Daily news roundups

Ilsinho “progressing well” and other Union news, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union scrimmage University of Maryland this morning.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead asked Union head coach Jim Curtin about Ilsinho’s injury status. Curtin said,

He’s recovering well. I think he’ll at least be in the discussion for Seattle. That’s the hope. We’ll have to assess it as the week goes on. The good news is that with the Friday game, we had a little extra time…Ilsinho is progressing well. He knows his body pretty well. There was still hope that he was going to play last week, but the day before training I talked to him, and he just thought it wasn’t right, so we didn’t want to risk furthering the damage to his hamstring. An MRI was done; it’s nothing too severe. He’s been getting treatment and hopefully he’ll be up for selection against Seattle.

Kinkead reports Ilsinho did not take part in training with the team on Monday but was working off to the side “on five-cone agility drills with Union trainers.”

Also in Kinkead’s report are some interesting comments from Curtin about how the team is trying to address the challenges of traveling three time zones to play  Seattle. The team is flying out for Saturday’s game early on Thursday and will train after landing “just to try to get the travel right out of our system.” Curtin credits Garrison Draper, the head of the Union’s sports performance department, with the team’s new approach: “There’s some data behind it.”

Kind of thought it was Portland who had the lock on the whole wood motif.

Kind of thought it was Portland who had the lock on the whole wood motif thing.

Here’s the match preview for Saturday’s game on the Sounders website and the matchday poster for the game.

Power rankings! At ESPN, the Union climb four spots to No. 4: “A bit of magic from Tranquillo Barnetta gave the Union a big 2-1 win vs. Orlando and put them into a tie for first in the conference with the Impact, continuing a strong start from the early season’s surprise team.” At SI, the Union jump five spots to No. 5: “The moment of the weekend was likely Barnetta’s late swerving free kick goal in the 90th minute, but that goal would have meant far less were it not for an outstanding Andre Blake save just moments later.” At Soccer America, the Union move up two spots to No. 7.

Vincent Nogueira performance against Orlando earned him a place on the bench in MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta’s weekly wrap of MLS action begins notes, “This weekend will not qualify for any MLS time capsules.” There was one bright spot, however, “a surprisingly good Philadelphia-Orlando game.” Describing the “match’s high level of quality,” Sciaretta concludes, “Thank you, Philadelphia and Orlando, for salvaging an otherwise dreadful weekend of soccer.”

Vote Tranquillo Barnetta for Goal of the Week!

Following up on comments from MLSsoccer.com’s Brian Dunseth that, according to one interpretation of FIFA rules, Barnetta’s goal should’ve been flagged for offside because of the Union’s second wall, SB Nation’s Orlando City blog The Mane Land breaks down the goal: “Going back to the offside call that wasn’t made, it isn’t necessarily a clear-cut call. The offside rule in general is very much up for debate and interpretation, so the fact that neither the assistant referee or referee Jair Marrufo made the call isn’t too surprising.”

At the Union website, a social media round up of different views of Tranquillo Barnetta’s game-winning goal against Orlando.  — who is the At Brotherly Game, Barnetta is the week’s MVP. More on Barnetta at Section 215.

At Goal.com, Thomas Floyd talks to CJ Sapong about how he overcame a “tumultuous” 2015 season to strongly start the 2016 season. Sapong says the new three-year contract he signed with the team in February is one of several factors:

It’s definitely been a tumultuous year, to say the least. But I prided myself in staying true to responding the best way I possibly could, no matter what came into my path. It kind of gives you a new way to look at life. I’m actually now enjoying the challenges and new obstacles because I’m looking for new ways to overcome them, and it’s making me a better person on and off the field…It’s always good when faith is shown. At the end of the day, you need that faith in yourself and sometimes that does count on external factors. … Now that I know that I have three years with this organization — maybe more — it’s easier to come in every day and put your full focus and everything you have into being a better player and teammate.

At the Union website, Chris Winkler rounds up where the Union stand in various statistical categories five games into the season, and underscores Sapong’s fine start to the season with this tweet from Taylor Twellman:

Also at the Union website, Matt Bodiford underscores Andre Blake’s stoppage time save that preserved the Union’s win after Barnetta’s goal.

Jay Sugarman issued a statement on behalf of the Union with the news of the passing of Philadelphia Flyers founder and owner Ed Snider:

Today, we mourn the tragic loss of one of our city’s great ambassadors, Ed Snider. Ed built one of the premier organizations in both the city of Philadelphia and the entire National Hockey League and his legacy will live on forever.

Along with his unwavering civic support, Ed’s commitment to everything he worked for is truly something to be cherished. In competition, his teams showcased remarkable skill and heart, leading to exceptionally consistent success that has been rarely duplicated in any sport. But off the ice, the organization displayed the epitome of class. Ed built something that set a very high standard for how professional sports organizations should carry themselves and we truly strive to emulate it on a daily basis.

We want to extend our deepest condolences to the entire Flyers organization and will keep the Snider family in our thoughts and prayers.

College student? Lots of internships open for the summer at the Union.

