Daily news roundups

Union take on Chicago, notes from Curtin’s presser, USWNT tops CR, more news

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

The Union play Chicago Fire today at 4 pm in what might be thought of as the first proper game of the preseason — no 31 players rotated through three lineups, no scrimmage against U-17s. The game will be streamed on the Union’s YouTube channel. Previews of this afternoon’s game at Philadelphia Union, Brotherly GameChicago Fire Confidential, and Soccer America.

Who will be available for selection? Or, rather, who will not be available for selection? In his teleconference with reporters on Wednesday, Jim Curtin said Roland Alberg is back in the Netherlands taking care of paperwork but will rejoin the club in Florida next week. Maurice Edu is continuing his rehabilitation from sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia and is also expected to join the team next week. Yosef Samuel has a groin injury and is being kept out of today’s game as a precaution (check out Adam Cann’s interview with Samuel here at PSP if you haven’t already). Trialist Maazou Moussa and draft pick Mitch Lurie are no longer with the team. Bethlehem Steel players Michael Daly, Ryan Richter, and Derrick Jones are also no longer with the team. Fellow BSFC player Bolu Akinyode has joined the Florida camp.

More notes from Curtin’s presser:

  • Curtin continued to praise the clarity Earnie Stewart has brought to the club: “The thing Earnie has brought is clarity of everyone’s role; clarity of everyone’s responsibilities with the club. There are no grey areas anymore.”
  • The clarity has also been accompanied by like-mindedness: “Earnie made it very clear that the players I saw as Philadelphia Union players we would keep here and build around. The ones that I didn’t we would move on from…“We make decision on players together…It is about what we think a player for the Philadelphia Union should look like for each position. It’s documented on paper. It’s not just in our minds.”
  • Curtin also clearly identified the Union’s system of play as 4-2-3-1: “There is a clear set of characteristics that we now look for from each position and how we want them to play in our 4-2-3-1 system.”
  • Curtin said the competition for the two starting center back spots was between Richie Marquez, Anderson Conceicao, Joshua Yaro, and Bethlehem’s Ken Tribbett.
  • Curtin said Chris Pontius is looking very sharp.
  • Curtin sees Roland Alberg playing centrally in either the No. 8 or No. 10 role.
  • Curtin talked about how Brazilian trialist Ilsinho, out of contract with Shakhtar Donetsk, has “turned some heads.” Curtin explained, “Listen, his pedigree speaks for itself. You see his ability around the goal, the ability to make the final pass, and beat a guy 1v1. The surprising part is how well he’s fit in with the group. He got along with the guys first and foremost, but then also acclimated to the MLS, which is a unique league in terms of physical and fitness demands. He’s come in and done well.”
  • Curtin also said Ilsinho “can play in any of the front slots.” (He’s also apparently a champion go-kart driver. Hilarious!)
  • Curtin spoke of his faith in the current striker corps of CJ Sapong and Fabian Herbers: “We’ll always look to upgrade and strengthen our roster. We’re always looking at every position. But C.J.’s a guy I believe in. I think that by re-signing him, it shows that. Fabian Herbers also needs to be mentioned — he has been excellent in training. I’m confident he can step into MLS games right now and can get goals. We have a good pairing with the two of them.”
  • Curtin said further of Sapong, “CJ is a guy who wants to be in Philly. He does everything for the badge, plays for the fans, plays for the city. He’s a guy that I thought had a very good year last year. If you look at the productivity, I think if he gets a full 34-game season, he’s a guy that can be a double-digit scorer in that 12-15 goal range.”
  • Curtin reaffirmed Andre Blake is the “clear No. 1,” with John McCarthy and new acquisition Matt Jones competing for the starting spot when Blake is away on international duty.

More from Curtin’s press conference at MLSsoccer.comPhiladelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Delco TimesPhilly Soccer News, and Brotherly Game.

