Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin’s presser and other Union news, midweek results, Olympic draw, new rules, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Some highlights from Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference on Wednesday (full transcript here at PSP):

  • Tranquillo Barnetta continues to work toward full match fitness. Regarding Saturday’s game in Seattle, “he’s going to contribute in the game one way or the other, it’s not a hundred percent yet whether it will be as a starter or off the bench.”
  • Ilsinho continues to recover from his hamstring strain: “He’s getting better, the hamstring is coming along. We’re optimistic that he’ll be at least available for selection this week.”
  • With both Barnetta and Ilsinho, Curtin emphasized the need to be smart about their return given the strain of travel and playing on turf  in Seattle.
  • Curtin said the team will bring extra players beyond the matchday 18 to Seattle as cover in case of an injury during training there.
  • On who starts if Ilsinho cannot: “With Ilsinho being day-to-day you lean towards Seba at this moment but, we’ll see how it goes, we still have some things up in the air.”
  • Ken Tribbett rolled his ankle in the scrimmage with Maryland on Tuesday and did not train with the team on Wednesday. However, Curtin expects “he’ll be ok for the weekend.”
  • While admitting he prefers consistent lineups, Curtin acknowledge the need for rotation: “It might not seem like it now but as you get into August and September, the minutes start to wear…To get three points on the day is obviously priority No. 1, but you do have to have an eye on managing your guys in a smart way.”
  • Curtin said the team will continue to use the second wall tactic on free kicks, despite PRO’s announcement that Barnetta’s goal shouldn’t have been allowed for offside. “The tactic is legal and fine as long as the wall does get back in line with the other wall, which they did on the first time; we checked with the linesmen, he said it was good. We were a little sluggish and maybe a step behind and that led to them being in an offside position.”
  • On Barnetta’s goal not winning Goal of the Week: “It’s not the first time the internet’s got something completely wrong…But, we’re not too concerned with winning internet polls, we’re concerned with getting better as a team, and getting wins.” (Barnetta’s “world class FK” goal against Orlando only managed to garner 44.45 percent of the vote against Chris Wondolowski’s “clinical finish” against San Jose and therefore failed to advance in the voting for Goal of the Week.)

More from the press conference at Philadelphia UnionDelco Times, and Union Tally. Relatedly, at Brotherly Game, Eugene Rupinski disputes PRO declaring Barnetta’s goal should not have been allowed.

Curtin was full of praise for Brian Carroll, whose next appearance will be his 350th in MLS. In a post at MLSsoccer.com, Carroll tells Dave Zeitlin of the milestone, “I don’t know, I don’t think too much about it. I think I’ll appreciate it when I’m done playing. But right now I’m enjoying playing.”

Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid will be wearing a cast on the sidelines on Saturday after breaking his left fibula in an accident at home.

SoundersFC.com talks with Dave Zeitlin for some Union-related talking points in a piece called, “Can Seattle Sounders put a stop to the Union’s hot streak?”

Also at the Sounders website, you can download the matchday program for Saturday’s game. Q13Fox, US-Soccer.com (yeah, confusing web address) have previews.

MLS tactics blog The High Press considers whether the Union’s rebuild is ahead of schedule and concludes,

The Union have exceeded expectations through the first five games but there are still question marks for the rest of the season. Until they can truly perfect their pressing system and find consistent offense from their forwards Philadelphia won’t match up against MLS’s elite. But for now, that’s OK. They’re already a better team than in 2015 and may yet scrap for a playoff spot. In that sense the rebuild is indeed ahead of schedule but not quite top-of-the-Eastern-Conference ahead of schedule.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin picks up on the Taylor Twellman tweet we linked to earlier in the week calling for CJ Sapong to be in the national team picture. Stateside Soccer says Sapong is “on the brink of brilliance.”

Chris Pontius is the guest on the latest Goal USA podcast.

