Daily news roundups

Highlights from Curtin presser, Reading-BSFC friendly on June 12, USSF releases new wage info, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

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

  • Ilsinho is back to full training as he recovers from a hamstring pull. “So, it looks like he’ll be available for selection this week, which is good.”
  • Wednesday’s training session was the first for Ken Tribbett of the week since the ankle sprain that kept him out of the Seattle game. Curtin said of his availability for Saturday’s game against NYCFC: “We’re optimistic but we’re going to be smart in how we approach it…it’s still a little early in the week, we have a couple of days to see how he gets through. “
  • Which means the team is preparing Josh Yaro to start against NYCFC and David Villa: “So, trying to prepare him as best we can without overwhelming him is kind of the balance we’re looking for right now.”
  • With Roland Alberg suspended, Curtin mentioned Tranquillo Barnetta in the No. 10 role in Alberg’s stead as well as Leo Fernandes. While a followup question was not asked when Barnetta was mentioned, that the Swiss midfielder was mentioned presumably means Barnetta is finally fit enough to start and play significant minutes.
  • On the decision to not remove Roland Alberg at the start of the second half against Seattle after his first half yellow: “You have to trust your players, that they can manage it; in this instance, it didn’t go well because we lost Roland…But, no, if I had it to do over again I’d trust him and leave him out there for the time. I don’t really believe in pulling a guy at halftime and completely changing everything for the sake of potentially not getting ejected.”
  • Nevertheless, Curtin emphasized the need for the players to be smart about leaving their feet for a challenge, something he says has been stressed in team discussions for some time. “[T]hat’s something we’ve preached. It should be: To block a shot? Yes. To prevent a goal? Yes. But at midfield where both of our’s have taken place, I think you let them be, and you live to fight another day. Leaving your feet in that area of the field is a risk, especially this season. So, yeah, trust me, it’s something we’ve addressed internally a lot.”
  • Curtin also said Maurice Edu is able to do some some slow jogging. Curtin said he’s been trying to keep him busy by having him scout the Union’s opponent each week.

More from the press conference at Philadelphia UnionPhilly.com, Delco Times, Philly Voice, and SBI.

Updates from NYCFC’s following training on Wednesday at Empire of Soccer and Metro Soccer Nation.

At the Union website, Marisa Pilla has some quotes from Sebastien Le Toux (about facing former Union man Ethan White, now with NYCFC, on Saturday), Keegan Rosenberry (about facing Andrea Pirlo), and Warren Creavalle (positives from the loss in Seattle).

Also at the Union website, Mihir Pandya on Vincent Nogueira’s importance to the team.

At MLSsoccer.com, three Union goals — Nogueira’s against NYRB last May, Freddy Adu’s against Chivas USA on April 21, 2012, and Jack McInerney’s against LAG on July 4, 2012 — make a highlight reel of the best backheel goals goals in MLS history.

Before the loss in Seattle, PSP’s Peter Andrews tweeted from the press box at CenturyLink Field, “Also, the Union are wearing their white kits again. I hate them so much. And Philly are 0-2 wearing them so far this year…” At Philadelphia Sports Network, Tim Lovenguth notes the Union have worn the white away jersey 16 times in all competitions since it was debuted in March of 2015. Their record — league play, US Open Cup, friendlies — when wearing the white jersey? 4-9-3. One of the wins was at home against Rochester Rhinos in US Open Cup play last June, one was at home in the 3-0 win over Portland last July, and two were on the road, against Montreal last August, and against San Jose last September.

MLSsoccer.com notes John McMarthy’s friendship with young Cameron McCarthy, who has been battling cancer.

Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC is now an official partner of Philadelphia Union and Talen Energy Stadium. An announcement on the partnership notes, “With locations in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, SOGT Law prides itself as being “Business Lawyers Serving Business People,” and the firm has been serving the entrepreneurial spirit of its clients for 30 years. ”

You will recall my displeasure that the Union used a featured singer to sing the National Anthem at the home opener rather than “you, the fans, as is our tradition,” as the PA announcement before the Anthem used to say. Thankfully, the crowd sang the Anthem in the second home game but it appears that will not always be the case. The latest newsletter from the Sons of Ben notes,

In an effort to enhance the gameday experience at Talen Energy Stadium, the Union will look to include a national anthem singer for a number of games throughout the year. The Union would like everyone to join in singing the national anthem with Chester’s own Ashli Rice. Ashli first became part of the Union family after singing the national anthem at the 2012 River Cup. It is the Union’s hope that Ashli will amplify your voices as well as those fans in other sections of the stadium to create a unique anthem performance.

