Daily news roundups

Summing up reports on Pontius deal and other Union roster moves, Garber on increasing TAM, more news

Photo: Barb Colligon

Philadelphia Union

On Tuesday morning, PSP contributor Kevin Kinkead reported at CBS Philly that, according to sources, “at least four players will not return” to the Union in 2016. The players first named in the article as not returning are Steven Vitoria, who’s loan from Benfica will be allowed to expire, and Fred, whose option will not be picked up by the team.

Another source tells Kinkead that Eric Bird and Antoine Hoppenot will also not be returning to the team, although the pair, along with Jimmy McLaughlin, could end up with Bethlehem Steel. Kinkead said the status of Brian Carroll and Conor Casey, who are at the end of one-year deals (and who head coach Jim Curtin has discussed in possible player-coach roles with the Union or Bethlehem Steel), is unknown.

Following up on some Twittering from Monday night, Kinkead also reported Danny Cruz, on loan this season to Bodo/Glimt in Norway, will remain in Europe.

Finally, Kinkead’s report said “at least one player has asked for a trade.”

Kinkead also tweeted a reminder that Zac MacMath, who was not retained by Colorado after his year-long loan from the Union, is out of contract after this season, adding he did not know the club’s plans for fellow loanees Leo Fernandes (whom Curtin praised in a late season press conference for his season with New York Cosmos) and Austin Berry. More to the point, Kinkead said in the  tweet, “Nando stays.”

Later on Tuesday, Ives Galarcep reported at Goal.com that the Union would be signing pricey and injury prone Chris Pontius from DC United “in exchange for allocation money” in a deal expected to be announced next week. The Goal.com report was quickly followed by another from Steven Goff at the Washington Post that said the Union “was willing to take him at the $420,000 rate,” which is what DC would have had to pay him if they had picked up his contract option. Goff said Pontius’ departure opens the way for a deal for DC to take Lamar Neagle from Seattle.

A tweet from Goff after the Washington Post report went live said the Union had also declined to pick up the option on defender Ethan White.

So, summing up Tuesday’s reports, the Union’s offseason moves thus far:

IN

  • Chris Pontius

STAYING

  • Fernando Aristeguieta

OUT

  • Eric Bird
  • Danny Cruz
  • Fred
  • Antoine Hoppenot
  • Zac MacMath
  • Steven Vitoria
  • Ethan White
  • “at least one player” who has asked for a trade

POSSIBLY OUT

  • Brian Carroll
  • Conor Casey
  • Jimmy McLaughlin

UNKNOWN

  • Austin Berry
  • Leo Fernandes

Reports on the reports from Kinkead, Galarcep, and Goff at CSN Philly, Brotherly Game (Kinkead, Galarcep), VavelPhilly Sports Nation, Sons of Penn, Penn 97Black and Red United, Sounder at Heart, MLSsoccer.comSBISI, Prost Amerika, and Read US Soccer.

At Philly Sports Nation, BJ Nolek breaks down who on the roster the Union should keep, and who they should let go.

Turning to the preseason, second-year NASL side Jacksonville Armada announced on Tuesday they will host the Union in a friendly on Feb. 6. You will recall Jacksonville defeated the Union 3-1 in their first preseason meeting in February of this year. The game is not part of the annual preseason fan trip, which will take place Feb. 19-22.

At the Union website, the second round of Top Ten Moments continues with John McCarthy’s performance in goal in the US Open Cup quarterfinal win against NYRB versus Eric Ayuk’s counterattacking goal in the same game. That’s not really fair.

At MLSsoccer.com, Brian Carroll talks about his memories of the MLS Cup trophy.

Lehigh Valley Business on the renaming of PPL Park as Talen Energy Stadium:

George Lewis, spokesman for Talen, said – technically – the naming rights to the stadium changed on June 1 of this year. That’s when Talen, formerly PPL EnergyPlus, was spun off from Allentown-based PPL Corp.

“The original plan was that this was part of PPL EnergyPlus, and that the name on the stadium came over to Talen with the spinoff,” Lewis said.

