Daily news roundups

Recaps and reaction to Union’s season opening loss, good weekend for BSFC and Union Academy, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Yeah, suffice it to say there is work to be done.

The Union lost their 2016 season opener on the road to Dallas on Sunday. Even if they weren’t missing two starters in Maurice Edu and Tranquillo Barnetta to injury, a win would have been a big ask against the 2015 Western Conference champions. With Richie Marquez and Ray Gaddis down in the center back pecking due to an injury, Fabinho was the MLS veteran in the backline, with Anderson, Ken Tribbett, and Keegan Rosenberry making their MLS debuts. And Fabinho had, shall we say, a challenging game. If it wasn’t for Andre Blake and his 8 saves, it could have been a whole lot worse. As challenged as the Union defence was, the Union offence mustered only 2 shots on goal.

Things did look brighter in the second half before Dallas scored their second goal. But the theme through Jim Curtin’s postgame comments might be distilled to this: Sunday’s loss was a good learning experience for a greatly revamped roster. The question now is what corrections can be done before Saturday’s road game against MLS Cup finalist Columbus. We all knew it would take time for the new roster to settle in, even without major omissions due to injury. And while there are 33 games remaining, how much time will fans give the team before the bitterness that marked so much of 2015 returns? As Curtin said after the game, “the next stage is us getting results. Because we leave here disappointed with nothing.” Though the season is now begun, the home opener somehow still feels far away.

Recaps and reports at PSP, Philadelphia Union, Philly.com, Union TallyPhilly Voice, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Vavel, MLSsoccer.com (recap, report), FC Dallas, Dallas Morning NewsBig D Soccer, MLS MultiplexRead US Soccer, SI, Pro Soccer Talk, Fox SoccerSBI, and the AP. Photo galleries at USA Today and Getty Images.

Before Sunday’s loss, there were season predictions and previews at CSN Philly (season forecast, five questions), Section 215, and Philly Sports Cave.

Philly.com on Andre Blakebecoming the Union No. 1 goalkeeper.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin has an informative profile piece on Ken Tribbett.

Matt Jones makes MLSGB’s list of lesser-known English players to watch in MLS.

In a piece at Philly.com, Earnie Stewart says of his efforts to bring clarity to who is running the Union, “I am not saying everything in the past was bad, but I have a way of looking at soccer.” More commentary on Stewart at Philly Sports Network and The Sports Quotient.

At SI, Grant Wahl has another edition of his rather ridiculous “Ambition Rankings.” The Union come in at No. 16, down from No. 9 last year. The interesting stuff comes in the supplement to the rankings, in which teams answer a list of questions from Wahl. The Union’s answers are here. The information on spending for the youth academy, the total costs of the new training facility, and the season ticket, or  “Full Season Equivalents,” numbers stand out.

SBI’s preseason power rankings has the Union at No. 17.

Roland Alberg was one writer’s choice for Newcomer of the Year in a prediction post at Goal.com.

Of course the Union figure in ASA’s MLS goalkeeper predictions because, you know, Philadelphia and goalkeepers, hahaha — snore.

In a letter to Union fans, new CBO Tim McDermott says the club will soon be organizing a Union Fan Council to help advise the team from the perspective of fans.

FIFA checks in with Rene Meulensteen.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel continued their preseason with a 5-0 win over Syracuse at the Union training grounds on Sunday.

The lineup, which included a mix of players from the Union, Bethlehem, and the Union Academy, as well as trialists, was as follows:

Samir Badr; Taylor Washington (Matthew Real), Mickey Daly (Auston Trusty), Joshua Yaro (Mark McKenzie), Ryan Richter; Bolu Akinyode, James Chambers (Lamie Conte), Gabe Gisse (Jamie Luchini), Corey Burke (Josh Heard), Eric Ayuk; Mohammed Diallo (Amoy Brown)

Corey Burke opened the scoring in the first minute with additional goals from trialist Mohammed Diallo, Gabe Gisse (PK), Diallo again in the second half, and Jamie Luchini.

More at Philadelphia Union, USL, Philly Soccer News and Brotherly Game.

Union Academy

The Union Academy teams resumed US Soccer Development Academy play on Saturday in fine goal-scoring style against Baltimore Armour. The U-13/14s won, 4-0. Jason Aoyama opened the scoring in the 6th minute, Nicholas Blacklock scored a brace in two minutes (50′, 52), and Obafemi Awodesu closed the scoring with a 67th minute goal.

The U-15/16s won 2-0, with both goals coming from Justin McMaster, who scored first in the 43rd minute before scoring again in the 70th minute. The Union U-15/16s (10-3-3) are currently in second place in the Atlantic Division, three points behind NYRB, who also have a game in hand.

