Daily news roundups

Praise for Blake and other Union bits, BSFC-Lehigh U friendly, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference is scheduled to take place today at 12 pm.

The latest injury report at MLSsoccer.com:

OUT: M Maurice Edu (sports hernia surgery) – READ
M Tranquillo Barnetta (osteoarthritis) – REPORT
GK Matt Jones (left calf strain)
M Cole Missimo (left hamstring strain)

Osteoarthritis sounds different than tendonitis of the knee, doesn’t it? (The injury report includes this disclaimer: “NOTE: This content is not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.” Which is, you know, kind of ridiculous.)

The officials for Saturday’s game in Columbus have been announced. Holding the whistle will be Hilario Grajeda, with James Conlee and Jason White running the sidelines, and Geoff Gamble the fourth official.

More power rankings! At SBI, the Union come in at No. 17: “It’s hard to take too much away from the Union losing to a team that they’re supposed to lose to. In net, Andre Blake was outstanding and looked every bit the No. 1 goalkeeper that he will need to be for the Union to survive. With a retooled defense, the Union face a rocky start, especially with a visit to Columbus on the horizon.” At MLSsoccer.com, the Union come in at No. 19: “Andre Blake was outstanding. With the back four still learning each other’s names, he’ll have to be.”

Blake’s eight-save performance didn’t include any stops deemed worthy of inclusion in the list of MLSsoccer.com’s Save of the Week nominees.

At the Union website, a look at where Blake’s performance through his eight career games (41 saves from 52 shots; save percentage of 78.8%) stands among goalkeepers throughout the history of the Union and MLS. Impressive but, like Curtin said after Sunday’s game, no one wants to see Blake having to be that busy.

Using a “possession with purpose” analytical approach, the Union were the third worst attacking team in the league on opening day behind Seattle and NYRB. The team was 13th in defensive performance. Combining attacking and defending team performances, the Union came in dead last.

Brotherly Game wonders if Sunday’s loss was “as bad as everyone believes, or was it just a matter of circumstance.” At Prost Amerika, an analysis of Sunday’s game.

Former Union man Chris Konopka has signed a short-term deal with Scottish Premier League side Ross County. The BBC reports Konopka has been brought in as cover for Sunday’s Scottish League Cup final.

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Union Foundation, along with Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region (BBBS Independence) and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), will announce the expansion of the BBBS Independence program in Chester and Delaware County thanks to a $135,818 grant from the PCCD through the Substance Abuse Education Demand Reduction (SAEDR) program.

Bethlehem Steel

According to an announcement from Lehigh University, the school’s men’s team will play Bethlehem Steel at the school’s Ulrich Sports Complex on Wednesday, April 20, at 7:30 pm. The game will take place between a homestand that sees Richmond Kickers visit the Steelmen on April 17, followed by Charleston Battery on April 24. Lehigh won the Patriot League championship last year before falling to Hofstra in the first round of the NCAA championship tournament.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders have signed defender Darvin Ebanks for the 2016 season.

MLS

This from Toronto FC: “Toronto FC announced Tuesday that the club has acquired GAM (General Allocation Money) from Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for TAM (Targeted Allocation Money) and an international roster spot.” Or, as Seattle put it, “The Rave Green has also acquired TAM and an international roster spot from Toronto FC in exchange for General Allocation Money.”

Soccer America uses the Toronto-Seattle trade to look at how foreign players made up 54 percent of the players who started on opening day and notes that TAM is being used more on foreign players than on domestic players.

At ESPN, a look at domestic and international players leaving the league and whether that is something to be worried about (in a word, no). Most interesting to me from the article is Seattle GM Garth Lagerwey talking about a 28-team MLS as if expansion to that number is inevitable.

Seattle has signed 2016 second round SuperDraft pick Tony Alfaro, a defender. The announcement says the team has also loaned Reading United alum and center back Damion Lowe to Minnesota United for 2016.

Kansas City has acquired 22-year-old Chilean striker Diego Rubio on a loan from Spanish Segunda Division Real Valladolid as a Young Designated Player.

MLSsoccer.com notes Brazilian club Corinthians has announced on its website that it is loaning striker Stiven Mendoza to NYCFC. Nothing official yet from NYCFC or the league.