Before Wednesday’s teleconference, the Union underscored Curtin’s belief in CJ Sapong with the announcement of a new three-year deal with the forward. Curtin said, “We’re very happy to lock him up for a little while, and it gives him peace of mind, and confidence goes a long way with a striker.” More on Sapong’s re-signing at PSP, Philadelphia Union, MLSsoccer.comPhilly.comCSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Vavel, Sons of Penn, Inside NoVa, Gazetta Ghana, and Pulse.com.gh.

At the Union website, Charlotte Muscroft has a report from Florida on Wednesday’s training session.

Word came on Wednesday that all of the Union’s games at the Suncoast Invitational preseason tournament will be streamed live on the Tampa Bay Rowdies YouTube channel. Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, February 17 – Al Lang Stadium
D.C. United vs Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m.

Saturday, February 20 – Al Lang Stadium
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Philadelphia Union, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 24 – Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex
New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 27 – Al Lang Stadium
Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC, 4 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Reporter notes, “Upgrades to the DiMaggio Complex including field renovations and new bleachers will make for a more enjoyable fan experience.”

Bethlehem Steel

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph on how Bethlehem Steel will not be a feeder team in the same way fellow Lehigh Valley-based minor league sides the Phantoms are for hockey, and the Iron Pigs are for baseball.


More on the Philly Soccer Six annual banquet that took place on Tuesday at Temple and Brotherly Game.

Evan Vare, a senior at CB East, has been named Gatorade Pennsylvania Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year.

Rachael Dorwart, a sophomore at Cumberland Valley, has been named the 2015-16 Gatorade Pennsylvania Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year.


New England have waived forward Sean Okoli.

At MLSsoccer.com, a Q&A with former Union man Cristian Maidana, who says of his time with the Union, “I think I played to the best of my abilities in Philadelphia. I had two very good years for the club and we played two US Open Cup finals. I had never played a final before, so that was an accomplishment.” Maidana seems taken with Houston: “Houston is the [right] place for me to continue my career. I think this year is going to be really good for me and I want to stay in Houston. After this season I have one year left and my idea, if possible, is that I would love to finish my career in Houston and make this city my permanent home.”

San Jose has renewed its partnership with USL-side Sacramento Republic.

Wednesday was apparently Ugly Jersey Release Day, if the new away kits from Columbus and NYCFC are anything to go by.

New turf at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “After the Major League Soccer commissioner announced an immediate search for a stadium site in St. Louis, state senators are bracing themselves for a governor-led plan that circumvents them.”


The USWNT defeated Costa Rica 5-0 in their opening game at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament. The result was pretty much a foregone conclusion even before Alex Morgan scored the fastest goal in the history of US Soccer with her first touch of the ball 12 seconds after the kickoff, the only real question being how big would the scoreline be. Up next is Mexico on Saturday at 4 pm (NBC Sports Live Extra).

Match reports and more from Wednesday night’s win from US SoccerFort Worth Star-TelegramHouston ChronicleFox Soccer, ESPNW, Pro Soccer TalkCBS SportsSI, Soccer AmericaGoal.com, Yahoo Sports, ASNTeamUSA, Stars and Stripes FC, and the AP.

Morgan’s goal may have been fastest, but Christen Press’ goal? Oh, my:

Fox Soccer on concerns within the USWNT about the Zika virus in Brazil. The AP reports, “The U.S. Olympic Committee will hire two infectious disease specialists to advise potential Olympians who are worried about the Zika outbreak in Brazil.”

At Soccer America, Paul Kennedy on US Soccer’s lawsuit against the USWNT’s player association: “USSF v. WNTPA, while at its core a straightforward case, represents the future for soccer litigation: the fight over the sport’s rising power and growing revenues. The two battle grounds will be U.S. Soccer’s power to control the American soccer market and MLS’s single-entity status, in essence their monopoly control of the market.” More legal analysis at ASN.

At US Soccer, part two of the Q&A with Jurgen Klinsmann about the January USMNT camp.

SI’s three-part series on the efforts underway to improve the development of US coaches and players concludes with a look the the overhauling of coaching license standards.


From the AP: “FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali of Jordan has questioned the role of election rival Sheikh Salman in alleged abuses of Bahrain players in 2011.”

Vice Sports on how Moya Dodd wants to reform FIFA.

