Daily news roundups

Cosmos want to keep Fernandes, no Bethlehem Steel in US Open Cup, more news

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Philadelphia Union

Big Apple Soccer reports New York Cosmos would like to sign Leo Fernandes when his loan from the Union expires at the end of the season. The report notes, “There is no buy-out clause for the Cosmos to obtain him, but New York head coach Giovanni Savarese said Wednesday ‘that is something we will be talking’ about.” Fernandes says, “Yeah, I think I definitely would be interested in [that]…Of course, it’s not up to me right now. It’s up to Philadelphia and my agent, so I have no idea of what’s going to happen. But if I were to be with the Cosmos next year, of course, I would be very happy.”

TheCup.us reports, while no announcement has been made, a change to the US Soccer’s bylaws dated September 8, 2015 says:

Any Outdoor Professional League Team that is majority owned by a higher-level Outdoor Professional League Team shall be ineligible to participate in the Open Cup. The Open Cup Committee shall review and determine team eligibility annually pursuant to this provision and report its decisions to the National Board of Directors.

In other words, Union USL side Bethlehem Steel FC will be ineligible to compete in the US Open Cup. TheCup.us report notes, “Concerns arose last year that reserve teams under MLS control were fielding weakened rosters due, in large part, to the fact that the senior teams didn’t want to cup tie players with a USL team, thus making them unavailable for their own tournament run. One could speculate that was one of the motivating factors that led to this change.” The move is in line with other Cup tournaments in Europe such as the Copa del Rey in which reserve teams such as Barcelona B, which plays in Segunda División, are not allowed to participate.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George says Jim Curtin’s “first full season was a disaster well out of his control,” what with the goalkeeping situation, the injury crisis, the bizarre string of red card suspensions and more:

In 39 matches, Curtin diagramed 38 unique starting XIs. That means only twice this season did the same group of 11 players start multiple games…You may think this has something to do with the carousel of goalies the Union used, and it does to a degree. But looking at just the outfield players, Curtin still cobbled together 36 unique assemblages of field players…How many permutations of the six attacking players have the Union deployed? That answer is still alarmingly large: 30. (And that’s accounting merely for the players selected, regardless of shifting positions from wing to wing, etc.)

De George concludes, “It may sound trite to wonder how many coaches would have made the playoffs given this set of circumstances. But at the very least, Curtin’s ability to keep this group together and within a few inches of a trophy should warrant another shot on the bench.”

Following De George’s analysis in October, Philly Sports Nation looks at the contract situations across the Union roster.

Is Union trialist James McFadden about to sign with Kerala Blasters of the Indian Super League? Reports at Onmanorama and International Business Times.

Pro Soccer Talk includes the Union in a speculative piece on which teams might be interested in taking Erick “Cubo” Torres from Houston Dynamo, who SI reports are shopping the player: “Torres is an improvement over Sapong, but could they piece together enough assets without having to give up who would be Torres’s greatest chance creator, Cristian Maidana? There’s not a ton of value elsewhere in that team, to be completely honest.” Houston Dynamo president Chris Canetti says, “The rumor that is out there mis-categorized the situation.”

At the Union website, Brian Carroll talks about his children and how they motivate him.

The Philadelphia Tribune has more on the recently unveiled Union mini pitch in Chester.

Former Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz on his past and future: “I’m extremely proud of the small part I played in MLS and soccer’s explosive growth over the last 20 years. I’m even more energized and excited about my next leadership role in the evolving soccer landscape across North America.”


After giving the keynote address at the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology’s 2015 IMPACT conference on Wednesday, Carli Lloyd spoke about the salary disparity between male and female athletes.


The Telegraph has some analysis of the possibility of Patrick Vieira being named head coach of NYCFC.

NYCFC tell MLSsoccer.com that Andrea Pirlo will not be loaned out during the offseason.

Ronaldinho to MLS rumors. Again.

Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have released a report on “paid patriotism,” payments made by the Department of Defense to professional sports teams to stage patriotic events at games (click here to download the report). The great majority of these payments have gone to the NFL but eight MLS teams — or, as the report hilariously names the league the teams play in, the National Soccer League — have also received money: Seattle Sounders ($128,000), Colorado Rapids ($100,000), Real Salt Lake ($75,000), DC United ($25,000), FC Dallas ($20,500), LA Galaxy ($20,000), Houston Dynamo ($15,000), and Columbus Crew ($13,000). The money was paid to teams for things like color guards, on-field recognition of service personnel and enlistment ceremonies (and in one case, the opportunity to perform the National Anthem), and tickets. The NFL says it will refund the money (some of it, anyway), will MLS? Reports at Seattle TimesWashington Post, Washington TimesLA Times, BloombergNBCYahoo Sports, and Reuters.