No offence intended at all to Rice (who did a fine job at the opener), but I hate this. Aside from taking away one of my favorite matchday fan moments, I personally find it is impossible to sing the Anthem along with a featured performer with any sense of reasonable coherence (let alone respect).

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel will face Reading United in the Philadelphia Union Festival, which will be hosted by Reading at Exeter Township High School’s Don Thomas Stadium on Sunday, June 12. “Players and coaching staff from the Philadelphia Union will also be on hand to greet fans in this one of a kind event that brings the entire Union player development family together.” You will recall longtime Reading United head coach Brendan Burke now coaches Bethlehem Steel.

The Pittsburgh Tribune on local lad Jamie Luchini signing with Bethlehem Steel.

Soccer America notes Bethlehem’s home opener attendance of 3,655 was 11th in the league, with attendance numbers for two team’s home openers unavailable, and four teams home openers still to come.


At the Harrisburg City Islanders website, a preview of Friday’s home opener against Louisville City FC at 7 p.m. at FNB Field on City Island.

Lancaster Online notes the 2 goals and 2 assists start to the MLS season for local lad and former Union man Andrew Wenger. Wenger had 1 goal and 2 assists for the Union in 2015 through 26 league appearances after a 6 goals and 4 assists season in 2014 through 28 appearances.


Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey is out “for the next month or so” due to a finger injury.

The Washington Post reports, “Major League Soccer’s disciplinary committee has suspended D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen for one match for stepping onto the field last weekend to retrieve a stray, second ball.” The report explains, “In preseason, players and coaches were told of a zero-tolerance policy regarding entry onto the field and, if they violated it, faced suspension and fine.” Olsen, who used his foot to drag the stray ball out of play, said, “I agree with the rule itself. But the rule is supposed to stop coaches from doing anything that might set off trouble or affect the action. That has nothing to do with what I did. I retrieved a loose ball off the field while another ball was in play. I’m not sure enough thought was given to this from the disciplinary committee as my only intention was to make sure the ball was out of play.”

Appearing on ESPNFC earlier this week, PRO chief Peter Walton responded to comments from Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath that retired refs from Europe should be brought to the US to help improve the standard of officiating in MLS games:

That’s always been one of these points that’s been made. I’d spin it around, actually. Looking around the world, at soccer at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if people kept knocking on my door asking for some of my referees to go over there and referee…I think we’ve got better referees than the majority of countries around the world and I don’t see why we bring foreign referees in here just for the point. They’ll still make mistakes, just look around the world, they still make [mistakes].

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle on how MLS referees need both human and technological assistance.

The league has announced new partnerships with networks in China and Japan to broadcasts of games. The China deal expands the existing partnership to stream games to include television broadcasts of “multiple live MLS regular season matches per week; the AT&T MLS All-Star Game; the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoff games and MLS Cup.” The Japan deal includes the broadcast of “two MLS regular season matches per week; select Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoff games and MLS Cup during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.”

The Guardian has a Q&A with Sebastian Giovinco.

Falcao on a move to MLS: “I never say no but in this moment I am thinking about Europe and my performances here. I think I have more years to fight in these leagues…I follow the league. In England they are showing the games and I have some friends who play in there…I think MLS could be bigger than now because they have everything they need to become an even stronger league and become even more competitive.”

At SI, Brian Straus ranks the MLS expansion aspirants following the recent confirmation from Don Garber that the league will grow to 28 teams.

The Goat Parade rounds up the latest MLS expansion in San Diego news.

Connecticut Law Tribune on the city of Hartford’s suit against several management and consultant companies that failed to bring a NASL team to the city.


US Soccer has released a financial data to ESPNW covering “event financials, advertising expenses and player compensation for both the men and women” over the past eight years that contradicts claims in the recent wage discrimination filing from USWNT players that the women players are unfairly compensated compared to the USMNT:

While the women in the filing say they have earned nearly 25 percent less than their male counterparts this year, the figures supplied by the USSF show that for the 25 top-earning U.S. national team players over the past four years, 14 of whom are women, the average compensation is $695,269 for the women over that span, compared with $710,775 for the men, a difference of 2.2 percent.