He said the name change was delayed to accommodate the soccer season, which ended for the Union in November.

It would have been inconvenient for the team to switch the name in the middle of the season; we agreed with that,” Lewis said.

I’m pretty sure the 2015 season ended for the Union well before November. Hey-oh!

Brotherly Game on where the Union’s 2010 defenders are now.

Bethlehem Steel

At Philly Sports Nation, Connor Cummings has a Q&A with Mark Cole, the president of the newly formed Bethlehem Steel supporters group. Cole says, “After talking to the Union FO, they told me that efforts would originally be headed up by the Sons of Ben. After meeting with Ami Rivera, the president of the Sons of Ben, she asked if I would like to be the group’s first president, and I couldn’t think of anything else that I’d want to do.” A vote on a name for the group –The Steelworkers Union, The Bridge Builders, and Star City Supporters have been suggested and other names can be submitted here — on Sunday, Dec. 6, with applications being accepted later in December for membership in the group’s board of directors, which will be named in January.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders president Tiago Lopes is stepping down after two years on the job.

Jason Plumhoff’s game winning goal against Pittsburgh Riverhounds on July 26th has been named Harrisburg City Islanders’ Goal of the Year for 2015.

Royersford based West Mont United has partnered with West Ham United North American Academy. The club will host a West Ham North American Academy Showcase in the summer of 2016.

MLS

While news of the Union’s end-of-season roster decisions comes in the form of sources say, rumor, and speculation, three more MLS clubs announced roster moves on Tuesday.

Toronto announced it has exercised the contract options on 13 players, declining the options on goalkeepers Joe Bendik and Chris Konopka, and midfielders Manny Aparicio and Jackson. Forward Robbie Findley’s contract expires at the end of the year.

San Jose has declined the options on six players: forward Mike Fucito, midfielders Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and Khari Stephenson, defenders Paulo Renato and Jordan Stewart, and goalkeeper Tomas Gomez.

Vancouver has also declined the contract options on six players while exercising the options on 10 players. Those whose option was declined are goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, defenders Steven Beitashour, Pa-Modou Kah, and Ethen Sampson, midfielder Andre Lewis, and striker Caleb Clarke. Out of contract are midfielder Mauro Rosales and striker Robert Earnshaw.

On Wednesday morning, NYRB announced it had declined the options on nine players: goalkeeper Kyle Reynish, defenders Roy Miller, Damien Perrinelle and Anthony Wallace, midfielders Shaun Wright-Phillips, Leo Stolz, and Marius Obekop, and forwards Manolo Sanchez and Dane Richards. Discussions continue with Wright-Phillips, Richards, and Reynish, with 21 players currently under contract with the club.

By my count, 11 clubs — Chicago, Montreal, New England, NYRB, Orlando, Toronto, Houston, Kansas City, Salt Lake, San Jose, and Vancouver — have made some kind of end of season roster announcement. It would probably be unreasonable to expect Columbus and Portland to make announcements at this point, which leaves Philadelphia, DC, NYCFC, Colorado, Dallas, LA, and Seattle. One thing is certain: the league will release its list of players eligible for Free Agency and the Re-Entry Draft sometime on Monday.

In a wide ranging Q&A with Grant Wahl at SI, Don Garber said of the possibility the league will increase the amount of Targeted Allocation Money teams can spend, “There is momentum to spend more money in TAM. We will spend some time talking about it at our upcoming board meeting [this Saturday], and we’ll see where it comes out.”

Pushing aside suggestions from some unnamed owners that the league could grow to as many as 40 teams, Garber said, “I think the real story here is we don’t really know how big MLS will be. We do know that it will be bigger, and we do know it will certainly go past 24 teams. But how many teams over what period of time is a guess by anyone at this point.”

Asked if it’s possible the league will evolve into an MLS1 and MLS2, with promotion and relegation in-between, Garber said, “It’s not something we’ve contemplated.”

