press conference, (full transcript and video here at PSP along with Mike and Eli’s postgame wrap and interviews with Vincent Nogueira and Andre Blake), “It was a good team effort, a good way to end what was a difficult season, a disappointing season…Was the soccer perfect? No, but we there were moments tonight where we actually knocked the ball around a little bit and were composed and kind of dictated the tempo of things, which hasn’t always been the case on our field…Orlando had a few chances but a good goalkeeper bails you out in those spots and that’s what happened. 1-0 at home and you’re happy.”

Agreed. And the hiring of Stewart should make Union fans everywhere happier still. Union owner Jay Sugarman will be speaking to the media via teleconference today at noon so stay tuned for news from that.

Recaps and reports from Sunday’s win at PSP, Philadelphia Union, Philadelphia Inquirer, Delco TimesCSN Philly, Philly Soccer News (recap, report), Brotherly Game, Vavel, MLSsoccer.com (recap, Union, Orlando),  Orlando City, Orlando Sentinel, The Mane Land, O-Town’s 11, Pro Soccer Talk, SBISports Mole, and the AP.

Jim Curtin said the coaching staff will be doing end of the season meetings with the players beginning today.

We have a big off season, a lot of hard decisions, a lot of contracts that were set up in a way that options can be picked up now, or we move on. And there’s a lot of big money guys that we’ll have tough decisions on. Some that will be back and some that we’ll maybe move on from. I still think that we have a strong core; I don’t believe in the idea of just blowing the whole thing up and starting completely from scratch. I think we still have some good pieces, some guys who maybe had down years that can be rejuvenated and have better years.

Sebastien Le Toux said after the game, “We say we are a young team. But maybe now we have to man up and say, ‘Hey, we’re not young anymore,’ and take responsibility for our mistakes. When someone doesn’t step up to take his chance, someone else has to make the play. I hope next year it’s going to be more of a good opportunity and not just talking about what we could have done better.”

Le Toux also made it clear he wants to stay with the Union: ““I just want to play here. I love to play in Philadelphia. Even in knowing that we are not winning a lot, I really care about this team and this franchise. I have one more option [year] and I want to finish my career here. And I can play a long, long time.”

At the Union website, the Off the Pitch Q&A series continues with Le Toux. I hate it when my cats walk on my head when I’m sleeping, too.

The Union is at the center of this video on “wearables,” which are “versatile tracking devices that stick to an athlete and provide real time data on everything from how fast they run to how much effort they expend.”

Interesting read at the Union website about ROYALesteight, the clothing company run by Conor Casey and local lad Dan Gargan.

Sons of Penn has another prediction of what the Union USL team jersey will look like. We’ll know for sure when the name, crest, and jersey are unveiled on Tuesday.

Union Academy

The Union Academy U-16s defeated Seacoast United 3-0 on Saturday. Kalil El Medkhar scored a brace in a seven minute span during the first ten minutes of the game and Justin McMaster added another goal in the 53rd minute. The Union U-18s defeated Seacoast United 1-0, Tiger Graham doing the business in the 20th minute. The U-14s played their NYRB counterparts to a 0-0 draw.

You will recall the Union Academy recently had a team in Qatar for the Aspire Academy’s Tri-Series competition. Union Academy boss Tommy Wilson said, “This is our second time in Doha, and everything has been just as outstanding as it was the first time round. The quality of the opposition during the games was very good and really pushed our players to do their best. Over the past 18 months, we have focused closely on unifying our philosophy and approach across all our youth teams, and this competition has certainly contributed to that. We would like to thank Aspire Academy for hosting us once again, and look forward to participating in future competitions.”

Local

Drexel was defeated 3-0 by William & Mary, eliminating the team from a possible Colonial Athletic Association Tournament berth. Penn drew 1-1 with Yale. Temple came from behind to defeat Cincinnati. 3-1. La Salle was defeated 2-1 by Rhode Island in overtime. Villanova got a 5-1 spanking from Creighton.