Bethlehem Steel FC

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead spoke to Jim Curtin about Bethlehem’s 4-0 thumping by NYRB II on Sunday. Curtin said,

It’s difficult and disappointing just because there weren’t a lot of good performances from our guys in particular. When they go down [to play for Bethlehem Steel], we expect them to play a certain way and represent the first team well. I don’t think too many guys came out with positives from the game…

It’s disappointing. Not just because it was a 4-0 game, but if you break down each individual and their performance, it wasn’t what we’ve seen every day in training with the first team. We’ll talk to guys and have little individual film sessions and meetings and kind of break it down. But that’s what those games are for, to get them game experience. Sometimes you realize, maybe you’re not quite ready to make that jump. There are some humbling moments in some guys careers, and I’d say that would be one of them. They can improve from it. It’s the best way to get tested, and it’s still a learning process for those guys.

At the NYRB website, highlights from Sunday’s loss. Also the NYRB website, postgame quotes from Sunday’s loss. There are no quotes from Bethlehem.

More on the loss at Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog and Brotherly Game.

With Sunday’s loss, its second in a row, Bethlehem remains out of the top 10 of the power rankings at USLsoccer.com.

Philadelphia Union Academy

On Friday, Union Academy U-18 forward Jerren Nixon was one of 33 players called up for for the T&T U-20 training camp that began in that country on Monday. The announcement says, “Following the appointment of Brian Williams as Head Coach of the Men’s National Under 20 team this week, the former National team defender will welcome the players for the opening session as they look ahead to the build up for the Caribbean Football Union opening qualifying group phase in June in T&T, towards the 2017 FIFA Under 20 Men’s World Cup in South Korea.”

You will recall Nixon, who was on T&T’s squad for the CONCACAF U-17 World Cup qualification tournament that took place in late February/early March, scored the game winner for the Union U-18s in Sunday’s 1-0 win over NJCSA. More on Nixon’s call up at Brotherly Game.


Pulisic! Pulisic!


The Oregonian reports, “Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe does not have a broken ankle and the Timbers are ‘cautiously optimistic‘ that his injury will not be severe” following the horror tackle from LAG’s Nigel De Jong. SI’s Grant Wahl tweeted on Monday Portland was still waiting for MRI results to know the extent of Nagbe’s injury and that the league disciplinary committee will issue a retroactive red card, although the length of  accompanying suspension has not been determined.

In the latest episode of the Soccer Today podcast, FC Dallas president Dan Hunt talks about how MLS was preparing to cease operations after the folding of Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny. Thankfully, Dan’s father, Lamar Hunt, stepped in. Dan Hunt explained,

My very first phone call when I was working for the family … November of 2001, we’re in the [Kansas City] Chiefs’ offices. It’s my dad Lamar, brother Clark, myself, John Wagner. It’s my very first day on the job and we’re having a league call in November and the league folded. On my very first day on the job, it went out of business.

They were preparing the documents and that was it. My brother looks over at me and in typical big brother fashion goes, “Congratulations, you’ve been hired and fired on the same day” with a big smile, although it wasn’t quite big enough because the situation was pretty grave. My dad was able to call everybody, get ’em back, and within 48 hours everybody was back all in…

Yeah, I mean that was it. It was, “Call the bankruptcy attorneys and then we’re going to fold the league.” And I think maybe they called some attorneys; in fact I know they probably did. And my dad, though, just like the old days of the AFL, I mean literally the AFL was going out of business every year and he would talk people into staying for one more year.

More at Fox Soccer.


Today is Equal Pay Day, “a symbolic event dramatizing how much longer it takes a woman to earn as much as a man.”

At The Guardian, Beau Dure on the “tangled web” that is the USWNT wage discrimination claim, one that is with “no easy answers.”

At the Delco Times, Matthew De George on Tobin Heath, who typically plays as an outside midfielder, starting against Colombia on Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium at right back. USWNT head coach Jill Ellis said, “Having that option with Tobin, giving us another attacking option getting (Christen) Press on the field, it’s a good option to have in our back pocket for sure.”

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald on why the current, post World Cup winning USWNT is the best he’s ever seen.

Bruce Arena on the debut episode of Alexi Lalas’ new “The Mutant Gene Podcast“: “I am not auditioning for the national team job, I’m not publicly advocating that Jurgen be relieved of his duties as the national team coach…If I was asked to become the national team coach again, I would certainly be interested in doing that.”

The US U-15 BNT concluded its three game series in Argentina’s 2016 International Festival with a 2-0 win over Uruguay on April 8. The team opened play with a 5-1 win over Club Atletico Talleres on April 4, before settling for a 2-2 draw with Newell’s Old Boys on April 6.

Last week, ESPN reported, “The Mexican Football Federation has encouraged Liga MX clubs to stop registering underage players from the United States because of a potential widespread breach of a FIFA rule.”  ESPN reported on Monday, “Mexican football federation (FMF) president Decio de Maria has admitted that Liga MX clubs may have violated FIFA’s transfer rules as they stand, but is seeking clarity from the governing body due to the complex situation surrounding dual Mexico-U.S. nationals.”


From The Guardian: “The terror cell that carried out attacks in Paris and Brussels was reportedly planning to target the Euro 2016 football championships in France this summer.”

