Daily news roundups

Union deals with Houston in the works? Timbers MLS champs, USWNT game cancelled over field conditions, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Portland Timbers, 2015 MLS Cup Champions

Scoring their opening goal in the 27th second — the fastest goal in MLS Cup history — and adding another in the 7th minute, Portland Timbers held on to win the 2015 MLS Cup final, defeating Columbus Crew, 2-1. It was an entertaining, if not sloppy, game (both in terms of play and officiating), and one which could have easily been won by a higher margin. Oh yeah, the Crew fans who pelted Portland players with bottles, cans, and other debris after the Timbers scored their second goal were an embarrassment to their team, fellow supporters, and the league. Props to the large contingent of Portland supporters who traveled to the game.

More on the final at ESPN, Fox Soccer, SIASN, Soccer America, Goal.com, SBIPro Soccer Talk, The Guardian, and the AP.

Philadelphia Union

The league will releases its list of players eligible for the Re-entry Draft and free agency today around 5 pm. The Washington Post’s Steven Goff tweeted, “Expect clubs to announce trades throughout day.”

What could that mean for Union fans? On Friday, Kevin Kinkead tweeted he’s hearing Cristian Maidana might be traded. The next day, MLSsoccer.com Houton Dynamo beat writer Darrell Lovell tweeted there was a “very strong possibility” Maidana would be traded to Houston: “Potential trade could be announced early next week.”

Lovell tweeted soon after, “Andrew Wenger could be on the move to Houston as well.”

The Houston talk naturally led to speculation that Cubo Torres could be on his way to the Union. Lovell tweeted, “Can put that to bed now, he is not on the move.”

Kinkead tweeted on Sunday he expects a Maidana deal will involve the Union receiving allocation money and draft picks rather than a player from Houston. (Presumably the same would hold true if Wenger ends up there?)

At CSN Philly, Ryan Bright talks to Jim Curtin about possible offseason moves, which the Union coach says will be made in accordance with the vision Earnie Stewart has communicated for how the team will play. Curtin says the team is interested in bringing in Jeff Larentowicz, who is a free agent after being out of contract at Chicago. As to the rumors of Maidana being traded, Curtin said, “He’s a good player, Cristian is a really good player. From there, we’ll see. We didn’t make the playoffs, so we’re open to listening and exploring things. We’ll see where it lands.”

Bright also reports the Union is in discussions with the New York Cosmos over the future of Leo Fernandes, who spent the last season on loan with the NASL champions. “He is still a Union player. We are in discussions with the Cosmos as to what is best for both Leo and our club.”

Brotherly Game makes the case for and against keeping Sebastien Le Toux.

The Top 10 moments series at the Union website continues with Andre Blake’s superhuman 10-saves effort in the 1-1 draw with New England versus Tranquillo Barnetta’s first goal for the Union.

Union Academy

On Friday, the Union U-16s defeated FC Golden State, 2-0, at the Development Academy Showcase in Florida. The Union U-16s fell 4-3 to LA Galaxy on Saturday (video of the game here). On Monday morning, the U-16s defeated Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1.

After defeating Georgia United 2-1 on Friday, The U-17/18s drew 1-1 with FC Dallas on Sunday.

Bethlehem Steel

The vote for the name of the recently formed Bethlehem Steel supporters group is open until 3 pm today.

Penn97 talks to the group’s president, Mark Cole.

Local

The Penn State women’s team defeated Duke 1-0 on Sunday to claim its first national championship.

MLS

The league’s Board of Governors has announced their support of expanding the league to 28 teams, with a timeline to be announced at a later date. More on the expansion news at ESPN. Folks are understandably pleased with the news in Sacramento.

Additionally, the board says “More details regarding TAM will be announced in the near future.” The league will also take a two-week break between June 2 and June 14 for the Copa America Centenario and all of the final matches of the 2016 season will be played on the same day during the same time slot.