Reuters reports former Costa Rica FA president Eduardo Li, arrested as part of the FIFA corruption case, says he has a life-long working relationship with the US and will not “abscond” if granted bail.

Last weekend’s protest at Anfield that saw thousands of Liverpool fans walk out of the match against West Ham in the 77th minute has gotten a result. On Wednesday, Liverpool’s ownership apologized to fans for “the distress caused by our ticket pricing plan” and announced it will not go ahead with announced increases of ticket prices for the next two seasons.  More at The Guardian.


  1. I know a lot of people are going to scream that it doesn’t look like we’re signing a DP striker, but I like the idea of patience with CJ and Herbers. Don’t buy a player simply for the purpose of appeasing the fans. Find the right guy. If you can’t find him, stick with the capable players already on your roster until you do find the right guy.
    This year’s motto: Patience and Progress.

    • As Ruff Ruffman says, “Bonus points to you.”

    • I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we do not make any more signings other than Ilsinho. The depth at ST and along the backline still make me nervous but a lot of that can be calmed by a good preseaon by the draft picks and apparently now Tribbett. Still wouldn’t mind an mls vet ST and defender, but maybe we roll with the rookies.

    • It seems like Ilsinho may be the guy they are looking at – it would seem his Shaktar background indicates he could help perhaps at an affordable price.

    • I don’t think we need a DP striker. But I think we need another striker. Even if CJ has another beast-like year, and even if this kid Herbers is the gamer he was in college, 2 just isn’t enough depth at a mission-critical position.

      • I agree that we need more backup, someone like Casey. A spot starter and a decent sub. But I don’t think the club will panic about it, and I really don’t think they’ll spend big on a position they will ultimately consider a safety net.

      • I’m okay with not signing a DP striker if the Union sign Ilsinho. Also along with this I would say you then need to play Ilsinho and Alberg on the wings with Barnetta, Nogs, and Edu in the middle. This to me allows CJ to be the guy who scores 10-15 goals if you get Alberg 10, Barnetta 6-10 and Ilsinho 8-12 I think we could be okay. Basically make it a balanced attack. If you have Le Toux and Pontius on the bench both can either come in on the wings or play up top depending on the situation. I think it can work for this season, but the talks of Alberg at the No. 8 or 10 I do not like other than in a backup scenario. We need better wing play and to me that is Alberg and Ilsinho based on their skills and experience.

  2. So today the third part of the Liviu Bird article was released on si.com. Curious if others have read his pieces. It is good work. Been talking about it for a few days…mostly fallen on deaf ears.
    Anyway…. it is good stuff and has inextricable tie in with Philadelphia Union across all levels.
    This is my take on the education changes… in response to a comment under the article.
    “When we improve our technique and tactical understanding, have our youngest players begin the process of finding solutions to the small sided games at an earlier age – so they become subconscious which is paramount, our play will become cleaner and quicker… more organized…
    …it is from this place…. and only this place… that the genius of an individual player can take over… bring the chaos- we so desperately clamor for. Can’t have a ‘Messi’ type player until the players around that player understand how to play the game at a subconscious level, not even thinking about the solutions, they already know the solutions….which then allows the ‘Messi’ type little genius or deeply creative player to bring the art. There is no art in the USMNT :: there is very little art at the MLS level as it stands… because we do not yet understand the basics of depth of field and perspective and proper use of light.”
    This all comes down to teaching — as we should begin to think of it as — at the youth level…. and coaching in the USDA and professional level.
    Futsal will help expedite this as well. I offer to you a Youtube video to display that we are coming along…

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      Well it seems that the new youth initiatives coming down from US Soccer are at least attempting to address this. The change in U8 8v8 to 4v4 is fantastic and should help. U9 and U10 are going from 8v8 to 7v7, I would have liked to see that level played with smaller numbers as well, but I guess it is a start.

      Futsal is great because it takes the typical American attributes out of the game…. run hard, kick and run, kick the ball out of bounds when under pressure, etc. etc. etc.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Sure and it translates very well to something this country is exceptional at— basketball.

