Daily news roundups

Notes from the SuperDraft, Fabinho deal confirmed, Pires’ regrets, more news

Photo: Ed Farnsworth

Philadelphia Union

So, did the Union win the draft, or did they get it right and then screw things up?

The move to take Joshua Yaro — a leading contender for the No. 1 pick — at No. 2 is not being questioned, although everyone wants to know just who is “the player to be named later” that was traded to Colorado as part of the deal to get the No. 2 pick.

The question revolves around the selection of Keegan Rosenberry with the No. 3 pick rather than left back Brandon Vincent, who was promptly selected by Chicago at No. 4 after the Fire traded No. 1 pick Jack Harrison to NYCFC. The issue, as Kevin Kinkead makes clear in a piece at CBS Philly, is not Rosenberry, who in a just world would’ve already been signed by the Union as a Homegrown player. Rather, it’s that they picked Rosenberry when Vincent was still available, that Vincent would’ve filled a position of need that has been a real concern since the departure of Jordan Harvey in 2011, that the Union could’ve selected Vincent at No. 3 and likely picked up Rosenberry with their No. 6 pick, which instead was used to select Fabian Herbers who, like Joshua Yaro, is a money saver for the team in being a Generation adidas player but also, like Yaro, will take up an international spot on the Union roster. It must be said, however, the Union addressed the left back issue in selecting Taylor Washington in the second round. It must also be said that Washington is not at the USMNT camp.

Early opinions are in the Union’s favor. ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, and SI’s Liviu Bird, says the Union won the draft, and Goal.com, The GuardianFourFourTwo and Bleacher Report all count the team among the day’s winners.

At MLSsoccer.com, Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle writes, “Having three of the first six picks is kind of insane. And the Union may have done something insane” by passing over Vincent for Georgetown teammates Yaro and Rosenberry, concluding, “Philly gambled a lot today. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that.”

Jim Curtin and Earnie Stewart made clear they were very pleased with their selections. Some select quotes:

  • Stewart on the day: “I didn’t sleep very well last night because we had all kinds of plots up our sleeves to try and get the No. 2 spot. It was exciting. We succeeded in the things we wanted to do. Good day.”
  • Stewart on Yaro: “The main part for us is that we wanted to get Yaro very bad and we got to the second position.”
  • Stewart on selecting Georgetown teammates Yaro and Rosenberry: “It makes it even more gratifying when you see they way they congratulated each other when they were both picked. That’s major for us in what we want to do. We want to be together, we want to be a team, and two players that have played together in the past and for the next coming years are going to play together, that’s going to be fantastic.” (Great video of Yaro and Rosenberry hugging after their selection.)
  • Curtin on the day: “A lot of things were in the works going into it. A lot of discussions over the past week, and it played out well for us. We’re really happy with the talent we brought in. In Yaro and Rosenberry, you get anchors for your defense for many years to come. They are good, young players who know each other well, who understand each other, and guys we’ve monitored very closely. Then Herbers, to fall to No. 6, we’re happy with that as well. He was a guy we were very high on.”
  • Curtin on Yaro: “Yaro is a center-back for me, and for him as well. He answered the question quickly, and with conviction, so we’re on the same page, which is good as well.”
  • Curtin on how Rosenberry’s showing at the combine influenced the decision to take him at No. 3: “Keegan’s a guy we’ve always been high on, a guy who I’ve coached since he was 16, a guy who’s had a heck of a career at Georgetown, a guy whose stock this week at the combine soared…He showed to a lot of other people what we already knew. The secret was out. A lot of the teams were talking about him as a top-eight pick. We were concerned. We had a couple teams below us that we thought might take a shot at him, so we pulled the trigger there and we were fortunate to get him.”
  • Stewart on not waiting to select Rosenberry at No. 6: “We didn’t believe that he was going to drop that far. For us, he was an asset for our thoughts and our plans of how we want to build our team and build our foundation for a long time to come. I don’t think that was reaching at all. We were very, very keen on getting him.
  • Curtin on Herbers: “We get a player who is a proven goal-scorer at the college level. Over the years, that usually translates pretty well to the pro game. Fabian is another guy who, he went six, maybe not in the top five like people were expecting, but he’s a guy that we value very much and a great attacking player that we’re excited for.”
  • Curtin in selecting Washington: “We’re happy with the depth we have at each spot. We have two at each position and we’ll have good competition in preseason.”
  • Curtin on strengthening the defense in the draft: “We knew we needed to strengthen the defense. We’ve given up too many goals in the past two years. It was important to stress that the defenders we drafted all can play with their feet. They can all pass out of the back and be the first line to start our attacks and our possession. It’ll be a bit of a new style that we’ll have and we’re excited to unveil it.”

