Daily news roundups

ADO Den Haag says Roland Alberg in US to complete Union move, new Union kit leaked, more

Photo: Courtesy of Footy Headlines

Philadelphia Union

You will recall the Union Rumors tweet last Saturday linking ADO Den Haag midfielder Roland Alberg with a move to the Union. At the time, there was nothing concrete to judge the rumor beyond UR’s informed assessment of the Dutch team’s financial problems, the pending expiration this summer of Alberg’s contract, and that Alberg was in AZ’s academy system when Earnie Stewart was with the club.

Well, when you’re looking for something concrete to verify a rumor, an announcement on a club website is pretty solid. Earlier today, a post on the ADO Den Haag website (crappy Google Translation here) reported Alberg’s move to the Union is “near,” with Alberg currently in the US to ” iron out the last wrinkles for a transition to the Philadelphia Union.” Stay tuned!

In other exciting news, Footy Headlines has leaked images of the Union’s new home jersey, which is set to be officially unveiled on Thursday:

Union kit leak

Elegant in its simplicity. I like it.

Footy Headlines notes, “Boasting the famous design of the club, the new Philadelphia Union 2016 Strip combines the traditional main color navy blue with golden applications. On the front of the new Philadelphia Union Kit is the famous golden vertical stripe that this year features a unique color gradient created using small versions of Philadelphia Union’s logo…Inside the collar of the new Philadelphia Union 2016 Kit is the lettering ‘We are One’, while Philadelphia’s snake from the club logo is on the bottom of the shirt. Like all MLS 2016 Jerseys, the new Philadelphia Union 2016 Jersey comes with the new 3 stripes positioning on the side of the shirt. Navy shorts and socks complete the Philadelphia Union kit for the 2016 campaign.”

Union kit leake 2


In further exciting news, the schedule was first released in the beginning of January most of the match times were listed as TBD.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin has a piece on Andre Blake entering the season as the Union’s No. 1 goalkeeper after two years of waiting. Jim Curtin says in the article,

It’s huge for Andre to have that peace of mind to know that he’s going to be the guy,” Curtin said. “I think that’s made him more comfortable in terms of knowing where he stands with the group, with his teammates. You can see it on the field. He’s confident. He’s made some big saves in training.

He’s capable of making the save that wins you a game. We have to get back to getting shutouts and it starts with Andre in the back. And I think a big first step is him just knowing that he is the guy, and he has that right now.

Blake says, ““Yes, it’s a big year for me. I’ve been hearing a lot of talking going around. But for me, that’s something that can cause a distraction and a lot of pressure. So I’m just going to take it one game at a time, and hopefully it all goes well.”

At the Delco Times, Matthew De George has a piece on the promise of Union draft pick Fabian Herbers who has, by all accounts, impressed in preseason training. Intertwined with that promise is the question of just where on the field Herbers will play. De George notes Jim Curtin “envisions him as a depth option as a center forward, but he has the ability on the ball to play in midfield and the speed to fit on the wing.” Herbers says, “In practice, I’ve played up top as the holding guy up top, the No. 9. And I feel really comfortable doing that. I was also comfortable on the wing or underneath, and I can play any of those positions.”

Prost Amerika has predictions for the Union midfield.

Philly Sports Network on why the Union “don’t need to fork out” on a striker to be successful.

Metro on the Union’s “retooled” offense.

Brotherly Game’s series on “silly offseason complaints” continues with “Where my homegrowns at.”

Bodog has odds on who will win this year’s MLS Cup. The Union are at 50/1. (Sounder at Heart deciphers the odds, concluding, “take these odds with a giant helping of salt.”)

Headline at Onion-esque soccer site The Nutmeg News: “Philadelphia Union Trade Fan To Seattle Sounders For Targeted Allocation Money.”


The 2016 PDL schedule was released on Tuesday. You can view Reading United’s schedule here, and Ocean City Nor’easter’s schedule here. Lehigh Valley United has not posted their schedule as of this writing but you can view it by selecting the team on the master schedule at the PDL website.

Soccer America says Hershey, Pa.’s Christian Pulisic, who just had his senior team debut with Borussia Dortmund — you can see video of Pulisic talking about the debut here — “must be protected.” The argument basically is that Pulisic should continue his development with Dortmund before being called into the US U-23s or senior team: “The most important next step is that he solidify his spot in the Dortmund 18 and get minutes here and there, in the Bundesliga and perhaps the Champions League, without the distraction of flying back and forth on lots of transatlantic flights.”

