Daily news roundups

Snow talk, more Union news, new Bethlehem and USNT kits, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

The Union home opener against New England is on Sunday at 2:30 pm.

Cue nor’easter.

As of this writing, according to the National Weather Service, there’s a 50 percent chance of snow on Saturday night — “New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible” — with a 70 percent chance of snow on Sunday: “New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.” The Weather Channel is calling for 1 to 3 inches.

So what, the grounds crew can handle that, right? It certainly isn’t stopping me from my plans to be sitting in the stands (Section 117, oh how I’ve missed you!).

No, it is time, as Jim Curtin said on Wednesday, for the Union to turn Talen Energy Stadium into a fortress. If that process begins with a snow fort, so be it.

Previews at PSP, MLSsoccer.comBrotherly Game, NE Soccer Today, and Goal.com.

Charlie Davies is dealing with a left hamstring strain and could miss Sunday’s game. A post at the New England Revolution website notes Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury are options if Davies can’t play.

ESPN says midfielder Gershon Koffie and defender Je-Vaughn Watson are settling in nicely with the Revolution after being acquired in the preseason.

Chris Pontius says it has been refreshing to play without thoughts of a hamstring coloring his outlook.  “That’s been the nice thing. It was the thing I felt loomed over at me in D.C. at times. With games and training, I felt like I would go in and instead of the optimistic approach, it would be more pessimistic, just hoping I didn’t get hurt. And you can’t play that way. You’re never going to reach your potential if you play that way.”

Pontius also is looking forward to having fans cheer him, rather than jeer him, at Talen Energy Stadium. “The funny thing is any time I’ve met any of the fans they’ve told me it’s going to be weird not yelling at me and saying some things they probably shouldn’t have. So it will be good to have them behind me. I’m looking forward to it. Home openers are always fun – and a lot more fun if you can get a ‘W.’”

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has a quick talk with Warren Creavalle, who says he’s more comfortable playing in central midfield than at fullback.

Sebastien Le Toux was on PHL17 this morning. Sample question: “Philadelphia was never thought of as a soccer town. Is that changing?”

At CSN Philly, more from Jim Curtin’s press conference on Wednesday.

At SI, Alejandro Bedoya on the negotiations last summer to sign with the Union:

Last summer was the first time that I actually really had close, ongoing talks with MLS. First it was Philly, it got pretty far, but then obviously it takes three parties [MLS, the two clubs involved] to agree on everything. I wasn’t totally ready to jump, and the club [Nantes] was not ready to let me go at all. So those talks didn’t pan out. And then the Colorado move was actually I think a little bit closer to happening, but once again the club [Nantes] decided against it and couldn’t agree on a fee and everything.

Asked if he could move to MLS this summer, Bedoya said, “I think it’s still up in the air, but there’s a possibility maybe. I wouldn’t say there’s zero chance. But we’ll see what happens. I’m sure we’ll sit down this summer after the season is over and see what my options are and the possibilities that are out there.”

At Brotherly Game, the good, the bad, and the ugly from last weekend’s win over Columbus. Also, a Q&A with SoB president Ami Rivera.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel PSP, Allentown Morning Call, Lehigh Valley Business, and Lehigh Valley Live.

Don’t forget: Bethlehem plays Georgetown on Sunday morning at 11 am at the Union training grounds before the Union’s home opener. Keep an eye on the Union and Bethlehem Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates on whether the game is postponed because of the snow on Sunday.

Bucks Local News talks to the voice of Bethlehem Steel, Dave Leno.

Local

Christian Pulisic came off the bench to appear in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 win over Tottenham in Europa League play on Thursday.

Forward Brett Jankouskas is back with Harrisburg City Islanders for a second season.

The La Salle men’s team opens their spring season tonight when they host Saint Peter’s at 7 pm at McCarthy Stadium.

The Temple men’s team has announced its spring schedule.

MLS

The league disciplinary committee issued its latest rulings on Thursday:

  • Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Kianz Froese was fined and suspended one game for “serious foul play that endangered the safety of opponent.”
  • Colorado Rapids DP forward Shkelzen Gashi was fined and suspended one game “for illegally entering the field of play in second half stoppage time.” Gashi cut across the field from the sidelines to celebrate his team’s game-winning goal against LAG.
  • Columbus Crew’s Federico Higuain was fined an undisclosed amount for putting his hands in Keegan Rosenberry’s face.
  • Real Salt Lake midfielder Sunny Obayan was fined for embellishment.
  • Chicago Fire staff member Mario Cruz was fined and issued a one-game suspension for illegally entering the field of play.