In the Q&A, Garber continued to prioritize the entrance of an uncertain Miami franchise into the league over the already existing and thriving Sacramento Republic (see below). Garber said, “[T]he question for me is not does Sacramento come in before Miami? It’s more: How do we get Sacramento into MLS? And I have enormous respect for the Republic and their owners and everything they’ve done and the municipal support they have. And I hope we can work together to find a way that they are in MLS.” More comments from Garber on Miami expansion at Fox Soccer and CNBC.

Sacramento Republic stadium rendering

Looks nicer than San Jose’s new stadium.

Meanwhile, Sacramento Republic released on Tuesday renderings of the stadium they want to build to gain a MLS franchise. Reports at Sacramento Business JournalABC10, CBS Sacramento, KCRA, and Fox 40.

Later on Tuesday after the release of the renderings, the Sacramento City Council unanimously approved the term sheet it will present to MLS to further its expansion bid. KCRA notes, “A term sheet effectively spells out the responsibilities of the city and the Sacramento Republic FC in the public-private entertainment venture. It also shows MLS officials the city is prepared to move quickly if, or when, it’s awarded an expansion franchise.” More at Sacramento RepublicSacramento Bee and Capital Public Radio.

US

BREAKING: Jurgen Klinsmann says World Cup qualifying and the Copa America Centenario are the top priorities for the USMNT in 2016. That’s sorted, then.

Reuters reports, “Sports marketing agency IMG and North American company Soccer United Marketing (SUM) have been awarded the commercial rights to next year’s centenary Copa America tournament in the United States, a spokesman for CONCACAF told Reuters on Wednesday.” No surprises there.

The US U-17s, under the direction of former Union head coach John Hackworth, face England today at 6 pm to start the Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood, Fla. With the team is Philadelphia Union Academy defender Rayshaun McGann (MLSsoccer.com reported Union Academy goalkeeper Carlos Dos Santos was also among those called up but he is not on the roster US Soccer released after that report. An unexpected illness or injury, perhaps?) A live stream of the game can be seen on US Soccer’s YouTube channel.

The USWNT is the 23rd most played team worldwide on FIFA 16.

Elsewhere

Reports from the AP and Reuters say FIFA sponsors Anheuser-Busch InBev, Adidas, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Visa have sent a letter to the FIFA executive committee calling for independent oversight of the federation’s reform process.

At ESPN: “Swiss officials have told ESPN FC that it will be at least five years before any cases are brought to court from its investigations against suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter and alleged corruption in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.”

At The Guardian, Gilberto Silva on the general silence from players and coaches on the ongoing FIFA corruption scandals:

I think everyone who loves football – players, ex-players, managers – must stand up and have a say about this. It’s impossible that nobody says anything, that everyone stays quiet. It is very strange. I don’t know why, but I haven’t seen many players or ex-players stand up and say: ‘What’s going on?’ It is very frustrating and disappointing. It is time for a big change and those who made a mistake must be punished. If I do some mistakes in my life I have to pay for it. Why not those people?

I always liked that guy.

More on the five-year anniversary today of the 2010 vote that saw Russia win the hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup, and Qatar the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup, from The Guardian and PA Sport.

The AP reports, “The Singapore businessman Dan Tan has been re-arrested just a week after being released following more than two years in detention on suspicion of coordinating a global football match-fixing syndicate.”

From Gazetta World: “A football game in the Mauritanian Super Cup was bizarrely sent to a penalty shoot-out in the 63rd minute of play after the country’s head of state grew tired with the match.” The head of the Mauritania FA says, “I deny in the strongest terms the intervention of the President of the Republic. The decision was made due ​​to organisational issues in accordance with the presidents and the coaches of the two teams.” He did not say whether “the presidents and coaches” had themselves grown tired of the match.

85 Comments

  1. The Realist Brian says:

    Good stuff, Ed.
    .
    Leo Stoltz is available. I would take that kid quickly.
    .
    Good riddance to the 3rd Property Brother Vittoria. He was a stiff. glad he is gone.
    .
    Nando has potential, but they need a speed guy up top to play off him and CJ.

