Daily news roundups

Barnetta and Edu doubtful for season opener, Tribbett a “revelation,” more news

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

Union head coach Jim Curtin said on Tuesday that both Maurice Edu and Tranquillo Barnetta are doubtful for Sunday’s season opener in Dallas. Curtin explained Edu’s injury is not related to his surgery for a sports hernia, and that the midfielder still has not been able to train with the team: “It has nothing to do with the surgery he had. It’s an injury that, it’s called a ‘stress reaction’ and it’s in his leg. Nothing’s broken or anything like that. Before he’s physically cleared to train with us, he has to have that fully heal, and then he can be out there.”

Curtin said of Barnetta, “It’s tough and it’s frustrating, but Tranquillo has a little bit of tendinitis in the knee from a former injury. It slowed him a bunch this preseason and he’s missed some time. He was able to play 60 minutes versus Montreal but isn’t quite fully fit right now. He’s still getting himself going.”

Curtin said of Edu and Barnetta, “These are two leaders, captain-type players and two guys we miss greatly and two important pieces that may or may not be with us [in] week one. But we have to prepare accordingly.”

At Union Tally, Matthew De George has further injury-related news: “The other injuries were minor. Cole Missimo left training a little early, though Curtin didn’t list an ailment. Josh Yaro was somewhat limited due to groin soreness. Ray Gaddis has largely shaken off his knee soreness and appeared to train fully.”

At Delco Times, Matthew De George on Ken Tribbett, who began at Drexel the same year the Union began play in MLS. Union head coach Jim Curtin Describing his play as “a revelation.” Jim Curtin says of Tribbett’s preseason, “He’s played the bulk of the minutes. He’s earned the bulk of the minutes, it needs to be said. We didn’t have him penciled in as, ‘He’s our No. 1 guy.’ I’d be lying if I said that. But he’s turned the coaching staff’s heads. He’s proving it on the field.”

Could Tribbett start in Sunday’s season opener in Dallas? Curtin says, “He’s held up against the top guys in our league” in preseason, adding, “I’m not naïve: When you go on the road in Dallas in Week 1, it’s a lot harder. But at the same time, he’s shown over a body of work in the preseason that he belongs in this league.”

De George reported after Tuesday’s training session, “Caught the end of some tactical drills at training, where it looked like the ‘first’ team featured Richie Marquez and Anderson as the center back pairing. Brian Carroll was the holding midfielder with Roland Alberg and Leo Fernandes in the central attacking midfielder spots. Not sure if that’s a hint for this weekend, but there are a lot of pieces to still fall into place with this lineup in the coming days.”

Jim Curtin on Ilsinho: “We knew probably two games into the preseason that he participated in that it was something we wanted to get done. … A guy that has come in, came from a big club in Europe, the situation there wasn’t ideal for him, so he came with us, turned our heads immediately.”

An article from John Smallwood on CJ Sapong at the Daily News has this clarification:

A misinterpretation between Sapong and a writer led to the bold prediction on MLSsoccer.com that he would tally 20 goals this season.

Sapong said what he meant by saying he wanted “to create 20 goals” was by either banging the back of the net himself or setting up one of his teammates to score.

“But hey, if they’re going to speak that into existence, that’s fine with me,” Sapong said. “I’ve gotten double-digit goals in all competitions but not in just an MLS schedule.

“Honestly, to look good on the stat sheet, I’d like to accomplish that, but if I got eight goals and 10 assists, helped this team get 20-plus (wins), I know that I will have accomplished what I need to do. I want to maximize my impact for this team.

“If I can have that impact, scoring, taking pressure off my teammates so they can get goals, create things, then I’ll be happy.”

The MLSsoccer.com article in question was from Dave Zeitlin, who quotes Sapong as saying, “If you look at the last season and the amount of opportunities that I had and the fact that I didn’t get to play the full season, I feel like 20 goals is something that I can reach. One thing I definitely want to add to my game is the ability to bring other players into the attack, as well. I want to create goals in any way possible. If by the end of the season, I’ve created 20 to 25 goals, whether scoring or assisted, that’s what I feel like my productivity should be.” Not sure where the misinterpretation could lie, he said “20 to 25 goals, whether scoring or assisted.”  Anyway, who cares so long as we’re soon talking about the goals Sapong is scoring (or creating), rather than talking about Sapong talking about scoring (or creating) goals.