The Board of Governors also announced their support of the new Beckham United stadium site in Miami. The Miami Herald reported on Friday, “David Beckham on Friday dropped his pursuit of a stadium next to Marlins Park in favor of a nine-acre site on the western edge of Overtown, revealing preliminary land deals with private owners and county officials to secure a Miami home for Major League Soccer,” adding, “The announcement marked the first time in two years that Beckham and his investors said they actually have real estate under contract.” More at Miami New Times, Sun SentinelCBS Miami, South Florida Business Journal, Fox Soccer, and Reuters.

Don Garber talks to the Toronto Sun about MLS matters in Canada. Goal.com has more with Garber.

NYCFC announced on Friday it has exercised the options on ten players, and declined the options on four: Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Jeb Brovsky, Ned Grabavoy, and Pablo Alvarez.

Orlando Sentinel on how free agency might impact the league.

The BBC on how MLS is now thriving.

According to Manchester City Football Administration Officer Brian Marwood, new NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira is being earmarked as future head coach of Manchester City.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald reviews how the league did in terms of TV ratings in 2015.

Is an NASL team to be announced in San Francisco sometime after the Super Bowl with aims to begin play in 2017?

US

Two days day after Megan Rapinoe suffered a torn ACL while training at a different grass-surface training field, US Soccer announced the cancellation of the USWNT-Trinidad and Tobago friendly at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii just hours before the game was to be played on Sunday because of the poor condition of the stadium’s artificial playing surface and small field dimensions. More precisely, concerned about their the players refused to play. As was explained in a statement from the players at The Players’ Tribune,

On Friday at practice, we lost a teammate, Megan Rapinoe, to an ACL injury. Megan’s injury took place while playing on a subpar training field. The grass on the training pitch itself was in bad shape. All along the pitch, sewer plates and plastic coverings were laying on the sidelines.

It wasn’t until we got to Aloha Stadium the next day — the day before the match against Trinidad and Tobago — that we finally saw, for the first time, how bad the stadium’s field truly was. The conditions were such that our coach shortened practice to a brief 30-minute training session so we wouldn’t risk injury before the game. There were sharp rocks ingrained all over the field. They were everywhere. The artificial turf was actually pulling up out of the ground, and the turf itself was both low-grade and aging. This was a playing surface that looked like it hadn’t been replaced in years.

There is a larger, more vital conversation about turf — as it concerns women’s soccer — that continues to make progress. But turf is our reality right now; we play on it all the time. This decision wasn’t about “turf vs. grass.” This was about field conditions and player safety.

It’s as simple as that. Soccer is our job. Our bodies are our jobs. And nothing should ever be put in competition with our protection and safety as players.

With all of that in view, we made our decision: These simply weren’t acceptable conditions for an international match.

Speaking to Fox Sports, Alex Morgan described the playing surface as “horrible.” With the agreement and support of the coaching staff, federation officials were told of the players’ decision. After inspecting the field, they agreed and the match was canceled.

The statement at the Players’ Tribune says, “Usually, for what it’s worth, the Federation will go out to the venue to check out the field months in advance. To our knowledge, this was not done, and the field had only been inspected days prior.” However, stadium officials say federation officials did inspect the playing surface before prior to the signing of the contract to stage the game there. Stadium Authority Chair Charles Toguchi said, “They were OK with the field until it was brought up by the players. And so my question is did they do their due diligence?” Apparently, and shamefully, they did not.

Reports on, and reaction to, the cancellation at The EqualizerYahoo Sports, The Washington Post, and Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

The US squandered a two-goal lead on Friday to draw 2-2 with Mexico at the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 tournament. Heavy rainfall has forced the postponement of Sunday’s scheduled game against Panama to today at 3 pm.

After losing their opening game against England at the Nike International friendlies 3-2, the US U-17s, captained by Union Academy defender Rayshaun McGann, bounced back to defeat the Netherlands, 2-1, in stoppage time only to be defeated in their final game by Brazil, 3-0. McGann did not play in the loss to Brazil.

