Daily news roundups

Union-Seattle previews and other team news, BSFC host Richmond, Garber confirms expansion to 28 teams, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union face Seattle on the road on Saturday night (10 pm: TCN, MLS Live, Direct Kick, DirecTV, SiriusXM FC). Can they make it two wins in a row? A draw would also work, right? NOTE: The local Union broadcast will be simulcast on LiveWell Network (Comcast channels 245, 246, 790; FiOS channels 465, 466) in case the earlier broadcasts of the Flyers and Phillies matches go long. Here’s a graphic of the broadcast option scenarios:

Seattle broadcast info

Previews at PSP, Philadelphia Union, Union TallyPhilly Soccer News, Brotherly Game (three questions, two friends), Vavel, MLSsoccer.com, Seattle Sounders (video), Sounder at Heart (scouting reportthree questions), Emerald City SwaggerSBIGoal.com, and MLSGB.

At the Delco Times, Matthew De George on Vincent Nogueira’s “value as a pillar of the club’s rebuilding effort”:

The Union have crafted a team with more players like Nogueira — guys who can pass, are defensively responsible, are comfortable on the ball and technically adept. Whether or not this was the stated aim, Nogueira’s poise and penchant for selecting impeccable passes no longer looks like an outlier when paired with Ilsinho or Roland Alberg or Tranquillo Barnetta.

At the Union website, Matt Bodiford on Brian Carroll being one game away from making his 350th MLS appearance. More on Carroll at Section 215. In other milestone news, Seattle’s Brad Evans and Osvaldo Alonso will reach the 200 mark for MLS appearances when they play in Saturday’s game.

In other Seattle news, Sigi Schmid says the USL prepares players better for MLS than playing in the NCAA. No surprise there, really.

In a post at ESPN on the biggest surprises of the season so far, Jason Davis writes,

As surprises go, the Philadelphia Union aren’t quite the established article. Despite a return of nine points from their first five games, putting them into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference, questions abound as to just how good manager Jim Curtin’s team actually is.

Sure, they’ve won three times, but they’ve also lost twice. And even the three wins carry with them caveats…Of course, the Union can’t do anything but beat the teams put in front of them, so the quality of their wins shouldn’t be held against them…

At the very least, Philadelphia has reason to hope it can continue its good form and challenge for a playoff spot this season. C.J. Sapong has rounded into one of the league’s best center-forwards now that someone has given him a chance; the midfield is a cohesive unit with just enough steel to go with a cutting edge; goalkeeper is now a position of strength thanks to Andre Blake; and there might even be some depth and reinforcement coming soon if Maurice Edu can get healthy.

At MLSsoccer.com, that Carlos Ruiz bomb against Chicago way back on May 21, 2011 makes a highlight reel of the best goals of each MLS team.

No. 6 in a list of 50 Copa America Centenario predictions at MLSsoccer.com: “Philadelphia Union’s Andre Blake will continue his stunning form with Jamaica and be named the goalkeeper of the tournament.”

Bethlehem Steel FC

On Sunday at 3 pm, Bethlehem Steel will look to snap a two-game losing streak, and secure their first-ever home win at Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium, when they host Richmond Kickers.

Steel head coach Brendan Burke said of the team’s poor start, “You approach each week in preparation for the match with whatever group you have for that week. Relationships will develop over time. They’re going to develop slowly for us. There are guys who are developing good relationships. We need to emphasize those and strengthen some others.”

Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog considers what Sunday’s starting lineup might look like. More on the game at The Morning CallRichmond Kickers and USLsoccer.com.

If you can’t get up to Bethlehem, you can watch a livestream of the game by clicking here.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union U15/16s and U-17/18s are on the road to face Empire United on Saturday in West Henrietta, NY. The U13/14s host Met Oval at YSC on Saturday.


Harrisburg City Islanders are in search of their first points of the season on Saturday when they are away to face Orlando City B. Kickoff is at 7:30 pm and you can watch a livestream of the game by clicking here. Previews at Harrisburg City Islanders, Brotherly GameOrlando City B, and USLsoccer.com.

Pulisic! (Also, No. 25 in the list of 50 Copa America Centenario predictions at MLSsoccer.com: “Borussia Dortmund youngster Christian Pulisic will score his first goal for the USMNT.”)


