Daily news roundups

Power rankings drop for Union, Team Cameron, more news

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Power rankings! At SI, the Union tumble six spots to No. 11 after Saturday’s loss in Seattle: “The Union have struggled to maintain a consistent level of play this season, and that cause wasn’t helped by Roland Alberg’s 53rd-minute red card in a 2-1 loss to Seattle. It’s been two years since Philly strung four games or more together without losing.” At ESPN, it’s a four-spot drop to No. 8: “The big drop for Philadelphia feels a little unfair, but losing is tough. Going down a man in the second half, when Roland Alberg picked up a second yellow card, definitely didn’t help the cause in Seattle.” At Soccer America, the Union drop one spot to No. 8: “A game of milestones didn’t produce any points. Sebastien Le Toux marked his first game as Union captain by scoring a goal, Roland Alberg was sent off for the first time in MLS, and Joshua Yaro, the No. 2 overall SuperDraft selection, started in his pro debut. Another stunning save by Andre Blake, who is making a habit of such displays, wasn’t enough to avert defeat.”

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead looks at how Josh Yaro did in his MLS debut on Saturday: “He had a few iffy moments early on, but otherwise put in a solid performance.” More on Yaro’s debut from Matt Bodiford at the Union website.

The takeaway from Chris Winkler’s weekly stat check following the Union’s game in Seattle? The Union are “pretty much mid-table” in the major offensive and defensive team stat categories.

Sebastien Le Toux’s goal against Seattle — as fine an example of a sharply finished team goal as you could hope for —  is not up for MLssoccer.com’s Goal of the Week.

Prost Amerika has a tactical analysis of the Seattle game.

On Wednesday, as part of the league-wide MLS Works “Greener Goals” campaign, Union staff will be doing “Planting and landscaping at the Boys and Girls Club of Chester and cleaning grounds around Talen Energy Stadium.”

The Union crest is the Badge of the Week at UK website Box to Box.

Al Dia reports on the free youth soccer clinic the Union is hosting in South Philly at the Capitolo Playground on May 7. Richie Marquez and Walter Restrepo will be there.

Soccer Wire notes that the Union Academy U-13/14s 7-3 win over Bethesda-Olney on Sunday was the second-highest scoring total of the US Soccer Development Academy season. At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph has more on how the Academy teams fared in last weekend’s games.

Team Cameron

You will recall the story of 7-year old Cameron McCarthy, who has been battling cancer, and the friendship she now has with Union goalkeeper John McCarthy (no relation). PHL 17 has a fine profile piece on Cameron and her friendship with John. And, most wonderfully, Cameron returned home on Monday — in a stretch limo with a police escort after a welcome home from her school and John as this excellent YouTube video movingly portrays — after completing several months of chemotherapy that included 17 rounds of chemo and 31 courses of proton therapy. Her father Mike says, “She’s tough.” For more updates, check out the Team Cameron Facebook page.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel didn’t break into the latest power rankings at the USL website (only the top ten teams of the 29 team league are listed) but it did get a mention in the “best of the rest” section.

Coming in at No. 8 in the weekly 11 Things We Learned column at the USL website is this:

8. AYUK PIVOTS FOR STEEL: As one of the players on loan from the Philadelphia Union to Bethlehem Steel FC, the expectation is that Eric Ayuk should be one of the team’s best players. His deployment as a No. 10 on Sunday against Richmond by Coach Brendan Burke definitely appeared to bring out the best in the Cameroonian, and also allowed the Steel to remain on the front foot even as they were looking to close out an impressive 2-1 victory with Ayuk’s ability to act as a pivot for possession playing a key role.

At Brotherly Game, a recap of Sunday’s win.

In other USL news, in noting the regular season attendance record set at the Cincinnati FC-Louisville City FC game over the weekend in Monday’s roundup, I neglected to mention that former Union man Chandler Hoffman scored a hat trick in Louisville’s come from behind 3-2 win. Well done, Chandler!