Why it takes the committee until Thursday to issue its rulings is beyond me.

On Thursday, State House representatives in Minnesota introduced bills “to give tax exemptions for a soccer stadium in St. Paul. It will also ask for tax exemptions for construction materials of the stadium lasting for one year after the completion of the project and an individual liquor license for Minnesota United FC.” More from MPR and the AP.

More on MLS aspirations in Charlotte.

NASL expansion side San Francisco Deltas has won approval to play at Kezar Stadium, which was the founding home of the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders.

US

In a Q&A at US Soccer, Jurgen Klinsmann says of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala, “Their team is already in camp, so they go in a week earlier than we do into preparation for that game, so we expect a very difficult game and a very hot-tempered game. But the goal is clear: the goal is we would like to beat them in Guatemala City and then beat them as well in Columbus in front of our fans. That will give us six points and will virtually qualify us already for the next round. This is the objective and we will do everything possible to get that done.”

The US U-23 MNT’s Olympic qualifiers against Colombia will be played over the same period of time. Klinsmann explained, “What influence does it have for our rosters? At the end of the day, priority always is the senior team. Priority is World Cup Qualifying, so there are no compromises made like sending the players that are age-eligible for the Olympic team to the Olympic team already. We are convinced our Olympic team will do really well in Colombia and get a decent result there, and then we hope for big support in Dallas for the return game. We are convinced they will get the job done.”

Stars and Stripes FC looks at the Colombia U-23 team.

The US has been drawn with France, New Zealand, and Ghana in Group C for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, which will take place Nov. 13-Dec. 3 in Papua New Guinea.

The new US home and away kits have been officially unveiled.

New US kits

Fail.

Scott Munson, vice president of Nike football apparel, says, “The U.S. Soccer Federation pushes us like nobody else. They want us to be bold and want to take risks at times…It is always non-negotiable that the home should be undeniable American with a strong patriotic read. It will be there with all the right balances of color and aesthetic. The away frees us up to maybe push it. We wanted to do it unexpectedly patriotic, to be strong, bold and confident just like we want the players to feel when they pull it on…When we looked at black and started to play black off the red and blue, that is a super strong statement. We felt like the U.S. is ready for that. When you look at the balance of the two (kits), it is extremely patriotic and fresh and unexpected and really prideful.”

Or extremely terrible.

Anyway, SI has a roundtable discussion on the best and worst US kits. Fox Sports has a best and worst list. They both incorrectly call the 1994 denim kit the home kit (the home kit was actually the one with the wavy red stripes and only worn once at the World Cup during the 1-0 loss to Brazil in the Round of 16).

More on the new jerseys release at SIESPN, Fox SportsCBS Sports, Pro Soccer TalkSoccer AmericaGoal.com, SBIMLSsoccer.com, Stars and Stripes FC, Yahoo Sports, OTF SoccerNikeBlog.com, and SportsLogos.net.

Elsewhere

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.

The draw for the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League took place on Friday morning and it will be Wolfsburg vs. Real Madrid, Bayern Munich vs. Benfica, Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid, and Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain. The games will be played April 5-6 and April 12-13.

Goal.com reports, “Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has called on UEFA to change its seeding system for Champions League draws in order to protect the so-called big teams after the group stage.” Rummenigge says, “What I don’t like about the Champions League draw for the knockout stages is that it all depends on fate. UEFA should consider an alternative with seeded teams or something similar. I saw some games in the first knockout stage where I came close to switching off the TV. And now we see a team like Juventus – who made it to the final last season – crash out in the round of 16. This is no longer acceptable. I am fed up with how fate plays such a big role.”

On Thursday, FIFA announced $122 million in losses in 2015. It also revealed for the first time how much Sepp Blatter was paid, $3,634,857 in 2015. Secretary General Jerome Valcke was paid $2,124,822. Both Blatter and Valcke are now, of course, currently banned from participating in any soccer activities, 6 years and 12 years, respectively. Click here to see the full FIFA report. More from Reuters and the AP.

Was Blatter paid too much? The AFP notes NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $34 million last year and MLS commissioner Don Garber made $2.6 million.

