Daily news roundups

Burke unveiled, BSFC open tryouts announced, Graham’s passion, epic PK shootout as Conference semis are set, more

Photo: Courtesy of Bethlehem Steel FC

Philadelphia Union

Continuing the supremely satisfying string of this week’s utterly positive news events, Brendan Burke, accompanied by Jim Curtin and Richie Graham, was officially introduced as the head coach of the Union’s USL club Bethlehem Steel FC in a press conference on Thursday (full transcript here at PSP).

Burke, former head coach of Union PDL partner Reading United and assistant coach at the Union, made it very clear how happy he was to be back with the Union organization, and how excited he is to be the first head coach of BSFC. Curtin and Graham made it very clear how happy they were that Burke took the job. The mutual admiration and respect was palpable.

Burke discussed the key part the USL team will play as part of the player development component of the club in support of the first team. He also said his existing relationships with players he’s coached in the past will help in building the BSFC roster: “There’s going to be a lot of players over the next few months that I’ve coached in the past that are going to be, hopefully, reaching out and coming home, as well, and I think the relationship with our first team players was an important part of the process for me in deciding whether or not this was going to be the perfect opportunity — and that’s what I think this is.”

Burke also discussed what the roster will look like:

I think it’s important to have a veteran core so there will be some guys in the 25 to 28 year old age range on this team. They need to be leaders by example, they need to be guys who’ve won this league, they need to be — Richie touched on it — winning is part of development and, in order to do that, you need a proven commodity. There are going to be players coming down from the first team so we know we’re going to get excellent help, support, and be able to help and support those players with the minutes they need. So, there’s your core, you’re veteran core, between USL players that I’ll go after and first team players coming down, and that’s going to afford our kids the opportunity to learn.

Asked if we can expect homegrown signings, Burke said, “Definitely. I think you’ll see some of our guys in the coming weeks, months possibly signing with Bethlehem right out of the academy.”

Open tryouts for the team will take place on November 22 at Lehigh University’s Kauffman Soccer Fields. There is a $100 fee to register for the tryout, which will be limited to 300 participants.

Reports on the press conference at Philadelphia Union, Delco Times, Allentown Morning CallPhilly Soccer NewsBrotherly Game, and Vavel.

After the press conference Graham spoke with reporters (full transcript here at PSP). Saying he is “really passionate about the youth development and the contribution that Philadelphia Union can make, in terms of pushing the American game forward,” he said of the emphasis on a comprehensive system of player development for the long term success of the Union:

I think we want to be a “build” versus “buy” type of club. That’s not to say that if the right player comes along that we’re not going to be able to make that move. But we also believe really strongly in the model of developing talent. I think the thing to keep in mind is that we’re really only in the third year of the academy. When we’re talking about players moving to USL or moving to the first team, you know I’m looking at this crop of those 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 year olds, and the talent that’s in this area is incredible. We have to do a better job of capturing, maximizing, giving those kids a chance to maximize their talents. But why not have the Philadelphia region be a place that can produce ten Landon Donovans? Why not? So you give those kids a good environment and see how we can develop them. I think there’s a lot of upside for this region.

Graham said veteran players from outside of the Union system are still essential:

I think it’s important to have players that can be leaders and that can help mentor and shape some of the younger players that are coming through, without a doubt. The answer isn’t all youth. But certainly it’s not, in our mind, to go and spend money on a bunch of Designated Players that may not be interested in giving everything they can for the badge. If kids are growing up in an environment where the badge becomes a part of their culture and means something, the fight they’ll give you in the last 10 minutes of that 1-1 game is completely different, and that’s something we think is critical for long term success.

Graham and Jay Sugarman may not naturally desire to speak publicly for and about the club but, I’ll tell you what, their doing so does a world of good for fans and journalists alike. Perhaps we won’t, as Graham suggested in the press conference, be hearing from them so much once Earnie Stewart arrives but I, for one, certainly hope they remain accessible. Both have been thoughtful, honest, and forthright in answering questions, all with an appealingly quiet passion and evident deep belief in the club, yet without any of the off-putting smugness and arrogance that too often came with comments from Nick Sakiewicz. It’s all incredibly refreshing and very much needed.

At CBS Philly, Kevin Kinkead has a video breakdown of last Sunday’s season finale victory over Orlando:

Metro on the disappointing 2015 season. Brotherly Game and Philly Sports Network on why there is cause for optimism and hope.

Local

Former Philadelphia Independence defender Leigh Ann Brown, nee Robinson, now with NWSL champions FC Kansas City, has announced her retirement from professional soccer.

MLS

Toronto first-ever playoff appearance ended in a 3-0 loss to Montreal Impact. This time, instead of scoring both goals as he did against Toronto in Sunday’s regular season finale, Didier Drogba only scored the last goal. Slacker.