SBI has a profile piece on Lancaster, Pa.’s Zarek Valentin, who recently signed with Portland after two seasons with Norway’s FK Bodø/Glimt.

CBS New York has an interview with Carli Lloyd.


Player moves:

  • Chicago has signed defender Johan Kappelhof as a Discovery Signing using Targeted Allocation Money to a three-year deal. Kappelhof spent the past five seasons with Dutch side Groningen.
  • No official announcement as of this writing from Columbus, but La Liga side Real Betis says it is loaning Egyptian fullback Amro Tarek to the Crew through June, with an option to extend the loan until the end of 2016.
  • KSL.com reports Salt Lake have picked up Chris Wingert after the defender was waived by NYCFC. No official announcement as of this writing from RSL, the club Wingert played for before New York.
  • Portland have transferred midfielder George Fochive to Danish Superliga side Viborg FF.
  • Atlanta United signed 27-year-old midfielder Junior Burgos, who was then sent on loan to NASL side Tampa Bay Rowdies for the 2016 season.

Preseason games:

  • DC drew 2-2 with Swedish side Jonkopings Sodra IF.
  • Salt Lake was defeated 1-0 by Tijuana.

The Washington Post reports the league has ordered Orlando City to end its efforts to sign AC Milan defender Antonio Nocerino, whose discovery rights are currently held by DC United. The report says at this point, no tampering charges have been filed.

Interesting read at the Los Angeles Times on on the creative ways the Galaxy was able to sign Nigel de Jong, Jelle Van Damme, and Ashley Cole and still remain under the salary cap. The key seems to be finding players not getting playing time who still have substantial contracts that clubs are happy to buy out.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young considers how the league’s single entity structure affects fans’ trust in the league.


Michael Orozco and Brad Evans have been released by Jurgen Klinsmann from the USMNT to return to their club teams ahead of Friday’s friendly against Canada (10:15 pm: FS1, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go, UniMas, Univision Deportes). Former Union man Orozco, who scored the second US goal in last Sunday’s 3-2 win over Iceland, was scheduled to only play in the Iceland game. Evans has a tight hamstring.

The return leg of the US U-23’s two-game home-and-away Olympic qualification series against Colombia will be played on Tuesday, March 29 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 9:30 pm (ESPN2). The first leg of the US-Colombia Olympic  qualification series will take place Friday, March 25 in Colombia, at 5:30 pm ET (broadcaster TBD). The game in Frisco immediately follows the senior team’s World Cup qualifier against Guatemala at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus at 7 pm (ESPN2, UniMas, UDN).

At The Equalizer, Jeff Kassouf talks to USWNT head coach Jill Ellis about her team’s preparations for CONCACAF’s Olympic qualification tournament, which begins Feb. 17 against Trinidad and Tobago in Houston.

The New York Times reports Fox Sports has acquired the rights to English-language broadcasts of the Mexican national team: “Through an agreement that will be announced Wednesday, Fox Sports 1 will televise 25 home games — friendlies and World Cup qualifiers — of the team called El Tri starting this year and continuing until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.”

A podcast at Soccer Wire discusses US Soccer’s impending launch of a Girls Development Academy that will mirror the Boys Development Academy.


FIFA presidential hopeful Gianni Infantino has picked up another endorsement, this time from Russia.

Reuters reports, “Venezuela said on Tuesday it will not seek the extradition of former national soccer federation boss Rafael Esquivel, who is detained in Switzerland as part of a probe into corruption in world governing body FIFA.” The news means Esquivel’s extradition to the US, already approved by Switzerland, can proceed without objection from Venezuela, although his lawyers are appealing on the grounds of age and poor health.

Goal.com reports, “CONMEBOL has opted to celebrate its centenary by reducing existing sanctions on players and clubs. The governing body of South American football is operating in its 100th year and has moved to decrease standing punishments ahead of the start of the preliminary stages of the 2016 Copa Libertadores on Tuesday.”

Vice Sports reports on the FIFA’s new World Football Museum, which will open in Zurich at the end of February.


  1. First impression- I really like the new kit. There is a very subtle color, and the team is moving away from crappy, generic “Vegas Gold” to something almost maize.

