Daily news roundups

Union bits, Sapong, locals with US YNTs, Detroit expansion, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference is scheduled to take place today at 12:30 pm.

The latest injury report at the league website:

OUT: M Maurice Edu (left tibia stress reaction 3/10, out 3-4 months)
QUESTIONABLE: D Ken Tribbett (right ankle sprain)

PRO has announced the officials for Saturday’s home game against San Jose. Ricardo Salazar will be holding the whistle, Adam Wienckowski and Eric Weisbrod will be running the sidelines, and Jorge Gonzalez will be the fourth official.

At the San Jose Earthquakes website, a training report as the team prepares to face the Union.

Power rankings: At MLSsoccer.com, the Union move up one spot to No. 5: “We’re still not sure if this team is for real yet, but four wins from your first five in-conference games will certainly give you a Power Rankings bump. It will be interesting to watch this team continue to coalesce, but if C.J. Sapong and Chris Pontius can keep up their early season form, the Union stand a good chance of returning to the playoffs following four years away.” At SBI, the Union move up three spots to No. 5: “The Union have quietly moved atop the Eastern Conference with Saturday’s defeat of NYCFC. C.J. Sapong is playing at a top, top level, while Tranquillo Barnetta has proven to have the skill the Union need to pull the strings. There’s still a long way to go, but it looks like the Union have some legitimate pieces together to make some noise in the Eastern Conference.”

Chris Pontius comes in at No. 11 in the latest Audi MLS Player Index top 20.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle talks to CJ Sapong about how his arrest for DUI last year, and subsequent participation in the league-mandated Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program,  provided him with an opportunity. Sapong says,

It’s something that changed my life. I didn’t foresee that when I was on the way there. I definitely had a different mindset. But from the first day, I knew right away that this was something I could get something out of. It blew away my expectations, and it definitely gave me another perspective too. I was in there with people from all different backgrounds, experiences in all different types of things. No matter what I felt about my situation, it made me realize, ‘Hey, there’s always somebody who is dealing with just as much or even more than you.’

Carlisle reports Philadelphia County municipal court judge Craig M. Washington cleared Sapong of the DUI charges at a hearing on April 6, although he still faces a charge of reckless driving.

At MLSsoccer.com, a video with CJ Sapong talking about the team’s, and his own, resurgence.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead examines the case for CJ Sapong getting a national team call up and notes, “It should be noted that the calls for Sapong to rejoin the USMNT did not originate in Philadelphia…It’s not often that calls for recognition are spearheaded by those with an outside perspective.”

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep includes Sapong in a list of players who deserve a look from the Jurgen Klinsmann for the Copa America Centenario training camp:

One thing the U.S. is in short supply of is target forwards…Enter Sapong, who has enjoyed a career renaissance, and has shown continued improvement to his overall game, and this year he is one of the driving forces behind the Philadelphia Union’s strong start…He is a threat on set pieces,  isn’t afraid to do the dirty work defensively, and his passing has improved. He’s no stranger to Klinsmann, who gave him two appearances with the U.S. in the 2012 January camp, but Sapong has changed quite a bit in the four years since then, mostly for the better.

Stars and Stripes FC on why CJ Sapong should get a national team call up:

…here’s the thing about opportunity and Sapong: it keeps knocking, and he keeps answering…If Sapong keeps taking these opportunities on the pitch, Klinsmann should take note of his own thin forward pool and give C.J. an opportunity at the big time once more.

Is C.J. Sapong the answer to the U.S.’s forward problems? Most likely not. But he has been consistently putting things together on the field, and with the dearth of options at forward for the United States as it is, a look certainly wouldn’t hurt. Who knows what could happen? It’s all about being in the right place, at the right time, and taking your shot.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George talks to Ray Gaddis, who will start for the suspended Fabinho against San Jose on Saturday. Gaddis, who’s starting spot at right back has been won by Keegan Rosenberry, says,

I’m more concerned and focused on the result this weekend. You can’t change what happened in the past…You always have to come out and approach it like you’re going to play. When you think you’re not going to play, that’s the wrong mentality for me. I just encourage my teammates to keep pushing. We’re off to a great start. I’ve said in past years that when your number’s called upon, you’ve got to step up and play…For me, my overall game has gotten better, although I haven’t been on the field as much this season. I’ve gotten a lot better. Just gotten smarter — every year, you get smarter and you look back on things to see what you can improve on. And if you’re not trying to improve on every aspect of your game, then you shouldn’t be out here.

