Daily news roundups

Re-Entry Draft today, Stewart introduced, updated roster info. more news

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Right then, Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft takes place today beginning at 3 pm. Closer looks at players available in the draft, as well as some top free agent possibilities, at Goal.com and SBI.

The Union finally released updated roster information on Thursday. The roster now looks like this:

  • Goalkeepers (2): Andre Blake, John McCarthy.
  • Defenders: (3): Maurice Edu, Raymon Gaddis, Richie Marquez.
  • Midfielders (8): Eric Ayuk, Tranquillo Barnetta, Leo Fernandes, Sebastien Le Toux, Vincent Nogueira, Zach Pfeffer, Chris Pontius.
  • Forwards (1): C.J. Sapong.

That’s right, the Union roster currently consists of 14 players. Negotiations are underway with Fabinho, Brian Carroll, and Michael Lahoud (out of contract) and Warren Creavalle (Re-Entry Draft eligible). Fernando Aristeguieta is on loan through the end of the season and discussions are ongoing with Nantes to extend that. The announcement also says Brian Sylvestre remains on loan with the team, although there is no mention of when the loan expires. Between the SuperDraft — in which the Union has two first round picks (Top Drawer Soccer ranks players projected to be available in the draft) — and other acquisitions, it’s going to be a busy offseason. Maybe the ball gets rolling with today’s Re-Entry Draft…

Hopefully, an expanded scouting network will pay real dividends, and fast.

Gone from the Union roster are Zac MacMath, Steven Vitoria, Fred, Eric Bird, Danny Cruz, Jimmy McLaughlin, Dzenan Catic, Conor Casey, and Antoine Hoppenot (options declined). Cristian Maidana, Andrew Wenger, and Ethan White (see below) have been traded. Austin Berry has signed with FC Cincinnati. More on the roster announcement at PSP, Philadelphia InquirerMLSsoccer.comBrotherly Game, and Philly Sports Network.

Stewart introduced

New Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart was introduced to the press on Thursday (full transcript here at PSP). Stewart was reluctant to get into specifics, be it in terms of the reasoning behind trading Maidana (“I don’t want to get into individual names”) or how the team will play (“[I]t’s not my style…I want to make sure that we have a playing style that fits for the fans of Philadelphia and that we all can identify ourselves with.”). Matthew De George explains at the Delco Times,

He deflected inquiries on most specifics — player moves, bigger-picture issues like style of play or formation — choosing to highlight the core foundational elements that drew him to the Union instead. The tenets of his process shone through loud and clear: Communication with coach Jim Curtin and his staff, collaboration in player acquisitions, integration of first-team methods from the top down through practice, USL club Bethlehem Steel and all levels of the academy.

Stewart also underscored that success is built and does not come overnight, especially the kind of long term success that he wants to build. More on the Stewart press conference at Philadelphia UnionDelco Times, Philadelphia InquirerCSN Philly, MLSsoccer.com, SBI, and the AP.

Stewart’s embrace of a data-driven “Moneyball” approach resonates with Union owner Jay Sugarman. Sugarman explained,

I’ve been on a little bit of an island trying to really get this organization focused on exploiting the edge. Where can we find things that other people aren’t looking at that we can be best at? I think we have a common interest in doing that. I think AZ Alkmaar had to do the same thing. When I saw that he had hired Billy Beane, I was like, ‘Ah, common soul.’ It’s not like we won’t have to spend to get great players. We will have to spend. But I want 125 percent of what everyone else sees in that player. And I want a process to really identify that player, why they’re going to fit into the Union and make the three players around them better. And that’s where I think we saw eye-to-eye very quickly.

In his introductory remarks, Sugarman also described another edge to exploit in the form of  the team’s new training center, which will also be the home of the team’s new sports performance department and Sugarman described “is run by leading-edge athletic department experts, and utilizes innovative facilities, and innovative training programs.” The Union owner said after the press conference,

I’m always looking for competitive advantages.Where can we be better? We had a bunch of players who didn’t play last year. We didn’t have the depth to overcome losing Mo (Edu), Vincent (Nogueira) and Fernando (Aristeguieta).

We need to be one of the top teams in keeping our team on the field. We think we’ve got some incredible resources that really haven’t been integrated into the process. We’re going to have the ability to develop them to their full potential. We have not had that in place.

Along with the training fields that were opened in the shadow of Talen Energy Stadium earlier this year, the new training center represents a $10 million investment.