At the Union website, Chris Winkler talks to Andre Blake about being the Union’s starting goalkeeper.

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep reviews “the top MLS players who have new homes in the league this year.” While former Union men Ethan White and Cristian Maidana are included, new Union man Chris Pontius is not.

Friends do not ask friends to look at those clickdiculous Bleacher Report slideshows so I’ll save you the trouble and just say Tranquillo Barnetta (No. 34) and CJ Sapong made this list of 50 MLS players to watch in 2016. Former Union men Zac MacMath and Cristian Maidana are also on the list.

Last Word on Sports looks at the first ten Union games of 2016.

For the third consecutive season, JP Dellacamera will be joined by Peter Pappas in the broadcast booth for Union games. This will be Dellacamera’s seventh season calling Union games. Marisa Pilla and Dave Leno will be part of the pre-game and halftime show segments.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Dave Leno will do play-by-play, and former Union man Matt Kassel will be the color analyst, for Bethlehem Steel games broadcasts in the team’s inaugural season. The press release notes, “Leno and Kassel will broadcast all 15 home matches from Goodman Stadium. Official broadcast network information will be announced at a later date.”

Noise Nation continues a look at how Bethlehem’s roster may be bolstered by players on loan from the Union.

Local

Former Union man Aaron Wheeler has signed with Harrisburg City Islanders. In  case you’re wondering, they list him as a forward.

The PDL has launched a new website that will help you better keep up with Lehigh Valley United, Ocean City Nor’easters, and Reading United news.

MLS

Player moves:

  • Toronto Sun reports Herculez Gomez and Toronto FC have parted ways, with TFC expected to formally waive the forward by next week: “That move will clear the path for general manager Tim Bezbatchenko to sign Mo Babouli.” At Brotherly Game, Eugene Rupinski considers whether Gomez would be a good fit for the Union.
  • New England has signed Homegrown midfielder Scott Caldwell to a new contract.
  • Montreal has signed SuperDraft pick and forward Michael Salazar.
  • Kansas City and defender Marcel de Jong have mutually agreed to part ways.
  • Seattle has signed St. Vincent and the Grenadines forward Oalex Anderson from their USL side, S2.
  • Portland has signed two SuperDraft picks, midfielder/winger Neco Brett, who played for Reading United, and goalkeeper Wade Hamilton.

Apparently, Kenny Cooper is no longer on trial with Kansas City.

Former DC United midfielder Perry Kitchen is signing with Heart of Midlothian in Scotland.

That’s two less MLS teams in the CONCACAF Champions League. On Tuesday night, DC drew 1-1 at home with Queretaro, being eliminated 3-1 on aggregate. The Galaxy was thumped 4-0 by Santos Laguna on the road, being eliminated 4-0 on aggregate after a scoreless draw in the first leg.

Seattle faces Club America tonight at the Azteca at 8 pm (FS2) after drawing 2-2 at home in the first leg. Salt Lake hosts Tigres tonight after losing 2-0 on the road in the first leg (10 pm, FS2).

MLSsoccer.com reports Queretaro issued a statement before Tuesday night’s game “denying that any phones belonging to D.C. players or staff were stolen from the locker room at Estadio Corregidora.” The report says, “In the statement, Queretaro claimed that D.C. had the only key to the away locker room and that footage from security cameras showed nothing untoward happening. The club suggested that the phones were stolen at a different location prior to the team’s arrival at the stadium.” The Mexican club says it still plans to reimburse DC United players and staff.

At ESPN, predictions on who will win the MLS Cup, the Supporters Shield, and be named league MVP.

Former Union man Jordan Harvey, now in Vancouver, believes the Whitecaps could win the MLS Cup this year.

NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira: “I just think that coaching in the MLS is of course harder than in Europe. Because of the salary cap and the roster, and the way you have to make things balanced in the squad, making sure you have the players you need … In Europe, if you want a player, you just go out and buy them. Here, you can’t do it unless you have all these certain criteria. It is really interesting, really fascinating.”