In 2015, 14 of the 24 women’s players earned more than $300,000 in salary plus benefits, and no one earned less than $249,000, according to federation numbers, adding that the top male player earned just more than $178,000 in salary in 2015.

USSF chief financial officer Eric Gleason said the USSF numbers also show that for the past eight years, there has never been a year in which the player-compensation-team-revenue ratio was greater for the men than for the women…

The discrepancies between the genders, the sport’s governing body told ESPNW, are not due to discrimination but rather in large part to the different pay structures for the men and women negotiated in their respective collective bargaining agreements. While the women are paid annual salaries plus benefits, the men are paid per game by the USSF, which requires them to be called into camp by the head coach.

At the New York Times, Andrew Das has a good breakdown of the many complicated factors involved in the wage discrimination debate.

I’ve noted this before but US Soccer posts its yearly financial information on the federation website. Click here to view Form 990 and Audited Financial Statements going back to 2006.

Jurgen Klinsmann supports the adoption of video replays to assist match officials.


Reuters reports,

FIFA was late to raise concerns about the treatment of migrant laborers on World Cup stadiums in Qatar and tournament organizers should do more to improve working conditions, an official from world soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday.

FIFA did not raise concerns about the abuse of laborers with the Qatar 2022 organizing committee until last May, five years after the hosting rights had been secured, said Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility.

He added that prior to 2015, FIFA did not consider the construction of stadiums its responsibility.

Goal.com reports, “FIFA president Gianni Infantino has confirmed the 2018 World Cup will go ahead in Russia.” Infantino said, “It is now my job as FIFA president, together with [Russian Sports] Minister [Vitaly] Mutko and all the Russian population actually to make sure we deliver the best World Cup ever here in Russia.” Good luck with that.

Inside World Football reports,

Gordon Derrick, the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president who was banned from running for the presidency of CONCACAF after FIFA’s Independent Audit and Compliance chief Domenico Scala ruled he had failed the integrity test, did in fact clear all the CONCACAF integrity hurdles before the file was passed to FIFA.

The FIFA Ethics ruling raises major questions about the ethics body’s independence and whether it is being manipulated by a political agenda. There are also questions as to whether FIFA Ethics has acted beyond its powers and broken its own codes.

At ESPN, Gabriele Marcotti on how FIFA’s video replay initiative is imperfect but still is an improvement.

From Reuters: “Former Mexico and Real Madrid striker Hugo Sanchez has urged his compatriots playing in the Mexican top league to form a union and even go on strike if they continue to go unpaid by clubs in financial strife.” Players at LigaMX sides Chiapas and Sinaloa have not been paid by their clubs for several weeks.

The AP reports, “Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter claims he was asked by Switzerland’s foreign ministry last year to help persuade an African president to leave office…Blatter’s intervention was supported by the United States, he claims in “Sepp Blatter: Mission and Passion Football,” which was published in German [on Thursday]…The Swiss ministry did not immediately confirm Blatter’s claim.” More from Reuters.

From the Barcelona website: “FC Barcelona expresses its gratitude to the Brazilian Football Confederation and its president Marco Polo del Nero for accepting the Club’s proposal for Neymar Jr. to only play at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer, to be held from August 3 to 21, and not at the Copa América in the United States from June 3 to 26.”


  1. I am doing some slow jogging too, so I’ll be ready to take the field for the Union in a few months as well …

    • old soccer coach says:

      If you score goals, you will be lionized; if you don’t, beware of being fed to them. We Philadelphians need instantaneous results, and sometimes even those do not arrive soon enough.
      We’ll be rootin’ fer ya!

  2. pragmatist says:

    It may be an overstatement, but I like that they have tasked Mo with scouting teams for the upcoming games. In place of physical activity, they are forcing him to approach games in a more intellectual way.
    Again, it might be a stretch, but that could end up being a net-positive for this team, if he can apply all of this dedicated studying (which is a different approach as a coach than as a player) to his own game when he returns.

  3. This Peter Walton guy cannot be serious about the state of MLS reffing though I suppose losing a few guys to other countries (looking at you Mark Geiger) couldn’t hurt.

