Daily news roundups

Union bits, Garber to cast US vote in FIFA election, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

In Monday’s roundup, I wondered if Maurice Edu was in Florida, and noted an Instagram post that suggested he was in Wilmington. PSP commenter Mouch17, who was at Saturday’s win over Tampa Bay, said in a comment on our recap of the game, “Mo Edu was wearing a walking boot, which is weird for a guy recovering from sports hernia surgery. Haven’t heard anything about a foot problem this spring.” Me neither. Jim Curtin has a pregame press conference scheduled for today ahead of Wednesday’s tilt against NYRB so hopefully we’ll gain some clarity on Edu’s status from that.

At MLSsoccer.com, Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle notes the 2015 Union had trouble defending crosses. And young defenders often struggle. So it will take some time for the Union defence to coalesce. Or something.

The season preview at American Soccer Analysis says the Union have no chance of making the playoffs in 2016: “The Union will likely struggle to get out of the bottom three of the Eastern Conference and will probably hover in and around 7th-9th for most of the season.”

At the Union website, highlights from the recent Twitter Q&A with Chris Pontius. He seems a good fellow.

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph on how the Union’s Homegrown situation will improve thanks to the Union Academy.

Prost Amerika has a photo gallery from Saturday’s win over Tampa Bay Rowdies.


Penn 97 on Harrisburg City Islanders leaving Skyline Sports Complex for the 2016 season to play at FNB Field in Harrisburg and Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster.

More on the continually impressive Christian Pulisic at Soccer America.

Philly Voice talks to Arsenal Philadelphia chair Mike Hiddi about the supporters group and its watch parties at Misconduct Tavern.


CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal play begins tonight. At 8 pm, DC is on the road to face Queretaro (FS1). At 10 pm, Seattle hosts Club America (FS1).

Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said on Monday the Obafemi Martins to Shanghai Shenhua transfer is still not official, describing the deal as “not formally legally concluded.”

Don Garber says the league will likely decide in March whether Minnesota United will begin MLS play in 2017 or 2018. Regarding expansion, Garber said, “There’s a lot of activity in St. Louis. There’s a lot of activity in Detroit. There’s a lot of activity in Sacramento. We got to get the whole round right, because that will likely be the last round of expansion in Major League Soccer.”

BMO has extended its shirt sponsorship deal with Toronto through 2016, and also extended its naming rights agreement for Toronto’s stadium by ten years.

CNN on why Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi should play in the US.

MLS and NeuLion have extended their partnership. The NeuLion Digital Platform is platform for MLS Live, the league’s digital subscription service. A press release says MLS Live “has seen a 60% growth in subscriptions on a year-over-year basis.” Remember when ESPN was supposed to become the league’s online platform for live game broadcasts?


Pro Soccer Talk says the Group of Death talk for the US at the Copa Centenario is overblown. ASN says the US should “thrive.”

At US Soccer, a breakdown of the US opponents at the Copa Centenario.

The U-18 WNT will be in La Manga, Spain Feb. 27-March 7 for three matches against the U-19 teams of Denmark, England, and Norway.


The New York Times reports US Soccer will vote for either Prince Ali of Jordan or Gianni Infantino for the FIFA presidency. “U.S. Soccer is planning to avoid a public endorsement. Barring a late change in that strategy, when the delegate from U.S. Soccer enters the voting booth on Friday morning in Zurich — the federation’s representative will be Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer — his choice most likely will be known only to a handful of U.S. Soccer officials…Mr. Gulati informed the board that a final decision would be made this week in Zurich, where U.S. Soccer will have five board members in town for the FIFA congress. With one-third of the voting members present, Mr. Gulati said that the board is satisfied that a substantive dialogue will take place.”

Gulati said of the federation’s main concerns in the election, “I think proper governance is critical for us. We want to see changes in that on every level, and are making changes within our own organization too…The other issue that is of utmost importance to our board is gender equality. We want to continue to push that issue, and expect to do that regardless of who is going to win this election.”

Garber said of Friday’s election, “I feel very strongly that this is a moment of truth for our sport. I hope — really, truly hope, that the leaders of the sport can come together and pick a president that could represent a new FIFA for all of us and not somebody that will just be a new name, but represent some of the old ways of doing business.”

According to a new Transparency International poll, 69 percent of soccer fans worldwide have no confidence in FIFA (66 percent in the US), while 50 percent of fans say FIFA has a chance to restore its reputation (50 percent also in the US). 69 percent believe fans should be allowed to vote in the FIFA presidential elections (73 percent in the US). 43 percent of fans say the ongoing FIFA corruption scandal has affected their enjoyment of soccer (51 percent of fans in the US say it hasn’t affected how much they enjoy soccer). 57 percent of fans worldwide believe soccer is more corrupt than other sports, 56 percent in the US. More on the poll at Transparency International, The Guardian, Goal.com, and SI.