Elsewhere

Sepp Blatter believes he should get credit for FIFA reforms. But wait, not so fast! The BBC reports, “The FBI is investigating the role played by FIFA president Sepp Blatter in a $100m (£66.2m) bribes scandal, a BBC investigation has discovered.” More at The Guardian.

Meanwhile: “A package of reforms proposed by FIFA to clean up the scandal-plagued governing body of soccer was angrily criticized on Friday by Europe’s powerful clubs, who said it would increase frustration among the sport’s stakeholders. The European Club Association (ECA), which represents more than 200 clubs including top sides like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, said its members were ‘not prepared to be further ignored’ and were leaving ‘all options open.'”

Reuters reports, “European soccer chief Michel Platini’s legal team believes a 23-page memo published by a French newspaper on Sunday could help clear him of wrongdoing and allow him back into the FIFA presidential race.” The 1998 memo “was presented to UEFA executive committee members in November 1998 and mentioned that Platini was being paid 1 million Swiss francs a year for work he was doing for FIFA.”

CONCACAF has provisionally banned seven officials following the latest FIFA corruption indictments, including acting president Alfredo Hawit.

Also from Reuters: “Federal agents boarded a Disney cruise ship in Florida on Friday to arrest a Guatemalan judge who is one of dozens of soccer officials charged by U.S. prosecutors investigating corruption in the sport’s world governing body FIFA.”

More from Reuters: “Ecuador on Saturday ordered the arrest of the president of its soccer federation, Luis Chiriboga, days after U.S. officials announced that he was one of 16 people to be charged in connection with a multi-million dollar bribery scheme. The judge also issued arrest warrants for two other federation officials.”

More still from Reuters: “The former longtime president of Peru’s football federation, Manuel Burga, has been arrested as part of an ongoing US-led investigation into corruption at the sport’s world governing body, FIFA.”

Another from Reuters: “Argentina’s Cabinet Chief ‘ said on Friday he wants the investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal to “cut to the bone” in order to track alleged bribe money that should have been taxed.”

Well known crook Jack Warner says the US investigation into FIFA corruption is part of a US plot to takeover FIFA. “”Since the US is the football police of the world they’re happy the acting president of CONCACAF is the US president of football, so I guess they have won the first stage for now. So let them take over FIFA and let them remove the World Cups from Qatar and Russia, that is all right.”

From the Press Association: “David Beckham has branded FIFA’s corruption scandals “disgusting’ but believes the 2018 and 2022 World Cups should not be moved.”

The Oregonian on how the FIFA corruption arrests are hitting allies of Nike.

From Reuters: “Gillette ended its sponsorship of Brazil’s national soccer team in June, just days after the former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) was arrested as part of a U.S.-led investigation into corruption, a spokesman for the organization confirmed on Sunday.”

Canada Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani says Canada intends to bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

Reuters has a feature on efforts underway in China aimed at helping that country become a global soccer power.

86 Comments

  1. Man that was a sloppy good time of an MLS final yesterday. That match had it all – goalkeeping howlers, a hilariously blown out-of-bounds call leading up to a goal, Jair Maruffo “letting them play”, end-to-end action, dives, Taylor Twellman being incredulous, headers off the post, and did you see Ale Moreno and crew not pulling any punches with Don Garber at halftime? Great stuff.

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    1. Super pumped for the off-season!
    2. The disparity in which the men’s and women’s team are treated is a disgrace.
    3. I love what Berhalter accomplished this year and Colombus are fun to watch, but his substitutions were poor in the last 20 minutes. He depleted his midfield and allowed Portland to control possesion of the game as 5 “forwards” stood on the other end of the field and waited for long-balls. I expected more from him.

  3. If Chaco moves that would be quite disappointing…I’ll leave any sort of in depth analysis till its (1) official and (2) we see what the return is.