    • I think Walton was comparing MLS refs to their counterparts in lower tier leagues rather than UEFA. I agree with him that the level of the referees in MLS is better than many Caribbean and Central American nations based on what I have seen in the CONCACAF Champions League and Gold Cup.

  4. “Uh…yeah, so, ummmm, Josh—– for the last four years you’ve been guarding a future accountant (CPM that is), a someday PhD candidate in Latin American shamanism and a pot smoking underachiever, so go get em”
    …this weekend, against one of the squirmiest, squirr-liest, devious masterminded strikers to win a World Cup and two european championships for Spain with a world renowned World Cup winning regista in a deep role providing service.

    • old soccer coach says:

      Villa is the one who has your sympathy, right, El. P? 😉

    • pragmatist says:

      The good news is that NYCFC are not exactly known for being lock-down defenders. So the fans may be in line for a fun 6-5 offensive battle!
      It could be reminiscent of the old LMU/UNLV teams from the early 90’s: whoever has the ball last wins!

    • CPA. typographical error…I do not mean to slight the future accountant and his level of study…at all.

      • old soccer coach says:

        since I am feeling grammatically sensitive this morning, not to say puckish, as you have inflected “mastermind” into a verb by adding “-ed” [Oxford Unabridged be damned, it IS a good verb!], might you also inflect the adjective “devious” appropriately to make it an adverb, please?
        Contemporary abuse of adverbs in modern syntax rivals the impact of small pox on Tenochtitlan during Cortez’s retreat therefrom in 1520!
        Well, maybe I exaggerate, a tad.

  5. Slow jogging for Mo is pretty close to full fitness, right?

  6. …”John McMarthy”….
    *crying laughing*
    Makes me think of Boaty McBoatface…

  7. MLS trying to emulate the NFL with ridiculous rules that aren’t open to the least bit of interpretation and common sense judgment? Suspending Ben Olsen for having the audacity to stick his foot onto the playing field and remove a second ball from play? Watch out NFL…MLS is coming for your throne.

  8. After experiencing the National Anthem at PPL, I now feel it should be sung by every US citizens in each stadium. After all, it is our song.
    How about Ms Rice starts us off and then cuts the microphone’s power?

    • Andy Muenz says:

      It’s the one time my wife lets me sing in public, along with Oh, Canada when Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal come to town (although I still need to learn the French verse).

    • In Seattle they have some guy sing it every home game. While I found him to be particularly bad because he paused after every line, it isn’t a good idea at Talen Energy to do it. Let us have this one.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      It’s good to have and create traditions… especially for our still young team. The Anthem was an awesome thing. I agree with all that Ms. Rice did a damn good job, but this should be left to us the fans.

    • Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

      I respectfully disagree with you folks. I’ve never been a fan of the crowd singing the anthem. First of all the whole “you, the fans, as is our tradition,” is crap because they’ve said that since the very first time. It wasn’t a tradition, they just started doing it. Second, I sound like shit when I sing. Third, everyone around me at the matches sounds like shit when they sing. Fourth, I don’t have evidence available but I’m willing to bet that all of you sound like shit when you sing. Ergo, and Fifth the entire damn stadium sounds like shit when we sing. Combine all of those elements with the facts that the SOBs are always off from the rest of the crowd and the crowd is always smaller than announced (sold vs attendance) and a lot of the people don’t sing anyway and you have one awful, ear assaulting, cacophony of shit. I agree that Ms Rice did a very nice job in her last outing and I for one would prefer to hear her over us any day.

  9. The anthem announcement is like some strange Rube Goldberg set to the music of the Yodely Guy from The Price Is Right.
    Core Value number two of my family… Keep it Simple.
    Course, the change could be occurring related to the dwindled numbers of rear in seats… which from my vantage the last year or so has become significant.

  10. Wondering if Ed is receiving a kickback from Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, LLC for his detailed plug 😉

    Damn lawyers…

    Also, I have been dismayed by the lack of news involving one Mosima Gabriel “Tokyo” Sexwale

  11. I too agree that the National Anthem should remain the fans! Ms.Rice did an amazing job. No question about that. I am fine with the opener having a “guest” singer.But the rest of the year belongs to the fans!

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