Local

Coming in at No. 11 in the weekly 11 Things We Learned column at the USL website is this:

11. WELCOME BOOST: With the turnover the club sees each season in personnel, it can take some games for the Harrisburg City Islanders to find their way, but Saturday’s 1-0 win against Orlando City B will have been a welcome boost to Bill Becher’s side ahead of its home opener on Friday. Standing in its way? Louisville City FC, providing a massive test that could prove telling as to what this season might hold in Harrisburg.

which includes USASA’s 2015 Werner Fricker Open Cup winner West Chester United.

Ocean City Nor’easters, which participated in the National Amateur Championship in 2014, will present its inaugural “Blue and Orange” game on Saturday, May 14 at 7 pm. The game will feature “the club’s full PDL squad, as well as players from the Under-23 and Under-20 teams,” and is taking place in conjunction with Ocean City’s Spring Block Party.

Pulisic!

MLS

Acknowledging the referee’s postgame report in Saturday’s Columbus-NYCFC match in which he said he had misidentified the culprit, the league disciplinary committee rescinded the red card shown to Michael Parkhurst for denial of a goalscoring opportunity and and have given it to Tyson Wahl. Columbus is appealing on behalf of Wahl

FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges could be out for up to six weeks with a torn meniscus.

Orlando head coach Adrian Heath says PRO should import retired European refs to help raise the standard of officiating: “Don’t tell me some of these [older] guys suddenly can’t run around and be a referee in MLS and give guys more time to get more experience. For me it’s the perfect way forward. Go get the best [older] referees in Europe, say there’s a two-year deal or three-year deal here in America, come and use your expertise. You’ve been doing it for 20 years in the hotbed of European football, come and help these guys.” Thoughts?

The Architect’s Newspaper has some more renderings of Minnesota United’s proposed new stadium.

The Marieta Journal has renderings of Atlanta United’s $60 million training facility, which will also house the team’s offices and youth academy. More at Atlanta United and MLSsoccer.com (1, 2).

Sacramento Business Journal has new details of Sacramento Republic’s proposed new stadium, which is part of the team’s bid to join MLS. Capacity would be 19,600 with the ability to expand to 21,500.

Sports Business Daily reports, “Major League Soccer has approached Providence Equity Partners about buying back the investor’s stake in Soccer United Marketing, the league’s media and marketing business, according to multiple sources.” Providence has apparently rebuffed the league’s overtures thus far but the rest of the article is behind a paywall.

NWSL

Whoops.

US

No official announcement on the US Soccer site yet, but Cleveland Plain Dealer reports the USWNT will host Japan in an exhibition game in Cleveland on June 5 (12:30 pm, ESPN2). The game at FirstEnergy Stadium follows the already announced friendly with Japan at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., on June 2 (5 pm, FS1), which has sold out.

At the US Soccer website: “U.S. Soccer will host its first ever Boys Fantasy Camps during the Copa America Centenario this summer. The camps are exclusive player/fan experiences and unique fundraisers that support the U.S. Soccer Development Fund…The Boys Fantasy Camp is open to boys of all skill levels born in the years 2002, 2003 and 2004. Participation is made possible through a donation to U.S. Soccer ($5,250 for six-day Bay Area Camp; $4,950 five-day NY/NJ Camp).” Ka-ching!

Elsewhere

Goal.com talks to Victor Montagliani, the president of the Canadian Soccer Association who is running for the presidency of CONCACAF. Montagliani says, “I think one of the things that I’ve found on a lot of my travels to our members is that this election is not being seen as a Caribbean versus Central American versus North American thing. A lot of those walls that were put up in the past are gone. Now, each member is looking for a leader.” The election will take place May 12.

Redacted transcripts of the guilty pleas of former FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, as well as Argentinian-Italian marketing executive Alejandro Burzaco and Brazilian intermediary Jose Margulies resulting from the FIFA corruption investigation were released by a US judge on Monday. Webb said in his plea, “I abused my position to obtain bribes and kickbacks for my personal benefit…I believed that such offers were common in this business.” Common they may be, but that doesn’t make them legal, brainiac.

