Daily news roundups

Union drop preseason game against Chicago, Union U-17s in GA Cup play, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Well, that fell apart pretty fast in the second half, didn’t it?

After conceding a PK goal from David Accam following a Nogueira handball, the Union responded immediately to level the score courtesy if a nifty back-heel goal from Fabian Herbers. But a speedy Accam put Chicago ahead in the 40th minute. In the 60th minute, Accam’s shot was saved by Andre Blake but the rebound was headed in by Nick LaBrocca. A mass substitution from the Union followed before Gilberto capitalized on a defensive error to make it 4-1. The Union got a goal back in the 83rd minute. The goal appeared to be scored by Warren Creavalle but the recap at the Union website credits draft pick Cole Missimo.

What to make of the loss? You tell me. I did think Keegan Rosenberry looked confident, aggressive, and very sharp with his crossing. I also was disappointed not to see Ilsinho, PSP, Philadelphia Union, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer NewsBrotherly Game, Chicago Fire, CSN Chicago, Chicago Fire Confidential, Chicagoland Soccer NewsHot Time In Old Town, MLSsoccer.comGhana Sports Online, and Pulse.com.gh.  USA Today has a photo gallery from the game.

The Union return to Philadelphia today for a few days off before returning to Clearwater on Tuesday.

At the Union website, Chris Winkler talks to Tranquillo Barnetta about his decision to sign with the Union and how preseason has been going.

At CSN Philly, more from Jim Curtin’s comments in Wednesday’s teleconference on Ilsinho, Roland Alberg, the goalkeeping depth chart, and CJ Sapong’s new contract.

Sacred Heart University notes alum Matt Jones is now with the Union.

SI has reviews of this year’s kits. Here’s what Brian Straus has to say about the Union:

The Union’s home uniform is a modern classic, apart from a garish sponsor logo that looks pasted on instead of integrated with the rest of the jersey. This year’s new primary kit features a lighter gold down the middle, an understated snakeskin pattern (taken from the serpent in the club logo) and the departure of the pinstripes used in 2014-15. It’s as classy and distinctive a set as you’ll find. If only Bimbo could cooperate. Meanwhile, we’re stuck with the regrettable, lazy away kit for one more season.

Remember when Fabio Cannavaro was linked to the Union’s head coach job? You will recall after a short time at the helm of Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande he ended being hired to coach Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr. Well, he’s just been sacked after 12 games in charge.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union Academy U-17s are in Florida for the final round of Generation adidas Cup group play this weekend. Currently in fifth place in the East with a 0-2-1 record (they won the draw on PKs), the team faces last place New England today at 2:30 pm, fourth place DC on Saturday at 4:30 pm, and third place Orlando on Monday at 12 pm.

The Generation adidas Cup championship will be staged in Frisco, March 18-26. The top two teams from the East, Central, and West regions in group play advance to the Championship Division and will compete against international clubs’ youth teams. The rest of the MLS academy teams will compete in Frisco in the Premier Division.

Sons of Ben

A Sons of Ben board meeting took place on January 31. You can read the minutes of the meeting by clicking here.


Camden Youth Soccer Club will be hosting its annual charity darts tournament at The Victors Pub in Camden on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 7-9 pm.

Penn97 gathers up the preseason schedules of Pennsylvania’s three USL teams.

Four La Salle players were among those honored at the Philly Soccer 6 banquet earlier this week.

Former Philadelphia Independence and USWNT forward Tasha Kai has signed with Sky Blue FC, the club she played for before joining the Independence.


The league announced on Thursday Arsenal will be this year’s All-Star Game opponent. The game takes place at San Jose’s Avaya Stadium on Thursday, July 28 at 9 pm ET. This announcement video is actually pretty good.

Player moves:

  • New England has acquired midfielder Gershon Koffie from Vancouver in exchange for general allocation money and targeted allocation money: “As part of the trade, Vancouver will receive a percentage of any future transfer fees obtained by New England.”
  • Montreal have re-signed Belgian defender Laurent Ciman to a one-year contract extension, which will keep him with the team through 2018.