Brotherly Game compares player ratings from the win over Orlando. Also at Brotherly Game, the good, the bad, and the ugly from the win.

From an article at Goal.com on the “most impressive newcomers in MLS”:

The influx of foreign talent has come at a time when the number of rookies ready to contribute right away is small. Through the first full month of the season only Chicago Fire central defender Jonathan Campbell and Philadelphia Union right back Keegan Rosenberry can be called consistent contributors, with even highly-regarded Seattle Sounders prospect Jordan Morris struggling to make his mark early on.

Bethlehem Steel FC

The Brown and White talks to Lehigh University’s James Luchini about signing with Bethlehem Steel.

At the Union website, Matt Bodiford on the importance of the historical legacy of the original Bethlehem Steel FC to the new team.

Reading United

Reading United has announced the return of four international players for the 2016 season, English midfielder Brad Fountain, Norwegian center back Martin Nygaard, and two French players, midfielder/defender Paul Marie and midfielder William Picoux.


Rebecca Jarrett (World Class; Washington Township, N.J.) has been called up by the US U-16 GNT for the 1st International Women’s Tournament of Gradisca in Italy, April 19-29 .

Julia Burnell (Penn Fusion; Glen Mills, Pa.) has been called up by the US U-15 GNT for a training camp at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif, from April 16-24.

Lancaster Inferno of the amateur United Women’s Soccer league have announced their first group of signings for the 2016 season. Among them are former professional player Teresa Rynier (Ottawa Fury, FH Hafnafjördur, Kvarnsvedens IK), and Honduras WNT player Stephanie Cleaves, and current Costa Rica WNT player Carol Sanchez.


In midweek play, ninth in the East NYRB (3 points, 1-5-0) lost 2-0 on the road to fourth in the west San Jose. Dallas (14 points, 4-1-2) moves into first place in the West with a 3-1 road win over ninth in the West Portland (5 points, 1-3-2). Kansas City (12 points, 4-2-0) falls to second place in the West with a 2-1 home loss to now fifth place Colorado (10 points, 3-2-1).

At the LAG website, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena on the Nigel De Jong tackle that injured Darlington Nagbe:

I think it’s hysteria. I think obviously Nigel has to understand this; he has a reputation that precedes him. If that was any other player in that tackle, it would not have received the hysteria that it has. I think the press and others have failed miserably in reporting the incident and what actually happened. The player probably wasn’t hurt on the tackle, which no one has reported. Darlington Nagbe is a great kid and a great player, and we certainly don’t want him to be injured on a bad tackle. I think it was a mistimed tackle by Nigel. A bad tackle on that play is going to the ground and going over the ball with excessive force. That was not the case on that play.

From my understanding of our doctor was that he received a bruise. The ankle injury was there before the game. He had an injured ankle coming into the game. He went down 10 minutes before that. Then obviously all the hysteria was there. If it’s another player, it’s not as publicized. We don’t condone the tackle, it was a mistimed tackle, it was not a vicious tackle. A bad tackle certainly. Whoever reads intent … what I know of Nigel in our short time together is he’s a great player and person, and he wasn’t trying to hurt the player, believe me. It was mistimed. As a tackle it’s clearly a yellow card and arguably a red card, there’s no excuse for it. Fortunately, it wasn’t a tackle that injured the player…

Hysteria is the fault of social media. It’s the fault of people in MLS and in the offices that do that and feeds the whole thing. And the journalism. No one’s actually interviewed the player, anything like that. It’s been blown out of proportion but rightfully so because of how everyone wanted to make this player into a villain. And obviously, with the incidents he’s had previously it invites that. We understand that.

So, it was a mistimed tackle, not a bad tackle, but a bad tackle certainly. And no one spoke to De Jong about the tackle, the quotes from him after the game simply magically appeared on the internet, and the resulting hysteria is the fault of social media, journalists, and MLS, except for it being the result of De Jong’s reputation, which is understandable. Well, that’s sorted, then. Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy has a less snarky analysis of Arena’s comments.