Reuters reports, “The former German Football Association president Theo Zwanziger is free to repeat his claim that ‘Qatar is a cancer on world football,’ a German court ruled on Tuesday.” Qatar had sued Zwanziger for libel. A German judge ruled,

Those criticising public abuses do not have to use the mildest possible medium to highlight their points of view…

It has nothing to do with public defamation of the Qatar Football Association, as it was about the legality and checks regarding the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar that were at the forefront.

With respect to the sporting, financial and political importance of a football World Cup host, the purpose for the comment, which was about drawing attention to the critical working process and decision of FIFA, is set higher than the honour of the Qatar Football Association.

Snap! Say it loud and say it proud: “Qatar is a cancer on world football.” More on the ruling at ESPN.

From the AP: “Gianni Infantino is visiting 2018 World Cup host Russia for the first time since he was elected FIFA president in February.”

34 Comments

  1. If there was ever an opportunity to highlight how US Soccer sees the game versus the rest of the world, most notably, South America where kids come from middle class and working poor to downright poverty… yes, lets charge $5,000 for a fantasy camp celebrating your centennial event on american soil, the Copa America.
    .
    This is your United States Soccer Federation.
    .
    I am dumbfounded. I am embarrassed.

    • Silkyjohnson says:

      Exclusive is right. I’m right there with you in disgust. I rubbed my eyes thinking I read the digits wrong. Nope….5k for little Bobby.

      • Now, if you told me that US Soccer Development Fund was in support, (for this specific event since it is the game of futsal that defines South America’s game), the building of strategic futsal courts around and in the cities of the United States, my tune would be completely different…
        .
        But me thinks this is not the case.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Maybe US Soccer is looking to “fund” their 2026 World Cup bid better than they funded their 2022 bid?

  2. Stats wise, yes, the Union are mid table which is a moon shot from last season. They still struggle to put a ball on frame (maybe, you know, practice this?), but the difference from last year and this year is Blake. 2015 we averaged 1.61 GA with that hodgepodge keeping approach. This year a half goal better at 1.17GA. Honestly thought they’d maybe have 9 points by 5/1 because they’ve not sorted out the offense. But Blake is exceeding expectations. If the back 4 continues to gel and maybe not rely on 7 acrobatic saves every week, this team could finally defense first their way into the playoffs. They need a striker more than anything else though.Yes, more than DM and LB. 1.33 goals per game ain’t good enough and only marginally better than 2015 with all of the imported talent. Either shoot more or shoot better, preferably both.

    • Mid table MLS East is not the same as Mid Table MLS West.
      So yea we are a Mid Table MLS East Team.
      .
      I really think we need Edu as a Centerback when he comes back. We need the veteran presence back there. Blake can’t be Superman forever right?

      • pragmatist says:

        Tribbett/Marquez are doing well. Let them grow together. Edu belongs right in front of them. BC is serviceable, but at his best, Edu adds a much more dynamic element that will be an advantage for this team.

      • Nogs Edu hasn’t worked yet I don’t forsee it working in the future.

      • I understand it hasn’t worked in the past but I don’t see why its not worth trying now, with all this new talent on the team.

        Hell, I view Edu as basically a better version of Creavalle and he and Nogs looked good in Seattle together.

    • We have also been down at least 3 starters each game. And all of them are easily within our top 5 players.

      • I lean towards the Bill Parcells, you are your record line of thinking. Orlando was missing a lot of talent when we played them, do we beat them with larin and Shea? Maybe but probably not. Think this averages out.

        Edu is a CB, he’s just not disciplined enough at DM.And yes, East is much weaker than west, but they’re 8th in the SS standings, so they’re pretty midtable no matter how we slice it. And midtable is heady territory for this club.