  2. The only thing that matters to me…. did the new sporting director make this move.
    .
    Answer me that and I can go about my business.
    .
    .
    .
    Dane Richards….just the speedy get behind the defense forward I am asking for… sign him for 2 years before his 31 year old legs go.
    .
    .
    Asked if it’s possible the league will evolve into an MLS1 and MLS2, with promotion and relegation in-between, Garber said, “It’s not something we’ve contemplated.”… – – – Well of course not Don. Let’s just have a league of 40 teams…. that is much much smarter.

    • I’d pass on Richards. He’s a one trick pony and once that speed starts to decline even further, you don’t want him on your roster. You can find a much younger and cheaper version of that type of player.

    • If MLS continues to grow it could easily just split into an Eastern and Western conference. Essentially be like two separate leagues. 18 teams in each conference, 36 teams overall. Balanced home and away schedule within your conference. It would cut down significantly on travel and lead to balanced schedules. Eastern and Western teams wouldn’t play each other at all unless in Open Cup or MLS Cup Final. Similar to baseball before the inter-league crap.

      • The inter league crap is crap. well said. Nothing like playing the other league on the first weekend of the season. makes no sense. I get inter league play but MLB has…in typical “expansive homo sapien fashion” (words chosen very carefully so as not to appear on any blacklists of the government – conspiring towards any socialist agenda…which I’m not—by any means conspiring or arguing for), taken something that is good, made it great then dumbed it down- watered down all the way down – beat you into submission down perverted version of its original Platonic idea.

      • I think that’s the way to do it. I’d like the cup to be separate, too. I think Red Bulls and Dallas should have been named champs of their conference and gotten trophies recognizing what they did. You can retire the Supporters Shield. I don’t think that would change MLS Cup at all.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        We’ve talked about his before and it has merit…So is there a Super Cup then…. which effectively divides the league into 2 separate entities?
        .
        Would there be inter league play at all? It would solve the travel burden.
        .
        Two whole separate playoff formats of equal value? Very interesting and all fodder for the imaginative.

      • Two conferences, East and West. I like Eric’s number of 18 teams in each. Play everybody in your conference home and away, for a balanced 34 game schedule.
        .
        End of season, the top 4 from each conference play a round-robin Sunday-Wednesday-Sunday set. First in the East plays second in the West; First in the West plays second in the East. Those winners meet for MLS cup. Yes, that means MLS cup could have both entrants from the same conference. That’s perfectly OK, in my opinion.
        .
        CONCACAF entries go to Open Cup winner, regular-season East and West winner, and MLS Cup winner.
        .
        All-star game is exactly mid-season and pits East vs West. It’s played on a Saturday or Sunday, and there are no league games during the week before or after the game. That gives all-stars a bit of a break to rest and recover – though of course not as much as non-all-stars would get.
        .
        One of the big “complaints” in baseball was that fans of an NL team never got a chance to see AL players, and vice versa. I think that argument is a load of horse hockey – but those who buy into that school of thought will obviously say the same thing about my setup above.
        .
        (Disclaimer: I spent all of 20 seconds or so thinking on this. I’m sure it has huge, glaring flaws.)

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I actually like all of this. Well done. I would like to see what you could do using a whole minute to think!!

      • As a fan, I want interleague play though…I don’t want Chicago 3 or 4 times and no Robbie Keane/Dempsey/Nagbe/etc. I can live with unbalanced schedule, but not Eastern Conference only. Stars still matter, and a bunch of them play out west.

      • Agreed. Better teams out West than in the East.

      • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

        I think this “see the other stars” was a lot more meaningful before we had as much nationally televised sports as we do now. Suspect by then we’d have a fourth or fifth national game (doubleheaders Friday and Sunday with two teams playing mid-week tilts on Tuesday and Wednesday). With 38 teams, that’s not so hard. And with 12 teams a week in national games, I can’t see how we’d miss out on the best players. As it is, you only see some of the teams each year, and often stars occasionally get to sit out cross-country flights in MLS. I’d rather have every Eastern star come through once, and only once, and see the Western guys on TV.