Meanwhile, Soccer America also notes, “Allen Chapman, the referee who officiated Sunday’s controversial LA Galaxy-Portland game, was removed from his weekend MLS assignment. Ismail Elfath has replaced Chapman as the referee for Saturday’s Real Salt Lake-Vancouver match, per PRO assignments…MLS’s Disciplinary Committee is expected to announce that de Jong will be suspended retroactively for three games.”

At Vice Sports, Aaron Gordon has a fascinating behind the scenes look at PRO’s efforts to improve the state of officiating in MLS.

The BBC reports, “A charity run by Didier Drogba is being investigated over ‘serious regulatory concerns’ by the Charity Commission.” Drogba disputes accusations made by The Daily Mail that the charity is being improperly run with only £14,115 of more than £1.7 million raised being dispersed.

The Observer reports the New Jersey Supreme Court, which was set to rule on April 11 on a tax settlement agreement between Harrison and New York Red Bulls over Red Bull Arena, “has agreed to adjourn the matter until April 25 or 26.”

Finance & Commerce reports, “A proposed property tax exemption on the $150 million-plus pro soccer stadium slated to rise in St. Paul made its way into the Minnesota House, where lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the benefits for nearby small businesses whose tax burden is likely to rise.” More at KTSP.

MLS commissioner Don Garber will be in Sacramento today to discuss expansion plans in that city. Ahead of the visit, Sacramento Republic has released new renderings that show more looks at the inside of their proposed new stadium with a focus on the supporters section. More at Sacramento Bee and KCRA.

At US National Soccer Players, Jason Davis on the attendance numbers question in pro soccer in the the US:

Teams don’t typically report the number of human bodies through the turnstiles, but rather the number of tickets distributed. While that practice isn’t unique to soccer, it’s impact on how we view the popularity of the sport in America is immense…

American soccer clubs, from USL all the way up to MLS, are fighting a war for respect. All is fair in love and war, so the need to be spot-on with reported attendance is secondary to putting forward a vision of strength.

The odd thing is that there’s plenty of gray area between “soccer teams are exaggerating their attendances” and “wow, look at those huge crowds” as signals of what’s happening at various levels of American soccer. The game is growing in America, and more fans are (probably) attending games than ever before. But it’s also probably not as good as the numbers might indicate. When it comes to filling seats, the truth is in the eye of the beholder.


Orlando Sentinel has a Q&A with NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush ahead of the opening of the 2016 season this weekend.


The draw for the 2016 Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament took place this morning at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The US was drawn into Group G and will face Plays New Zealand on August 3, and France on August 6, and Colombia on August 9. The New Zealand and France games are in Belo Horizonte, the Colombia game in Manaus.

Sporting News on why an Olympic boycott over the wage discrimination dispute with US Soccer would be the wrong move by the USWNT.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald talks to Carli Lloyd. Good insights into the importance of coming back to the area to work with her trainer, James Galanis, the USWNT pool of players, and, of course, the wage discrimination complaint.

Stars and Stripes FC wonders if Mallory Pugh will be the next Mia Hamm or if she will burn out before reaching her full potential.


Before the Klinsmann tweet, ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle tweeted a US Soccer spokesperson said there had been no contact between Everton and the federation.

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep wonders, “What if Jurgen Klinsmann did choose to walk away now?”

At Soccer America, more on the news reported by ESPN we recently linked to that the Mexican federation has told Liga MX clubs to stop importing Mexican-Americans under the age of 18 because it violates FIFA’s rules for international transfers involving minors.


FIFA president Gianni Infantino spoke to FFS1’s Alexi Lalas and had this to say about awarding the hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup:

The thinking now is we will start with the process now, the consultation process, with a decision to be taken probably in 2020, six years before the World Cup…We have to make sure that this bidding process is absolutely bulletproof, that we create a transparent process and this takes of course a little bit of time, a little bit of consultation. And so we start the process now. It will take three or four years and we will make a decision.