  3. pragmatist says:

    I like Heath’s idea of importing retired refs to help mentor (ironically named) PRO Refs. It might not be a perfect idea, but something needs to be done. The league as a whole is improving, but it has a few anchors tied to its ankles. One of the biggest is its consistently inconsistent poor officiating.
    .
    His idea may not be the solution, but this needs to be addressed, sooner rather than later.

    • I agree, think it is an outside-the-box thinking mans’ legitimate solution to a significant problem.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Yes, perhaps we could take a retired Premier League referee and put him in charge of PRO…oh, right…never mind.

      I wonder if Heath would have “revisited” this idea if Toldeo hadn’t called a hand ball on one of his players and just had the botched call on Molino’s goal. My guess is probably not.

    • Nothing refutes the notion that MLS is a “retirement league” better then brining in retired European refs.

    • No Thanks.
      .
      I saw Howard Webb blow enough calls in his heyday and guys like Clattenburg who are assumed to be the current cream of the crop do the same. The problem isn’t the refs, it’s the speed and commotion of the game.
      .
      Instead of borrowing another idea from European football, let’s be the proactive league and have video review available for any penalty calls the ref makes and red card decisions. In the end it’s the only sure way to get them correct. It will still leave out any calls he should have made but did not, but we’ll still be 50% more accurate then before.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      It’s not a bad idea but MLS needs to make sure that these refs are still able to get up and down the field as necessary.
      .
      The real solution might be to go to a 2 referee system (yes, I know it’s heresy but lots of people called it heresy when the NHL did it in the late ’90s and a soccer pitch is much bigger than a rink). That could give the opportunity for an experienced foreign ref to be paired with a young North American ref and let the one tutor the other.

      • I agree. Something like this needs to happen. Maybe the US can actually lead the world in this. Something needs to be improved.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        We already lead the world with the vanishing spray on free kicks so it wouldn’t be the first time.

      • “Retirement age” for top-level European leagues is in the 40s. It’s not like they’d be bringing over old dudes with walkers. I like the idea.

    • pragmatist says:

      A lot of opinions on this…which means this is obviously an issue.
      .
      I don’t like the idea of the retired refs on the field. But I wouldn’t mind hiring a few as advisors. Bring in more experienced officials from all over the best leagues in the world. Do something to improve our quality.
      .
      Shane, I am a huge fan of video replay. There is no reason in my mind NOT to do this. Set a 30-second time limit on a challenge (which is less time than a fake injury) and you won’t terribly disrupt the flow of the game. Obviously, that’s not a final solution, but it’s on the way.
      .
      Andy, I agree with you, too. Add more refs. But with a caveat: Make sure they are on the same page. You can’t have Ref A call the game one one in the Southern half of the field, and have Ref B call it another way in the Northern half of the field. But I do like the idea of increasing the chance of a better line of sight for calls.
      .
      This is one of the great opportunities for this game in America. We can be like the USFL (minus the whole “folding” thing) and be inventive and paradigm-shifting. We are not beholden to the world view. Be creative. Be pioneering. Be American. Come up with a better mousetrap and make everyone else follow you.

      • On the “add more refs” discussion:
        .
        I agree with the fear about being on the same page could turn into a problem. However, I think it would depend on how the system is set up.
        .
        For one, do the assistant refs really need to be nothing more then glorified air traffic controllers? By giving them a little more power to call fouls themselves and possibly re-position themselves instead of being locked to the touchline, while deferring to the lead ref for major decisions, opens up more eye-lines to call fouls.
        .
        Second, I think about the NBA, where 3 refs rotate their positions throughout the game. That way no one team can claim the game was being called unfairly on one end of the court. Here again there is a head ref who can overrule the others. So instead of each ref taking half of the field they both cover all of it.
        .
        The hard part about adding more refs to the field as a whole is that it is just another body that gets in the way of the ball and players as the game is underway.
        .
        It is not an easy fix by any means.