  2. Well…there’s our new striker. Let’s get him in camp and see if this is our missing piece!

    • I do wonder where he will play. Maybe they were not looking for a target striker at all. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

      • I imagine there will be a Target Striker brought in, but not at a high price. They’re counting on CJ to lead the way. My guess is that they will bring in someone to be a sub/spot starter. But it’s CJ’s job this year.

      • I would be ok with that. Wonder how they will line up now though. 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 with either Alberg or Barnetta going to a wing or some sort of 2 striker set? Should be interesting.

      • He’s listed with 3 main positions: CAM, LW, CF.
        If you play a 4-3-3, you can play him on the left wing, with LeToux on the right, and CJ in the middle.
        But considering the personnel in place, I doubt it will be an othodox 4-3-3. It will look much more like the 4-2-3-1 you suggest. Mo/Nogs, Alberg/Barnetta/LeToux, and then CJ up top.
        That’s an athletic and intelligent (minus LeToux’s wanderings) offensive set up.

      • You’re forgetting Chris Pontius. He starts ahead of Le Toux, for sure (as long as he’s healthy).

        Maybe Pontius and Le Toux start? If Alberg is really that positionally flexible, he could back up Sapong, Pontius, and Barnetta. That would likely give him playing time almost every game as either sub or spot starter.

        Or, you start Alberg and Pontius on the wings, with Le Toux off the bench. Then I guess you move Alberg to CF or CAM if one of those two guys needs to come out.

      • Perhaps we play a Spalletti-like 4-6-0

      • MLS rules are that each team has 8 international spots that can be traded. The Union traded 1 spot to Houston with Williams last year that is good until the end of this season leaving them with 7 spots.
        The Union currently have 6 internationals so Alberg would be the 7th. They would have to either trade for another spot or seek a green card for one of the current internationals. Also, they could be looking in league or at a US citizen for another striking option.

      • Something to watch for sure. Although I could see one of Herbers and Ayuk always being on BSFC in a rotating role to open a spot. Hopefully Nogueira and Yaro can both get green cards too.

    • Honorable Mention:
      #14 Sleeper on this list:
      This, folks, is moneyball. Grab a 24-year-old who is considered “too old” by European standards, but is only 2 years older than most draft picks in MLS.
      On paper, a very good move. Let’s see how it pans out.

      • This is a player!! The Dutch produce a lot of talent like this. Hope we can tap into this and get the next Cruyff

    • He’s not really a striker. Attacking midfielder. Just where we need to add more depth!

  3. Like the new kit. I don’t know how some clubs get away with making their sponsor logo smaller or are able to blend it in more to the jersey. Strange how the worst sponsor name in the league needs to be the least likely to blend in with their sponsored team’s kit.

  4. I don’t like the kit. I believe in the years to come all of the little gradations, overly fussy details and shiny gimmicks of this era will be looked upon the same way we look at kits from the early 90’s.

    This kit took our really simple elegant early kits and added what exactly a snake pattern? What were they afraid they didn’t have the 8 year old audience? They added the union snake at the bottom just in case you didn’t “get” the snake motif. I fully expect the Union to come out riding dinosaurs with lasers on them with this.
    On the other hand the new striker seems cool.

    • I agree, I am not a fan of the currently-“in” color gradients fad. Don’t think it will hold up well. Like some others, I wasn’t too wild about our original tan color, it was OK. But they’ve taken it in a new, worse direction. That stripe looks like Velveeta orange to me. It does make me think of mac-and-cheese though.

      Edit- the snake is the coolest logo element in MLS though, love that part

  5. I don’t like it either…and yes to a point above…how bout a collar.
    and yes to another point above…I like the signing.

    • There is a collar, it’s just the same color as the jersey. Very subtle, I actually like it. But then again I think the look of an actual collar looks silly. Simple, that’s all they need.

  6. So, in what will likely be a must-win game for Olympic qualifying; against a warm-weather Latin American team, US Soccer again selects a warm, southern locale for a critical game?!?!?! I’m not too familiar with the greater Frisco area, but I bet there are more Colombians in that area than, for example, Columbus or St. Louis or Seattle…..
    I don’t dislike the new home kit. Not like there was going to be anything earth-shattering.
    Looks like we will be waiting for next year for, hopefully, something exciting on the Jersey front. Who wants to bet, however, that there is some sort of provision in the new Bimbo deal that requires the second kit to use one of the Bimbo colors (or maybe requires white).