You can view the interview herehere, here, here, and here. Quotesheet here. Pro Soccer Talk on Infantino’s comments about investing in women’s soccer.

Infantino, chilling at a bar in NYC, watching Champions League games.

The IFAB has announced changes to the Laws of the Game to go into effect for the 2016/17 season, “the most notable altering sending-off and cautionable offenses inside the penalty area.” Sky Sports reports,

The previous “triple-punishment” rule meant that a player who denied a goal-scoring opportunity was automatically red-carded and handed a suspension, as well as giving away a penalty.

However, the law has now changed so that players committing accidental fouls, that deny a goal-scoring opportunity, are not automatically sent-off, but cautioned instead.

The Guardian reports, “FIFA should consider stripping Qatar of the 2022 World Cup if its record on the treatment of migrant workers does not improve within 12 months, according to the Harvard professor who has authored an independent report commissioned by world football’s governing body into its human rights responsibilities.” Professor John Ruggie says, “FIFA can’t impose human rights on countries but in return for hosting a tournament there are certain human rights to which you should have to adhere. If you can’t, you have to make tough decisions. That may include having to terminate an existing relationship.”

The AP reports, “Greece’s government says it will lift a suspension of the country’s cup competition, under the threat of an international ban by FIFA.

This: “Barcelona’s exit from the Champions League on Wednesday night at the hands of Atlético Madrid means Milan’s victory over Benfica back in May 1990 thanks to a solitary goal from Frank Rijkaard’s was the last time the reigning European champions managed to retain the trophy affectionately known in some quarters as ‘Old Big Ears.'”


  1. ebradlee10 says:

    Imagine if the USA had a Charity Commission.

  2. Zizouisgod says:

    Bruce Arena – I love the fact that you are willing to speak your mind and have strong opinions. However, regarding your position on Nigel De Jong’s tackle, you need to find a toilet very quickly because you are full of…well, everyone knows the rest of that sentence so I’ll just leave that there.

  3. Funny swapping Le Toux for Illsinho… Couldn’t find two more different types of players… how I’d love to swap Illsinho for Leo… I’m for giving him some more chances. But that’s me.
    Wondering if Bruce Arena saw the picture I saw- where it looks like De Jong ‘mistimed’ his tackle into a karate kick that has Nagbe’s leg bowing like well,,,, a bow… how his leg doesn’t snap is more a miracle of anatomy and flexibility than some mass social media hysteria. The hysteria is well founded…and yes when you have made a career of being a butcher…it tends to follow you even to the shores of US Soccer.
    I would like it very much if we could stop concerning the manager with this Goal of the Week bullshit… really, who cares. It was lovely. It secured 3 points. Let’s move on already…. otherwise leave the rumblings to the social media crowd. One more sign we have miles to go- asking questions about goal of the week and save of the week.
    “” MLS tactics blog The High Press considers whether the Union’s rebuild is ahead of schedule and concludes””… thank you for confirming what we here who follow this team every day already know. Sincerely, el Pachyderm
    Nothing says US Soccer better than that stadium issue… bollox to it all. Bollox. Stick it in your ass Don Garber. I’m not a fanboy. I’m on to you all.
    Sunny day. Lovely. Enjoy.

    • old soccer coach says:

      Leo has not been a revelation down with the Steel. Flashes here and there of the potential, but he is almost Maidana-like in his tendency to seek creative opportunity on the flank thus exposing the central channel to counterattack when possession is lost, as did Chaco.
      To Leo’s credit, after halftime of the Cincinnati game he did better at keeping himself central defensively; he, Ayuk and Restrepo do not have the instincts to interchange to maintain defensive balance the way Ilsinho, Alberg, Barnetta, Pontius, and Le Toux seem to (asserting that Le Toux on this point remains a work in progress). He was definitely part of the creativity burst that responded to Red Bulls 2’s two goals until he took the 19th minute PK poorly. My observations became periodic after that, so I must be quiet.
      It would be instructive to know whether he was on the plane today to Seattle. I myself hope not, as he will not play in Seattle barring disaster but will not in Bethlehem either, if he is on the plane. I would think the team will board a red eye at the earliest at 2:30 AM [shower, dress, get to the airport] Eastern time, and it will be a six or seven hour flight, if it is direct. They will touch down about the time the bus leaves Seaport Drive for Bethlehem.