      • The AR needs to be on the touch line to see if a ball has gone out of play and to ensure their offside line is perpendicular to touch.

      • I like the mentor / adviser idea. Put them in the stands and let them take notes, then the mentor and the officials (all four) can go over the notes and game tape the next day. Point out things they handled well; point out mistakes, and figure out how it happened – bad positioning, player won an oscar, etc. And just as important, of course, talk about how to avoid the mistake again.
        .
        I’m not opposed to two field refs, either. But it’s definitely tricky getting the two to work together. Sometimes a younger ref “defers” to the more experienced official, sometimes you get two disparate styles, etc.

      • I agree it’s an issue of getting them on the same page, Maybe they just need to a 1 more roaming ref (one trails the play one is out in front) and give the side judges full authority too. And also require a meeting between the closest refs whenever there is a card in question?

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        PIAA had the three officials rotate through the center position at 30 minutes and 60 minutes one season in the first decade of this century. The “feel” of the game changed with every switch.
        .
        If you went to four officials, two on the field and so on the sidelines, you would have to maintain the same pairings, instead of rotating them so that there would be some chance of consistency emerging.
        .
        What are the best practices of the very best leagues? Discover and emulate.
        .
        Any use of video replay must not disrupt the flow of play. To me that means a team upstairs monitoring the game and signally instantly that a call was wrong. That excludes any judgment calls.
        .
        Our conversation is making unsubstantiated assumptions about why center referees retire. Rather than assume, might someone research somehow and report back? Quality of data influences quality of discussion.

      • Plus one point to you John, for me this is clearly an education issue.
        .
        I thought that is what Heath meant by making the claim in the first place. I don’t want more bodies on the field. nor do I think video replay is in any way the solution… gol line technology fine… rhythm and flow of the game stoppages for fouls…not at all– foul calls are subjective, not objective. The whole thing is art… half the time at least….as its supposed to be.
        .
        The referee is there to adjudicated the game, I wish we stopped neutering the officials. The players are not perfect. The officiating is not perfect, “screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.”
        .
        Education sets the mind free from ignorance.

      • I do agree it’s an art and I think that MLS is doing a disservice to their refs with all their reviews after the fact. I am ok with after the fact suspensions for dirty plays but that’s about it. Really the refs goal should be to keep things moving and to keep things from getting dangerous. They have done a poor job this year. It honestly shouldn’t be this hard to find good refs.
        .
        I do think the sideline refs should have more power though. I believe right before Orlando’s goal there was a pretty clear foul on Fabinho that the line ref waved for and the Union were expecting but the head refs didn’t call it and left us flat footed. That’s just unacceptable to ignore the line ref and I believe they should have the power to make calls when they are in a better line of sight.

      • You’re correct. Happened right in front of us.

    • Importing retired UEFA referees is a bad idea. The reason professional referees retire is as they get older they can’t keep up with players in their twenties. While MLS trails the top Euro leagues in the technical department, the players are just as fast. If the 40-something refs can’t keep anymore in the top Euro leagues, they won’t be able to keep up in MLS.

      You can even argue that the physical demands on the referee are worse for the hoof-and-chase style that is traditional to MLS compared to playing the ball out of the back since there is less running, starting, and stopping required of the referee.

      • pragmatist says:

        That’s why we’re suggesting a pure Advisory Role. No need to get retirees chasing 18-30 year olds. Watch, review, improve.
        .
        If there was a need to have them in an official game-match capacity, they could serve as Instant Replay officials. (Not necessary, but a possibility. And no running.)

      • Love the idea honestly. And really at this point we need to be doing whatever we can to address the officiating situation. I’d like to know we took a shot and it didn’t work rather than sat on our hands while refs continue to make bad decisions in important situations. Props to heath for at least suggesting a constructive way forward

    • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

      Tim Donaghy is available, fit, local, and would fit right in to the PRO/FIFA culture!

  4. Video of every touch that Pulisic had against Hamburg:
    .
    https://streamable.com/73zk

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