More on the Union’s draft day at Philadelphia Union, MLSsoccer.comPhiladelphia InquirerDaily News, Delco Times (1, 2), CBS Philly, CSN PhillyUnion Tally, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, VavelGoal.com, SBI, and beIN Sports.

Local coverage on each of the Union selections:

Don’t forget, rounds 3 and 4 of the draft will take place on Tuesday. Even without that, the Union still have an awful lot of roster spots to fill.

Fabinho deal confirmed, Curtin on Conceição

Stewart and Curtin confirmed Fabinho has a new deal with the Union. Matthew De George reports at the Delco Times, “Curtin christened Fabinho as the incumbent starter at the position entering camp.”

Stewart said at the draft of Anderson Conceição, “It’s been a long while that we’ve been busy with him. The way we believe we need to build from the back with a left central defender that has a left foot. They’re very hard to get. This is a good thing for us because he has a great left foot. This gives us a little more depth in how we want to start our attack.”

Al Dia notes the addition of two Latino players to the Union roser in Conceição and Walter Restrepo.

Sons of Penn wonders if the arrival of Restrepo could signal a formation change.

Interesting read at Vice Sports on questions about former Union man Freddy Adu’s age.

Robert Pires says he regrets not joining the Union in 2010: “I don’t know [what happened] – I wanted to go, of course. If you have the chance to go to MLS, it is a good opportunity. I spoke with [Nowak] and he said, ‘OK, I talk with you later’ and I didn’t get an answer. I don’t know for Philadelphia but for me it was a shame.” You will recall at the time of the transfer talk back in 2010 Pires said, “I don’t want to be fussy but if I have to go far away with my family, I prefer to do it in a beautiful town.”


Three Reading United alums –Keegan Rosenberry, Jordan McCrary, and Neco Brett — were selected in Thursday’s draft.


For more on Thursday’s SuperDraft, mosey on over to the league website.

Player moves:

  • La Galaxy have signed Mike Magee.
  • LAG have also signed Ghanaian forward Emmanuel Boateng, who joins the club from Helsingborgs IF in Sweden. Incidentally, Boateng was a classmate of Union draft pick Joshua Yaro in high school in California.
  • Seattle have acquired defender Joevin Jones from Chicago in a draft day trade.

Sounders target Jordan Morris is extending his training stint/trial with Werder Bremen.

Goal.com reports Colorado, in trading with Chicago to acquire the top spot in the allocation order, is not trying to sign Alejandro Bedoya. Rapids technical director Paul Bravo said, “We tried to make it happen but Nantes is not selling.” Jeff Carlisle reports Colorado wants to knab — wait for it — Tim Howard.

Don Garber is hopeful Didier Drogba will be back in 2016.

Garber also said the departure of the Rams from St. Louis “gives a little more momentum” to hopes there in landing a MLS franchise.

Marco Pappa was stabbed by Miss Washington USA, a former Lingerie Football League quarterback, who just resigned her beauty pageant title because she failed to disclose a DUI arrest? What the? Here’s more.

The league announced its club and executive award winners on Thursday. None for the Union.


Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson:

I don’t think you’re going to find a single MLS owner who’s going to be an advocate for Jurgen Klinsmann. This is a guy who’s got a clear agenda that’s an anti-MLS agenda. He makes emotional decisions. Landon Donovan would be a case in point. There’s very much an agenda to get people playing abroad and probably rewarding some people playing abroad who don’t deserve to be playing. That’s one opinion, that’s my opinion.

Abby Wambach talks to Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.

Forbes says the Copa AMerica Centenario could be the biggest sporting event in the US this summer.


CONCACAF will conven an extraordinary congress on Feb. 25 in Zurich to “vote on reforms, including revisions to CONCACAF’s statutes.”