      • Although the old U8 is U9 in the new aging convention. So kids start playing 11 v 11 a bit earlier.

      • My daughter’s U9 team started playing futsal this winter and I think it is awesome! I have noticed 2 things:

        1. It has given real confidence to the non-“sprinters” on the team and empowered them to use their skill (sprinters – the ones in outdoor who simply run faster than the others to make plays). That confidence has carried over into their dribbling and play in the regular indoor games at YSC.

        2. The focus on quick decisions and quick passing has also really helped the girls on the bigger field – they make quick passes into space instead of always trying to pass to a person.

    • I wouldn’t say deaf ears, more like muted mouths. I understand your interest in this. But it just doesn’t do it for me. I have no vested interest. I don’t have kids playing youth soccer nor am I a coach. I’d be more interested in what actual drills they run or a days training schedule and why they do the drills they do. As for the “how” they plan to accomplish better youth development and the neat little charts and what Belgium has done…meh. I understand it plays a role in what our national team becomes and how better players can get fed into the national team with better preparation and development. But the yawns start coming any further than that.
      I get you are passionate about it. And someone should be. I’m just not that person.

      • I understand… I’m surprised so few have commented over the four days since the first article was released – which means to me few have read the articles- which I think is too bad as they speak to the growth of the game in our country which is something we all want especially fans of MLS.
        Maybe it is a time constraint for some… 4th on the list of 3 things…
        I am a parent and vested on that front true…but his work is about the game itself, growing a league growing a style of play, learning how to teach the game like the best abroad.
        I just keep trying to stir the pot…

      • I’m glad you do stir the pot. Someone needs too. I just haven’t gotten pulled into the whirlpool yet. I’m with the skin that develops on the side of the pot that doesn’t always get mixed in with the rest.

      • For me, this: “Maybe it is a time constraint for some… 4th on the list of 3 things…”
        Working 65 hours this week; husband, father of four; etc…

      • Love Bird’s articles and follow him on Twitter as he’s very bright, but was busy with work most of this week. Will catch up on them over the weekend.

    • Futsal is the key. This weekend they have again the annual regional Futsal tournament in Wildwood. Will be the first time in the last 10 years that I won’t be there now that both kids are in College. If your kids play Futsal and you have never been then try to get your kids there next year. It is a total eye opener to see the quality of especially the older teams! Last few years we rented a house there for the team (instead of staying in a hotel). Was the best thing we could have done!

    • I also believe that futsal is going to huge.

      That kid’s youtube video is okay. Nice footwork. He is clearly against lower competition. Easy to make a highlight video against that level of competition. I see kids play like him in our league every weekend.

      The issue I see if everyone is starting a futsal league and many of them are soccer with a futsal ball. It is so much more than that.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        That kid did just sign a deal with Espanyol.
        It’s challenging to decipher the level on the other players when we don’t actually have video of them on the ball… wouldn’t you say?
        I do agree that we have to be careful how the Futsal grows…. my local club has a pitiful league at youngest ages- as I have discovered in recent weeks.
        There are no minimum 2 touch rules so the kids just kick the ball and wait wait… The parent cheer when the ball goes in the goal from over half court as if 1. It was planned 2. It was anything resembling Futsal.
        Here Here — to being careful how the game does or does not translate.

  3. Curtin sees Alberg as a #10 or a #8?? Does that mean he’ll be a sub? Or does Barnetta move out to the wing? I mean, I was worried about having depth at the CAM position, so in that respect this is great. But I am nonetheless a little confused about the plan here. (And apparently we actually have a plan this year.)

    • If you read through the quotes, they have 3-5 guys that fit the description of “can play any of the positions.” They have flexible players that can play CAM, ST, or on the wings. It feels like this is very much by design.
      In the event of international call-up, injury, suspension…whatever, they have 6 guys for 4 spots. They can all play multiple positions comfortably. Rotate them around so that everyone stays fresh.

      • Now while I agree with having players able to play multiple positions, I think where the concern comes in is when Jim sees Alberg in a position(s) that are already filled with skilled players when there is a depth need at another position i.e. ST.