White trade and other news

As mentioned above, Ethan White was traded on Thursday, going to NYCFC in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2017 SuperDraft. White said of the trade, “I’m really pleased. It’s a great opportunity for me to join an exciting club that’s looking to do big things.” NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said, “We are excited to add an athletic and experienced center half.” Empire of Soccer reports White will not join the team for tonight’s friendly in Puerto Rico “having made previous plans.” More on the White trade at PSP, Philadelphia Union, CSN Philly, Philly Sports Network, MLSsoccer.com, NYCFCBig Apple Soccer, Hudson River BlueMetro Soccer Nation, SBISoccer AmericaVavel, and Read US Soccer.

At Brotherly Game, Andrew Stoltzfus plays GM in a hypothetical rebuilding of the Union roster.

Rochester Rhinos left back Onua Thomas Obasi, who trained with the Union after the close of the USL season in October, is now a free agent and Jim Curtin said of the defender in October,

Obasi, a player who’s had a great season for Rochester, played against us, a guy we monitored all year, a guy we’re high on, put in the 30 games that I talked about in the USL Pro, and we evaluate him now and see if he’s ready to take that next step at a key position, a left back position that’s a tough one for clubs all MLS and the world to find. Unique skill set, he’s taller than me – 6ft 4in, 6ft 5in — and has very good feet and is composed on the ball, good passer. Great first day but, again, one day. So, again, he’ll have to put together a good week and then we’ll make an assessment there. But, impressive.

Former Union trialist Wilson Palacios has signed with new NASL side Miami FC.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel announced on Friday morning that Rich Searls has been named managing director. Searls, who most recently was director of sales at New York Cosmos, and before that was with NYRB from 2003 to 2011, “will oversee all business operations for the expansion club.”

Local

The PDL — home to Reading United, Lehigh Valley United, and Ocean City Nor’easters —  has unveiled a new league logo. It makes me think of Texas.

New DC United CrestMLS

DC United unveiled their new crest on Thursday. United COO Tom Hunt describes the new look as “more of a modern evolution than a revolution.” More on the new logo at Washington Post, MLSsoccer.com.

Sebastian Giovinco to Sky Sports Italy: “I want to finish my career in [North] America, that is my dream. I am very happy where I am, it’s true that I miss matches like Juventus vs. Fiorentina, but I’m doing very well here.”

Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman says he’d consider extending his contract. The 30-year-old defender of the year signed a three-year deal in January.

On Orlando as the “soccer capital of the South.”

The Guardian on how “Miami’s complex politics” have complicated Beckham United’s efforts to find a site for a stadium.

A committee of city aldermen approved a financing plan for a new $1 billion NFL stadium in St. Louis that could also house a MLS team.

NWSL

Chicago Red Stars will play the 2016 season at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire.

US

The USWNT defeated Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 on Thursday in the latest World Cup Victory Tour game. Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan opened the scoring in the first half (LLoyd from the penalty spot) with Christen Press scored a second-half hat trick, and Lindsey Horan (who also had two assists) adding a stoppage time goal. The shine may be coming off the tour, littered as it has been with uncompetitive opponents and now in its fifth month since July’s World Cup win. Only 10,690 were on hand for the game.

Lauren Holiday, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo have been nominated for US Soccer’s Female Player of the Year award. The winner will be announced before Wednesday’s Victory Tour game against China.

The US Olympic Committee has named the USWNT its Olympic Team of the Year.

Yahoo Sports on Alex Morgan’s emergence as a vocal leader on the USWNT.

Mother Jones talks to Hope Solo about the USWNT’s refusal to play at Aloha Stadium because of the unsafe condition of the artificial surface, and more.

ESPN reports the USMNT will open up 2016 with a friendly against Iceland on Jan. 31. The game, which would be played at the StubHub Center, has not been confirmed by US Soccer. Doug McIntyre writes the Iceland match “would be the first of two games a mostly MLS-based U.S. squad would play near the end of the annual year-opening camp. The second match is slated for early February, also in the western United States. And a source has indicated that Canada is the potential opponent.”

Might Israeli-American midfielder Kenny Saief, who plays with Gent in the Belgian first division, be getting a call-up from Jurgen Klinsmann? More at SBI.

Elsewhere

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld the 90-day ban on Michel Platini but has also ruled FIFA cannot extend the provisional ban. Reports at ESPN, The Guardian, and the AP.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle talks to FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.

The AP reports, “The number of racist displays by Russian football fans has doubled in the country which will host the World Cup in 2018, with most cases going unpunished, anti-discrimination campaigners say.”