Drawn at 1-1 after regular time, and 2-2 after extra time, Portland and Kansas City faced off in an epic 22-player penalty kick shootout (5 saves and 4 misses including a double-post miss from Saad Abdul-Salaam) that ended with Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey scoring his attempt and then saving the attempt from Sporting goalkeeper Jon Kempin for the 2 (7)-2 (6) win.

With Thursday night’s results, the first legs of the conference semifinals on Sunday are now set

  • 3 pm: DC United vs New York Red Bulls (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, MLS Live, SiriusXM FC)
  • 5 pm: Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, MLS Live, SiriusXM FC)
  • 7 pm: Montreal Impact vs Columbus Crew (FS1, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports Go, MLS Live, SiriusXM FC)
  • 9:30 pm: Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas (FS1, Fox Sports Go, MLS Live, SiriusXM FC)

The second legs will be played on Sunday, Nov. 8.

Don Garber on the Jermaine Jones incident in Wednesday night’s playoff game between DC United and New England Revolution: “We’re going to address it. He’s going to spend some time not playing. We have a precedent that’s been set.”

At the Washington Post, Steven Goff on why Jones could end up being suspended from both MLS games and USMNT World Cup qualifiers. Echoes of the Clint Dempsey incident in the US Open Cup game between Seattle and Portland here.

Toronto FC owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment have announced Michael Friisdahl, an executive with Air Canada, will replace outgoing Chief Executive Officer Tim Leiweke.

US

Looks like Aron Johannsson may be out for the rest of 2015 following hip surgery.

Elsewhere

In an interview with the Financial Times, Sepp Blatter talks more about the “gentlemen agreement” before the 2010 vote for the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups that Russia and the US would be the winners: “It was behind the scenes. It was diplomatically arranged to go there.” A lot more is also discussed.

PA Sport reports, “The agreement to hand Russia the 2018 World Cup and the USA the 2022 tournament came in the form of ‘behind-the-curtain talks’ by FIFA’s ‘big players’ before the vote took place, Sepp Blatter’s adviser has disclosed.”

From Reuters: “The head of the organizing committee for the Russian 2018 World Cup denied on Thursday that awarding the soccer tournament to Russia had been pre-arranged.”

ESPN reports, “Former France president has rejected Sepp Blatter’s claim that he was a crucial factor in Qatar being awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup.”

At ESPN, Gabrielle Marcotti looks at how some of the quotes in the now infamous TASS interview with Blatter don’t add up.

Also from Reuters: “One of the top power brokers in global sport, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, said a direct battle between Asian and European candidates for president of crisis-hit world soccer body FIFA should be averted by the striking of a deal between the pair.”

PA Sport reports, “FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has issued a statement in which he categorically denies ‘entirely false’ allegations made against him regarding his human rights record.” More at the AP.

Responding to comments from England FA chief Greg Dyke that Qatar could be stripped of the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar’s foreign minister Khalid al Attiyah said in an interview with Al Jazeera, “I want to see his face when we host the 2022 World Cup.”Al Attiyah added, “We deserve to have a 2022 World Cup in Qatar; an Arabic state, an Islamic country. The Arabic region needs such a tournament for the youth of the Arab region and I think we deserve to have one.”

At Bloomberg, more on the proposed Americas Champions League. I just don’t see how this can happen but the money that’s being talked about may be the difference.

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

32 Comments

  1. i don’t know why everyones making such a big deal about abdul-salaam hitting both posts without getting the ball in the net. wenger was able to do that earlier this year and he did it from the run of play; much more impressive imo

    • el Pachyderm says:

      That double post was crazy…. great shootout and excellent game from Montreal. Boy Piatti and Drogba. Phew.

    • I’ll make a big deal about Kevin Ellis shanking his penalty last night. Why couldn’t he do that last month?

      • Besler too. Villfana looked just like Wenger taking his kick, knew he would miss. Great game, glad SKC lost.

    • I DVD’ed the match after not being able to stay awake with an extra hour. Turned out that the taped segment stopped after the 7th penalty round; crazy!!! KC could have won it 3 times but choked each time. Was the most incredible penalty shoot-out ever.

  2. Not that this is the best forum for this, but putting the MLS knockout rounds on UniMas was kind of a big fail. I have no problem with getting theses playoffs on a Latino station — I actually think that is a pretty good idea — but as a Verizon FIOS customer, I had no HD options and the English audio only worked on one of the four games. The no HD option was the worst. It felt like I was watching 1985. Unimas just wasn’t ready to handle these games. At least for me. Curious if anyone else felt a little stiffed.

    • i was really happy they were on unimas. i would have liked hd but i’m just glad i got the channel. the upside to putting it on unimas is that i think its a very widely distributed channel that you don’t have to pay extra for so there are potentially more people who can watch it. i don’t get fox sports so i’ll be out of luck for half the games on sunday

    • I have no problem with the games being on UniMas. I would, however, like my SAP to work so I could get the English commentary.
      .
      On the upside, I now know that “pelota” means “ball”.
      .
      When I woke up and heard that SKC blew the shootout, I silently cursed the soccer gods that they couldn’t have done that in the Open Cup final.