ESPN reports, “The Mexican Football Federation will appeal the fine and warning it received from FIFA for what the organization deemed ‘homophobic chants from supporters.'” The chant is, of course, the “puto” chant that is shouted when opposing goalkeepers kick the ball. ESPN says, according to Mexican football federation general secretary Guillermo Cantu, “Mexico’s defense of the $20,000 fine is that the shout ‘is not discriminatory’ and that ‘you have to understand some words culturally,'” which is some of the weakest shite I’ve heard in a while. Cantu also said, “This came up years ago, in the World Cup and the result was favorable. We have a precedent in our favor.”

From FIFA: “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned Spanish clubs Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid for breaches relating to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.” The clubs are banned from registering new players in the next two transfer windows. Both clubs will appeal.

The FIFA ethics committee says it banned Harold Mayne-Nicholls of Chile, a bid inspector for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, for “repeatedly ask[ing] for personal favors related to the hosting and training of his relatives (a son, nephew and brother-in-law).” The AP reports, “The bidder and institution were not identified, though it was previously reported Mayne-Nicholls approached the Aspire center in Doha about unpaid work and intern positions. The youth academy was linked to Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup hosting bid.” Mayne-Nicholls was banned for seven years in July. More at Reuters.


  1. Well done yesterday men…a good start it seems.

  2. Very happy with the draft. Anyone would have been thrilled if told we’d have Yaro, the guy everyone considered the best player available. Loved seeing the commitment by Stewart of moving up in the draft to land three top 10 picks. With Bethlehem in place, this is just fantastic. A great start to what I’m sure will be a busy offseason with more to come.
    It is puzzling that Vincent wasn’t taken, but for whatever reason, our club valued Rosenberry more. I don’t think we should be too despondent over not getting the guy. I think it’s silly to buy the argument that he’s going to be an all-star left back for the next 10 years. Lets see how he does his rookie year. I think the hype around these players is unrealistic far more often than it is even approaching accurate.

    • I agree with your thoughts. In the NFL the only mechanism for signing players is the draft, and even that is a gamble for about 90% of the picks. MLS teams can sign HG contracts, GA players aren’t on budget and other numerous ways of acquiring talent, so the pool for the draft is a relative gamble. So if Jim and Earnie got players they wanted and feel good about, and they develop them into a core part of this team, then I’m happy with the results. But, let’s actually go ahead and develop them, since we’ve lacked in that department since, well, 2010.

  3. If Yaro Left Footed? Would make wanting to pair him with Marquez make sense with Stewarts comments around Conceição.

  4. DIY sports hernia repairs: never a good idea

  5. old soccer coach says:

    I like to play with the roster information, as do many of us.
    Prior to last year’s new CBA, the salary cap required that you have a minimum of 18 players on the senior, aka salary cap, roster, with a maximum of 20. Since roster size was reduced by two, from 30 to 28, and since the Union have already filled – by my guess – all eight non-senior roster spots, I am guessing that the new minimum number of slots for the senior roster is 16 and the maximum is 18.
    Should all of my guesswork in the preceding paragraph happen to be accurate (I’m giving no odds), the Union have four senior roster spots to fill. Of course in the past players who qualified for the non-senior roster could be on it if the numbers needed to be filled out
    I am further making the assumption that those players picked on Tuesday will be likely sent down to Bethlehem Steel and that they will be on minimum contracts. SHould they happen to stay on the Union’s roster, they will occupy two of the four slots.
    therefore, my minimum number of remaining signings comes down to two required and a third, possible, since I also assume that past practice of keeping one of the 28 slots open in case of emergency need or unanticipated opportunity will continue.

    Those two need to be strikers; what happens if Sapong becomes unavailable, if they are not. (Yes there will be strikers twenty yards away on the other practice pitch with BSFC, but barring something Dom Dwyer-like occurring, they will not be a credible longer-term solution.) If there is a third signing, perhaps it is a goal keeper.
    A variable I have not considered is the player to be named for Colorado. [Gaddis? Pfeffer? Ayuk? Fernandes?] Replacing that person suggests a fourth signing.
    We have, what, ten days or so?