      • I agree, to a point. If they can’t find someone they value at the positions of need, I’m ok with stockpiling talent in versatile positions.
        If they were flat-out neglecting those other positions and refusing to sign quality players, there would be a realistic concern. But all signs point to that not being the case.

      • Maybe my definition of concern is different than yours. I’m not talking hair on fire, the world is ending, Jim needs to be fired, concern. More like, well that’s interesting. Why are they doing that? Are they trying to answer a question they already have an answer for?..concern.
        I’m not looking for them to sigh a DP striker just to sign one. I want them to get the players they think fit in their system. But Jim’s comment leads me to think back to last summer when he said he thought Barnetta’s best position was the #10 and this year Maidana is gone. I agreed with this assumption at the time, and was one of the first to say it spelled the end for Maidana. So, I question. I wonder. If it winds up that they make a big trade as Dr. U says below, and they get rid of Edu in favor of Alberg, I’m fine with that. But it doesn’t stop me from wondering what shoe will drop next.

      • Gotcha. All valid.
        It’s about the evolution and the rationale behind the decision-making. Understood. (I think.)

  4. i might be alone here but i like columbus’s new kit. it is so bizarre and unique looking; crew fans should should embrace its madness. i would gladly take it over our offensively boring white kit

    • So you then find ‘Los Merengues’ all white imperial kit in Madrid offensively boring as well?
      …. With a little bit of upgrade in quality the home white kit is magic to my POV. Imperial. Storm Trooper shit.

    • Agree, it’s completely daft in a good way. Almost in the same way those “denim” USA jerseys from ’94 were embarrassing for years but are now almost kind of cool in their utter ridiculousness.

  5. So now we’re worried about depth and an excess of good players in midfield? Really?

    And why are folks obsessed with this mythical DP forward that might come here? Union won’t be getting a Giovinco, Drogba or Keane, so it’s likely to be a roll of the dice and to happen mid-summer, both of which are high risk.

    • Yup. What ^ said…

    • Counterpoint. What do we do when we have an excess of good players in one place and needs in other places. Remember when we had Gaddis and Williams? I know competition at every position sounds good in a sports radio tough guy kind of way. And it is good to have solid backups for each position and players should be pushed but it does created a glut of players who should be on the field on a cash strapped team.
      For me ideally there should be a veteran at the position in his prime with a young(cheaper) player pushing him in reserve or a veteran in decline mentoring a not so young player. It helps clear out potential Gaddis/Williams log jams.

  6. how could we not want Ilsinho on the squad? like, what am I missing here? I feel stupid just asking

    • The question is always about money. If we spend $1M on him, does that prevent us from spending it on the mythical DP Striker.
      Based on what I know of him, and from what is coming out of camp, I agree with you. Why wouldn’t we? But the FO has been pretty tight-lipped about some movement this year. If they have something else lined up behind the scenes, there could be reason to hold off.
      Without those unexpected reasons, yeah, bring him in and add extra versatility and firepower.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      In one of the articles I read either earlier today or last night, Curtin was very positive about Ilsinho, but wanted to see him against actual MLS competition today against Chicago. That is a primary consideration.
      As mentioned above earlier, the other issue is money. He’s been out of contract since June 30th, 2015. That’s seven and a half months ago. That’s a European leagues’ summer signing period and January signing period ago. That’s seven months of no apparent nibbles from anywhere in South America, Africa or Asia. So far, I have not seen indication of injury last June.
      Is he asking too much and learning the market will no longer pay? Did he need to get out of the Ukraine and find a safe place for his family? Was he tired and in a position to take a break? None of these questions have answers so far discovered in English as far as I know.
      the next bundle of information will very likely become available this afternoon in an hour and a half.

  7. On SiriusXM CounterAttack they talked the other day about each club and mentioned that Chicago should do a lot better than Philadelphia this year, based on that they have a better core group that has stayed the same, and have a better coach. Will be interesting to see how it pans out today and during the season. I tend to agree with them…

  8. Curtin’s comments that Stewart has brought clarity to the organization speaks volumes to me. That is a really great thing to hear.