    What worries me personally is the power of Curtin. Remember the home opener and “Mens Warehouse” starts Pfeffer over Chaco. I knew it was gonna be a long year then. If Chaco moves it seems Stewart is really listening to ole Jimmy. Chaco was Hackworth guy…

    • Pfeffer did not start the opener. Curtin went 4-4-2 with Sapong and Aristeguieta up top and a midfield of Wenger, Edu, Nogueira, and Le Toux.

      • You are correct! All I remember was Chaco did not start! My bad

      • I should have also mentioned that reason that was given after that game could be the reason he might be traded – he doesn’t fit the formation/style Curtin and now Stewart want to play.

    • I suspect from the Unions perspective it will be an addition by subtraction move. It clears up all doubt on who will play in the middle, it clears up salary cap space, we get a draft pick and some money back. (That somewhat offsets Pontius ridionculous salary.
      .
      I rather have Maidana but there is logic to it.

      • I’m not so sure. Maidana is a fantastic player, but if the Union are stocking TAM and with Stewart at the helm, I’m going to withhold all judgements until March 1.

      • By stocking TAM you mean give it up for Pontius.

    • Chaco, who is probably within his last year or two of his contract, for TAM and a top draft pick [as rumored] is a solid deal. Get value while there is value to be add and trade with a team you’ll see once a season.
      .
      Regarding the draft, there are some top defenders – particularly a LB [Vincent] at Stanford who every Union fan should be watching in the NCAA tourney. In the past the Union have been terrible with the draft, but there is definitely talent out there.

      • I’m okay with trading Chaco to get value in return, but don’t tell me about talent in the draft. There are few players that pan out from the draft and I would not want a rookie LB. It is fine if they trade Chaco get a bunch of allocation money and buy a left back of quality then I am okay with it but lets get some value here. Chaco is a good player and we better get value is all I am saying.

      • There are plenty of players that pan out in the draft. Hell at least two of this season’s best XI were joined MLS from the draft. Take a look back through the first two rounds from the last 6-7 years. There are players out there who can contribute at a high level.

      • Superdraft contributors:
        2010 – Tchani, Opara, Bunbury, Loyd, Okugo, McInerney, Duka, Stephens, Ream, Sinovic, Morrow, Beitashour
        2011 – Nagbe, Kitchen, MacMath, Soares, Sarkodie, Anibaba, Sapong, Bruin, Meram, Brovsky, Farfan, Carrasco, Korb, Jimenez
        2012 – Wenger, Mattocks, Rowe, Silva, Deleon, Finlay, Berry, Hedges, Mallace, Gaddis, Velasquez, Creavalle
        2013 – Farrell, Manneh, Brown, Zimmerman, Kemp, Hollingshead, Opare, Sandoval, Remick, Cochrane
        2014- Blake, Birnbaum, Neumann, Akindele, Mullins, Cochran, McNamara
        2015 – Larin, Shelton, Alashe, Polster, Abdul-Salaam, Parker, Sjoberg, Aguilar, Maganto,
        .
        All of these players have contributed to a team since they were drafted

      • Out of the ones you listed most took a few years to develop. Minus Larin, Sjoberg, and Birnbaum. Plus the only ones on this list I find who I think have strong value are Tchani, Loyd, Sinovic, Kitchen, Nagbe, Meram, Hedges, Manneh, Hollingshead, Birnbaum, and Sjoberg. Most of these guys took at least a 2 yrs to bring about.

      • Polster, Alashe, and Parker have played pretty much all season and are highly rated. But either way all of these players are serious contributors to their squads. Hell even Zardes and Shipp were moments from entering the Superdraft before MLS ruled them as Homegrowns

      • And of that list there are at least 2 dozen players that are regular starters in this league and would replace a spot on the Union’s roster. The key to building a successful, well-rounded squad under a cap system is to find talent in the draft and homegrown systems. Cheap players that can start after a season or two. some immediately.

      • I agree there just don’t agree this team ever knew that. Most of our players are overpaid minus Chaco Nogs and the players at league minimum. Edu is overpaid, Wenger certainly overpaid. Nando overpaid. Vittoria overpaid. Hopefully though with some of these it will be corrected.