The Guardian’s Marina Hyde has an opinion piece titled “Why the MLS should just sell itself and not the American dream” in which she argues, following recent comments by Robbie Keane, that all the talk about the attractiveness of a lifestyle change for international players interested in playing in MLS has to stop:

[I]f MLS is itself to get bigger and brasher and better, in the exhilarating American fashion, then the “lifestyle” stuff has to go. League bigwigs must have a stern word with the highest-profile signings, whose perpetual foregrounding of this aspect gives a very good impression that MLS is a bespoke kitchen island in the Hollywood Hills with a football contract attached. Furthermore, the frequent emphasis on the league’s “family friendly” qualities as a player destination does rather make it sound like a restaurant that provides crayons. A relief, certainly, but you’re not going for the food.

From the Miami Herald: “David Beckham missed a February target for securing county land for a Miami soccer stadium, and the lack of parking in plans for the 25,000-seat venue may be a sticking point in the talks.”

San Antonio Current on how fielding a team in the USL rather than the NASL might bolster that city’s chances of landing a MLS franchise.

US

Speaking at a sports business panel Monday night in Manhattan, Sunil Gulati addressed the possibility of the US hosting the 2026 World Cup, saying “We can host a World Cup relatively easily. We can do it overnight.” The trouble, Gulati explained, is one of politics, not capability: “Two hundred and nine countries vote in the next go-round. It’s going to boil down to what people think of U.S. foreign policy… Do they like what our country stands for…”

Gulati said the new FIFA president is aware that interest in hosting the World Cup is high. “Gianni Infantino knows that, he’s appreciative, but there’s no promises. It’s important for people to know that if we did host it, it would be extraordinarily successful, extraordinarily profitable. But there’s a long way to go.”

Soccer America on Gulati’s growing influence within FIFA.

At US Soccer, a piece previewing the start of the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s WOrld Cup qualification tournament. The US begins play on Friday against Jamaica.

At ASN, a commentary piece on how the policy of excluding players in US Soccer’s new Girls Development Academy from playing on high school teams “is only one of a number of foolhardy steps youth clubs have taken over the past decade to weaken the game at the high school level.”

Thank goodness this didn’t go anywhere.

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “New FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants players to become more involved in the running of the sport and has recommended a cautious approach to the use of technology.” More on Infantino’s views on using technology at International Business Times.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced Michel Platini has filed an appeal against the six-year ban from soccer handed down to him by FIFA. Reports from The Guardian, ESPN, and the Press Association.

Reuters reports, “Former Guatemalan soccer federation president Brayan Jimenez was taken to the capital’s airport on Tuesday for extradition to the United States to face corruption charges.”

The AP reports, “European Championship games could be moved to different venues in France and rescheduled without fans on another day in response to terror attacks or threats.”

Following a report from The SunThe Guardian reports: “The Premier League’s self-styled leading clubs have denied discussing a breakaway European Super League but have admitted to meeting over changes to the format of the Champions League.” More at ESPN and Goal.com.

From the Press Association: “UEFA has announced that Galatasaray have been handed a two-season ban from European club competitions following their breach of financial fair play regulations.” More at Goal.com.

64 Comments

  1. I don’t think it is outrageous for a forward in a 4-2-3-1 to hope to get 20 goals in a season and a clarification isn’t necessary. Although him saying he hopes to create 20 goals is telling about how this team expects to play and where it thinks goals are coming from.

    • I agree with your statement. But I also agree with Ed. Why did C.J. have to clarify something that he clearly stated?

    • I believe Sapong meant to say “I feel like contributing on 20 goals” in his first sentence of the quote instead of “…I feel like 20 goals is something that I can reach…”
      .
      It makes sense with the rest of the quote: “One thing I definitely want to add to my game is the ability to bring other players into the attack, as well. I want to create goals in any way possible. If by the end of the season, I’ve created 20 to 25 goals, whether scoring or assisted, that’s what I feel like my productivity should be.”

    • he should not back down – if it is “create” and not “score” then we need the summer transfer window DP signing more than ever. still like CJ and believe he can score a bunch.