The lede in Sacramento Bee’s report on Don Garber’s visit to Sacramento on Thursday: “The commissioner of Major League Soccer all but handed Sacramento an expansion team Thursday, saying he believes Sacramento Republic FC will play in MLS by 2020.” Garber says an announcement could be made within the next 12 months.

Garber also confirmed the league will expand to 28 teams, with Austin, Detroit, San Antonio, San Diego, and St. Louis joining Sacramento as possible expansion cities. A timetable for further expansion is yet to be determined. More at Sacramento Bee, CBS Sacramento (1, 2), KCRA, MLSsoccer.com (Sacramento, further expansion), ESPN, Soccer AmericaPro Soccer Talk, MLiveDetroit Free Press, and CBS Detroit.

Garber said of the Nigel De Jong tackle on Darlington Nagbe, “There’s no place for that kind of play in MLS. We’ll be announcing his suspension soon and it will be in line with similar nasty tackles.” He also called the comments LAG head coach Bruce Arena made about coverage of the tackle we linked to in Thursday’s roundup “absurd and irresponsible.” More at Soccer America.

Montreal Impact have issued a statement supporting Didier Drogba against allegations a charity he runs is improperly managed.

Atlanta United announced on Thursday former Liverpool player Richard Money will be the club’s youth academy director, with Tony Annan as academy manager. More at Atlanta Business Journal.

Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, “The owner of the Minnesota United FC renewed his push at the Capitol on Thursday for state assistance in building a new soccer stadium in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul. Without the tax exemptions, team owner Dr. Bill McGuire said, the stadium might not be built.” The team is asking for tax breaks (on property taxes and “on building materials, supplies and equipment”) and a liquor license.


The 2016 NWSL season begins with games on Saturday night and Sunday night. You can watch the games at the NWSL YouTube channel.

More on the opening of the league’s fourth season at Washington Post, The OregonianThe Guardian, Soccer America, and FiveThirtyEight.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald has information about the national broadcast schedule of NWSL games on FS1 which, unfortunately includes only six games and doesn’t begin until September. NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush has hinted that other broadcast deals are in the making.


More on the USWNT’s draw for the Summer Olympics at US Soccer, SI, ESPNSoccer America, and Goal.com.

SI reports, “U.S. women’s national team goalie Hope Solo plans to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics, despite her continued concerns over the outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil.”

At SI, a transcript of an interview with FIFA president Gianni Infantino covering a variety of topics. Infantino said of the issue of equal pay,

Well, today there is such a big difference because the prize money—which for me is a different topic than the salary or the pay—but the prize money today is linked with the revenues that are generated. So for me, while I understand and respect the position in the U.S., women’s football in the U.S. is not yet comparable to what women’s football should be around the world. So what our task must be is to develop women’s football, to invest much more. Of course the adjustment of the prize money goes with that as well.

Asked if he believes “revenue generation should be a factor in how much men and women are paid,” Infantino said, “Definitely it should be a factor. It should not be the only factor, and we shouldn’t reduce it to that by all means. But it has to be a factor. It has to be evaluated. Because it’s the only way that we can grow the image and the popularity of women’s football.”


Super Sport highlights Gianni Infantino’s recent comments defending his plan to widen the World Cup field to 40 teams.

The draws for the Champions League and Europa League semifinals have been announced.

Liverpool’s dramatic come-from-behind second-leg victory over Dortmund to advance to the Europa League semifinals was one for the ages. And it began with this:

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


  1. If you did not see/hear the YNWA pre game it was unlike any I’ve ever heard before… as best one can tell, having never been fortunate enough to join the Anfield faithful.
    Stunning…it went on and on and on and on… Dortmund and Liverpool supporters alike joined in song.
    As for the game itself… just, wOw.

    • That game was amazing. What a comeback. The celebration after Lovren put Liverpool ahead. Just wow. Everyone should go out and at least watch the highlight reel from that one, if for no other reason than to watch Klopp’s fist pump.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Klopp just seems like a guy who is great to be around. Liverpool were smart to move for him when they did.