US

The No. 1 in the world USWNT faces No. 2 Germany tonight in the final game of the SheBelieves Cup (7:30 pm, ESPN3). The game will take place at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton. As a photo tweeted by Hope Solo appears to indicate, the field conditions are terrible, even if the surface is natural grass. More on the game at Soccer America.

At the CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship tournament on Tuesday, the US finished group play with a 2-0 win over Costa Rica. Next up is Canada in the semifinals on Friday (TBD: Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Sports Go).

Goal.com has five questions for the USMNT ahead of the return of World Cup qualification later this month.

The USMNT also has the Copa America Centenario coming up in June. In preparation for that tournament, Grant Wahl reports at SI, “The U.S. is poised to meet Ecuador on May 25 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, and then Bolivia on May 28 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The contracts for those games are not 100% done yet, but they’re expected to be officially confirmed soon.

Elsewhere

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland says, with the cooperation of French authorities, it has searched the offices of the French Football Federation “in connection with the criminal proceedings against Mr Joseph Blatter.” More from ESPN, Reuters, and the AP.

Reuters reports Miguel Trujillo, a Florida-based sports marketing consultant, “pleaded guilty in a U.S. court on Tuesday as part of an investigation of corruption in soccer and FIFA, its world governing body, saying he had schemed to bribe some officials in the sport.” The reports says, “Under an agreement with prosecutors, Trujillo pledged to forfeit $495,000.”

The Reuters report also says Rafael Esquivel, the former president of the Venezuelan FA who was extradited to the US on Monday from Switzerland, has pleaded not guilty “to receiving bribes worth millions of dollars in connection with the sale of tournament marketing rights.” More at New York Daily News.

From the AP: “FIFA says it imposed worldwide bans on ‘several officials and players’ linked to match-fixing and illegal betting in Italy. The cases were already judged by the Italian soccer federation and Olympic committee who ordered national-level bans of up to five years.” The bans affect 23 players and officials: “The sanctions imposed range from bans for one to five years and in some cases individuals have received permanent bans from holding any kind of position within the Italian Football Association.”

ESPN reports, “The CEO of the German Football League (DFL) has warned UEFA to take proposals for a new European Super League seriously.”

Also from ESPN: “French authorities will simulate a terrorist attack on a fan zone later this month as part of their preparations for the 2016 European Championship.”

Barcelona has released images of the expansion of Camp Nou that will see its capacity rise to 105,000.

From CNN: “Danish sportswear brand Hummel has unveiled its new jersey for the Afghanistan national soccer team, complete with a hijab for female players.”

35 Comments

  1. scottymac says:

    “Combining attacking and defending team performances, the Union came in dead last.”

    Tradition!!!

  2. I do not understand how the field conditions for the USWNT continues to be a problem. The USSF needs to get it together. What will it really take for action at this point? Another match to be cancelled and moved to a new location?

    • pragmatist says:

      It’s truly astounding that this continues to be an issue. It really needs to come down to the players striking. Or find a way to put corporate pressure on US Soccer. It’s an embarrassment.

      • I do not disagree… however…the field conditions the men play on have been terrible too… remember the Alamodome last year.
        .
        US Soccer can’t get it right about this..its one thing to keep making teams play in flipping football stadiums with goal posts you can carry its another thing to make them play on sod placed on top of turf that makes the ball bounce like bocce at the beach… with a thud I’m sure as equally lumbersome.
        .
        It is all just one more indictment on US Soccer IMO… a gucking joke… a….what’s the acronym I imagined awhile back…. YAAL.

  3. If the media covering the Union want to do a service to this soccer community they will hopefully ask Curtin questions about prepping for an opponent. Jim Curtin appears to give very little thought to strategy in prepping for an opponent. Yes he was missing Edu and Barnetta but he knew that for awhile going in. He basically just put bodies on the field. It’s almost like he didn’t take stock of what was available to him. He had Alberg(who has played DM) sitting on the bench when he should have at least tried to match him against Diaz with a chance at neutralizing Dallas’ attack. Alberg could have also given the back line coverage that Carroll just doesn’t have the range to do. Instead he just throws Brian Carroll out there. If healthy I would have started Gaddis this time to help pressure and then if needed subbed in Rosenberry. Le Toux and Herbers on the wings bring pace and could have spread the field opened things up for Noguiera and Ilsinho. LeToux’s crosses for Sapong could have put the Dallas backline on their heels. Curtin didn’t give his team a chance to at least compete. How does a professional coach worth his salt not do this?