    • Waiting for the Union Bible… to deliver Word. And did come a savior….

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        El Pachyderm descends from Mount Sinai, smoking, fire-carved tablets in either hand and reveals the Commandments to the Unionites gathered below, … .
        [Exodus, Chapter 2016, Verse 211]
        Sorry, I couldn’t resist! All intended only in fun!.
        I will try to remember to read the three articles on Coaching improvements, honest.

  9. A lot of people are talking about Ilsinho his fit and why he hasn’t been signed. I have this strange feeling a big move is in place to not only sign Ilsinho, but to pull off a trade of some sort. They’ve said the players like Ilsinho and that he fits the team he is obviously still in training the coaches seem to like him. I think there has been some agreement already (otherwise if you ask me he could have and would have moved on), but Earnie might be pulling some strings behind the scenes. All transfers so far have been tight lipped then suddenly are done within a few days. I think the same is going on here. Something to me just seems like there is something big coming about that none of us could think of. (Maybe this is just wishful thinking though)

    • I would like to point out that Kei Kamara is not happy with his contract in Columbus.

      • I’m not sure about that, but the other thing that is also odd to me is while Edu is recovering from surgery why would he not be with the team. I mean he can still take part in helping the coaches seeing how the team plays the positioning etc. Saying Alberg is a #8 or #10 then does what, makes a midfield of Alberg, Barnetta, and Nogs??? Something seems to be going on to me while it involves a player from the Union going anywhere I don’t know. But something is a foot.

      • I’ve seen Maurice multiple times at YSC the last two weeks. He’s rehabbing in house…not sure anything is afoot.

      • Curtin expects a 4-2-3-1

        Saying that Alberg is an 8 or 10 is odd, unless they push Barnetta out to the wing.
        It will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

      • Could be that the attacking players become interchangeable throughout the game…
        ….can you imagine Barnetta setting up shop and dictating play then slipping out to the wing while the pace and technique of Alberg or Ilsinho slides into the hole?
        This is a best case scenario… and gives me a chubby… sorry..couldn’t resist.

      • I think you’re on to it now El P. I’m a Spurs supporter, and that’s how Pochettino has the 3 AMs playing in his 4-2-3-1. They all move around creating spaces and then slipping into said space. Christian Eriksen starts on the left, usually coming central to pass. Then he’ll pop up on the right for a bit. The movement really starts to mess with defenders heads by the second half. It could take a little time to gel but when it does, BOOM. And you need depth in those positions, especially if you want those AMs to press, press, press.

      • The talent our midfield now has really could be impressive. If they gel right our possession is going to shoot up. Will be fun to watch.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I am the eggman.

      • Another spurs supporter. I see Barnetta playing the Erikson role as well.

        Edu would play the Dier role. Nogs the Dembele role. Alberg – Alli. With rotating right wings.

      • except we don’t have Harry Kane and he does 80% of the scoring

      • To be honest, Edu as odd man out was my thought when I saw that quote as well.

      • Putting a couple of threads together, a sports hernia is a dicey injury and they are handling it with kid gloves. Maybe they are also allowing for a recurrence and making sure Mo’s possible absence isn’t unplanned for.

      • I believe the Union are flying back to Philly after the Fire game and then flying to back to Florida after the long weekend. The Union probably felt that it didn’t make much sense to fly Edu down to FL knowing that he wouldn’t play at all in the first games anyway. I bet he’s on the plane for the second part of pre-season.

      • Kamara is staying put. I think if a trade gets done it’s gonna be someone like Agudelo or Mattocks.

      • Yeah, but I’m gonna dream about Kamara joining the squad until I hear otherwise!
        Of course, there is a certain mercurial Italian striker being forced to return to Liverpool now…maybe he’s looking for a starting gig.
        (I know, I know…let me dream!)

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        You don’t want anything to do with Balotelli, cancer in the club house, pancreatic cancer, lethal and extremely painful.