The U-17/18s pounded Baltimore for an 8-0 win. Yosef Samuel scored a brace (19′, 26′), as did Raheem Taylor-Parkes (80′, 87′). Jerren Nixon (14′) opened the scoring in the 14th minute with additional tallies from Dawson McCartney (33′), Abu Winter (36′), and Anthony Fontana (61′). The Union U-17/18s (9-3-4) are currently third in the Atlantic Division.


Charlotte Independence has signed former Harrisburg City Islanders goalkeeper Kyle Renfro.


In the Eastern Conference, Toronto defeated NYRB, 2-0, on the road. NYCFC defeated Chicago, 4-3, on the road. Orlando drew, 2-2, with Salt Lake. New England drew, 3-3, with Houston on the road. Philadelphia lost, 2-0, on the road to Dallas. Columbus lost, 2-1, on the road to Portland. Montreal defeated Vancouver, 3-2, on the road. DC lost, 4-1, on the road to the Galaxy.

In Western Conference matchups,  San Jose defeated Colorado, 1-0. Kansas City defeated Seattle, 1-0, on the road.

Player moves:

The league released its roster and competition rules for the new season on Friday.

Toronto supporters have been denied “supporter privileges” through the first four games of the season as a result of the damage they caused at Montreal’s Saputo Stadium last October. “As a result, TFC supporters won’t be permitted to mobilize using banners, flags or approved smoke and flares.”

Developers in Indianapolis want to land a MLS franchise.


Images of the soon to be released new US home kit were leaked over the weekend. If this is it, it is terrible.

Images of the soon to be released new US home kit were leaked over the weekend. If this is it, it is terrible.

The USWNT defeated France, 1-0, with a stoppage time goal from Alex Morgan in the SheBelieves Cup on Sunday. The US faces Germany on Wednesday (7:30 pm, ESPN3). More on Sunday’s win at The Equalizer, ASN, Soccer America,

At the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship tournament in Grenada on Friday, the US trounced Jamaica, 8-1. On Sunday, the US defeated Mexico, 1-0. U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifying continues for the team with its final group game on Tuesday against Costa Rica (12 pm, Fox Soccer Plus).

The US U-23 WNT drew 0-0 with the U-19 Poland team on Friday “despite out-shooting the young side 25-0” in its second match at the Istria Cup tournament in Croatia. The team faced the France “B” team on Sunday but I have not been able to locate the result.

On Friday, the US U-20 WNT defeated England, 1-0, in the La Manga Tournament in Spain.

Soccer Wire talks to USWNT technical director April Heinrichs about the new Girls Development Academy and more.


The AP reports, “Soccer’s rule-makers on Saturday approved in-game trials with video assistance for referees as Gianni Infantino used the start of his FIFA presidency to push innovation in the sport.” More at Reuters and Goal.com.

From Reuters: “New FIFA president Gianni Infantino sent a clear message that his leadership style would be very different from his predecessor Sepp Blatter when he flew to his first official overseas appointment by budget airline on Friday.”

Infantino is still talking about expanding the World Cup to 40 teams. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

From Reuters, “There is no evidence of vote-rigging in the awarding of the 2006 soccer World Cup to Germany, says a report into the scandal which piled more pressure on former World Cup chief Franz Beckenbauer over a payment to a disgraced ex-FIFA official.” One investigator said, “We have no proof of vote buying. Although we cannot rule it out completely.”

More from Reuters: “Former organizing chief Franz Beckenbauer denied any wrongdoing on Saturday in an affair involving the 2006 World Cup in Germany and said he knew nothing of a multi-million payment to a disgraced former FIFA official in Qatar.”


  1. That game wasn’t fun to watch…

  2. pragmatist says:

    They have 2 weeks to straighten things out. I’m not expecting cup-worthy performances, but I want it to look like these guys have actually played together. The home crowd will have zero patience if we look like that again next week.
    Yesterday was a half-hearted approach from everyone not wearing green. I can accept (this year only) losing games, if we play a solid and complete game, but lose to a better team. That was a better team on Sunday that made us look like amateurs.
    In other news…I love that we have BSFC. I know that wasn’t the true roster yet, and it was a scrimmage against college teams, but I love the idea that the Steel exist. Yaro, Washington. Ayuk, et al, are all better suited to getting minutes SOMEWHERE. That club will bear great long-term benefits.
    Now, if we can just improve the short-term product…

  3. Maybe Brendan Burke can coach the Union? Since Curtin seems still in over his head?

  4. Gotta have the long view on this but that doesn’t mean can’t deconstruct and be critical that’s for sure.
    Man…was Dallas that fast or Union that slow… that’s one thing I’m looking to figure out.. thinking it was more Dallas speed…. which absolutely killed the back line.
    Have to say, I think the Columbus kit is sweet… white, yellow, sky blue with red… that said…not a big fan of the sky blue for USNT.