Reading United A.C. and the Berks Women’s Soccer league played a charity game on Saturday to raise funds for police K-9 dog Cody, who was recently injured in the line of duty.

MLS

In the conclusion of regular season play, NYRB (60 points) finished first in the Eastern Conference and won the Supporters Shield with a 2-1 road win over last place Chicago (30 points). Second place Columbus (53 points) demolished fourth place DC (51 points), 5-0. Two goals from Didier Drogba in the span of 90 seconds saw Montreal (51 points) defeat sixth place Toronto (49 points) 2-1 and finish in third place. Fifth place New England (50 points) defeated eighth place NYCFC (37 points) 3-1 on the road. Seventh place Orlando (44 points) was defeated 1-0 by ninth place Philadelphia (37 points).

In the Western Conference, first place FC Dallas (60 points) defeated seventh place San Jose (47 points), 2-1. Second place Vancouver (53 points) thumped eighth place Houston (42 points), 3-0. Third place Portland (53 points) spanked last place Colorado (37 points), 4-1. Fourth place Seattle (51 points) defeated ninth place Salt Lake (41 points), 3-1. Fifth place Los Angeles (51 points) was defeated 2-1 by sixth place Kansas City (51 points).

The playoffs begin on Wednesday with DC hosting New England (7:30pm) and Seattle hosting Los Angeles (10:30 pm). Both games are on UniMas. Click here for the complete playoff schedule.

Toronto’s Sebastian Giovinco didn’t score in the loss to Montreal but he finished the season as the Golden Boot winner. His assist of Jozy Altidore’s goal in the loss make him the first player to finish with the most goals (22) and the most assists (16) in a season. The Union’s Cristian Maidana tied with Benny Feilhaber for the second most assists at 15.

Didier Drogba on the state of MLS: “The MLS is a good league, with some good teams, and you can see that there’s some good football players here, but I think if this league wants to be one of the best in the world in the next few years I think there’s a lot of things to improve, like the travelling for the players, and (not) playing on turf surfaces. If you want to compare this league to the English one, to the French, to the Spanish, to the big leagues, it has a lot to do. But I hope the league (will get better) and I think it’s on the way.”

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle reports, “Thanks to Major League Soccer’s discovery process, the Colorado Rapids would have the right of first refusal on Real Sociedad forward Carlos Vela, should he decide to leave his current club, multiple sources have told ESPNFC.com.”

Vincent Kompany says he could move to MLS when his contract with Manchester City is over in 2019. “It has been crazy since [EPL icons Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard] have moved over, because MLS is always on. You get to see so much of MLS now, so it’s actually becoming quite a relevant league to people over here…The level is increasing every single year. You see new franchises coming in, you see so many people going to the stadiums and they are also good stadiums now. I think it is just a fun league to be in, so I wouldn’t be surprised to go over there when my contract comes to an end at City.”

It’s official: St. Paul will be the site of Minnesota United’s new stadium. Construction of the 20,000 seat, $120 million privately funded stadium will begin in the spring with the stadium to open in 2018. The question is whether Minnesota United will begin play in 2017 or 2018. Reports at Minnesota United, MLSsoccer.comStar Tribune, MinnPost, Pioneer Press, and CBS Minnesota,

Fusion reviews NYCFC’s unsuccessful attempts to find a location for a soccer stadium in New York City.

The BBC, The Scotsman, and Scottish Herald report Celtic is in talks with the NASL to start a franchise in the US. The team is reportedly also considering a franchise in India.

US

It’s official: The US will host the 2016 Copa Centenario. Venue information will follow (the Linc better be one of the venues!).

The US was eliminated from advancement in the U-17 World Cup on Saturday with a 4-1 defeat to host country Chile in their final group game to finish with a 0-2-1 record. Recaps and reports at US Soccer, Top Drawer Soccer, SI, MLSsoccer.com, ASN, and Stars and Stripes FC. On the plus side, there’s a profile of Hershey, Pa.’s Christian Pulisic and his cousin Will at the FIFA website.