Sky Sports reports, “Prince Ali bin al-Hussein’s lawyers have moved to have the FIFA presidential election suspended…because of a dispute over voting arrangements.” Press Association reports, “Prince Ali bin al-Hussein plans to test FIFA’s resistance to transparent voting booths by having some sent to Zurich in time for Friday’s presidential election. Football’s world governing body has dismissed a request from Prince Ali for transparent voting booths to be used when the successor to Sepp Blatter is elected.” More at The Guardian and Reuters.

Reuters reports, “FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne has protested to soccer’s world governing body about the number of observers allowed into the hall for Friday’s election, saying he believed they were working for his rivals.”

FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino believes he will receive more than half of the 54 votes from African federations. More at Reuters and the AP.

Reuters reports, “South African FIFA presidential candidate Tokyo Sexwale said on Monday he is a realist who is ‘open to negotiations and alliances’ ahead of Friday’s vote in Zurich.”

The Guardian reviews the five presidential candidates. The AP reviews the record of Sheikh Salman.

Soccer America says one of the few issues separating the candidates revolves around what to do with FIFA’s reserves of $1.5 billion. More on the spending plans at Inside World Football.

Bloomberg has an illuminating report on the corruption that continued at CONCACAF under Jeffrey Webb.

An authorized biography of Sepp Blatter, “Mission Football,” written by Blatter’s former spokesperson, Thomas Renggli, will be released in German in March. An English version will be out in June.


  1. HeY mR. GaRbeR… I wish somebody would “come represent” a new MLS for us.
    Hard to give even the slightest hesitation to MLS today when….
    The Blaugrana are at The Arsenal
    ———– & ————-
    The Old Lady hosts Der FCB
    We COULD- someday, be so fortunate if you get this right.

  2. Playing an injured Maurice Edu to try and win the Open Cup making him delay surgery and possibly aggravating his injury to the point where his recovery time will last long into the new season is just so Union. Hopefully he can get well soon.

    • I think it was more Mo than Union when it came to playing in the Cup. I can’t fault a man for wanting to play in a game that could have changed the teams trajectory. Nor the team that allowed him to play. History of sports in our nation is filled with injured or hurt players that were able to overcome said injuries and elevate their teams to glory. It’s part of what makes sport great.

      • Allen Iverson!

      • Agreed. An athlete’s mindset is “I’ll take care of it in the offseason.” There’s nothing wrong with pushing through it all in order to win trophies.
        Trust your team to hang on without you at the start of next season, if necessary. But always choose to chase the trophies.

      • Wait this wasn’t a nagging injury that the player decided to fix during the off season. Edu was pretty much benched due to the severity of the injury only really getting put onto the field to play in an open cup final. Immediately after the game he went in for surgery and hasn’t recovered yet.
        There is heart and desire and all that and there is bad judgement. This was bad judgement.

      • I get your point of view Sieve. I just don’t feel the same way. It’s a non-issue for me.

      • Wasn’t it reported widely that doctor’s had said playing wouldn’t lead to further or woresening of the injury?

        It was basically whether or not Mo could withstand the pain when playing with the injury.

    • Would have totally been worth it had Edu made his penalty.

  3. Here’s today’s food for thought conversation kindling…
    Has anybody noticed the evolution of the NBA the last few years…
    the more successful teams seem to be built with smaller, faster, quicker, keener more technical type players who can shoot… the days of the big man work the ball inside are dead…
    US Soccer is filled with little guys getting overlooked… I watched the final of MIC Cup from a year or so ago with Ajax and Barca 11 year olds… almost a 1/3 of the players were we mites with a jersey size too big… fast little devils quick as hell with the ball at their feet… playing a game of survival and intellect for years…
    wonder how long until our model totally ditches the relative age effect altogether and builds academies that allow for the little guy to stand a chance….
    The entire National Federation of Spain is built around contingencies for the late bloomer.

    • That’s because the One-and-done rule changed the whole landscape of player development. Bigs don’t stay long enough to learn how to play that type of game. Okafor is a perfect example. It’s the same with the QB position. Colleges play the spread because it’s more successful, so the players don’t learn how to play at a Pro level. That’s been the issue for soccer development for decades. Youth, high school and college sports is ALL about winning and player development – and for that matter personal and emotional growth – are thrown out the window in favor of doing whatever is needed to win right now. College soccer like the AAU for basketball probably does more harm than good for development, but at least there’s an education to be had.

    • Haven’t paid one iota of attention to basketball in years. It’s not possible for me to care less. But I see your point about mites. I’d also say that hockey has had a change in heart when it comes to size also. The Flyers will soon have have their own in Konecny. Who would have guessed that talent was talent, no matter what size it comes in (sarcasm).

      • I’m with ya on b-ball All4U. Same can be said about Shane Gostisbehere, 5’11″160lbs defenceman, who should be in contention for the Calder trophy this year. Basketball….yawn.

      • Maybe I’m in the minority, but I miss the post up game. Many hours were spent in my back yard working on a Barkley fade-away. What passes for defense, and “skilled” players, is incredibly unappealing to my eyes. If I wanted acrobatics I’d watch Cirque du Soleil (no thanks). If I wanted to watch wind sprints, I’d care about track and field. Meh.