      • Watch it or he’ll come over to your house and set off fireworks . . .and then stomp on you

  10. JC’s presser is encouraging on many fronts, mainly that he knows it’s his job to get the most out of his personnel in this scheme. He may always be a defense-first personality, but it’s much clearer that the constraints on him last season were imposed by the completely dysfunctional manner in which the CEO mismanaged the organization. He may be MLS coach material after all. He certainly has the chance to prove it. I hope he does.

    • It does sound like Jim did have a big part in getting rid of a lot of players, which is good because a lot of them were not good. Time will tell I suppose.

      • Yup. He clearly looked at the likes of White, Vitoria, Hoppenot, McLaughlin, and Cruz and said “You know what? These guys aren’t good enough” and moved on with little fuss. It’s a good sign.

      • Agreed 100%.

      • Hell, he pulled down Sak’s pants when he fired Rais! He sat Chaco for the opener. Even in handcuffs, Curtin wasn’t afraid to kick a guy out the door or to the bench. Now there’s a written plan with criteria on which everybody can be evaluated. Instead of the roll of toilet paper Sak kept in his desk drawer. Will his game day choices improve?

    • He will be under closer scrutiny than Doug Pederson to these eyes that’s fo-sho.

  11. One thing I keep reading in multiple places is in regards to Pontius: “Why pay him $400K if you aren’t going to play him?”
    Let’s clear this up…your salary does not dictate playing time. When they signed him, he was a very good option, and that was just the going rate. They have brought in players since they who may be better. If they are, then that $400K buys us a damn good insurance policy.
    Play based on performance. Not based on reputation and salary.

    • + 1. And it’s only for a year. If somebody can beat out a healthy Pontius, you’re for sure a better team. Besides, how many times last year did Curtin have to sub a starter at a huge drop off in talent? You have to pay for all 18 to last the season in this league, not just the XI.

      • Yeah, Pontius should be a really good player for us. The depth we have in the midfield now is amazing. Our rotation there should be among the best in the league.

    • 100%. My word… this is not rocket science… in the Cup final two seasons ago Seattle Sounders brought in 2 players that likely cost more money than half our starting team.
      “Our bench sucks our bench sucks”…. go out spend some money to improve our bench and starters… “this costs too much.”
      I can debate endlessly about some stuff but this will quickly become a tiresome argument.
      So Philadelphia.

  12. Just noticing – in the ad photo of Anderson for today’s game, does that new kit have a collar? Or is it possibly a faux collar that is simulated (which is lame-o)?

    • Looks to me like it’s a faux collar. I though so from the beginning though. I agree, go real collar or no collar.

      • Uggg. Should have just stayed with last year’s home kit. Thought it was the classiest we ever had.

      • Personally I thought the pinstripes were awful. Only good jersey they have had was the original with no logo. It was classic simple and went together none of this yellow lettering with gold stripe.

      • No issues with the new home jersey, though I agree with you that the pinstripe jersey was the best home jersey they’ve had.

  13. Old Soccer Coach says:

    In reference to Ilsinho, should he show well today, how do you get the requisite international roster spot?
    Had the crazy Machiavellian thought that if you made Erik Ayuk a season-long formal loan to BSFC, that frees up a roster spot, gets Ayuk minutes, presuming that he earns them, and gives Ilsinho and Le Toux on the right.
    Of course there are probably other ways to solve the problem of the international slot.
    Laurels to Behind the Crest on the Union website. There is a game roster for today. The only surprises are some number changes among non-first team players.
    29 players are listed, 2, Edu and Alberg are physically not present but accounted for, so 27 available for the match.

    • Considering the roster, I think it’s in everyone’s best interest if Ayuk goes to BSFC. He has potential, but he’d deep on the chart with the players we have now. Go to Bethlehem and let Coach Burke get him ready to come up next year.
      I like him, but I think we were enamored more with his potential than his actual production. Get the minutes and then come up all the better for it.

      • Agreed. You are pragmatist.

      • As much as I enjoy watching Ayuk play, I agree (maybe we can get our fix in Open Cup games?). The U also were pretty active in getting international players green cards last year, so you’d have to think that’s something they’d pursue with guys like Nogueira too.

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