      • Agree 100% percent with that sentiment. Can also toss in LeToux as well.

      • The problems is these players have time to develop and the teams to develop them. We need a quality LB now. We can’t wait for a rookie to make a ton of mistakes we’ve seen this before and the Union don’t develop players well. That is why most drafted players have not spent more than 3 years on this team with a few exceptions I think. While they said they wanted to build through the draft and youth this team was never setup to do so correctly. I am fine in drafting a LB to learn or putting one on BSFC, but a quality LB needs to be traded for or bought who can start the majority of games. I want a solidify defensive 4 if that is what they are going to play with and I want it from the start of preseason so they all know how one another works. Organization will be key here. And I am just not feeling confident putting rookie next to marquez with Blake essentially a rookie to in goal.

      • Fair enough. My point was that to categorized the draft as useless is wrong. However, this LB Stanford, by most accounts, is MLS ready. Similar to Birnbaum a few years back

      • Ok I can agree with that the draft is not useless we’ve just had the wrong development of players from it. Yeah and I know nothing about this kid so maybe he is MLS ready. One can hope. I just like to go with more proven commodities in the back. If we wanted to make a play for someone young I would like to go after Hedges or Hollingshead on the backline. But we shall wait and see.

      • I agree. Given a choice, I would take a proven MLS player any day of the week over a draft pick. But most teams aren’t willing to dump cheap[er] American talent off their rosters. Hedges would be a steal.

      • This seems all about the future and filling BSFC. Giving young players a chance to develop. I don’t think we are going to get the starting lb for years this off-season. Unless maybe a young talent steps up. I think they feel they are “solid” at the outside backs. Maybe they give someone a shot to win the spot in the preseason. I just don’t think they see it as a huge priority. Believe in their commitment to building through their youth system. Believe they will fill out rosters with solid MLS veterans with histories of winning. Maybe one to three DP stars if relative value can be seen in possible returns. Low risk, high possible returns. The new Union way.

    • “Men’s Warehouse” doesn’t add any credibility to your argument and it looks more than a little shallow and petty.

      I enjoyed watching Chaco play, but he was either hot or cold with little in between, and it ran about 50/50. Guy also couldn’t play hard for 90 minutes…or 80…or 70. I like him a lot, but I’d value a guy who is less flashy and has a consistently higher work rate.

  4. If we acquire Larentowicz then does Carroll become unnecessary? I don’t think we need two 30+ CDM’s on the team. Though, if Larentowicz is brought in for CB then I think Edu becomes unnecessary, which might be good since he’s way over-paid and is no role model for young guys like Marquez (at least in terms of positional discipline, I’m sure he’s a nice guy).

    • Edu goes back to the midfield. Curtin is determined to make that work.

      • Curtin or Stewart? and maybe Jeff is brought in on the cheap as depth?

      • I didn’t think Edu was worth his salary when playing midfield either. But if he can play consistently, I guess I’d rather have a $700K moderately-above-average midfielder than a $700K average CB

      • I think he is a good midfielder but when healthy and not with Nogs. If he was our mid combined with a traditional dmid he should work out well with Barnetta, Sapong and who ever else.
        .
        That being said I prefer Nogs and any claim to be a moneyball team would prefer him too.

      • True. I prefer Nogs too, though it’d be interesting to see, if we get Larentowicz, to have a diamond midfield with Barnetta, Edu, Nogs and Larentowicz guarding the back. So I’m wondering if Edu and Nogs not working well together is like a rule, or if it’s something that they can overcome. We’d have to pick up a veteran CB though, but I think that midfield would be scary.

      • How do you see Barnetta Edu, Nogs and Larentowitcz in a diamond? You have 3 CDM midfielders with no outside mids and one attacking oriented player. The only thing scary about this midfield would be its inability to score.