      • Agree with you 100 percent. If I ran the NBA, I’d do away with the 3-point shot. Watching guys take and miss three pointers is not fun.

      • But watching Steph Curry make about 10 game is A LOT of fun.

    • the NBA is more about shooting ability than size now – the 3 pointer changed that. You have to do it well or you cannot win. Traditionalists like Popovich hate it but play the hand they are dealth. Most of the shooters are in the 6’6″ to 6’10” range and can still move like a smaller player (Durant, Klay Thompson, etc). Take away the 3 and low post play would come back. Plus the good teams still have useful bigs.

      • Agreed and sabermetrics is even proving a quicker version of the game with more 3 point attempts actually translates to better scoring versus pounding the clock and getting it down low.
        Steph Curry ectomorph – revolutionizing the game.
        … adjustments to the three pointer have changed everything… why be a solid mid range jump shooter when four feet behind you is an extra point.
        from a soccer standpoint what can be gleaned…anything?

      • Yes, perhaps ironically the ideal point guard is a guy who’s 6’6″, can dribble with ease and pull up and shoot. So the game is still “big” just not post-up big. The 3-point shot opens up another way to score points, which means the defense has one more thing to worry about.

        For soccer, ya gotta get a guy like Giovinco who can score from anywhere on the pitch. Gone are the days of the Connor Caseys (or Le Toux circa 2011) standing on the penalty spot and poaching deflections or rebounds. The “3-point shooter” of soccer would be the guy who can “dribble” the ball through traffic, “pull up” 20-25 yards out and beat the keeper to the corner.

        If a team can pull a defender out of the box to guard against that potential shot it opens up space in the box to find that poacher. I.e. a quality 3-point shooter spaces the floor and allows a big man to flourish. I’ve played both sports, at a competitive rec league level, so I’m by no means an expert, but at a level with no coach and varying levels of fundamentals there are a surprising number of tactical similarities.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      I would offer a caution from the past, from American Football (which will undoubtedly get me banned permanently for the website!). Bear Bryant at Alabama in the mid-to-late 1960s had smaller extremely quick, extremely fast teams, would get to bowl games for the national championship and lose to bigger extremely quick, fast teams, so – he said in a later comment – he got tired of losing and began to recruit the big, fast, quick players. He began to win those national championship games in the early 70s.

  4. I highly recommend the Soccer America article on Pulisic. Not really for the article, but the video of a 9 year old Pulisic and the magic he can put forth on a field. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Maybe I come a bit late to his talents. But if you haven’t seen his younger version play, I can’t recommend it enough.

    • Those videos are why my youngsters know so well who Christian Pulisic is…
      I appreciate you bring recognition to this … as one can see he’s been crushing kids bigger and older his whole life and none of this BVB is new for him or likely over his head for that matter.
      The arc of his professional life has been straight and steady and true…just like an archer’s arrow… kudos to his parents for being so patient when many many european clubs were knocking at his door for quite a few years… they waited and waited till the time and club were right and now The Gatekeeper, Tuchel is rewarding him with some meaningful playing time.
      Massive preparation, sacrifice, dreaming and work meeting opportunity… his is a perfect example of the Iceberg Illusion that just recently came up in a conversation I was following.
      He will leave a mark.

      • Even more interesting is… what would his trajectory look like had he chosen to stay local?

      • I’d venture that his ceiling might have been more limited. But not by much. It’s quite evident that his love of the game drives him, and nothing will stop that. I’m sure he would have found any way to advance his talents, no matter where those keys were hidden.

      • I think his ceiling and ability to tech his potential would have been severely limited. Have to disagree with you one that one.

      • I figured you would! Haha. Maybe we could dicker over “local”. I took it more as U.S.A. “local”. But if you truly meant PA local. Then yes, more limited than I stated above. Even stating that, I have a hard time believing his drive would have let him be so limited to be grouped with the “could have been” and “never will be”. It’s a great thing we won’t ever have to find out what shouldn’t have been.

      • For the more casual followers among us, is there any value to comparing CP’s development & wonderful success to date with the thus far aborted career of a 14-yo phenom from the Maryland suburbs, one Freddy Adu? Systemically speaking, not as individuals. For a friend. In rehab (on a Rowdies hangover).

    • Agree. His German is also excellent!

    • and a super nice guy to boot (second hand info)

  5. C’mon Section 114 (formerly), where you hiding? Heed the whale’s call.

  6. Tokyo Sexwale owns an island in The Indian Ocean? Sadly, he’s handicapped as a serious long shot, so his 15 minutes of fame on these pages appears to be coming to an end soon.

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Based on complete guesswork, both about contracts and the use of TAM, I am guessing that the Union can afford for Ilsinho to count for about $200K against the salary cap, were they to “max-out” the cap with him.
    This is sheer guesswork upon guesswork upon guesswork on my part, so take it as evidence that I had time to have fun this morning, primarily, since it is rainy and raw, rather than speculation of any value.

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