      • Because the Union couldn’t make it to the keepers shooting. Imagine if McCarthy had scored the Open Cup winning goal.

      • (Slides out Old Guy Soapbox)

        Back in my day, if you wanted to watch soccer on TV in this country, it was only on in Spanish. There was no SAP button. Come to think of it, we didn’t even have a remote. We had to get out of our chair, walk across the room and use a pair of pliers just to change the channel (those cheap plastic knobs broke very easily).

        SAP buttons? BAH!! I risked getting electrocuted every time I wanted to watch something different. Thankfully, there weren’t many channels to watch so I’m still alive today.

      • My parents’ old TV had a small set of Vicegrips permanently attached to the channel knob

      • Yes. This.
        .
        I was actually the first remote control our family ever had. “Elephant,” my oldest cousin would say… “turn the channel! ” and I’d say, “I don’t want to, do it yourself.”
        .
        My oldest cousin would then expend more energy beating on me or torturing me with a wet wooden spoon then the amount of energy required to just change the channel himself- but the satisfaction he received from sending me through the stations.. (wait wait – of which there were only 13) – over and over again was well worth his effort.
        .
        This was hierarchy.
        .
        Today I’m a better person for it…particularly when at 19 years old and 195 lb of tensile muscle, I beat the daylights out of him and restored all balance for our approaching adulthood. Never a problem between us since.

      • Two things I remember about those days. In 1978 I watched El Copa Mudial and the New York Cosmos had a player named Keith Eddy who the announcer insisted on calling Eddy Keith.
        .
        I also remember listening to Cosmos games on the radio when I was at summer camp. Fortunately, those were in English.

      • Impressive.

        The first World Cup that I immersed myself into was Espana ’82. Watched all of the matches and even bought the official WC guide beforehand. I remember leafing through that guide and looking at all of the pics of different countries starting XI’s, just wondering what life was like in Peru, Cameroon, Poland, etc.

      • Remember the W. Germany – France game that went 2 OTs, 2 sudden death OTs, and then to PKs? Rumenigge vs Platini?

      • I have to remind myself of these days whenever I get frustrated with buffering or other assorted tech problems when watching on TV, tablet or laptop. I can watch matches from all over the world at all hours of the day now which is simply amazing to me.

      • For me it was watching Soccer Made in Germany with my dad, on PBS, 1 hour, once a week…
        .
        http://bit.ly/1P1JRW4
        .
        “.. and the ball is in the bahhhkkk of the net!”

      • and going to the Tower Theater in 1978 to watch the WC Final on some crappy satellite feed projection system.

      • Ha; was there as well! Best thing were all the flags of the different nationalities! Took friends there from my HS soccer team. They were in awe and are still speaking about it today!

      • I am old enough to remember using aluminum foil to improve the rabbit ears. I remember having to “tweak” the tuning to improve the picture.
        .
        I remember Ultraman on channel 17 (I think) after school.
        .

    • pete – Fios here too. i watch it on 26 rather than the “HD” UniDeportes or whatever. for some reason it crops the low-def into 4:3 while the broadcast on 26 is full 16:9.
      as for audio, i complained to them all season about the UniDeportes friday night games. during the final 10 mins of the MTL-TOR match last night it magically started broadcasting in English.

      i saw people complaining about paying for MLS live and not getting their match due to blackout, forcing them to see it on Mas which they apparently didn’t even have. that’s junk.

    • Ditto that. I don’t speak Spanish but enjoyed hearing the commentators, so not having english was no big deal. I can watch a game just fine without sound. But not having HD really sucks.

  3. Is anyone betting on Montreal not winning the cup? They’ve been the hottest team in the league the last several months and I’d be really surprised if they aren’t the first Canadian team to bring home the trophy.

    • They look like a monster right now. I wouldn’t bet against them for anything. Drogba making a real argument for MVP (I know, small sample size, but has any single player made the same impact this season? I don’t think so). Team is 8-2-3 with him (counting since Philly played them — I can’t recall if he was on the team earlier).

    • They play like a real team, contrary to Toronto with their 3 stars. Shows that if you get (a) ‘star(s)’, you have to think long and hard who you get. Incredible how they integrated Drogba into their team and are just rolling along, and that with an interim coach after giving Klopas the boot!! Just incredible.

  4. It always seems to be my luck that when I just cant stay awake long enough to watch the entire match, something crazy happens

  5. I really think that PSP should institute an editorial policy that no mention of anything remotely related to any FIFA candidate for president can be made without also using the name Tokyo Sexwhale.

    On a totally different note, what would have happened if the KC GK had made his shot? Do they repeat in the same order?

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