  2. Hercules Gomez to the Union to fill the Conor Casey slot. There I said it first.

    • beat you to it yesterday on Twitter sorry… 🙂 when I believe a follower of KK brought it up.
      .
      You lay claim to it on the PSP though.

    • It does seem like he might be a good fit. Except that he was making more than Casey, and the Union didn’t want to pay Casey. So, not sure they would be willing to pay Gomez. Also not certain if he is worth more than Casey at this point.

    • If the Union wanted more of a veteran presence, I would have rather had Mike Magee whom L.A. scooped up. I, myself, would much prefer a player with more of a speed game in their attack vs. a system or hold-up player. Mostly to add diversity, but also because speed kills MLS defenses.

      • old soccer coach says:

        Just MLS defenses? Did you see Vardy yesterday in the Leicester game? He gained three steps on his defender in well less than ten yards! Speed kills any defence, be it anti-ballistic missile defense or soccer.

      • I humbly stand corrected.

    • is he bald?

    • pragmatist says:

      Herc is the perfect example of patience. Just because he’s available doesn’t mean he’s the right guy for this team.
      .
      I understand he has talent, but we’re not winning the Cup this year (most likely). No need to jump into rash decisions, especially if Earnie knows he’ll have more options available to him in the summer.

  3. I’m so tired of our MLS teams being bounced out of the Champions League every year. I’m not convinced that the Mexican teams are better than MLS teams even though the results show otherwise.
    I got to believe the timing of these games are horrible for MLS. We are in PRE-SEASON and are going up against top teams that are in form! MLS should fight to have the games moved to April/May ASAP so we can have a fair fight.

    • Quarterfinals the 3rd & 4th week of March. Semis the 2nd & 3rd week of April. Finals in May. It’s very reasonable and would benefit everyone in the region.

    • I am quite convinced…across the board Liga MX is better than MLS…schedule be damned… though as argued vehemently many many other times by me…the schedule does indeed need to alter a bit.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Liga MX is a better product, without a doubt. But I think the pre-season vs in-season form issue does contribute

      • Preseason or not, Santos made LA look like a junior intramural team. It was ridiculous.

      • old soccer coach says:

        Their coach also probably got out his electric cattle prod and used it judiciously in specific specific sensitive orifices after the draw in LA.

  4. In a backhanded sort of way… since I see no real reason to expect or think our Union will win this opening game… I am actually a bit happy The Calm is not playing…
    .
    I am nothing if not tenacious in defense of certain player importance and there is a contingent amongst these hallowed PSP halls that seem to think Tranquillo Barnetta is either: not that good, or overrated — as though a few missed passes or rusty play or underwhelming pizzazz were the true qualities of glue or a theodolite or a protractor.
    .
    I have argued that he is essential to the success of this team playing in the mold the Sporting Director wants…which is a clinical, technical, work related fastidious european manner unlike the South American manner we have seen as recently as this past season.
    .
    Yes..lets observe how well this team functions on Sunday and maybe the next week… whether they resort to over the top balls…whether the continuity is off over and over again… whether this team appears to have a “different style of play” yet is just unable to execute with consistency or effect… then lets observe how this team functions when Tranquillo Barnetta is on the field.
    .
    Once again… there is this italian dude.. who while not the flashiest player on sunday in my pick up always brings order when he plays unlike when he doesn’t and the game just seems amiss and more haphazard…
    .
    yes. yes. yes… lets observe and then hopefully by about week 3…we can put this nonsense to rest for good and draw our attention to other more reasoned and logical places.
    .
    yes. a blessing in disguise. let’s observe closely.

    • I’m high on Barnetta and believe a good season from him is essential for this team. He’s had half a season of MLS to get a feel for how the league works. And I not only like his chances of creating chances at a similar rate to Chaco, but think he’s definitely more likely to score some chances on his own.
      .
      Like Curtin said, he’s a leader. A player who can organize his teammates and keep them focused. This team is counting on him.

    • I have just a few faults with this. First, I don’t think there will be a great drop-off if Leo or Alberg start in the middle. Will there be some? Sure, no doubt. Will they miss his leadership and experience? Absolutely. Second, I don’t think his doubters will see proof in this. If they haven’t seen his quality yet, I don’t think they will, unless he puts up Maidana assist numbers. Which, I think we agree he won’t, because that’s not where his value lies. Lastly, it’s a bad premise to have a team hindered in order to prove a point. Obviously you have nothing to do with the situation. But being “happy” about it, is where I have the problem.