    • IMO the sub was Alberg for Carroll. 100%.
      .
      Fine you want to see what you have..whatever… I disagree with starting Brian Carroll when you have remodeled an entire philosophy of play around possession and pressure… but if you want to play around…sure… he subbing was wrong though IMO… which is easy in hindsight..but to be honest I was arguing for form the halftime whistle on… At half time… the club was still legitimately in the game.
      .
      …but pulling Ilsinho for Alberg was a like kind exchange at that point. .
      .
      Ilsinho off. Le Toux on. Leo to the CAM. Alberg in for Carroll.
      .
      I agree 100% that the line of questioning needs to be a bit harder this season. This is the responsibility of our media… and is a Philadelphia Way of Being.
      .
      Simple.

      • I don’t think Curtin thought Alberg or Ilsinho could go the whole 90. Now I would have liked to see Creavalle instead of Carroll but I think that would have been your only option at the 6. Lets see what the lineup looks like over the next 2 weeks.

      • …doesn’t Ilsinho off and Le Toux on Carroll off Alberg on keep the less than 90 minute scenario whole?
        .
        Leo needed to slide centrally… that was the miscalculation by the manager.

      • Ah, I thought you meant to start the game. I agree then, hopefully we can start the game this way or something similar. At least get me Alberg and Nogs as the CDMs

      • I like those subs.

    • If Alberg was not 90 Minutes fit, would it make sense to start him at DM? Especially if Ilsinho (sp) was not 90 minutes fit.

      • There is nothing that says Alberg couldn’t start. Watching Brian Carroll look like a traffic cone didn’t do much either. Curtin appears to give little to no thought as to how to match up against other teams to at least make the Union competitive. It’s opening game. The Union seem to have the excuses already down.

      • I think he was thinking that Carroll would help all the new/young defenders organize better. Grated he was incorrect, but I don’t think it’s fair to say he didn’t think about how he wanted to play.

      • DomesticCat610 says:

        Agree….put Alberg in the double pivot and let him run til he drops!

  4. Put a cortisol shot in the damn knee…. let’s go.

  5. The Union seem to have a very odd history with injuries. From Danny Califf’s phantom Meniscus injury through obviously hobbled players playing through games to Maurice Edu’s ever expanding chain of injuries. It is like another Union tradition.

    • Our Angles of the Sacred Mother’s Holy Sepulcher… where dollar bills are taped to the outside stone of the stadium in hopes of receiving blessing and undoing once and for all the charismatic ‘charm’ work of Piotr Nowak and Nick Sakiewiecz.
      .
      The snake climbing a Caducues is mesmerizing on so so so many levels too… maybe that would have been a more appropriate….. oh never mind.
      .
      Yes sieve! it is a bit troubling… deep down one of my concerns for this team is how many games this season are we actually going to see Noguiera. Barnetta. and Edu. on the field together.
      .
      Injuries happen yup… especially to this club.

      • I dunno. Did the Union do a physical on Barnetta before he joined or we get a “my knee may or may not be shot” discount.
        And Edu has the dreaded injury prone tag on him and his salary so we may be stuck with him for the duration.

      • perhaps we now know why he has not changed teams (yet).

      • And… looks like Edu is out for about 3 months. Injury is now being called a stress fracture. Per press conference…

      • yup.

  6. If Marquez, Alberg and Gaddis are in the starting lineup this week, I think we have a chance for a point and a much improved performance.
    Hope we get a idea on when EDU and Barnetta are expected to return to the lineup.

    • Agree 100%. I’d even add in Le Toux on the wing. If fitness is an issue with these new foreign players, throw the engine back in there. The guy will work for a full 90 and create scoring opportunities.