From the AP: “A former vice president of soccer’s international governing body pleaded guilty to four conspiracy counts Monday in the sweeping FIFA bribery scandal. Prosecutors in New York said Alfredo Hawit accepted bribes totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars linked to the sale of marketing rights to tournaments in Latin America. Each count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison; he also will forfeit $950,000 upon sentencing. Hawit told the judge he had conspired with others to get companies in Florida and Argentina marketing rights in exchange for bribes paid to bank accounts that he and his family controlled in Panama and Honduras.” More at Reuters.

At Goal.com, Jon Arnold on how Hawit’s guilty plea is a warning to current football executives in CONCACAF.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino continues to say he is innocent of any wrongdoing related to information revealed with the release of the Panama Papers.

Goal.com reports, “China has formalized its plan to be a ‘world football superpower’ by 2050 following the unveiling of a detailed strategy to help boost the sport in the country.”

The Nigerian Football Federation is facing the possibility of of being suspended from international play by FIFA because of governmental interference with the federation.


  1. Internships in general are scummy but Box Office Intern is pretty brazen in its assholishness.

  2. Vote Tranquillo Barnetta for Goal of the Week!
    At the moment, Barnetta is only ahead of Chris Wondolowski in their “bracket” 51% to 49%. Voting ends at midnight. That is way too close. Vote! Vote!

  3. In my opinion, the strangest thing about that matchday poster is that it only shows the silhouette of 10 players.
    Are they just planning to get a player set off?

  4. The Realist Brian says:

    One beef I have with the Development Academy is that it is a part of “US Development” for our young players, yet we have foreign kids coming in from the Carribean. This is like a stealth way to sign them. I don’t like it, and the fact that kids in the area will get passed over is bullshit and they cannot sign outside of their catchment area unless a family moves. The Union Academy should be developing “Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware” kids first and foremost and then US kids second like the kids from GA and FL. Then again, I saw a Chicago area stud Cade Hagan moved to the LA Galaxy academy, which is already loaded with talent (See: Efrain Alvarez is the next HUGE talent after Pulisic) so more kids are moving geographically.

    • old soccer coach says:

      perhaps modify the model created in Little League Baseball? Run two separate tracks, one of exclusively catchment area players, and one from all over the country and the world. Thus you would be finding and developing Americans with a “protective tariff”-like competitive advantage to encourage longer term growth, but you would also be practicing “free trade” in finding the best players available in the age brackets without restriction. Having the two teams scrimmage periodically would provide interesting developmental oppostunities and would encoourage the locals to pick up their game.

    • The Union and their academy are just playing by the MLS and USDA rules that exist. If they relied exclusively on Philly-area kids they’d be getting their clocks cleaned.

      The more interesting question is where do the Philly-area kids go who aren’t quite at that level?

  5. old soccer coach says:

    Should not FIFA in fact be classified as an organized criminal conspiracy? Did not Blatter merely continue the practices extant under his predecessor? He may have intensified them, but he did not initiate them.

  6. … it is a very safe bet, Christian Pulisic is already the best player on any US national team. He’s 17.
    Have a nice day.

  7. Zizouisgod says:

    The Lalas interview with Arena is well worth a listen. Arena revealed that he had an offer to join FC Copenhagen after the 2006 World Cup, but US Soccer wouldn’t release him from the last few months of his contract. Arena didn’t feel it was appropriate that Copenhagen would have to pay a fee to USSF for his release and didn’t pursue the opportunity any further. Arena said that USSF (are you ready for this, El Pachy?) wanted him to come back to MLS and that’s why they took that position.

    That’s a real shame as it would have been great to see Arena manage in the Champions League.

    • Agreed – it’s a great pod. Arena is bursting at the seams to rip Klinsmann but manages to keep it inside (but only just barely).

    • Hard to believe no one wants Okugo. Sheesh. Perhaps it really is just the contract. And here this whole “MLS owns the contract” thing doesn’t do anybody any favors.

      • Jim Presti says:

        I think its entirely the contract. I believe he’s somewhere in the $300-$350K range now. Too much to pay for a CB/CDM that hasn’t gotten regular minutes in over 18 months

  8. Interesting from the USWNT Pay article:

    “How will this player pool look in 2017? That brings us back to whether players are willing to give up steady salaries. Will they accept greater risk and more competition for places on the national team?”

    The current fixed salary set-up limits younger players from entering the pool.

    • This has been very under-played. I will be very curious to see if the new USWNT CBA providing the players with equal treatment and pay that looks far more equal to that of the men, when it happens (which it will), eliminates the salary-like structure that’s been in place for the last number of years.

  9. Not sure if anyone actually bothers to read through all these silly power rankings, but I am fascinated by the wildly varied opinion on RSL (as low as 10, as high as 1). They’ve had an equally surprising start to the year and I was wondering whose success seems more sustainable at this point, the union’s or theirs?

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Watched most of their match vs Colorado and was not impressed. It wasn’t until Morales came on that RSL looked like a cohesive side. To their credit, they are starting to play their younger guys more as they transition from stalwarts like Morales, Beckerman, Olave and Wingert.

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