Kerfuffle. Apology. Moving on.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Temple Now has a profile piece on  Class of 2016 School of Hospitality and Tourism student Brandon Johnson, who began at the Union as an intern and now is the team operations coordinator for Bethlehem Steel.

Philadelphia Union Academy

Union Academy midfielder Michael Pellegrino started and went 49 minutes in the US U-16 BNT’s 2-1 loss to Croatia in their opening game at the Tournament Delle Nazioni in Slovenia on Monday. The team faced Slovenia on Tuesday but no result has been posted at the US Soccer website or Twitter feed.

As we noted in last Friday’s roundup, Academy defender Matthew Real, and midfielder Anthony Fontana, are at the US U-18 BNT training camp in Chula Vista this week. Soccer America has a Q&A with US U-18 head coach Omid Namazi, who played for and later coached Philadelphia KiXX.


Allentown’s Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion) scored the opening goal and went the full 90 in the US U-19 MNT’s 5-1 smackdown of Georgia in their first game at the Slovakia Cup on Monday. The team faced Ukraine on Tuesday, and while no result has been posted on the US Soccer website or Twitter feed, Brian Sciaretta tweeted the US won, 2-1.

Rebecca Jarrett (World Class; Washington Township, N.J.) was an unused sub in the US U-16 GNT’s 1-0 loss to Italy in the team’s opening match at the International Women’s Tournament of Gradisca on Monday. The team faced Iran on Tuesday — the first time a USWNT at any age level has ever faced a country from the Middle East — on Tuesday but no result has been posted on the US Soccer website or Twitter feed.

Harrisburg City Islanders midfielder Paul Wilson made the bench in USLsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.


Three midweek games tonight: NYCFC hosts Montreal at 7 pm, New England hosts Portland at 7:30 pm, and Vancouver hosts Kansas City at 10:30 pm. All the games are on MLS Live and Direct Kick.

The Citrus Bowl, home of Orlando City while construction of its downtown stadium continues, is now the Camping World Stadium. I’m thinking no one will actually call it that.

SI reports talks between the Beckham United and the Qatari owners of PSG have broken down: “Beckham’s manager Simon Fuller made such sweeping demands that the Qataris walked away from the table.”

Detroit Free Press reports, “Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and Platinum Equity founder Tom Gores are joining forces to try to bring an MLS franchise downtown.” MLS commissioner Don Garber is in Detroit today to meet with Gilbert, who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Gores, who owns the Detroit Pistons, and a press conference is scheduled for 1:30 pm.

The NPSL’s Detroit City FC, “stewards of the local soccer community,” has issued a statement saying it “has had initial contact with the interested parties regarding the possibility of Major League Soccer in Detroit, and we look forward to carrying on more conversations with those groups as the soccer scene evolves.” More on DCFC here.

Detroit Free Press and Daily Detroit on possible sites for a downtown stadium. More on the Detroit expansion news at Detroit News, Crain’s Detroit Business (report, analysis), Daily Detroit (1, 2), Curbed DetroitClick On Detroit, Detroit Metro Times, Deadline DetroitWXYZ, WJBKESPN, SI, Fox Soccer, Soccer AmericaGoal.com, and MLSsoccer.com.

More expansion talk in Charlotte and San Antonio.

Howler looks at MLS’ digital expansion: “Is MLS engaged in a sophisticated marketing operation or squatting on internet domains?” Among the domain names owned by the league are philadelphiaindependencefc.com and phillyfc.com.


At the New York Times, Juliet Macur has a good read on the NWSL. Noting that USWNT players are paid “about $54,000” by US Soccer to play in the league, while non national team players “earn salaries that range from $7,200 to $39,700,” Macur continues,

So yes, it’s good to raise awareness about equal pay for equal work in international soccer. But words alone won’t help close the yawning gap between men and women. The stars and the second-stringers of the N.W.S.L. welcome your support on social media. But what they could really use is your support at the ticket booth and in the stadium shop…So if you really want to help the cause of the women’s players, try helping the larger cause, too. Crack open your wallet and go to an N.W.S.L. game. Any team. Any game. Just go.