      • Mickey Goldmill says:

        Let me clarify… I am not happy he is injured or missing… much rather have him on the field..
        .
        If he plays the way I believe he will and even one person changes their mind about his importance than the thought experiment will have been worth it.
        .
        That said, your counterpoints are well taken. Good rebutt.

    • injuries will occur, changes will be made, and viewers will comment. all is a blessing and none is a blessing. it just is. need everyone healthy to fight for the 5th spot (my prediction) and entice the summer transfer window DP striker to come – for the football and not the lifestyle – but perhaps really for the money, as they are professionals and earn a living this way. Robbie Keane is not a good example of anything – except last yearm maybe an example of “ineffectual”.

  5. San Antonio Current on how fielding a team in the USL rather than the NASL might bolster that city’s chances of landing a MLS franchise.
    .
    .
    Friends…..this sucks.

  6. Stephen O'Malley says:

    If Herculez Gomez played for our team he would score 10+ goals and Sapong would score 15+ because they are system players and they both fit in.

  7. Finally we get the answer about the mysterious “walking boot”. Though the answer sucks.

  8. The Noise Nation article takes an interesting look at how loans between MLS and USL affiliates might work. Interesting was that of the 32 players who spent time on the Galaxy’s official roster last year, 20 of them saw time for LAG2. And 16 of those 20 saw time for both LAG and LAG2.
    .
    So that looks like movement between the two clubs should be pretty easy-peasy…

  9. ‘former Union man Matt Kassel will be the color analyst’
    .
    Wasn’t he the guy that took out Brek Shea in a friendly?

  10. Is that Perry Kitchen move strange? Heart of Midlothian in Scotland is an upgrade over DC United? Trying to figure out how that move makes sense for Kitchen…

  11. Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

    I was hoping they would replace Peter Pappas this season. After 6 years as a STH, I downgraded this year to a partial plan. I guess having to listen to more of him is my penance.

    • This is funny and sad, all at the same time. I keep stumping for Adam Cann, despite the fact he lives in North Mexico( yeah it’s called Texas now). The Flyers had Gene Hart. The Union need Adam Cann. Give the guy some money and make it happen Sugarman.

      • Mickey Goldmill says:

        Indeed and in truth ~ I’ve also heard Ray Hudson call the Barca game at 11 in Catalonia then mysterious call the Rayo game in Madrid 3 hours later.
        .
        All is possible from remote locations…Adam could see enough to offer quality analysis.
        .
        With all due respect it is the analysts job to educate the American MLS audience to the game it is paramount to our growing intelligence.
        .
        This all falls into the MEDIA camp as being complicit in their and our ignorance.
        .
        These are the facts and I offer them with all due respect to those who have jobs. Not looking for people to be fired. Just is.

      • The only person I really wanted to see fired was Sak. It is bad mojo to want someone to be fired. But with Sak, I’ll take the heat. From my stump, I’ve stated before, that they could feasibly have Adam do the pre, halftime, and post game segments in order to keep Pappas. Or vice-versa.
        .
        Gene Hart taught hockey to a relatively inexperienced audience. He brought his love of the game in such a way that it wasn’t over-bearing. It made you want to love it too. In so many ways we have been spoiled in Philly with the broadcasters that we’ve had. This great tradition needs to continue with a different sport and Mr. Cann.

      • JP in the booth, AC from a remote location.
        Only one of them gets to chow down on a legit carne asada after the match.

      • MMM carne asada…I just ate lunch and now I’m hungry again…damn you!

      • Mickey Goldmill says:

        I must admit the tree branch upon which you sit has an interesting view. Well played.

      • pragmatist says:

        It’s not like Pappas and JP aren’t calling the games off a monitor, anyway, for the away games. So what’s the difference?

    • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

      Amen. The Union has had three spectacular color people who have moved on after the tryout and one of the worst color guys ever who was thankfully put out of our misery. Now the Union seem to have settled for mediocre. And that’s OK with them.
      .
      And to be fair it probably is, so long as we keep JP. He’s a better play-by-play man than our ratings deserve.