    • Gutted, but I said to my pops….who’s a Red, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Anfield like that in my lifetime……incredible match. That was epic………the mutual respect of the supporters made it even cooler.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    So how long until MLS expands to 35 teams so they can go to a balanced schedule where everyone plays everyone else once?

    • thirty five teams and one championship…. the league wants parity, I call it parody accidentally but sticking to it… when all teams stand a fighting chance of winning that One Ring… my precious…
      Man oh Man.
      Can you imagine – – 35 teams. As much as I rail against this brand and model…I hope to heaven there are one or two minds behind closed doors figuring something out to make it… yes- I’ll say it (again)…. more like it should be.
      they can have their playoff system which doesn’t reward the steady handed play of a 34 game schedule and top of the table earners…fine…but what of the continued league bottom dwellers… who is going to push them to improve– or be …… allowed to just keep sucking.

      • pragmatist says:

        Franchises are a business, first and foremost. Even the perpetual cellar-dwellars make money, with minimal investment. There is zero incentive for the owners of these teams to change that paradigm.

      • I understand all this my friend and in a left handed way you have just made the argument for me that I’ve been making all along… about why the league will ultimately fail when trying to compare itself to the highest leagues in the world… there is no penalty for sucking… in a game around the world where all the rest of the leagues penalize ineptitude and reward success…it matters not that those teams who earn the top flight one year often times get sent back down the next…doesn’t matter an iota… because the Clippers would have been buried right next to Leeds United where it belongs… worth about $2.5 million…
        That ultimately matters to the quality of the product and the quality of the individual within that product.
        Man oh Man… one more time.
        How people can watch Leicester City and say Yeah! then watch MLS and say Yeah! is beyond any measure of understanding I will ever have… the reason I write about it so much and come back to it again and again is the railing is an opiod to the angst and dismay I have… that US Soccer allowed this game to grow with a business first model. They were/are money hungry and the game suffers.

      • pragmatist says:

        The Kansas City Royals were putrid since George Brett retired, with no penalty.
        The Pittsburgh Pirates were forgotten to be an actual pro team since the 70’s.
        The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t matter since theNBA overvalued Brad Daugherty.
        The New England Patriots were simply known as the team that got blown out the one good year they managed to make it.
        The American sports model functions on the belief that if you give someone long enough, even in the mud, they will eventually rise to the top. All the while, the owners will collect on the best investment they will ever make.
        We are a different beast here. Our leagues are different. Our owners are different. Our fans are different. We are not the rest of the world.
        This is not a bad thing. It just requires an iron stomach from fans on occasion. Like the idiots that pack the Dawg Pound every Sunday in Cleveland. They hope against hope that there is another Jim Brown coming their way.
        We are who we are. And we do not match up with the rest of the world, for better or worse. But our teams do not become Sheffield Wednesday, forever relegated to irrelevancy.
        This is the fear of all Aston Villa fans – that the Championship League is not the bottom for them. And there is no path back up.
        There are no American owners or fan bases that will accept that outcome.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Don’t forget the team that hasn’t seen the top since the days of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance (and, of course, Mordecai 3 fingers Brown)!

      • pragmatist says:

        This is their year!
        The only thing that allows Cubs fans to keep their sanity is the relatively recent success of every other (non-baseball) team in the city.

      • Your premise that American sports teams that have perpetually sucked don’t have a following is flawed. The Red Sox are one team to counter your argument. New Englanders will always buy Sox tickets. And Sheffield Wednesday has a chance to be promoted to EPL. Ha Ha. NSNO COYB

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        “They were/are money hungry” “a ‘business first’ model”.
        El P, your own words explain why “pro-rel” will never happen.
        As long as MLS as a whole needs those $100-$150 million franchise/”office” entry fees to finance operations, the league will continue to expand.
        The East League and the West League is a good prediction after you get to 28 teams, one game against the other league and two within your own creates 39 games. More games means more money.
        Not until expansion is no longer necessary to keep the league afloat will any changes ever make it onto the league’s secret agenda.

      • Keep it growing. Split into and east and west league. Keep it growing, split into an East and Middle and West and South League. Add in the Mexican league and we get a tourney that rivals the Champions League. All we need is lots of money and to wait until about 2200. You can wait that long right…

      • Like mitosis…
        We’ll see.