  3. Pricey and injury prone is no way to go through life, son.

    Would like to see Union sign one of the GK released as a backup for Blake, given his duties with Jamaican NT and his injury history. Some quality vets out there to push him.

  4. So, in review Union spend 500K (between salary and allocation funds) on Chris Pontius while DC gets Neagle for way less…

    • The Realist Brian says:

      IMHO Pontius is better than Neagle. Neagle is too flakey. Just stay healthy, and we do have the best trainer in the league.

      • Best trainer in the league or not how many Union players were injured this season. Almost everyone. Pontius is a risk and right now I don’t think he was a risk worth taking until you clean up the rest of the roster. Only way this pans out is if he was being used as trade bait if you ask me.

      • If it’s true that this is his last year on his current contract, this could be a good gamble, depending on what other moves fall into place between now and the start of the season. So, I’ll withhold verdict until I see what else happens. My assumption, though, is that he’s here and not intended as trade bait.

      • Nobody is trading for him at $420k. Well, except for the Union and Colorado…

    • I’m not that excited about the Pontius move as the first off-season move either. But if it signals the end of the Bedoya pursuit, I’d much rather a 28 year old Pontius for one year at 420k, then a 30 year old Bedoya for 1M+ for multiple years. I’d actually prefer Bedoya without Pontius, but would the Union really sink 25% of their cap into 2 wingers, with one who can’t stay healthy in Pontius? That doesn’t seem very Moneyball-ish.

  5. I am not super psyched about the Pontius deal. If he stays healthy he should be a good if not a bit pricey pick up. But his health is a big if. On the other hand Maidana was a pricey risk with an injury history and he kind of worked out. So who can say.
    .
    As far as who is leaving White is the only surprise to me. I thought he was a serviceable back up. Maybe Berry and the Union patched things up? stranger thinks have happened.
    Yea, not likely.
    .
    Who requested a trade if its not Nogs or Maidana I can live with it. That leaves Edu the only player with much of a trade value. So maybe him. I dunno.

    • One thing that made me feel better about the money for Pontius is that I read somewhere that it is believed to be in the last year of the deal.
      .
      So while the Union are overpaying, they have no commitment after this season.

    • I’m a bit confused by the Pontius deal. Why would they make it, being my confusion. Sure he’s a solid veteran, but the injury prone thing totally turns me off. And the price. Did they not learn their lesson last year after all the injuries? This does not make me happy. As el P says above, who made this decision, and why not a speedy forward, like Richards? I’m not bowled over by Richards by any means. But someone of his ilk would be nice for a change of pace. And Richards I’m sure, would be a lot cheaper.

      • I think he fits in with Curtins vision of solid MLS professionals. He is an above average MLS Player, veteran, versatile up front, clear upgrade over Wenger. So yea if he stays healthy he is a sold pick up. *though he is pricey. **If he stays healthy.
        .
        So from now on Potius** should have his name spelled with Asterisks

      • Ok. I can agree with all that Sieve, and I do. So my major concerns are that 1) Injuries, and how they hindered the Union last year. 2) There isn’t much difference between Pontius/Sapong/Nando. So are they gonna try and play him in the middle?

      • I think he will take Wengers slot.
        .
        For now.

      • Pontius is a LW in a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1. He is not a target forward. He was picked up because he’s a proven MLS player. Players can bounce back from injuries.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        Perhaps because Stewart has a vision as to how he would like to play the game. Although Pontius is older and expensive, so is Barnetta. The plan is most likely to bring in the caliber of player who can play the style they want and then begin integrating the younger players such as those at Steel and the academy into first team practices so they begin to understand how the U’s style of the game will be played. Couple this with the option decline on White(who only plays long ball and couldn’t spell possesion with the help from an IPhone) and you can start to see what they are trying to get at. I dont think anyone thinks Pontius helps you win a champioship next year, but he may start to cement a little thing someone on here calls “Vision. Philosophy. Plan.”