  12. I’m sorry but I just don’t get all this Leo hype. He is a decent depth guy in my eyes. He doesn’t complete as many passes as he should and often disappears for stretches of a match. Needless to say, if he starts on Sunday I will be disappointed

    With that said, I’m open this year and hoped to be proved wrong!

    • I think he has improved and he has certainly done nothing during the preseason to deny that claim. He will be a player this year. He’s one of the guys I look forward to seeing Sunday and beyond.

  13. Goal.com -> Ethan White. “top MLS players” Saying that is a threat to their editorial integrity.

    • old soccer coach says:

      Perhaps it is only a threat to their editorial integrity; it, however, convicts their judgment instantaneously!

  14. As one of those totally unconvinced by Barnetta, I gotta say the Union will likely lose to Dallas by 3+ goals with or without him. So a bad loss without him does nothing to convince anyone of his worth. (On the other hand, el P, if the Union tie or beat Dallas – through some miracle – you will have to admit Barnetta isnt very good; that is if I follow your flawed reasoning to its logical conclusion.) And an excuse that “he’s not the same type of player as Maidana” is silly. If they both play #10 and Barnetta has fewer assists+goals in a full season, then the comparison is appropriate.

    • Mickey Goldmill says:

      Has nothing to do with winning or losing at this point for me if you believe that you have not paid close attention to my position for growth this season. It’s about exercising the philosophy of play and plan for our club and Chaco could not do it and it is my position Barnetta will do it very well…. he might not be a stats guy though. He’s the type of guy who you need on the field for cohesion. That has been my point all along… flawed reason from your POV or not.
      .
      I’m observing how coherent the play is without him as compared to when he will be on the field and his absence this week may lend to showing us.
      .
      Not about wins and loses for me… It’s about aesthetic.

      • It is also fair to say we got a taste of his absence in the NYRB preseason game, which if you watched or not was back to ‘roughly’ the same old Union… as Adam S argues-.
        .
        –Noguiera finding outlets challenging, Brian Carroll not really offering much in the build up… the ball getting played over the midfielders by the defenders… in an effort to get the game to other end of field….you know Route 1 soccer…. granted…Tranquillo was not the only missing, likely first team cog, in that wheel…

    • Ben, I can’t say I’d agree with that logic at all.
      Wouldn’t that be like saying:
      Cal Ripken and Ozzie Smith are both shortstops, but if Ozzie doesn’t hit 20 HRs and knock in 90 RBI, he’s not much of a shortstop?
      .
      You have to account for personal style, strengths, and especially for the surrounding cast (and their styles, strengths, etc). Too many factors in soccer to simply say because a guy is plugged into the 10, things must happen a certain way.
      .
      This is chess, not checkers.

  15. old soccer coach says:

    The article referenced above under the general heading Bethlehem Steel FC with the highlighted link to Noise Nation is worth your time if you are interested in trying to unravel roster flow between the USL and MLS.
    .
    “der Fussballzuschauzer” [don’t ask me, “Ich habe kein Deutsch” is the only German I know] authored it and has compiled statistics of games played, games started and total minutes between USL and MLS rosters for the wholly owned USL affiliates last season, along with other more specific data. He then draws inferences which seemed balanced an responsible to this non-statistician.
    .
    He does not quote relevant regulations from official MLS documents but he has gathered statistics that document past behavior which is considered fairly reliable when working with contemporary current history, as we are, provided the data gathering techniques are valid. I feel safe drawing inferences from the data. I will offer the guess that the first time Maurice Edu sees gametime in a uniform will be with BSFC, judging by behavior he documents last season with LA Galaxy II, aka “Los Dos”.

  16. old soccer coach says:

    Were we to get the 2026 World Cup, we would get it because FIFA needs to make a lot of money fast. The comments woven into the corruption stories make it clear that the organization is not a flush as it wants to be.

    There was a line somewhere in all the stories about Infantino’s election that made me wonder whether he won because he has a track record at UEFA of successfully handling the money.

    After all, Blatter’s bribe to Platini not to run against him for President came out of FIFA’s bank account, as did much of the rest of it.

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