      • Crushed on the wings

      • Yeah the wings wouldn’t be too great, but are they now? We don’t actually have any true wingers. And I forgot we don’t have Williams any more. With him and Fabinho the wings could have been covered.
        .
        And I don’t think that Edu and Nogs are CDMs. If Edu’s best position is actually CDM then he doesn’t belong as a DP because he sucks there. But because he is a DP I kind of assumed that CDM wasn’t his best position, that maybe he’s just a box-to-box guy.

      • Sam Philly have you seen Edu play? While he tries to play box to box that is not where any of his ability lies. As an attacking presence he has none. He makes 50 yard or more runs for no reason loves to be in the box but has no finishing talent. In the past yes box to box was where he excelled, but the knowledge and rolls of those players have changed and Edu has not. Plus CDM does not mean box to box it just means a defensive midfielder and they can play box to box. Examples of this would be Tchani, Chara, Nogs, Trapp, Pirlo, Acosta.

      • Larentowicz isn’t worth it to me unless you get rid of both Carroll and Edu. Edu should not be in the midfield. If he is in the midfield for this team its going to be another rough rough season to watch. He just gets in the way in midfield and doesn’t seem to know his role. I want someone like Tchani to sit in with Nogs to allow distribution on offense and disruption on defense.

      • You’ve just identified the best value CDM (Tchani) in the league in terms of talent and salary. That’d be an ideal pick-up

      • I highly doubt Tchani is going anywhere.

      • I agree I only wish we could get him.

      • Polster, Alashe, or Acosta would be nice additions but unlikely as well. I believe Dorman was dropped by NER. Might be worth a look.

      • So correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t Larentowicz play CB last year? Could he come in to slot next to Marquez, letting Edu go back to CDM?

      • Larentowicz has played CB for most of the last two seasons

      • Slightly off topic I think the league would love Edu in a major soccer market like NYC.

      • Called for this earlier in the season trade him to NYCFC for Poku and Brovsky or something like that.

      • That would have been a steal.

      • I’m all about the steals in the beginning of the year after they knew they were getting Pirlo I think it could’ve been pulled off now Poku will warrant a better deal.

      • If I remember correctly, the Union did try to grab Poku during the summer window, but the trade fell through.

      • They did my guess is he became to valuable due to the Union waiting to long to pull a deal together, but I could be wrong.

  5. Just shameful on US Soccer for yesterday’s fiasco on the USWNT. Glad I’m no longer paying dues to be a supporter there.

  6. Lucky Striker says:

    so let’s see………..

    Hard to comment on moves individually until all the work is done. For now, I’m happier with the alleged “culling process” and less so with rumored (and confirmed) additions and retentions.

    Curtin’s 4-2-3-1 that morphs into 4-3-3 when not bunkering returns…..because Curtin returns. Viewing everything in the light of that lens for now.

    Maidana isn’t a good fit. That’s why they grabbed Barnetta. Always liked Wenger the farther from the opponents goal he played……but the Union didn’t have the vision-and now lack the staff/time to develop him they could have put in years ago. He’s regressed into an athlete trying to play soccer. Move him on and fix the fullbacks.

  7. Has any team in MLS history traded the assist leader ever? Perhaps I am just being sentimental, but we aren’t getting a quality player in return?

    • Get value while there is value to be had. I believe he’s out of contract at the end of 2016, but I am not positive.

  8. Tons of comments on the news roundup already…sounds like everyone is excited for the 2016 season to start.

  9. So if Maidana goes, who do we have in our international slots? I think each team gets 7 slots, and last year (we traded one for last year and this year in Sheannon trade mid season) we had Fabinho, Noguiera, Maidana, Fred, Ayuk, Vittoria, and MBohli. Fabinho got a green card right before the Open final and there was talk of Nogs doing same. If they followed through on Nogs and with Maidana, Vittoria, Mbohli, and Fred all gone then we’d have 6 international slots available this year with only Barnetta and Ayuk as internationals. Leaves a lot of room for Stewart to bring in some foreign ringers. I like the sound of that…if they follow through on it.