In a column at ESPNW on the wage discrimination controversy, Julie Foudy writes that US Soccer has a chance correct FIFA’s failures: “It would be easy to paint U.S. Soccer as the villain here, but it would be false. U.S. Soccer has a chance to continue to show the world just what building a market can mean, to continue to show the world what is possible when you give women support, to truly be the model that all women’s sports governing bodies emulate.

Dom Dwyer has reiterated his desire to play for the USMNT.

U.S. Soccer CEO/secretary general Dan Flynn underwent successful heart transplant surgery on Tuesday. He is expected to make a full recovery.


ESPN reports, “The head of the lawyer’s practice defending Michel Platini is confident that his client will be cleared in time to be reinstated as UEFA president before Euro 2016.” Platini has an appeal hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday.

From Reuters: “FIFA President Gianni Infantino dangled the carrot of more World Cup spots for Asia during a visit to Seoul on Wednesday but while the Swiss was keen to press his case for an enlarged 40-team tournament, he will not try to twist anyone’s arm.”

From The Guardian:

Tens of thousands of people will pay tribute to the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster in a special ceremony marking the 27-year struggle for truth.

Crowds will gather on Wednesday evening outside Liverpool’s St George’s Hall, which is adorned with a large banner bearing the names of those who lost their lives on 15 April 1989 and the words “truth” and “justice.”

Atlético Madrid hosts Bayern München today in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League (2:45pm, FS1, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Deportes). Club America holds a 2-0 lead over Tigres UANL ahead of the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final tonight (9:45 pm, FS2, Univision Deportes, Fox Sports Go).


  1. US Soccer. FIFA. I beg you.
    Please step in and save us from it.

  2. Im very torn on this whole CJ to the national team thing. He’s been fantastic so far this season and I really don’t want the tainted touch of Jurgen screwing with our striker (plus he’d miss a few games if he was on the copa roster). But when compared to the other guys in the player pool, the only other guy who can hold up play as a true target man is altidore. This really could be a great opportunity for him.

    • pragmatist says:

      I’d be fine with him getting called up AFTER Copa. No extra pressure, he won’t miss much for International Friendlies. We can all see how he meshes with some of the players.
      Then everyone can reassess under the next head coach of the USMNT after Copa…

      • Haha I see what you did there…

        I do like that plan much, much better. As much as I’d like our team to succeed, it’s very hard to be positive going into copa.

      • agreed.
        reminds me of Mcinerney’s hot start that one year. serious cool-off after the All Star break, aka the beginning of the end.

  3. “The vibrational frequency that’s going on with our organization right now is being heavily amplified everyday.” -C.J.

  4. Also per MLS website:
    “The Disciplinary Committee has fined and suspended San Jose Earthquakes defender Andres Imperiale one game for “serious foul play that endangered the safety of an opponent” on a tackle on Dom Dwyer in the 31st minute of San Jose’s 1-0 win against Sporting Kansas City. Imperiale will serve the suspension during Saturday’s match at the Philadelphia Union.”

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Why do the sell some of the beer in bottles? I realize they are plastic bottles, but they still make better projectiles than they would if they were poured into cups.

  6. In simplest terms, while he probably checks most of the target forward boxes and is in top form right now, I think CJ may lack the pace/pure speed to excel at the highest level. If you can’t out run MLS center backs, you definitely can’t outrun national team level center backs.

    • Do you not think CJ out runs MLS CBs? I literally see it every game. He gets dragged down all the time because they can’t catch him otherwise.

    • He might not be David accam fast, but hes got every bit as much pace as jozy does and plays the position in much the same way. While jozy hasn’t been his best recently, players with that physical skill set can and have had success on the national level.

    • I don’t think he needs to outrun international CBs. He’s a target guy: muscles people off, great hold-up player, really good with his head, and dishes out nice passes (sometimes with his head!) from the center forward spot. Really, he’s kind of a Conor Casey-type player.

  7. Sapong takes a ton of abuse and pretty much keeps his mouth shut. I hope he earns some more respect. I hope he gets called in. He has earned the recognition.

  8. Maybe ES can sell CJ to a team in the Netherlands for a big profit. Then let’s see if he can lead the league in goals like Altitore did. Similar style player, but not similar quality player(at least not from what I have seen so far). When he starts scoring some nice goals along with all of the fluke goals, then I’m on board. Just don’t see it yet.

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