    • Nah. I see Garber trying to grow it to 32 teams. 2 Conferences, 4 divisons per conference, 4 teams per division. If it works for football it would work for soccer, right?

      • 28 teams? 7 teams per conference (division?). That would be 12 games against teams in your division. Then they could play 1 game against teams in the other divisions. 12 games in-division plus 21 games against other division teams = 33 gamesper season. That could be the target?

      • Andy Muenz says:

        That will be a tough sell that some teams get one more home game than others. I don’t know the exact numbers but I’m guessing that gate revenue/concession sales is still one of the principal sources of income for the teams.

  3. Going to a league of that size would easily make MLS the largest “top flight” league in the world, and the pro/rel debate would rage on forever. The leagues putting forth the best product are all at or around 20 teams. If MLS wants to get bigger than that, they’re going to spread the talent available in the US very thin. While a Giovinco type player is a readily available commodity in Italy, it’s quite a find here. We need players of that caliber to advance the game and turn the casual fan into a season ticket holder in these new markets. I’m worried we won’t be able to get enough of that as we try to hype up mediocre college players as the guys leading these teams, killing the quality of our league. and quality needs to be our biggest concern.

    • Re: Giovinco – If by quite a find you mean a caliber of player the U.S. has never once produced… Donovan and Dempsey are the only two you could possibly argue for, and personally I think Giovinco is head and shoulders above them.

      Totally agree that the expansion is concerning given the quality of our player pool. Presumably there will be more foreign players plying their trade here. One can only hope that the continual increase in professional avenues (usl, etc) helps bring up some talent that would previously have been overlooked.

      • I agree with you on Giovinco, but what I meant was ability to attract to our league. He’s really the first of his kind: a player in his prime of excellent caliber coming to MLS to ply his trade. We need that to be the continuation of a larger trend.
        Of the union’s 5 players I like to watch most, all but one of them are foreign born (CJ for those who care). One did play in the US before MLS (Andre Blake) but largely we rely on foreign imports to provide the excitement (and therefore marketing, exposure, ticket sales, TV deals, merchandise opportunities, etc). So what needs to happen is either a) we import even more talent and MLS has to loosen the purse strings or b) we need to create significantly more of it ourselves like you said. I’m not sold on either happening.

      • Ah, I thought you meant it in terms of a youth team finding a Giovinco- level talent.

  4. John P O'Donnell says:

    Players follow money, just look at the EPL. Wasn’t that long ago players didn’t think of it as an option at the top of the list, now they do.

    By the time they get to 28, more players will be coming from academies. Hopefully this should actually help the quality instead of hurt it. One can argue the league is much better in quality since they expanded from 10 to 20.

    Thinking that the Union hasn’t been punished after last season is a head scratcher to me. An “owner” was fired and half the roster had been turned over. Maybe el Pachyderm meant the fanbase should be punished as well by having the team relegated to NASL.

    Myself, I don’t think this team would survive that. I also think if that was ever a possibility in the first place we wouldn’t have a stadium either. Soccer is still in its building stages in the United States. If your not sure, just turn on your local sports radio and take a listen to fans talking about soccer.

    So MLS isn’t following the true European model, oh well. I would think all the people begging for pro/rel in the US would be spending money on teams from NASL. If you pay attention to leagues in America, good things happen when a legitimate rival league comes along. But just look at the Cosmos, biggest market in their US and they can’t even draw anybody to a college stadium right outside the city. To me it just tells me the MLS model appeals to people who live in this market and Don Garber knows it.

  5. I personally have no problem if the league continues to grow. As long as there is a plan to split it and make an MLS 1 / MLS 2 type thing. Not sure how it would work, etc. but the incentive to win and get better would have to be monetary for the teams. I do agree tho, at some point, and we are getting close, the product gets watered down and worse. Think of the NBA or NHL, before expansion in the late 80’s / 90’s. Teams were stacked… not so now a days. Although, one could argue the NHL has bounced back a bit. But the NBA has not. Continuing to produce enough good enough domestic soccer players is a luxury we don’t have in this country. At least not yet.
    With all that said tho, MLS is smart to get these expansion fees, and big name / rich owners while they can.

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