    • I believe teams get 8 international slots; we’ll have 7 because we decided to give Houston a gift when we also gave them Williams.

      • All the better! As I’m seeing it right now, the Pontius trade, interest in Larentiwicz (he’s a Philly guy!), and trading Maidana all have the feel of Curtin/Albright moves. I wonder if there was a meeting of the minds and it was decided for this year that Jim and Chris handle the moves this year within MLS as Stewart probably isn’t nearly familiar enough with all the league’s players yet. Then if it doesn’t work Stewart will have no qualms replacing Curtin as he gave him the chance to “shop for the groceries”. Stewart is going to handle the international slots (at least I hope he is).

        Edit: forgot about Aristeguieta for last year (and possibly this year?).

        Also, I remember Houston owing us “future considerations” on that Williams trade and many of us saying we have to wait until we see what that is before we judge the trade. It’s about time we cashed in on that somehow.

  10. I appreciate the commenter Jim Presti who has been pretty steadfast with a “wait and see” attitude regarding all moves trades signings draft picks monies ect ect act for the club. I tend to agree. Withholding judgment is healthy and less stressful from my POV.
    .
    We can talk all we want about the many permutations of change we see coming (because it is fun I know and a bit concerning to be true) but the reality is… we will have no real idea about Earnie Stewart’s vision until the season begins which in my opinion will only really even be a glimpse anyway.
    .
    I imagine by kickoff of his second year as Sporting Director we will hopefully see the closer to full realization of his vision. his philosophy and his plan.
    .
    I’ve lobbied for this culling of VPP almost two years and as a result… the only thing to do in the meantime is…..just kind of sit and wonder and wait for Godot.

    • Thanks El Pach. Its easy to make snap judgments, but at least wait until March to get fired up. Lets see how the Re-entry Draft, Superdraft, and transfer window treats the roster – especially with [assuming] Stewart is calling the shots.
      .
      If trading Chaco yields some extra TAM that can be used to sign a stud player, then it’s probably worth it when everything is said and done.

      • Agree wholeheartedly. Can’t evaluate the rumored Maidana trade as a stand-alone item. What’s done with that roster spot and cash acquired? I’m sure Maidana wasn’t comfortable with the likelihood of being a backup midfielder here. Tough to see a talented player move on, but can understand what’s (most likely) behind this move.

    • +1 – It’s like showing up in the middle of a surgery or a construction job. Everything is in disarray and it never looks like it’s going to come together as we would like to imagine it. However, to a professional, they can look at it and understand what has been done, what condition things are in, etc. Primarily because their eye is trained and they also know what to look for.

      Jim is spot on to preach patience right now. With Sak out of the way and Stewart in charge, I feel much better that we’ll have a real long-term plan and not just a plan which constantly changes on a whim.

      • Totally willing to wait and see, but can’t say I am feeling any better. Mostly because I hear a lot of the same talk we have all heard in the past. But we will see.

      • I feel that way about some of the rumors: particularly Larentowicz. But he is also out of contract and could be picked up on a cheap salary like Casey a few years back.

  11. I personally have no issue with Chaco leaving. I’d rather have him, especially cause he is not that expensive, but if things are done with a plan and others are brought in, I can live with it. I think Barnetta fits MLS better than Chaco, and he has the skill to lead and score some goals… something Chaco did not do… granted he was an assist master. I will hold judgment until after the moves are made. We were basically next to last, last season. Change is necessary.
    .
    What better not happen is the trading of Chaco just to pay for Mr. Injury himself, Chris Pontius.

  12. Unrelated… but it looks like Austin Berry isn’t coming back from his loan. FC Cincinnati just announced him as one of their signings for the 2016 season.