Portland defeated Salt Lake, 1-0. There were handbags and Jack Mac was involved.

New home kits for Montreal (fair enough, nice return to the team’s pre-MLS past) and New England (get a new crest).

The recently launched NASL-side San Francisco Deltas (a dumb name to match the dumb logo), expected to begin play in 2017, may have found a home.

Meanwhile, the headline at Empire of Soccer reads, “Left out of expansion talks, Chicago Sting Trust suspend operations.” Seems the NASL is pinning its Chicago expansion hopes on the Peter Wilt-backed Club Nine Sports .


The USWNT play Mexico on Saturday in their second group game of the CONCACAF Olympic qualification tournament. The game will be available live on NBC Sports Live Extra at 4 pm, with a replay broadcast on NBCSN at 9:30 pm.

At the Guardian, Elliot Turner on why young American players looking to break into Europe might be wise to avoid England and Spain.

That new Professional Futsal League. Apparently, they intend to “Americanize” the rules. When will they ever learn? More at The 91st Minute.


FIFA’s independent ethics committee has banned former general secretary Jerome Valcke for 12 years “from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) on a national and international level,” effective immediately. The announcement from FIFA says,

The investigation against Mr Valcke was conducted by Dr Cornel Borbély, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, following allegations of potential misconduct related to the sale of tickets for FIFA World Cups™. During the course of the investigations, several other acts of potential misconduct arose, in particular abuse of the FIFA travel expenses policies and regulations, cases involving related-parties issues and the sale of TV and other media rights, and the destruction of evidence.

Valcke has also been fined 100,000 Swiss francs, or about $102,453.

From the Press Association: “FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has signed an amended version of a human rights pledge as he attempts to draw the sting from pressure groups opposing his campaign.” The report explains,

Sheikh Salman, from Bahrain, has signed the pledge but with amendments – removing specific references to the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups, and abuses against women and LGBT groups.

He said in a statement: “If we make a statement about equal rights and equal opportunities, it is obvious that we must practice an all-encompassing approach, which include all minorities and not solely those that were mentioned by Human Rights Watch in their original pledge.

“I am of the view that we must not be selective in any area that concerns human rights.”

He said his pledge “includes all future hosts of World Cups and other FIFA tournaments.”

Reuters reports, “Some national teams have been given unfavorable fixtures for failing to toe the political line inside soccer’s world governing body, the Jordanian candidate to become its next president said on Thursday.” Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein explained,

Let me tell you what happens when you don’t go with the recognized powers in FIFA. Development projects mysteriously stall; tournament hosting bids are suddenly compromised or withdrawn; national teams start to mysteriously face less favorable fixtures or even referees. All of these are effective ways to punish member associations that fail to demonstrate political loyalty.

Prince Ali also said, “The world is cleaning FIFA up, whether FIFA likes it and FIFA can help with a real culture change,” he added. “There are so many good people in FIFA but many feel fear, and with good reason. The 209 members know FIFA is in crisis. Will a small group of FIFA members hold FIFA hostage?”

The FIFA presidential candidates are in Miami to meet with CONCACAF members. In presentations to members yesterday, Sheikh Salman Jerome Champagne criticized Gianni Infantino’s plan for an expanded 40-team World Cup.


  1. A few observations from yesterday, which I shamelessly watched at work:

    I’m not going to read too much into that scoreline or that it was a “loss”. I put “loss” in quotes because an early preseason game (and it is still pretty early, there are 3 weeks and 4 matches left) that features wholesale changes in the 60th minute and features many guys who are probably not going to be in the first team is not a real competitive match in my view. And let’s be honest, two of Chicago’s goals were fairly unlucky (handball in the box; isolated rookie brain-fart).

    Chicago’s second goal was disappointing. I’m not going to fault Marquez too much on being beaten for pace, as Accam is really, really fast, but his positioning was perhaps a bit naive, and Barnetta’s giveaway in midfield in the buildup was poor. Also think Blake could have done a little better.