  4. old soccer coach says:

    Bruce Arena has the impossible job of defending the indefensible; his sincere attempt highlights how brilliantly Mike Magee executed the same task earlier.
    Arena is right that no one looked at Nagbe’s prior injury status, either before the match or during it prior to the incident. a prior injury helps mitigate Nagbe’s post game wheelchair.
    But unless the Galaxy were naive when they signed him, they had to know that exactly what happened would. Somehow I doubt they were naive when negotiating his contract with his agent. Barcelona was certainly not naive when they signed “Biter” Suarez.
    The visual of studs on ankle with the ball long gone says badly, badly, badly mistimed.

  5. I could be convinced on a straight swap of Klinsmann for Roberto Martinez for USMNT coach.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Curtin should consider resting Carroll on Saturday so he can get his 350th at TES.

  7. Speaking of the good, the bad and the ugly, the ugly from the last game should be…

    The fact that dollar dog night was only available in two locations and the wait (both times I checked) were over a half hour long. It’s really poor planning by the Union and who wants to wait in line and miss 1/3 of the game just for some hot dogs? I thought we fired Nick Sakiewicz, ONLY he could come up with such a bone-headed move.

    • Here’s an idea…wild as it seems… let’s just keep Dollar Dog Night for CBP…next thing… Union will be hosting a Business Persons’ Special or tube launching Nutty Buddies to the fans on the rooftop deck…
      Wait…while we’re at it… lets get a mascot too.
      The fact that we are trying, desperately– in this country to draw in the OTHER ‘casual’ fans and align the US version of this game with the OTHER four major US sports is exactly the short-sighted-ness that stems my argument about this perverted version of the game MLS is unfortunately branding… when in fact MLS should be doing EVERYTHING imaginable to distance itself from the four major sports. It is a total FUBAR… and breaks my heart they have fucked this up so royally.
      Oh My. My Oh My. I am Jack’s aching football heart.

      • but…but…plenty of European football teams have mascots. I am pretty sure every team in the Premier league does…..also, if we should be doing everything possible to distance ourselves from the four major sports, should we remove hot dogs and burgers altogether? Forget the BBQ and Chickies and Pete’s too. Should we just serve an array of pies like in England? Maybe we can go a step further and ban people from drinking alcohol at their seat?…..People also don’t tailgate in Europe, maybe we should ban tailgating…sorry Sons of Ben but we are trying to distance ourselves from the four major sports so drink at the pub and then take public transportation into Chester. Splendid ideas all around! **rolls eyes**

      • Ouch. Jeeze.
        Just arguing to build a different brand… you know, than the one we pretty well already see throughout professional sports here… tailgating can stay.
        Otherwise… excellent rebut. Love it… **not rolling eyes**

      • There is a rich rich deep fanbase in every major and minor city in this country where football/soccer -however you name it- is THE most important sport in the household. This sect of people, with its engrained football culture scoffs at the MLS model… for many many reasons of which one — is that very little is done to draw them nearer.
        This is the audience MLS should be targeting nay… should have targeted from the beginning…the melting pot culture of this country where the game of soccer is most important… They are missing the boat.
        They have missed the boat. The boat has sailed…and I just speak to/on behalf of/ and for that disenfranchised portion… that’s all.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        Sehr gut gesagt (well said) … but I do feel that I must admit to the fact that Bayern Munich have had a mascot for quite some time now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: