Daily news roundups

Blake called up by Jamaica and more GK-related news, Pauno rumor, Conference finals set, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake has been called up by Jamaica for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Haiti.

The Union announced on Friday the departure of goalkeeping coach Paulo Grilo. Jim Curtin said in the announcement, “We thank Paulo for his service and dedication to our club over the last year, but we felt this was the appropriate time to go in a different direction.”

Grilo, you will recall, came to the team with Rais Mbolhi. While Union assistant coach BJ Callaghan was the team’s goalkeeping coach before Grilo’s arrival, PSP understands the club will be conducting a search to fill the position.

Speaking of Union goalkeeping, Colorado Rapids vice president of soccer operations Paul Bravo tells The Denver Post the team is retaining the draft pick that would’ve gone to the Union if the Rapids had decided to sign Zac MacMath at the end of his year-long loan. The report explains,

That means the Philadelphia Union will decide what’s next for MacMath.

“Based on the way the deal is written today, yes, he’s a Philadelphia Union player,” Bravo said. “We’ve got to respect that because we have not exercised that option.”

MacMath will be out of contract with the Union at the end of 2015.

MLSsoccer.com picks up on a report from Univision’s Spanish-language Futbol MLS site that says the Union have offered former Union midfielder and current head coach of the Serbia U-20 team Veljko Paunovic a contract. A contract for what is unclear (head coach? assistant coach?) more so given Jay Sugarman’s recent backing of Jim Curtin and the crappy Google translation of the original Spanish language article isn’t much help. However, it appears the quote from Paunovic in both articles in which he says he would like to return to the US at some point is from an interview he did with Futbol MLS “a couple of years ago” and is not a direct comment on the rumor. The original article also says the Union denied the rumor while declining to comment further, a point the MLSsoccer.com report does not fully relate, saying only that the Union “did not give an official comment.”

On Friday, the league announced Philadelphia Union were the winners of the Fair Play Award. The Union also won the award in 2014.

Brotherly Game reviews the Union defense and goalkeeping in 2015.

Philly Sports Cave reviews Fabinho’s 2015 season.

Former Union man Bakary Soumare has announced his retirement: “Recent health setbacks have made this a necessity.”

Looks like recent Union trialist James McFadden won’t be signing with Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters after all.

Bethlehem Steel FC

In an interview at Kessler Reports, Brendan Burke describes what the roster of Bethlehem Steel will be composed.

Our core roster will be smaller. We’ll carry 14-16 USL contracted players. We will have the ability to train and player [sic] any number of academy players. That gives us wiggle room to accommodate the first team players that make their way down…

We could go the route of seven or eight kids or young players on the field. That won’t necessarily be our approach. We want them to come into an environment where they’re set up to succeed. I’m a huge believer in competitiveness as a key component of development. I am actively after guys right now in that 26-29 age range that have won USL who were in the first or second teams of USL in recent years. That’s incredibly vital to our success…

The one constant that we can bring, this is on myself and my staff, is a gritty, blue collar, fast and aggressive nature about us. That will be our base line. Our bare minimum. Nothing will come easy to any team coming into us, no matter what player puts on the jersey on a night. I think that goes back and lends to the culture we want to develop for young players. That they step into an environment and it means something. It isn’t the old reserve league where you were desperately trying to get guys to be motivated to give it their all. It’ll be hard fought minutes.

Local

Temple was defeated 4-0 by UConn in the American Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals on Saturday. Penn lost 2-0 to Princeton. St. Joseph’s defeated St. Bonaventure 4-1 in their season finale. Villanova closed their 2015 season on Thursday with a 3-2 win over Seton Hall.

MLS

The conference finals are set.

In the second leg games of the Eastern Conference semifinals, NYRB, who won the first leg 1-0 on the road, defeated DC 1-0 with a stoppage time goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips to advance to the conference final. There they will face Columbus Crew, who defeated the Impact 3-1 in extra time, with Kei Kamara scoring in the 4th and 111th minutes, after losing the first leg 2-1 in Montreal.

Speaking of the Crew, at Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald catches up with former Union man Jack McInerney.

In the Western Conference, after 84 scoreless minutes, Dallas scored, and Seattle answered, before Walker Zimmerman scored in the 91st minute to force extra time after the Sounders won the first leg 2-1 at home. Penalty kicks followed with Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez making two saves to give the home team the win 2-1 (4-2 APK) win. Dallas will face Portland in the Western Conference final. After a scoreless draw in the first leg, Portland defeated Vancouver 2-0 to advance.

The first leg games of the conference finals will kick off after the international break on Sunday, Nov. 22 with Columbus hosting NYRB (5 pm, ESPN), and Portland hosting Dallas (7:30 pm, FS1). The second leg games will take place on Nov. 29 with the MLS Cup final taking place on Dec. 6.

Cristiano Ronaldo on his future: “I’m definitely thinking about playing in the USA for a year. I’ve always said living and playing there is a possibility.”

While the stadium property taxes issue remains, Harrison, New Jersey officials say they are finally seeing a return on investing in Red Bull Arena.

Tim Leiweke believes, thanks to David Beckham’s drawing power when it comes to signing players, the desirability of, and favorable tax situation, for said players to live in Florida, and Miami’s position as the “city of the Americas,” that Beckham’s Miami MLS team “will be the best franchise in MLS. In fact, I think it has a chance of being the most important franchise in all of the Americas.”

At San Antonio Business Journal, more details on efforts in San Antonio to land a MLS franchise.

Next Sunday’s NASL championship will feature Ottawa Fury against New York Cosmos. The Cosmos will host the final (5 pm, ESPN3, One World Sports).

At Indianapolis Business Journal, more on the NASL’s Indy Eleven’s continuing quest for a new stadium.

US

US Soccer announced on Friday Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-player roster for the start of the USMNT’s 2018 World Cup qualification campaign. Darlington Nagbe and Matt Miazga each received their first call-up. Left off the roster was Clint Dempsey. The team faces St. Vincent & the Grenadines on Nov. 13 in St Louis at 6:30 pm (ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMas, and Univision Deportes) and then travels to face Trinidad and Tobago on Nov. 17, also at 6:30 pm (beIN Sports, NBC Universo).

Klinsmann said of the Dempsey omission, “At this point in time, I want to give the younger strikers a chance to prove themselves and this is a good stage to do it. I communicated with Clint about it and it’s all fine.”

In addition to Nagbe and Miazga, also notably on the roster is Fabian Johnson, who you will recall Klinsmann was displeased with after the defender asked to come out late in the loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup in October.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle has a good breakdown of the roster and the challenges posed by St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. More analysis at SI, Soccer Wire, Yahoo Sports, Goal.com, ASN, and Fox Sports.

Elsewhere

The Press Association reported on Friday, “Sepp Blatter has been ordered by doctors to take five days off work after having a medical evaluation for stress.”

CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout says electing a new FIFA president will not end ongoing crisis there. “I don’t think that any candidate or situation can change everything. This is about team work. I believe that all the confederations have to unite and work together for one football — that’s called FIFA…The truth is that FIFA has no prestige. Recognising the mistakes made by all is very important. This is a key moment in the history of football.”

49 Comments

  1. I guess it’s true. Nice guys do finish with 37 points.

  2. Congratulations to Philadelphia Union for advancing to conference semifinals after a 22 point run over last ten games of regular season…. oh wait…. that would be considered literary foreshadowing.
    .
    maybe soon… eh boys.
    .
    The officiating in the Columbus v Montreal return leg was so poor. Beyond poor. Near egregious. I actually felt bad for both teams that such an important game appeared to actually being decided by the official – and in such a lousy manner to boot… that no matter what happened either team would have the right to feel they were hosed in defeat.
    .
    This from an objective viewer who really cared less the outcome.

    • From what I watched of the Portland vs. Toronto, and Dallas vs. Seattle, the officiating was just as poor. Missed calls, poor calls, same ‘ol MLS.

      • It only took me a day to figure out I meant Vancouver, not Toronto. No idea why I had Toronto on the brain.

  3. Poor Zac, another casualty of Sak’s ineptitude. How might his season – and the Union’s – have gone better just by being left alone? Having hardly played in 2015, does he have any trade value? How to strip a good starting goalie of value while bombing on an expensive international with a checkered club career in one easy step. Another chapter in the story of a feckless ex-CEO.

  4. Sign Zac. Unless MLS takes the international weekends off, you’re going to lose Blake for at least two games so you need a backup for those. Give Zac time in Bethlehem and some spot starts with the Union (so when they play in LA on Saturday and host Seattle on Wednesday Blake doesn’t even need to make the trip out west). Then if a starting keeper elsewhere goes down or has a rough start, you can offer him as trade bait.

    • I’m in favor of this. Zac is a vet GK compared to the rest of our squad. Unless there really is a better option out there that makes sense, which I doubt given the many other areas of need for the U, Getting Zac back will probably be a good thing. Anyone think he’s not as good as McCarthy? I don’t know. Didn’t see him play this year.

      • I think he’s definitely better than McCarthy. But why would Zac want to come back? There’s no upside for him. As for the Union side of it, Zac is out of contract at the end of 2015, why shell out money for a back up, when you have two serviceable ones already here. Nah, let Zac find better pastures.

      • Yeah, you’re right. I would support it from the Union’s standpoint, but if Zac goes elsewhere, that would make sense. Hope he finds a good job.

    • Why do you think MacMath would want to play in Bethlehem?

    • I’d be surprised if he was back. I suspect we’ll going into next year with Sylvestre and possibly an older, experienced keeper on the roster, for mentoring purposes. Bringing Zac back invites the equivalent of a QB Controversy if Andre hits a rough patch.
      I like Zac. Maybe we work some sign-and-trade. But everyone will be better off if finds another team. He’s a quality keeper that can start in this league. There will be opportunities for him. But we need to move on.

    • Disagree. Let MacMath go, and maybe sign in NASL and work his way back. McCarthy or Sylvestre are fine as a back up (or go get one of a couple dozen MLS journeymen). Then hire Donovan Ricketts as your goalkeepers coach, and dress him as the backup when Blake is called up.

      • The MLS has many an ex-Union keeper in it who found their way after getting Union’d. Let him go and let him find his way career wise.

    • macmath would be a very expensive backup. he probably makes three times as much as mccarthy or sylvestre. i don’t think we should have gotten rid of him to begin with but i think at this point it doesn’t make sense to bring him back

    • The Union still own his MLS rights, even though he is out of contract this year. I agree he is too expensive to be a backup, and I think Sylvestre/McCarthy will be serviceable while he is on international duty with Jamaica. I predict the FO will play hardball with other teams in the league trying to negotiate a trade and none of the other teams will be willing to pay what the Union are asking. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him go to Norway or a second division in Europe on a free transfer, so the Union will get nothing for him instead.

    • Your starter has had both knees surgically repaired in fewer than 2 years. Maybe Zac can play more here in 2016 between the 2 clubs and show his wares, rather than back up somewhere else. Then test the market in 2017 when he’s still only 25 yo. or beoome the starter if Blake’s knees aren’t sound after all. More likely he signs 2d division in Europe.

    • Sign Zac, Zac and Blake 1st team. @ Steel Jimmy and Sylvestre

      • Your primary backup should probably be getting minutes @ Steel rather than pine at PPL. The game day backup should only be playing when there is a keeper injury and then the following game you can bring your primary backup back from Bethlehem.

    • same old sh-t different year

    • Zak in, McCarthy OUT, OUT, OUT, once and for all.
      .
      Zak isn’t perfect but McCarthy is typical of ‘local boy’ spin getting way out of control.
      .
      Not gonna happen though, so I’d take Sylvestre in a heartbeat if they can sign him.

      • My thoughts is you keep Zac he is a very good back up to Blake especially with his knee problems, plus I still don’t entirely trust Blake in goal yet. MacMath takes Open Cup duties, international breaks, and midweek games. This I think gives him at least probably 10 games or more out of the season. Blake takes rest unless injured. Sylvestre starts for BSFC and McCarthy can be backup there. I think it is the most logical thing to do for this team and while I don’t think MacMath will want to come back maybe if you promise him the Open Cup he will. He is a solid goalkeeper knows the defense and team members and has played in over 100 games in MLS. He has more upside then an older outdated MLS keeper like Ricketts for example.

  5. Wow, the end of that Dallas-Seattle match was absolutely nuts.

    • fun, fun match.

    • Agree. That was a great commercial for the MLS! Good for Zimmerman to score the goal to get them into overtime and then score the winning penalty kick. Seems he went to the same College as Dempsey.

    • agreed and who-so-ever invented zonal marking on corner kicks was freebasing. Find a man— take responsibility for.

      • Both methods work well for defending corners when they are done correctly.