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Now we’re getting somewhere. A cogent explanation. Thank you Mr. C.

    • I think it’s Edu. I imagine he had a sit down with Curtin about whether he’s playing CB next season and didn’t like what he heard. Which would really suck, because if he committed to it he could be one of the best in the league.

      • Seems like it’s Edu for that reason, or Chaco due to a change in playing style and a strong likelihood that Barnetta and Pontius occupy the CAM and LM/LF slots, respectively.

      • +1 I’m betting Maidana. Curtin is not high on him and Barnetta is moving centrally. No place really for him.

      • I agree. That last regular season game was pretty telling, in my opinion. Chaco had a shot at the assist title and didn’t play, while Barnetta started at CAM.

      • Yeah, I could see that too which would be a real shame. Chaco is a very good player but Curtin seems to have a problem with his effort and focus at times…which I get to some extent, but I don’t think it’s to the point where he’s a liability..

      • He’s extremely talented at what he does, but his weaknesses do force your hand a bit as to what formation you can play and the types of players to pair with him. I’d love to see him on the roster as a weapon, but is he okay with more of a part time role? That’s why he seems the most likely trade requestor…I’m not sure if I can see Edu making that request, despite the CM/CB debate.

      • Maybe calling Chaco a defensive liability is too strong. But you also couldn’t say he helps defensively. I’ve been ok with letting Chaco go since the middle of last season when Barnetta first played the #10 role.

      • Still not okay with letting Chaco go, but mostly cause I still want Barnetta on the left I think it is his best spot and always has been. We still have no new LB we still have no consistent LW. Barnetta is the left side of this team in my opinion and has to remain there until things are addressed.

      • I have to disagree Dr. Barnetta offers more in the middle than Chaco. He’s better defensively. Makes late runs into the box, where he actually shoots the ball. Barnetta plays the #10 role in a more traditional way which allows the players around him to function more effectively than when Chaco floats out to the flanks. Yes this leaves the left empty, but if they fill it with Bedoya, it’s a way better set up.

      • With other people purchased I can agree with you, but until that happens to me Barnetta is the left side and has to stay there. If you replace Chaco in the middle then you still need a LM/LW and RM/RW. If you keep Chaco to me you have Chaco CAM and Barnetta LM then you only need someone on the right side. Its more a numbers organizational thing to me then who offers more at the number 10 role. Because Barnetta can still be effective with Chaco and be effective on the left as we have seen.

    • White might still be back. This looks like a money decision by the Union and they might try to renegotiate. White made $125k last year which is a lot for an error-prone 3rd centerback, and absolutely no one is going to take him in the 1st round of the Reentry Draft at that number. He will be making less money with the Union or less money elsewhere.

  6. “At Philly Sports Nation, BJ Nolek breaks down who on the roster the Union should keep, and who they should let go.”
    .
    This article is a train wreck. I wanted to click away, but couldn’t…

    • I stopped reading after the claim that Ray Gaddis will be 29 next year.

      • If you hung in there you would have learned that Pontius was brought in to replace Carroll.

      • And that Nogs is “[s]till getting caught up front trying to [sic] many tricky passes..”
        .
        Or, that he rates Fabinho 4.5 out of 5 stars.
        .
        Or that he rates John McCarthy as 5 out of 5 stars. And says, “Great for the club both skill wise and selling tickets. You need him to continue to sell out the place.”
        .
        And… and… gah!

    • Hilarious – you know an article is gonna be bad when they use the silly US soccer marketing phrase from 30 years ago, “kick in the grass”.

      My favorite part is when the writer speculates that perhaps Pontius has been brought in to replace Carroll. Well done, sir.

    • Nothing says journalism like the internet…. 🙂
      .
      and some here have balked at Mr. Walsh for his pieces.

    • All I can say is that after following links to other sites, it reaffirms how good this site is. And BOLLOCKS to those who say different!

    • I think the guy who wrote this article buys the row of seats in front of us (at the back of 135) on Stubhub and then brings all his drunk college buddies to the game wearing a Phillies shirt and yelling about how this isn’t the Premier League and then passes out around the 70th minute. Note; poor grammar was on purpose.