A report commissioned by USL side and MLS aspirant Sacramento Republic says Sacramento compares favorably to other small market cities that have MLS teams such as Portland, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, and Orlando. More at Sacramento Bee and Capital Public Radio.

Some movement on the expansion front in Sacramento. Soccer America summarizes things nicely: “San Antonio is back in the hunt for an MLS expansion team in a big way. A partnership consisting of the city of San Antonio, Bexar County and Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the NBA Spurs, has agreed to buy the NASL Scorpions’ soccer-specific stadium, Toyota Field, for $21 million. The goal is to get an MLS team, but in the meantime the Spurs hope to enter a team in the USL, putting the future of the NASL Scorpions in doubt.” If Spurs Sports and Entertainment do not land a MLS franchise in the first six years of their 20 year lease on the stadium, they will have to pay a penalty of $5 million to the city and county.

Mayor Ivy Taylor said, “San Antonio is serious about its pursuit of Major League Soccer and this deal takes us a step closer to bringing it here. Fans may have to wait a few more years, but soccer has an international appeal and is a perfect fit for our city’s global outlook and economic strategy.”

MLS issued the following statement:

San Antonio city and Bexar county officials announced today that they have reached an agreement to purchase Toyota Field and are interested in partnering with Spurs Sports & Entertainment to bring Major League Soccer to San Antonio in the future. We sincerely appreciate this strong demonstration of interest in MLS. As we announced in March, MLS has not yet determined the timing and process for expansion beyond 24 clubs, but look forward to learning more about this project once our future expansion plans are finalized.

Reports from San Antonio at San Antonio Business Journal, My San Antonio (report, analysis), San Antonio Examiner, San Antonio CurrentKSAT 12, KENS 5Fox 29, and Fox Soccer.

Meanwhile, NASL commissioner Bill Peterson says the league will be announcing a new expansion side next week with “probably maybe one more” by the end of the year. ESPN reports, “Peterson said the franchise joining next week is ‘very linked’ to a European club, while another potential new addition before the end of the year is ‘linked to a foreign ownership group.'” You will recall recent reports that Celtic was interested in starting a NASL side in the US, could next week’s announcement be that team? Or how about Rayo Vallecano?


The appearance by US Soccer president Sunil Gulati in a Q&A session at International Council of Sport Security-sponsored Securing Sport conference with political pundit James Carville was a nonstarter for those expecting serious questions about the ongoing FIFA corruption scandal and what Gulati knew about deals made by Chuck Blazer. Reporters from New York Daily News were clearly not pleased when Gulati refused to answer questions from the press after the Q&A, although The Sports Integrity Initiative notes, “It is understood that Gulati may have not been able to answer questions because he is assisting US authorities with their investigations into allegations of corruption that surround FIFA.” Gulati did speak about the need for women to have more representation at the highest levels of soccer governance.

Transparency International founder and former FIFA Independent Governance Committee member Michael Hershman did speak to reporters. Asked what he thought about FIFA’s reform commission, which is being run by another speaker at the conference, François Carrard, Hershmann said, “It is a waste of time and money and I don’t have any confidence in it. Why should we expect a bunch of insiders to achieve what we [the IGC] weren’t able to?”

The US falls four spots to No. 33 in the latest FIFA rankings. Mexico moves up three spots to No. 24. Belgium is at No. 1.

The schedule for CONCACAF’s U-20 Women’s Championship has been announced. The US will face Mexico, Panama and Haiti in Group B play, opening against Mexico on Dec. 4 at Olympic Stadium in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.


In case you were wondering: “Franz Beckenbauer is not a target in the tax evasion investigation connected to the 2006 World Cup, the Frankfurt prosecutors’ office has said.”

Reuters reports, “The corruption scandal engulfing soccer’s world governing body FIFA is not tarnishing the image of its long-standing sponsor Adidas, the chief executive of the German sportswear company said on Thursday.”

The massive effigy that will be set ablaze by the Kent Bonfire Society in England this weekend will be one of none other than Sepp Blatter. I wonder if the society accepts international memberships?

Ronaldo: The Movie? Take it away, Guardian and Vice.