    • You’re half right. The Senior Roster is still minimum 18 spots, or the size of the gameday roster, despite the drop to 28 spots. Players could be loaned to BSFC and therefore be removed from the roster if need be, otherwise they would occupy one of the 21-28 spots and just play in Bethlehem. GA players cannot occupy a senior roster spot, so that would include Yaro and Herbers, who will likely start the season at BSFC. Pfeffer is not gone, so with that subtraction the roster looks like this:
      Fabinho; Ayuk; Barnetta; Blake; Carroll; Creavalle; Edu; Fernandes; Gaddis; Le Toux; Marquez; McCarthy; Nogs; Pontius; Restrepo; Sapong.
      That’s 16 players, so they will need 2 more to fill out the senior roster. They will likely sign another keeper, as well as a striker and midfielder, which should take them to 18. Then the 6 draft picks will round out the roster, giving them about 25 players or so.

      • I doubt we sign any 3 or 4 round draft picks to Union, instead they will get Steel contracts. That gives us 20 players currently. In my opinion we need to sign depth at the following positions: CB, Outside Back, Winger, and probably a starter at Forward. Another midfielder wouldn’t hurt either.

      • Fair points, I think you’re right about 3rd & 4th round picks. I think the picks yesterday will be on the roster but play for Steel, that way the Union can recall them at any time. But they will have to fill out their roster too so 3rd & 4th rounds, academy players, failed Union trialists and some former Reading U players will likely fill out their roster. That will be interesting to follow, because I would rather have that team develop younger players than build a roster strictly to win.

      • I expect a balance in Bethlehem as BB said in his interview… built to win but ultimately built to prepare players to first team play.

    • There’s some conflicting info about what’s going to Colorado. While The Don announced it as a “player to be named later”, Colorado’s official announcement refers to it as “future considerations.” Is there a meaningful difference? I have no idea at this point.

  6. Interestingly, the Colorado Rapids tweeted that the #2 pick trade was for “general allocation money and future considerations” not specifically a “player to be named later”.

  7. My favorite quote from Curtin:

    “It was important to stress that the defenders we drafted all can play with their feet. They can all pass out of the back and be the first line to start our attacks and our possession. It’ll be a bit of a new style that we’ll have and we’re excited to unveil it.”

  8. Looks like Marquez may be getting squeezed out? If the plan is to start Conceicao and Yaro, where does Marquez go?

  9. Curtin couldn’t even organize a competent defense, or set pieces. Do we really think he’s going to coach a “pass-out-of-the-back” exciting style? With a bunch of college kids? Say hello to 3 straight losses to begin the season!

  10. The more I think about it; the comments made by Stewart and Curtin before the draft, the lack of comment after the draft, the more I’m convinced Vincent wasn’t seen as a “good fit” in the planned system (or very possibly the locker room) here.
    Also, considering the fact that they DO have a couple of players who can passsably handle LB, the team was able to patch up (maybe not “fill”) more holes by passing on Vincent.
    I am at peace and excited for March 20. It’ll be fun seeing how this new roster develops together.

  11. Pires can suck it!

    Philly peeps will not forget his, – “I don’t want to be fussy but if I have to go far away with my family, I prefer to do it in a beautiful town.” What a pity that we missed out on an expensive has-been….

    • Wouldn’t it be great if the Pires interview took place in a smoky French cafe. Pires wistfully says to the interviewer, “regrets?” and then takes a long drag on his clove cig while staring off into the distance before responding:

      “I only wish that I had heard back from Piotr Nowak about playing in Philadelphia where I could have finally pulled off that twee tijden with Seba LeToux.”

  12. Section 114 (Formerly) says:

    How did the league not recognize the Union brass in their executive of the year tally? This vote was clearly fixed.

    • You mean Sugarman should have gotten Owner of the Year strictly for his move in giving the NLL it’s new commissioner?

  13. I’m curious if there is a chance that Vincent may eventually seek a European move. If that’s the case and Earnie knew it, that would be a fully justifiable reason for skipping him.
    May be a stretch, but not out of the realm of possibility.

    • For clarification, I love the addition of Rosenberry, but since there is a bruhaha about Vincent, I’m just offering a theory.

  14. Lucky Striker says:

    L DM / L-defender (FB or CB) and then I might get around to worrying about striker.

    With 2 internationals waiting to be announced *apparently* the onus remains on fixing the left side of the formation-particularly in the back.

  15. Per MLSSOCCER.com . . . Yaro and Herbers DO NOT count as Internationals
    If you want to compare Cycle Larin for Orlando is listed as both GA and International. Same for Damion Lowe
    So Unless the official MLS site is not accurate, we should still have 3 International spots available

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