    • Couldn’t agree more about Frisco. Should be a double-header in Columbus, or move it to Kansas City or Sandy. Somewhere there’s a staunch US Support to get behind the kids. It’s a major event, they need 100% American support.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Personally, what’s wrong with playing it in a football stadium outdoors in Minnesota, if you want to rely on latitude? But altitude is equally effective, so play them in Denver. The thin air probably won’t help as Colombia is not exactly flat! But the cold and possibly snow might!

  7. Roland Alberg like the new signing also seeing that it looks as if he has captained his team a few times. I wonder would it be better to put him on the left or the middle. Ultimately he looks like some good insurance for if Barnetta goes down with injury. I like this move and these are the types of signings this team needs. Now get me a LB a CDM and a ST and I’ll be more comfortable.

    • Just curious, do you want a new starter, someone similar in talent to our current starter, or a solid depth piece at each of those spots?

      • I want a new starter at LB. A new starter a ST or at least solid depth. And the CDM we only need a solid depth piece although I would prefer someone over Edu, but only if emptying his contract which isn’t happening.

      • I would be surprised if this Dutch kid is not a starter. The highlight reel showed quality

  8. Lucky Striker says:



    more AM depth…..good.

    All good-still waiting on completion of squad………

  9. Has anyone seen Alberg play? I’m interested to hear from some of the well informed commenters here who have watched him in action and can inform us all. Looks pretty solid on the face of it, and we have all been waiting for some (any) signing news. I still think we need a knock down scorer, although I know they are difficult to come by. This group is at least pretty solid, just gotta hope Curtin knows where and how to play them all.
    I like the new uni better than the previous iteration, but I will say that this is another missed opportunity to use the triannual change to actually be a legitimate change, not a slight color difference. I wasn’t a fan of the new stripe position on some other team’s new jerseys, but I like it more with the navy blue.

  10. Old Soccer Coach says:

    As many already know very likely, there is a German website called transfermarkt [sic]. They list Alberg as have played in 13 eredivisie games this year totaling 683 minutes, which averages 52 and a fraction minutes a game. I interpret that to mean a few more starts than substitute appearances, but am obviously guessing. He also played three reserve league games this season, 90 minutes a game, scoring three goals if I remember correctly. There is one other game listed, in a competition I took to be some kind of cup, as it was prefaced by the initials that I think stand for the Dutch monarchy.
    Sounds like he is good enough to start with some regularity for a mid-table team in a very good but not great European league. And probably we got him for less than transfermarkt’ listing of 1.25 million euros, given the reports of Den Haag’s financial troubles, especially since his contract ends June 30th, 2016. Den Haag will need to realize something from the man before he walks away for free.

    • I saw somewhere else someone post they are a fan of another team in his league and he played a lot last year but the new coach didn’t like him. The person also said they thought he was the best player on the team. Random internet person saying this so take it for what it’s worth.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Correction, four goals in three reserve league games, my apologies.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Not correction, further info: while my Dutch is non existent, the Den Haag website says – I think – 8 of the 13 games were starts, for Alberg. They have played 21 games this season, according to info on ESPN FC, Eredivisie current table.

    • I’m interested in your thoughts… is there a certain transfer price/salary at which you would consider this a bad move?

  11. “Roland Alberg will fail in the coming days . . . he smooths the last pleats for a transition to the Philadelphia Unions.”
    Man, I love Google Translate.
    Scratch that — I may love Microsoft Translator more:
    “Roland Alberg will over the next few days are missing on the trainings . . . he the last folds smooth stroke for a transition to the Philadelphia Unions.”

    • el Pachyderm says:

      By smooth stroke I’m thinking his ability to remain steady over a slippery 4 footer through your shadow to halve a 2 down carry over press after multiple cocktails and 54 holes of golf in a day as was my preternatural ability during my 20s smooth stroke.
      Or they mean he should arrive just fine and be at the ready asap.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I like that we are the Philadelphia Unions. Makes me laugh.
      Well the jersey is fine, but I don’t think I’ll be buying one. I’ll stick with my Bimbo-less original.
      I saw the info on Alberg the other day, and hoped he was going to be brought in. Seems like a good signing, and with Stewart’s track record, the exact kind of guy he can plug into a team and have success. Great move… on paper of course…

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        All about the original as well, but I thought the club colors were Blue and Khaki to pay homage to the army uniforms of the revolution. Where did Gold come from?

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