        On Marshall’s goal was definitely man marking and I think that Seattle was manned up on Zimmerman’s as well. The problem is when you get a deflection or misdirection play like on Zimmerman’s and everyone ends up ball-watching.

      • Agreed I just tend to think man marking is more instinctual and more successful…it is so easy to flash in front of a defender in ‘their zone’– acting on the front foot… thereby beating them to a ball…I see that play all the time….
        .
        …defender trying to judge whether the ball is coming into ‘their zone’ meanwhile the offensive player is attacking the ball in the air… and a large activity gap seems to exist.

    • It was incredible. Can we get Barrios? That guy was amazing bombing down the right wing. I wish they Union would get a player in his mold.

      • Potentially Ayuk in another 1-3 years.

      • I don’t think Ayuk has that kind of speed. He’s quick, just not speedy. Plus I think Ayuk might have more “tricks” in his bag. I’m all for giving him more minutes. But I still think the team needs a speedy winger besides what Ayuk offers.

      • Barrios was great, but I think a pretty viable option could be Hollingshead at LB. One we need a LB and two guy has stamina and speed he could’ve played for days. I’m ready to make the offer now. Guy was stellar all night, although not tested very much. I think some viable options of players to get from MLS to improve this Union team Hollingshead, Tchani, Poku are some of the guys topping my list. They don’t make a ton of money and they are definitely solid players. I give up Edu Wenger Lahoud.

      • Give up, as in let go, or as in trade? If you mean let go, I’m ok with that. If you are talking trade, I don’t think anyone would give you more than a bag of balls for Wenger or Lahoud. As for Edu, despite being the most valuable of the three, he also costs the most in salary. There are much better (cheaper) options at the positions he plays. I don’t think that would be viable.

      • I’m talking in let go of Wenger his contract is up anyway. As far as trade value I think Lahoud has minimal value as he is good for PR as is Edu. They both have some value on the market however minimal it maybe. To me the way you can get away with trading Edu is for either a larger contract or pay a minimal part of his contract in the trade. In this respect I wonder if say we could trade Edu for someone like Mix I think his contract is larger and he didn’t have quite the season they were hoping. NYCFC gets another US player but maybe someone to play on the backline. We in return get someone who technically could play in a 3 person midfield with Nogs and Barnetta.

  6. The report by FutbolMLS.com in spanish implies that the offer to Veljko Paunovic is for the “Maximo Responsable” which is to say the head manager / coach of the team. I this is true and he accepts, things may not be looking up for Jim Curtin.

    • if this is true and he accepts, call me el más sonriente

      • I would find it very hard to believe that Paunovic was offered the head coaching gig mere weeks after Sugarman said pretty clearly “Jim will be the coach in 2016.” Sure things can and do change rapidly in sports (and with this team) but what would have changed here? All of sudden, Paunovic, who is even less experienced then the still-green Jim Curtin is their dream hire and became available? I dunno man.
        .
        That said, it would make a lot of sense if he’s coming on as an assistant, or as part of the BSFC setup, and I’d be happy to have him in either of those capacities.

      • Paunovic won U-20 World Cup with Serbia, played several years for Atletico Madrid, he is much more qualified than Curtin. Jim would make a great assistant coach.

      • So the Union would replace one in-experienced coach for another. That really doesn’t make much sense. If they were to change the coach, going for someone with more experience, like a Jason Kreis, would be the move.

  7. We should sign some of those U17 Nigerians! Amazing kids who will one day be super stars.

    • American age 17 or African age 17, for 25 bucks you could be any age you want in Africa

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Not gonna lie…thought the same thing.. most of those kids looked pretty mature. Seems the Nigerian kids were bigger stronger and faster to a man than any other team they played… even Mali.

  8. IMG Suncoast Pro Classic Champions and Fair Play Award Winners! WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  9. Looking at the original article, I don’t think the Union have denied the Pauno rumor. The crappy Google translation gets the last sentence of the article wrong. It actually says “FutbolMLS.com consulted with the Philadelphia Union, which did not deny the rumor but preferred not to comment on it.”

    Doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it does at least give more life to the rumor than a direct denial.

  10. If you read between the lines of Paulo Bravo’s comments I would not rule out Zac staying in Colorado, because they are clearly still interested – just not at the cost of a first round pick (and who could blame them) – that was clearly the message so maybe a revised deal gets done?

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