Meanwhile, the AP reports, “Switzerland’s attorney general has opened a criminal case against former FIFA official Jerome Valcke ‘on suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement.'” More from Reuters.

The AP reports, “The Court of Arbitration for Sport says former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has filed an appeal to annul his six-year ban from soccer.”

58 Comments

  1. pragmatist says:

    Every now and then, I see a good example of the USMNT’s trouble with evaluating player talent.
    .
    “Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury are options if Davies can’t play.”
    .
    Remember the time when they were looked at as potential starters on the National Team? And now they are “possible options” as subs?

    • Spot On….There is no continuity… send Juan Agudelo out there when he was 19 and he flashes then reduces like wine in a skillet and oh well…. that dude is a striker… should have been seeing time this whole time… so he struggled a bit. He was 19. But Jozy Altidore… he never struggles. Makes no sense. Guy scored what 12 13 goals in MLS last season with Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco on his team?
      .
      IDK.

  2. Love the blue Bethlehem jersey. The white is meh, but I’ve never been a fan of collars.
    .
    Tim McDermott was on around 9:30 this morning with Anthony Gargano. The performance was a little forced, but the show seemed to enjoy the call and it’s one of the first times I’ve heard something like that, which is encouraging. I always say how great it would be to have Union talk, especially with the doldrums of the other sports at the moment.

    • Gargano is the one talk show host that is willing to talk soccer. Usually it’s the European leagues and lasts about 30 seconds, but at least he does say something.

    • Albright was on two weeks ago as well. Kudos to this side of media paying even a little attention…though I did mention I was mightily peeved about the reference to the Sons of Ben sitting in the end zone.
      .
      About drove my van into a utility pole.
      .
      For the record it was not the Big Ragu who made the end zone comment it was John Marks.

      • I have a feeling this is more McDermott’s doing than the talk show. It has only happened since he was hired. I’m sure he’s using his connections to get on there and that’s great. Now we need some player interviews!

  3. Roger Goodell was paid $34 mil. last year to ruin his sport. Blatter got only $3.6 to ruin his. Looks like FIFA had the bargain.
    .
    I want to know if Scott Munson said all that about the national team kits with a straight face. Maybe he should be checked for cataracts.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Those black US kits are terrible. White is OK, but we should have a base jersey which generally stays the same each year and only the alternate changes significantly.

      • It’s bad enough the rest of the world sees our national team as a joke. Now they look like one too.

      • The white looks like something that would’ve been used in my softball league when I played years ago. The white only looks OK because it’s being shown next to the hideous black…

      • Nike used the same template for the England and France jerseys too. It’s the same crap. How is that “fresh” for the US team?

      • Tim Howard looks like a middle school jazz dancer with those sleeves… “look daddy I’m working on my split.”
        .
        Poor Jordan Morris… kid hasn’t done a goddam thing in the sport and now he is one of the faces of American soccer… no we don’t expect too much…
        .
        meanwhile Christian Pulisic is playing in a little tournament in europe…. ah hell…never mind.
        .

  4. Zizouisgod says:

    I realize that he’s only answering questions that are asked of him, but man, for a player who’s under contract at another club, Bedoya certainly talks about MLS a ton.

  5. I like the new US goalkeeper kit. The others not so much.

  6. Topic: the worst draw for Atletico Madrid is also the worst draw for Barcelona.
    Discuss amongst yourselves

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Agreed, I’m a Madrid fan and we’ve gotten really lucky with our first two knock-out ties. Barca has been given much tougher match-ups, but when you’re the best team in the world (yeah, tough for me to write, but so true right now), you should be able to handle it.

      • ¿Los blancos o los Rojiblancos?

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Can’t tell if you’re just making me confirm what I said earlier or just trying to torture me, but Barca is the best team in the world right now.

        If Bayern can sort their central defense out, they might be able to make that claim, but Barca has been on a different level this year.

        The beauty of a cup competition is that anything can happen.

      • which Madrid team do you support? there are two in this competition

      • Oh…. Zizouisgod is definitely a Real supporter.
        .
        …though I imagine he has a deep and abiding respect for Cholo.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Sorry, I always refer to Real Madrid as “Madrid” and Atletico Madrid as “Atletico”. Old habit, I guess.

        And Pachy is right on both statements below. Simeone seems like a great manager to play for. Sort of like Mourinho was before he went off the deep end by gouging eyes of other coaches and publicly going after his own medical team.