      Creavelle a 3.5??? In what world? Also agree with all other points

    • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

      I believe BJ Nolek is actually a nom de trolle for Ben Olsen. Or maybe it’s just an outright pseudonym for Sak. Or maybe el Pachyderm found a more prominent outlet for his sarcastic humor. So. Many. Choices. For. Oh. My. God. Bad.

  7. Can ANY-ONE anyone at all! confirm who is driving the ship for our Union on this Pontius deal.
    .
    Seems to me I keep getting ignored and I think it is a fair question.
    .
    “….Point of parliamentary procedure”

    • on the surface it is consistent with Curtin/Albright.

    • I can’t imagine they would make this move without input from Stewart. Right? I hope. He did say he planned on being in on moves before his official starting date. Still, it’s a bit worrying to me.

    • … I was at a seance the other night and this was one of the topics when we communed with Bobby Moore. later, the tarot card reader had no info … let me grab a pigeon or two and my knives, i’ll get back to you.

    • Hear Hear!! I second that! We NEED answers!!!

    • I guess they need the official window to open before they can make announcements. Kinkead’s rumor that someone on the team has asked for a trade suggests there’s another shoe to be dropped.
      .
      I also can’t imagine Curtin would do this without Stewart’s blessing. If he did, we have big problems. But I don’t think so. I don’t see Curtin NOT being a good soldier/team player.

    • I’m think Stewart’s plan is for a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 youth to 1st team. So Curtin/Albright went looking for an available LW who fits the mold. Just my thoughts. I would be surprised if Stewart had no input.

      • So something else I have heard is that Stewart and Pontius played together so it could be for this reason he was brought in as someone to back up Stewarts vision for the future of this team.

      • That was my first thought, but Stewart played with DC in 2004. Pontius didn’t join the team until 2009.

      • Stewart and Pontius did both play for DC United but their times there did not overlap.

  8. So after some reflection, I have decided to go with a different take on Pontius. If the Union could take Pontius over/instead of Vittoria or Mbaddi, would you take the deal (yes Mbaddi is kind of irrelevant, and yes neither plays the same position)? I think almost all of us would say yes. Looking at it in this way puts it in perspective for me.

    • It could, ironically, signal a youth movement of sorts. If you have a couple of cagey veterans (Nogs, Barnetta, Pontius, LeToux), you can bring up a new generation of players to learn how to be a professional.
      I know it seems backwards, but he is exactly the kind of player you want mentoring your younger players. Much in the same way that Carroll (maybe not returning as a player) and Casey do now (same boat as Carroll?)

  9. Don’t we already have MLS1 and MLS2? West and East? “Hey-oh!!”

  10. John Osborn says:

    FWIW: I lived in the San Francisco area and San Jose’s new stadium is awesome! It’s in San Jose, across from the airport, and there’s plenty of parking. Plus it’s a huge step up from their old home, Santa Clara University’s Buckshaw Stadium.

    • Good to know! I’ve got some friends and family in the Bay Area and I was thinking of taking a trip and making that a part of it if the Union play there next year.

    • I’m happy that the Quakes were able to get away from their groundshare with a college team. It’s bush league, and new stadiums make the MLS look more credible. Hell, I love singing songs about RFK falling down, but DC United still playing there is a disgrace. Their fans deserve better. John (or anyone), back to San Jose’s stadium…..what’s up with the open end? Is it always going to be like that, or are they going to add seats if demand dictates it? The stadium looks great from what I can see from TV, but the open end looks a little…..strange. Maybe not if you’re there, though.

  11. Oh yeah! I’m definitely down for more nerdy local hitsroy exploration. The best part of the tour may have been telling people after that I spent my Saturday riding around in a bus with Red Hat ladies looking at a senior center that used to be the location of a nefarious gangster speakeasy.That, or that the driver, Les, tried to speed away in the bus every time Dillinger got to the part of his story where the gansters made their escape.

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