The USWNT defeated Brazil 3-1 in Sunday’s World Cup Victory Tour game in Orlando. The game marked the final national team appearances of Lauren Holiday and Lori Chalupny.

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “The former president of the German football federation has accused his successor of lying, saying there was definitely a slush fund used in Germany’s successful 2006 World Cup bid.”  Theo Zwanziger told Der Spiegel, “There was definitely a slush fund in the German World Cup bid. And it is clear as well that the present DFB president did not learn about it a couple of weeks ago, as he claims, but has known about it at least since 2005…the way I see it, Niersbach is lying.”

The AP reports, “With Michel Platini expected to be ruled out of the FIFA presidential election because of his suspension, UEFA made a surprising last-minute decision Monday to throw its support behind the Frenchman’s right-hand man. Gianni Infantino, the general secretary under Platini for the last six years, was given the go-ahead by an emergency UEFA executive committee meeting held via video conference to join a growing field of up to seven contenders.”

From Reuters: “South African businessman and former political prisoner Tokyo Sexwale is to run for the presidency of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, a spokesman said on Saturday as the deadline for nominations neared.”

From Reuters: “The president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, has formally entered the race to become FIFA president, the Bahrain News Agency reported on Sunday.”

The BBC reports, “Liberia FA president Musa Bility says his campaign team have successfully submitted his candidacy to Fifa to stand in February’s presidential elections.”

ESPN reports, “Sepp Blatter says he is determined to make a ‘dignified departure’ from the FIFA presidency to honour his late father.”

31 Comments

  1. I really like Drogba’s take on MLS. He didn’t say anything too harsh, which would get him in trouble, but his message was clear: You’re not there yet…step up your game.

    But combine his comments with Toure’s and you see a bright future. This league is still a good 5-10 years (and 1 or 2 CBA’s) away from being a semi-major player on the world stage, but they are getting there.
    They won’t be La Liga, or BPL, or Bundesliga, or Serie A anytime soon. But they could be Eredivisie, or a similar league.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      They won’t be EPL, La Liga, or Bundesliga, yeah… but Serie A… hmm, I don’t know. HA! Anyway, I do agree with the sentiment though. Drogba is right about the travel, and the turf. And the league better really understand they have to loosen the monetary reigns soon. The next CBA needs to a serious improvement on many levels.

  2. GREAT DAY for the Union… WELL- WELL DONE Mr Sugarman… This truly convinces me and many other Founding STH, that you’re committed to a ‘QUALITY PRODUCT’ that all of us SUPPORTERS have been showing up (with hope)to see for the last 6 years… WELL DONE, “YES, WOOHOO,YEEHA, F#%&IN’ A.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Making my way up to put an eye on the Futures this evening… I expect there to be a buzz about the place and if there isn’t I’m bringing an extension cord to supply it myself.

    • The announcement today, the win yesterday and the great spicy burger on the beer deck last night convinced me renew today 🙂

  3. Phil in Wlmington says:

    YES. YES. YES.

    Sugarbear, you have my attention.

    So excited about the possibilities here. I know it won’t be overnight, but there is at least a potential for charting a course forward.
    Now all we need to do is get Kreis in here and I’d say we’re contenders in two seasons.

    Either way, see you at PPL next season.

  4. Tokyo Sexwale
    .
    If I ever need an alias…

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    A young up and comer making his bones in Holland is exactly who I’ve been lobbying this club to find~~ Maybe Mr Sugarman taxied an Airbus into Amsterdam after all.
    .
    Three things.
    .
    1- Clubwide … Futures up to the first team.
    .
    2- Thank you Mr Sugarman, well done ~~ I take back all previous sentiment about a Mayflower moving truck.
    .
    3- Mr Stewart. Make believers of us ~ may this moment not be the best for you here…. allow us to revel at last as Robert Plant sings….
    .
    Light. Light. Light. In the light. Light. Light. Light. In the light.

  6. The tweets from Jay’s presser sound like Sak may not want to list him as a reference.

  7. The tweets from Jay’s presser read like Sak may not want to list him as a reference.

    • I’m hoping someone less Twitter-averse than I will provide details.