    It’s obviously early yet but Rosenberry and Herbers sure look like the real deal so far. Ray Gaddis may well be in for a fight. Yaro actually had a few nice moments with the ball too (a very nice crossfield pass to Washington stands out), despite his clanger.

    Union attack looked great at times. Need to get Edu in the team ASAP. Defense is a work in progress.

  2. So another all-star game against world competition…Meh. Can we please just go back to East/West? Don Garber, you’re the worst. Has there been an example of a worse time with the five major sports being run by boobs? Garber, Bettman, Goodell…save me from this nightmare.

    • It’s a marketing issue. The problem with East/West is that non-MLS fans won’t tune-in, go to the game, or even care. If you have the all-stars playing a Bayern Munich, an Arsenal or a Chelsea, much greater chance of fringe fans taking interest. It also brings visibility in other markets – did you see the (cheesy but well put together) ad featuring MLS stars as well as Arsenal’s? Arsenal fans around the world saw that, and that’s what Garber’s after I think.

      • I understand what Garber wants, and what he thinks he’s getting. But turning off your own fans in favor on trying to attract attention world-wide is moronic. MLS T.V. deals for around the world have given way more exposure to the league than any all-star game has. I read somewhere that some English fans have started to prefer MLS because there is such parity compared to the EPL. They like the fact that so many MLS teams have the chance to win the Cup.
        Do you honestly think Arsenal fans got all “geek’d” up after that promo? To me, it’s embarrassing.

    • I’m ok with removing the All-Star game altogether. It’s a waste of time. But I understand it’s a money-maker and it’s about marketing. So I’ll go back to watching baseball when the game comes on.

    • It’s not the competition I have a problem with — it’s the selection process that has become an utter joke. Last year’s selection was so outrageously bad that I resolved never to watch the All-Star game again. And I’m a die-hard MLS fan who has only modest interest in the European leagues. If this game ain’t for me, then don’t expect me to watch.

      • Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

        It’s a matter of perspective. I can agree with all the points above re: the All Star Game. I pay it very little attention and almost never watch it but when it was held at PPL, I went and had a damn good time.

    • I agree. As cool as it is to see these European teams up close, there’s enough talent across MLS now to field two interesting sides. And it wouldn’t be any less competitive, would it? Even if they want to do the school yard pick thing, I think it’s time to expose more MLS fans to more MLS stars.

    • Maybe make it a Young vs. Old game. Under 25 on one team, over 25 on the other.
      Won’t draw big numbers, but I’m not enamored with the game in general.

  3. “Will a small group of FIFA members hold FIFA hostage?”

    Absolutely, they will. To paraphrase Cato the Elder: “Ceterum censeo FIFA esse delendam” – “And I also think that FIFA must be destroyed”. Send in Scipio Aemilianus to systematically burn FIFA to the ground.

    • I’d go with Nero to play the fiddle while we all watch it burn. Personal preference.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      And then plough up the grounds of its headquarters and sow the tilth with salt.
      Of course the irony is that within a century or so, Rome built a new city in more or less the same location since the location is so valuable.

  4. Professional Futsal?
    Who is going to provide the infrastructure locally? Where are the players going to come from…. are these teams going to build academy to train up the american player to actually play in this Developmental League occupied 95% with the “GREATEST PLAYERS IN THE WORLD”…. Oh My God. Make me vomit with this… we are NOT ready.
    We are NOT ready for this.
    This is ONLY about money, “in an effort to appeal to american fans”. Four quarters. More advertisements. Longer games. $UCK YOU.
    I’m sick.
    This This is what I HATE… strongest most vile of all words.
    Professional Lacrosse or Professional Futsal. Over under for both.
    Prove me wrong Donnie and Mark…I dare you.

  5. Did anyone else get a kick out of all of the incorrect player identification by the USA Today photo gallery?
    Andrew Wenger, Lahoud, Maidana… all with the team.
    Painting by the numbers, so to speak.