  13. For any aficionados — enjoy this article….
    .
    Spot on.
    .
    http://www.espnfc.us/club/portland-timbers/9723/blog/post/2744132/portland-timbers-mls-cup-illustrates-caleb-porter-evolution
    .
    .
    .
    From my POV… anybody who isn’t happy for a guy like Caleb Porter and the hopes for US Soccer related to his growth as a professional manager is plain silly IMO…
    .
    The only real souls who should be pissed off over Timber MLS Cup win are Seattle and Vancouver…otherwise…this is good for the game in our country.
    .
    Caleb Porter is young brash and humble enough to be completely self critical and capable of improvising, adapting then overcoming… the turnaround in Portland is nothing short of remarkable… and a lesson in believing in yourself in the face of withering criticism.
    .
    Congrats to him and the Timbers…. yes yes yes… my default second distant and far removed favorite club.

    • I have to say no problem with the Timbers winning. However, that was a good awful game which disappointed me. It also looks bad if you look at it from an international perspective, terrible officiating, sloppy play, makes the league still look levels below a lot of leagues across the world. I believe this game could have been such a better game and better for the league. I think 9 times out of 10 it would have been this was that one time. Also, can MLS seriously get some new officials how do you not call a ball 2 to 3 yards out of bounds out. It is not like it was a close call.

      • I do not disagree but how many times the world over have we seen the final of a tournament and been disappointed? I’ve watched plenty of Cup Finals and been less than impressed…
        .
        The real litmus test to the development of the game in a developing league was the conference finals. This is the measure stick and I dare say it was the finest soccer (nee futbol) this MLS has seen yet.
        .
        These comments you make Dr Union are littering espnfc. I watched one MLS game all season and, ‘that was God awful’
        .
        It is inauthentic from my POV. Anybody who has watched MLS games recognizes the game was sloppy and a pell mell. Who cares…I was entertained as hell till the second half when Portland bogged the game down…which happens everywhere all the time… Chelsea? but that doesn’t mean to me the league is suffering….save the terrible officiating which is at least consistent.
        .
        mind you I am historically withering of my criticism of the MLS game…but I think for one evening we can just sit back and be content that Oreos are good but Oreos are better with milk… and that when left out Oreos tend to get stale.

      • The sad thing is that both conference finals were shoulders above the actual final in terms of the quality of play. Just such a shame really.

      • I agree it is not an authentic POV the problem is how many people who don’t watch MLS tune in just for a final because it is the final. While I am not a fan of people just coming to a sport knowing nothing about it you have to attract people somewhere and Finals are the best way to do that in the US at least. I agree the conference finals were quite good games. My worries is the people who can help grow the game from a financial stand point are more likely to have seen maybe the final and nothing else.

      • for the record I am not saying your POV/comment is inauthentic … relating the topic to the comment section at espnfc and a good bit of commentary I read there.
        .
        I surmise you watch other games and realize last night was not an actual indicator of the quality of teams playing…
        .
        Still so so so much room for improvement… but it is certainly improving…
        .
        One thing for certain… I wish we had a Kai Kamara.

      • I could make that comment with a few people who played in the playoffs. Like I wish we had Hollingshead, Hedges, Tchani, and Barrios.

      • Toss in Villafana and Afful as well.

      • Just thought of this, but how bout a Afful, Hedges, Marquez, Hollingshead backline. The would be great.

  14. Danny Cruz just penned a goodbye letter to Philly.
    No suprises so far.

  15. One thing not mentioned was that Amherst won their first ever Div 3 Title on Saturday with 3 local players from Harriton (Aoyama #2), Radnor & Episcopal Academy. Well done to them!

  16. So by my account: Cruz, Berry, Casey, and Hoppenot gone. Carroll stays. Anymore?

    • Vitoria, Fred, Bird also out.

      Bummed Casey and the team couldn’t reach an agreement. Couldn’t he be bribed with a few Busch pounders?

      • I know people often write that they laughed out loud when they probably did not, but this is an instance where I did, indeed.

  17. Union have officially announced the Pontius trade. Of interest is that the U are sending regular allocation money and TAM to DC…

  18. Twellman reporting 6th overall pick & “significant” allocation money to Union for Maidana and Wenger. It’s getting interesting…

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