  7. Twitter saying Edu now has stress fracture, out at least 3 months. Better get Alberg and Nogs pairing now or at least see what Creavalle can do.
    .
    Edit: Curtin follows up by praising Carroll’s play last game. yuck.

    • It wasn’t just twitter, Curtin said it at the press conference, except I don’t remember hearing the word stress. Just that he has a fracture.

    • If he starts “sharp” Brian Carroll Saturday, Jimbo’s (rhymes with “Bimbo.” Or “Dumbo,” sorta.) days should be unofficially numbered. If he doesn’t, he’s lost any remaining sliver of managerial credibilty.

  8. Lucky Striker says:

    rest my case.

  9. Mickey Goldmill says:

    Look. Brian Carroll is not the solution. I’m sitting here arguing for months this team has changed tact and if your going to send Carroll out to hold for 3 months….you’re on your own.
    .
    Can we call back the loan on Lahoud. Is Crevalle healthy? I didn’t listen.
    .
    3 months is a long time.

    • 4+ months, including camp & preseason! Rehabbing from surgery and a fractured leg goes undiagnosed since November? Time for Team Surgeon Dr. Frank Burns to explain himself. There is no excuse – except, of course, YAAL.

    • Dr. Union says:

      Agree Carroll isn’t the answer, but I don’t want Lahoud back his defense was worse then Carroll’s and he still provided no offense. Edu is hurt fine freaking change it up Curtin. Forget sheilding the back line and put 4 in the middle to maintain possession and two up top to cause problems for the CB pairing. Stop pushing your outside backs high cause we don’t have anyone skilled enough to do it and get a solid 4 in the back that can work together and compete. This means no Fabi. Seriously there are so many options at this point I have no idea what is wrong with Curtin and sticking to his 4-2-3-1 along with needing to sheild the back 4. I’ll agree the back 4 are young inexperienced and haven’t gelled yet but let them do their job and learn to play defense together. Then work in the offense it will save this team points and players can develop and learn in a longer period of time.

      • DomesticCat610 says:

        I thought this was a good analysis yesterday….still do! Ha, but seriously…..do you think it’s Curtain’s call…….or Big Ern is rigid in what he wants? I think it’s the former……..but TD’s can be very hands on….just to ponder…..

      • a glass half full says:

        That’s my take. I think Curtin is on orders to run the system and to keep this team trying a high press/possession style, winning be damned. It’s trial by fire. I don’t think Curtin was unprepared for Dallas. I bet he saw that result as a likely outcome, but he didn’t want his team to run a bunker and counterattack plan.
        .
        Stewart has been pretty clear that he’s not expecting results and, like I said here before, I don’t think that’s just rhetoric to dampen expectations. This team is in rebuild and evaluate mode. And now it’s again beginning a season with injuries to key players, which makes the road ahead even harder.

      • Dr. Union says:

        While you can have a style you need one that can be implemented a high press/possession style does not suite these players the way they are playing it. The team should be compact and organized and the possession orientation should come from the midfield with inside out passing. We have the players to implement this we do not have the players to play the high press bring the OB up and force the issue none of our OB are skilled enough to do this. SKC had the players to do this a few years back with Myers and Sinovic (I think), if my memory serves me right NYRB, and NE can do this. All these teams have pacey wingers pacey outside backs and they get up and down the field quick. On the other hand you have teams like Columbus (which personally I think is a better model) they control the game with passing and if the game dictates you only ever see one OB making the upfield runs vs. Portland that was Afful and how many times was he free (a lot). Francis was almost non existent going forward and anytime Afful goes Trapp stays to cover. There is always 4 in the back here and they know how to move the ball quick and to space.

    • Carroll is an option as an 80th minute sub or open cup games. That should be it. Get Creavalle or Alberg in there or get someone else. 3+ months is too long to run with him there.

  10. Atomic Spartan says:

    There is a time to fish and a time to cut bait, and sometimes, it’s time to do both. Earnie must realize this now: Mo Edu is done. There is no sense in planning to wait for more than half a season for him to return as damaged goods. To have any semblance of success, even as a rebuilding team, there must be a vision and a plan to proceed without Mo, who at best may be able to perform as a sub by August.
    .
    Which begs a question, is there anything like an Injured Reserve in MLS?

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