  1. Leo isn’t going anywhere as a young player with at least some potential he is going to Bethlehem.

    • Can the Union actually require that a current player join the Bethlehem squad, or is that the type of language that will need to be added to future contracts?
      In the case of Leo F, I don’t think that moving from NASL MVP candidate with the Cosmos to Bethlehem Steel would be a positive career move.

      • If Leo goes to BSFC and stays in form he gets called up to the MLS, if he stays on the Cosmos that’s the best he can do from there. I doubt he even is playing at BSFC much if he keeps playing as well as it sounds he did this year.

    • i wouldn’t be surprised if he sees a lot of first team play and only playing with bethlehem when his first team minutes are lagging. he is an nasl mvp candidate that has been playing at left midfield, a position that this team is desperately thin at

    • I don’t know if Fernandes’s ceiling is much higher than ‘middling-MLS player’. If the Cosmos are willing to overpay for Leo, then we might see our first Moneyball transaction.

  2. “disaster well out of his control”
    I think this is reaching a bit.
    I think there were mitigating circumstances for sure.
    I think the coach could have done more though.
    If I were Leo I’d rather play for the New York Cosmos than BSFC.
    I would do just about anything to link up with a club like Rayo Vallecano. The fans of that tiny little club with only 3 sides to a stadium are ape-shit bonkers. They play a truly favorable and appeasing brand of futbol. Damn.

  3. What happened to Cubo? After so much promise, he faded fast. I remember reading that he was accused of sexual assault, but I don’t recall hearing anything about subsequent charges. I’d like to avoid any questionable signings or trades. Thank the soccer gods we have a legit manager of soccer operations now. I’m going to trust Stewart to guide us straight here.
    Curtin definitely had bad luck and was greatly limited by Sak, but the whole season was not completely out of his control. I’m happy to have him as coach for another year, but I expect that leash will be short.

    • I don’t know any details, but I’m almost certain those assault charges against Torres were dropped. Whether he’d be a questionable trade or not would vary from person to person I guess.

      Just can’t see Houston dropping him after one season. Their fans have been complaining for years that they are the pathetically neglected team for their ownership who owns LA Galaxy and (at least part of) Houston. They finally spent big on a guy (7million) and they are going to dump him after 350 minutes played? Not to mention I don’t think a trade within MLS comes with any real-money transfer fee to recoup that cost (though think of the GarberBucks!). Maybe they would sell him to some other league to make some money back if he really didn’t fit. Owen Coyle didn’t do much of anything there that was impressive his first year. Cutting Torres so quickly would be another mark against him I’d think.

  4. This off season is going to be agonizingly long and glacial. Already the pace and tempo is too slow. Is it spring yet? How many days till the opener next season.
    The video of the Norwegian fan is magic. Nothing like the deep love of club.

  5. I’m not sure Cubo is an improvement over Sapong in current form, although he definitely has more potential. But wouldn’t it be awesome to have a 4-4-2 with Cubo and Sapong up top and Barnetta and Maidana as attacking mids!? If the Union could acquire Torres without having to give up someone just as important (like has been true for every decent transfer so far), that would be a great step in the right direction. If they did have to give someone up, I’d vote for offloading Edu (and of course picking up a less expensive CB/CDM to take his place in addition to Cubo). Maybe get Horst in addition to Cubo since he’s also at Houston and is from the Philadelphia region.

    • Personally I don’t want Cubo and don’t think he is the right fit for the club. However, I do think the idea of trading Edu should definitely be considered. If this club is thinking more attack minded you can’t have your CB making 80 yard runs and not getting back he needs to stay home. I say trade Edu and find a pair for Marquez. Berry is apparently doing well in South Korea I wonder if they could be a good fit together. 2 young center backs that had lots of promise it could make for a very interesting pair. Plus with Gaddis and Marquez’s speed it makes up for Berry’s lack of speed. Might be a good way to off load some more cash and bring in those pacey wingers and top class striker. Along with finding a stay at home CDM if your going to go to 4-3-3 and leave nogs and barnetta in the mid with one other solid defending mid.

  6. The Philly Sports Nation article is informative as to the contractual buckets players fall into, but a little rough with the projections/opinions. Lahoud, Wenger, and McCarthy lumped into a group that should all return to the Union and a group referred to as the “backbone” of the team? I’m not convinced that Maidana is a shoo-in to be back even.

  7. OneManWolfpack says:

    “Milk the cows, I’m going to the pub.” Smells like a tifo in the future 🙂 Great stuff!!

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