  6. If there was a red felt pool table, a high top and two stools….if I had a cup of coffee, black, and was hanging with Earnie and he had just wiped the froth of a Yards Brawler from his upper lip and chuckled at my question….. what do suppose would be his answer to
    When do you think our Union should be prepared to win MLS Cup?
    This one question is what I would like to know the answer to.

    • I would expect you to get a vague answer. Nothing definitive.

      • That’s why I framed it the way I did… pretending I was his buddy and we were hanging out… where I would not likely get a vague answer. One friend would tell the other…”I think we can contend in three seasons”… Personally, I have no doubt there is a clock ticking in his head.
        In all on this, what I keep wondering, is what the timer is set at.
        Post Script… by contending, I am very specifically speaking with the parameter of being a conference finalist….cause everyone else, each season, is still not really a contender so much as a playoff team.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Too soon for him to answer you with much chance of the answer being accurate.
        He evaluating both his technical staff and his player roster.
        He is having his first direct experience of the league office and the other league franchises.posdtpone your friendly get together until July 4th, to pick one. Then buy him that beer.
        A question I have about the upcoming season that indirectly bears on yours is how the New York Red Bulls are going to fare this season in terms of squad depth, are they correct that all those homegrowns are ready for those roles on the first team?

      • Ok, going on your premise of drinking buddies. Let me first say that I’m taking a conservative approach. I don’t think true contention will happen for eight to ten years. Why? Well I consider this year as starting from scratch. So I give them 1-3 years to have the new system fully integrated. 1-3 years to give leeway for injuries, roster turnover (to tweek for the right players), and a possible manager change. So, years 3-6 will be spent finding their way into the playoff’s, placing in a myriad of positions, but still not finishing top in the division. It will hopefully be at this point, that the club has become exceedingly profitable. So, after seeing such profits, Sugarman will see they are close, and the purse strings will loosen. At this time we might start seeing recognizable international names coming into the club. Which leads to years 6-8 vying for the conference title, but still not wining the league. At which point Sugarman will go all in, and spend to get those final pieces. Which leads us to years 8-10 in which they will contend for the league title.
        My view is probably a long one. I give time for injuries, managerial change, and player acclimation to the league. I’m very conservative at this point.
        So all that being said, I think big Earn probably has a five year timetable. He’s aggressive. He’s proactive. He’s very competitive. I don’t think he will sit on his laurels and let things play out. Curtain screws up? He’s gone quickly. Players not making the grade? They are gone.
        So big Earn, five years. Me, ten.

      • Portland did it in 1. Why can’t us?

      • Theoretically they could. Is it likely? Not really. And Portland was in the league for 4 years before they won it in their fifth. If you are saying they turned it around after not making the playoffs the year before, and then wining the league, remember they made it to the conference finals the year before they missed the playoffs. They also have a known coaching quantity in Caleb Porter. The Union do not. They have an unknown quantity in Curtain. Some may say a lack of quality, in Curtain. The Union were formed from scratch. Portland was not. Portland has Nagbe. Do the Union have anyone with his quality? I think we’d have to say no as of yet. Merrit Pualson vs. Sugarman, you tell me who the better owner is. Portland has a G.M. that knows the league. The Union do not.
        As I stated quite clearly above, my view is very conservative, given how the previous 6 years of operation have been handled. It is also important to point out that big Earn never won the Eredivisie, he just kept them competitive. Granted they don’t have a playoff system like MLS, but he still never won it. Depending on how Curtain fairs, there may be a new coach next year who will probably want to bring some of his type of players. Progress may be stunted or regress after a coaching change. At this point there are so many variables it is almost impossible to make an accurate prediction. Thus my conservative view.

      • The unpredictable nature of playoffs throws a monkey wrench in any attempt to predict an MLS Cup winner (Look at how far LA got last year, or how far Seattle gets year after year, versus how far Portland and Columbus got last year. Anyone can have a bad day or catch lightning in a bottle at the end.), so a more reliable question would be, “When will this be a consistent playoff-appearing team?”
        I’d unscientifically guess they’ll be at that point in three years, mostly because it doesn’t sound too aggressive or too conservative.

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