  7. Bedoya…”but then obviously it takes three parties…. [MLS, the two clubs involved]”
    .
    .
    yup. Daddy.

  8. Also the Europa League Draw took place.
    .
    The highlight is Liverpool v BVB. Kloppocalypse!!!!
    .
    Other games are:
    Braga v Shakhtar Donetsk
    Villarreal v Sparta Prague
    Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla

  9. Any discussion about whether spain is the finest footballing country in the world is pretty well sleeping tight in bed…
    .
    correct me if I’m wrong but 8 or the 16 or so teams in europe competition are from La Liga?
    .
    Isn’t that the league where only one or two teams win their trophy every season… Real and Barca. Quality of the product must not be very good.
    .
    that’s right huge huge monetary value in qualifying and matriculating through CL and EL which gets dumped back into the club and development and staying strong in the first division of play and and and…
    .
    No really—- MLS…they got it right.
    .
    .
    Here’s an idea… open the pyramid then marry CONCACAF and CONMEBOL Champions League and generate huge windfalls of money when the Union play Boca Juniors or River Plate.
    .
    Maybe.

    • Their coaches are top notch. Their athletes in general as well. And not just soccer players. They invested heavily in getting to the top in cycling, tennis, soccer, F1 and couple other sports they are very good in. Takes a Sports Minister with a grand vision to make it happen. Helps that the country is not as big as the US.

    • Isn’t every European league the one were only 1 or 2 teams win the trophy every year though?

      • Go Leicester City!!!

      • Maybe and if you can show me parody in MLS and world class players and a world class standard then and only then will I say… you guys were right.
        .
        This is about more than trophies and who wins the league…it is about the strength and quality of the teams… across the whole pyramid not just MLS. People keep thinking this is about MLS… it’s not… it’s about development of youth and a higher standard across the whole pyramid. This is why Soccer and the other sports are divergent.
        .
        Sure..Real and Barca win and Bayern and BVB win..for the record it didn’t always used to be that way and for the record again…the middle three teams in the second (2nd) division of each of those country’s leagues would kick the MLS Champions ass every time. Every time.
        .
        It isn’t just about winning the league.
        .
        It is about raising the standard.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Parody or Parity?

      • pragmatist says:

        I’m thinking that was Freudian…

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I had assumed it a spell checker that imposed its ideas without reference to author intent.

      • .
        I always mess that up.. inexcusable for an english major… though to pragmatist’s point.

      • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

        Fabinho at left back is Jim Curtin providing parody.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        When I was a kid, we got developed by kicking a ball back an forth, then oranges at half time. Most of the coaches never even played soccer as a kid unless they were immigrants. Meanwhile everyone of my baseball, basketball & football coaches played as did their fathers. As much as the game is growing in the United States, the culture and history are just starting to catch up. It wasn’t that long ago when you had to tell soccer haters that the game will make it here, now it’s the people who want pro/rel tomorrow.

    • Like the Concacaf/Conmebool CL idea but don’t think it is feasible due to the distance the teams would have to travel….Orlando to Seattle is already too long of a hike, let alone going to Argentina!

  10. Friends I would like to say thank you today…
    .
    this is my water cooler and it means the world to me…
    .
    Enjoy the conversation which I know I tilt heavily sometimes… thought I was supposed to stay focused on the Union… but then this stuff always keeps popping up in the news..which is exactly what is supposed to happen… thank you Mr. Farnsworth… far and away the best dialogue daily I have encountered and I’ve been down many many internet football wormholes… just so happens this one is the moon for my favorite team.
    .
    So again… well done PSP and well done fellow posters sorry I dominate sometimes… but you are my weekday co workers… and I am likely the guy you would not want at Happy Hour less I promised to leave my soap box back in the orifice.
    .
    Be well.

  11. Just move the game to tomorrow! I hate sunday games!!!!!! Home opener on a Sunday at 2:30 is awful.


    Disclaimer: I know the league has rules, TV, etc. This is more a personal rant!

    Note: The weather is fine. I remember sitting and watching the boys play a friendly in similar winter conditions against UNAM a couple years back…actually one of the best Union home games in recent years IMO.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      As the NWS forecast discussion notes in its analysis of the general situation, ground temperature will be crucial Sunday. That a cold front is coming through tomorrow will not help that temperature, but if it is above freezing, it will take time to chill the ground to temperatures at which snow will stick.

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