      • To compensate for my double post (how?), I’ll offer that Jay’s description of the timing of Earnie’s hire – about 2 weeks’ total with the help of Messrs. Graham & Curtin, immediately after Nick had nothing to show for his 2-yr. campaign – is an indictment of the ex-CEO any way you slice it. But there’s more.

      • It sounds like the word “accountability” is about to enter into the Union’s lexicon.

      • There was also this Sugarman quote courtesy of J. Tannenwald: “Standing back and watching and not really being comfortable with what was going on just got to be too much”
        .
        Translation – I really wanted to be one of those invisible hand owner types, but Sak’s bungling forced me to step in.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Glad he did though. A lot of times owners like that just care about making money. It appears he does care about winning, and doing what it takes.

      • That was the “more.” When you don’t know the business, you hire someone who looks like he does. After its results are consistently bad and your customers complain and – gasp – stay away, you throw up in your mouth a little, show him the door, and press reset. The second best news is the Richie Graham angle. Local, passion, capital. All good. Hoping for more, better.

  8. OneManWolfpack says:

    Tokyo Sexwale must lead FIFA… just because.

  9. My five year old said, “Ernie?” Ernie like Sesame Street.
    .
    Exactly son…. Sunny Days.

  10. Paul Hanlin Jr says:

    If Earnie thought the purse strings were tight in Holland, wait until he deals with his new boss. If he was *that hot* a commodity, somebody else in MLS would’ve acquired him *first*. Remember; Albright is still here. Curtin is still here. A total housecleaning of the coaching staff needs to happen before I believe a turnaround can happen.

    • Come on.
      .
      Jeeze Louise- this gives the pundits credence to the Negadelphia image.
      .
      Can’t we just be happy. The Union are not upper echelon NYCFC, LAG, TFC spenders…we know this… we also know they do spend money and that they don’t have to be huge spenders and with proper allocation of resources matching the Vision, Philosophy and Plan they can be a contender year in year out. This is really good news.
      .
      Jim Curtin either will or will not be here after next season let’s give the new SD a few damn breaths to figure it all out.
      .
      This is the kind of negativity I struggle with.
      .
      The owner of the club Sak’d his CEO and went out and brought in a very, very qualifed director of operations with in a month. Give the guy a break, Paul Hanlin Jr… at least for a day or two.

      • thank you

      • +1,000. One month ago, would any of us have seen this dramatic shift in coming so soon? I thought we were looking at a bad finish with little to look forward to. We got the bad finish, but now have a lot to look forward to. Let’s give Sugarman a chance to fix this thing. I think he’s shown he has a lot more determination to act in the last month than we thought.

  11. I know I’m late on this, but I’m so glad the Union Got Stewart. Things may actually be looking up. Can’t wait to see what this off-season brings. I’d also like to see LeToux finish his career here.

  12. a very positive move. and for those complaining about the lack of a coaching change, note that AaaahZed changed coaches four or five times over the last five years or so, meaning ES is not averse to pulling the plug – and hopefully meaning that he is much more involved in deciding how the team plays via his selection of the players.

  13. The purse strings for the Union aren’t tight. If the Bedoya deal had gone through we would have had the seventh or eighth highest payroll in the league. No, we are not the club to spend millions on one player but only six of twenty clubs do that now. Ernie Stewart is the perfect hire not just for the Union but for any MLS team because even the few teams with big D.P. budgets still have to play money ball with the rest of their rosters. Spending smart is where the Union have failed. The top two teams this season also had the two lowest salary budgets in the league. I would rather win than have an over the hill Stevie G. or Fat Frank Lombard boosting ticket sales.

    • And that being said. Gerrard and Lampard are examples of D.P. spending gone wrong. Keane and Drogba are definitely worth the money even at an advanced age. Though they do make less than Steve and Frank. My point is that any spending in MLS has to be carefully analyzed. This is what makes our league competitive and fun to follow. Would I like to see a higher salary cap? Of course. But the league model, though definitely flawed, is a good one.

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