    • quick footed and quick thinking – to me they are the defining characteristics of good players. dallas gives the ball away badly and two players immediately jump fabinho; conversely fabinho is gifted the ball and a bit of time and cannot comprehend that he should toe bomb the ball to row Zed.
      the quick tend to be but need not be smaller people. the US Soccer preoccupation with the superhero physique needs to be given its place in the dumpster fire.

      • DomesticCat610 says:

        Best thing a coach ever said to me, know where the ball is going, before it gets to your feet….think ahead, think ahead, think ahead. And not only option A, you need to be ready to adjust to option B and option C….all before the ball comes to you……if your thinking while the ball is at your feet….your screwed! Keep your head on a swivel….and think a step ahead. The best in the world think three steps ahead!

      • Yup…… human chess.
        and really good players and managers understand the nature of 100 different openings and: the danish gambit the dutch defense the elephant gambit the french defense et al..so well that their play is subconscious which allows them to consider 100’s of permutations at the same time… and get so deep into a game before randomness takes over…if one can even call it randomness.
        really really good football is human chess… capitalizing on another’s error.

    • That USMNT home jersey is better than that awful black one released a few weeks back.

  5. I’m not disappointed perhaps a little frustrated but the result was totally expected. I guess my issue has and still is Curtin. I like the regime of Big Ern but Curtin is overmatched and still stinks of the last regime. That’s the root of my dislike. I never wanted him hired in the first place (remember the less known quote of “worldwide search” for Hack’s replacement). He has done nothing in almost two years. I’m just waiting for him to replaced…

    As for the match, Dallas showed how to play a 4-2-3-1 in this league. They have the personnel, skill, belief, etc. We don’t have that; we should be a 4-4-2 and go from there. But Curtin will never change and that will be his demise. But hey, at least the suit looked good yesterday!!

    • DomesticCat610 says:

      Hahah…..put them in a kiddy 4-4-2 until they prove they can handle something else……..that’s too funny. I like it!

  6. Staying out of the Union fray.
    I will say on a positive note most of the other MLS games were really entertaining this weekend. Hopefully drew in some new viewers.
    Big winner of the weekend overseas was goal line technology. There really can’t be much of an argument anymore that it isn’t beneficial and should be required in all major competitions moving forward.

    • yes, if your keeper (stupidly) takes up a position behind the goal line yet still manages to (barely, barest barely) stop the ball going all the way over the line, its good to have the tech. bad memories of Olympiakos.

    • It did seem like most games were pretty entertaining, but I’m getting a sense that refs have been instructed to hand out more red cards…which I am not a fan of. Doesn’t matter the league, team whatever…red cards instantly turn games to snooze fests. That SEAvSKC was a total waste.

  7. Just a quickie, Ed…
    Before Sunday’s loss, there were season predictions and previews at CSN Philly (season forecast, five questions), Section 215, and Philly Sports Cave.
    The first two links that say they’re for CSN Philly instead go to Philly Soccer News’ recap of the match.

  8. Looks like the Union get screwed on the Jermaine Jones situation. They were looking forward to getting to play New England without Jones (they still do, but so does everyone else). Instead they get Colorado later in the season with Jones whereas Toronto, DC United, and NYRB get to play Colorado without Jones (unless yesterday’s game counted towards his suspension in which case NYRB will be his first game back).

    • And don’t think for one second “Central Planning” didn’t take that into consideration when making the schedule. Oh and our Union start with West Finalist Dallas and East Champion Columbus on the road… not to mention follow it up with NE for our home opener. Thanks MLS!!

  9. Given that England’s only World Cup win was 50 years ago, the MLSGB article could have mentioned that Dom Dwyer is the only active English player with a World Cup winner’s medal hanging in his house. 🙂

  10. Anyone know what Jersey Bethlehem Steel will be wearing?

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      No, in a word.
      The only observation I have is that the Union have not worn the Bethelehem Steel-like third kit since the loss to Seattle in the USOpen Cup final. It could easily be superstition, easily. It could also perhaps be that the old 3rd kit will be BSFC’s primary one.
      Again, I have no idea what I’m talking about, no evidence whatsoever.

  11. Is it just me or is Fabinho better off in mid-field? Seemed like he was a bit too much all over the place yesterday. His chemistry with Ilsinho isn’t bad. I do like Ilsinho getting behind all set pieces and free kicks, but he has got to get better at executing. Would love to see Alberg get the same treatment with set pieces when he plays next.