InsightCrime.org reports, “The brother of the alleged leader of a prominent drug trafficking organization in Guatemala has taken over as the interim president of the country’s soccer federation, a striking illustration of the close ties between organized crime and soccer in the region. In a December 7 press release, the National Soccer Federation of Guatemala (FEDEFUT) stated that Milton Mendoza Matta is acting as the federation’s interim president.” Mendoza’s brother, Haroldo Mendoza Matta, is the alleged ringleader of the Mendoza drug trafficking group based in the northern province of Peten, who was captured in November 2014. The report notes, “Mendoza’s ascendance in in the world of Guatemalan soccer —  despite belonging to a notorious drug trafficking family — is one example of the deep ties between the sport and organized crime throughout Central America’s Northern Triangle region (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras).

From the AP: “The Spanish soccer federation on Thursday confirmed Real Madrid’s disqualification from the Copa del Rey because of an ineligible player.”

This: “The French international Karim Benzema, under formal investigation in connection with an alleged attempt to blackmail a fellow player, has been suspended from the national team, the head of the French Football Federation said.”

Sad news: “Arnold Peralta, the former Rangers midfielder, has been shot dead in a shopping mall parking lot in his home town of La Ceiba on the Caribbean coast of Honduras.”

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

25 Comments

  1. I’m sure Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo will love Ethan White… as he repeatedly kicks the ball over their heads to David Villa.
    .
    Yeah…I said it.
    .
    Something about DC United crest reminds me of Third Reich…. can’t put a finger on it.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      Maybe DC is preparing in the unfortunate event that Trump is elected president…..

    • It’s the bird. And the black.

      • Just finished the first season last night. Highly recommend it!

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I’m a few episodes in. Great show!

      • Gotta warn you:
        .
        They haven’t confirmed a second season yet and how it leaves off puts you in a real “what the eff” state of mind.
        .
        The viewing numbers are good enough that a second season will likely come but it is going to be a long wait.
        .
        I can see myself trying to fall asleep three months from now still mumbling “what the hell”.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Dammit. They should at least give them the second season to wrap it up.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      My own reaction to the DC crest is that it feels German, but not The era of the third Reich. The style of the eagle, and the strongly contrasting red and white on a black background with no artistic devices to soften the message reminds me of some of the German WW1 propaganda posters in the book of such posters from that war from all the participants that is, or at least was, published by the National Archives.
      .
      Now, there is a school of thought that emphasizes how much of WW2’s methods of running a war, used by all sides, descend from the practices Germany instituted in October, 1916 when Hindenburg-Ludendorff took over running the government, in effect, after the fall of Bethmann-Hollweg as Chancellor. So there is quite likely validity to instinctive sense of the Thirties and Forties in Germany.

    • The Oenophile says:

      Double headed eagle would have nailed it.

      • you don't want to know says:

        The double headed eagle goes back through millennia…Byzantines, Hiitites, etc, etc…. The eagle has always been a symbol of strength. Look at our own symbology. West Chester United uses it (double-headed, that is). There’s a long and interesting history here. Heck, even the swastika goes back to Hinduism, Budhism, and the Anaszi (among others) and a sign of “centrality.” This oversimplifies it. There’s a lot more here. I might suggest we leave this “single-stop” in history before it gets too far. However, I get it.

      • you don't want to know says:

        Hey, guys… I didn’t want to get political with my comment above. Nothing intended there. Just wanted to chime in on the history of the eagle. Probably should have left the swastika out. my bad. just reference. It’s all good stuff we could talk about for hours. History is cool. We learn a lot about ourselves from it. It provides a framework, a sounding board, it challenges us to challenge ourselves.
        yeah…no soccer, just banter…

  2. I just saw that we traded MacMath for a 2nd round pick. I guess this was a sign-and-trade? Either way…they’re doing a good job of picking up assets for players that would otherwise have left for nothing.

  3. i hope we pick up jon busch in whichever re entry draft/ free agency situation he is in. i’ve always wanted him on this team because he looks like leland palmer

  4. Tannenwald has been tweeting some bits of interest. To summarize:
    .
    Union academy alumni Darius Madison has been invited to the MLS combine but is eligible to be signed to a homegrown contract. He will still homegrown eligible even if he takes part in the combine up until, what I can only guess, would be the deadline for entering the draft.

  5. This thing about Karim Benzema is surpassingly weird. WTF?!?

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