  12. When we will be able to analyze and break-down a game without mentioning players who should have started but didn’t? I get that Marquez and Gaddis were injured, but it’s hard for me to agree with the argument that the team was better off with them resting one more week. I HATE the reasons “he had a better week of training” or “well our lineup depends on our opponent” for choosing the XI. Pick the BEST XI players every week that are healthy. Tribbet and Anderson weren’t awful, but Marquez should be locked in at one of those spots every week.

    • andymuenz says:

      How about the argument of let him rest one more week because we aren’t going to win the game regardless and we’d rather have him healthy for the next 33 than play this one and risk aggravating the injury and miss the next 5?
      We saw what happens when you push someone to play “this week” in the Open Cup final. Edu hasn’t played since.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Actually, two games in a row, he made approximately the same mistake against whomever passed to David Accam and whomever passed to the burner from Jacksonville that Tribbett made against Diaz who passed to Castillo. He got the chance to seize the job, but didn’t take it, unless the hamstring corresponds to his lack of playing time.

    • I have ZERO problem with playing Edu or Barnetta, but if Gaddis and Marquez are healthy NOW – which all reports indicated they were, from what I read – then they should play, regardless of how much time they had in the preseason. Eventually ya gotta get on the field to play.

  13. It’s too early to assume the Union are as bad as they were yesterday. It really was a perfect storm yesterday: first game… on the road… a lot of new faces in the eleven, against a seriously superior opponent. But I do agree with what a few said in another post… I didn’t expect a win, hell, even a tie was on the fringe of reality… but I expected a better showing.
    Points next week, even one, will remedy this loss. Unless they steal it late or something, a draw against an angry Columbus (assuming since they lost late yesterday to Portland) in their home opener, will mean they must’ve played better. This is the key to this season… play a little better in every game, and the points will come.

    • +1
      Reserving judgement until 5-6-7 games into the season. Integrating so many new players in the team and trying to change the playing system takes time. Seeing incremental improvements game by game, regardless of result, would certainly be encouraging.

  14. I think Columbus smells blood in the water – a disorganized Union defense and ineffectual offense. Their anger will give way to a feeding frenzy at our expense. I hope not, but…

    • I hope not, too, since I’m going to be there for the game.
      Whatever the Columbus players do smell, it must be really bad, since it made them all puke down the front of their jerseys.

      • That maybe the ugliest kit I’ve ever scene…….yellow, light blue, red, and white……..I’m surprised the Timbers Army wasn’t having seizures in the stands looking at those things!

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Respectfully disagreeing with Mickey G. above, Columbus will lose some games this season because they simply do not care to be seen in public in that away strip.

  15. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Lance Armstrong did not beat a Basque climbing machine up a French Alp the first time he got on a bicycle. (Yes, I have bicycles on the brain today.) He fell off just like we all did, and his Dad made him get right back on and try again, just like all our Dads did to us.
    Do not call for abandoning learning to ride the bike because you got your front wheel caught in the railroad track, fell off, banged your head, skinned both knees and walked home in tears. Get back on the bike and try again..
    This year is about teaching and evaluating for 2017 and beyond. Keep your eye on the Prize, as an old civil rights song used to say.

  16. I think the Lance Armstrong analogy is poorly-considered. Are you advocating the Union cheat to beat a Basque climbing machine in the Alps?

  17. It is a tough loss but they will begin to gel. I also think Curtain is feeling the tug on his leash… This season is not lost after one game. But I believe ES is keeping a close eye on all this teams assets!

  18. 2 things. First, its a good thing that ASA article about goaltenders didnt have a comment section or else I would have been obligated to troll it on behalf of the good of the world
    Second, I didn’t hate all of curtin’s in game changes. Loved the alberg for Ilsinho swap, alberg’s physicality allowed the union to play to an extra target in the attacking third and brought a bit of stability to the middle of the park. Bringing Seba’s work rate off the bench should always be in theory a good move. If fabi bothers to think AT ALL, that game is 1-0, dallas bunkers and we get to go at them for a few minutes to try and snatch a point. Would we have scored? probably not, but compared to the substitute strategy we had last year this was progress

    • My biggest question of the subs was Le Toux for Pontius instead of Leo. I thought Pontius was more involved in the game and more lively then Leo so that was a bit of a surprise to me.
      Granted of course, without being at training every day and being involved with the staff I know nothing of the fitness levels of each player coming out of the preseason – the same reason why it sort of makes it hard to question the starting lineup – it seems some players had slight knocks or missed some training sessions and therefore might not be ready to go 60-90mins.
      One encouraging sign is that the first change came at 60mins, not 80mins as was more likely the case last season.

  19. The Union just out possessed a good Western Conference team on the road. Sure there were some ugly sequences, but the intent to play one and two touch passes is a good sign. They were the better team to start the 2nd half.

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