Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin’s presser, Union bits, Detroit bid, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

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

  • Cutin confirmed Ray Gaddis will start for Fabinho at left back.
  • Curtin credited his staff for convincing him to sub Gaddis in for Fabinho at the half during the win over NYCFC.
  • Curtin said that while Ken Tribbett is “in his own words, not a hundred percent yet,” he nevertheless “he looks pretty darn good in training” and he will have “a tough choice” as to whether Tribbett or Josh Yaro starts against San Jose on Saturday.
  • Curtin said the only player on the roster not training now is Maurice Edu.
  • Curtin said he told NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira after last weekends game, “You guys outplayed us today and probably deserved something from the game.” he added, “It’s a unique game, though, and I don’t want to take anything away from my team. We scored two good goals — I thought we earned them — and we defended very well.”
  • Asked what it would mean to him becoming the Union’s all-time winningest coach, Curtin replied, “[N]othing, it doesn’t do anything for me…we’re a team that’s trying to get better, we’re a team that’s trying to get back into the playoffs. I think the regular season is team based [and] at the end of the year we can reflect on individual accolades, whether the be from our staff, from our players when they get rewarded [with], hopefully, some Best XI or All-Stars, or different things like that, but the regular season is for team and the postseason, the offseason, is for individual recognition, or whatever comes along with different things like that.”
  • Curtin said the strong start is critical for re-energizing a fan base that experienced too much disappointment in recent years. “We had to have a good start this year. I think that the guys felt that in the preseason…I think that establishing ourselves at home is critical, to start 3-0 here is good. We’re hungry now, though, and want more…I think our fans have come out — especially in the New York City game — and they realize something’s different, something is new. There is a buzz about the stadium, there’s new players here, there’s new things going on, and it’s positive right now. But, again, 34 games, not 7, so we still have a lot of work to do. We like where we’re at but still have margin for improvement, for sure, especially in our road games.”
  • Curtin said of the team’s renewed confidence in itself, “There’s confidence here, there’s belief here and, again, if you look around, we still play in the same stadium, there’s a couple of different players mixed in but the main core is here. I think the big difference is, and the one piece that’s new, is Earnie. Earnie has been a guy that’s laid the foundation through the draft with young players, he has the players believing, knowing their role, their responsibility on the field in all the phases. That’s the one difference.”

More from the press conference at Philly VoiceUnion Tally, and Philly.com.

San Jose will be without defender Andres Imperiale following his suspension for one game by the league’s disciplinary committee for “serious foul play that endangered the safety of an opponent.”

Speaking to FourFourTwo, CJ Sapong said of his team, “The talent has been here. The group cohesiveness has been missing. But not anymore. As the season goes on, we will continue to improve. We will surprise a lot of people…This organization is due for some hardware. I want to score a lot of goals and create opportunities.”

SBI on Ray Gaddis stepping up to start for the suspended Fabinho.

At the Union website, Mihir Pandya has a post on Maurice Edu and what he’s doing as he recovers from a stress fracture. Edu described,

Before every game, it’s a little bit strange you know. I’m approaching the game from a completely different perspective. Being on the bench, it’s almost like a fan’s perspective. Before the game, I talk to the guys, motivate them, make sure they are ready for the game, wish them luck, encourage them, that kind of stuff.

So far as his recovery is going, Edu said,

The rehab process is out of my control, in terms of how my body heals. But I’m doing everything I can and as much as I can, to try to speed that process up, encourage that process, promote that process. And along the way, I’m trying to maintain my head because you know; it can be tough at times. Especially when it’s an injury like this, a bone healing, the timetable can vary. I just try to keep my head, and take things day by day.

The Daily News on why this isn’t the same old Union. Philly Soccer News on the Union closing out games. Philly Sports Network on the Union’s improved play. Pattison Ave on what’s changed for the Union. More on the Union’s resurgence at Today’s Cornerkick.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young has the weekly player ratings comparison. Also at Brotherly Game, the good, the bad, and the ugly from last weekend’s win and whether it is easier to be a fan of a perennial losing team or winning team.

From the Department of Not Cool, Not Cool at All, Lancaster Online reports, “Talen Energy has abruptly closed to the public 400 acres that include the Holtwood Park and Arboretum, as well as a trailhead for the popular Kelly’s Run Trail, the county’s only national recreational trail.” Ticking off Mike Servedio is not a good idea, Talen Energy.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog examines the paltry offensive production on Union players on loan to Bethlehem.

In USL news, the league has announced “the creation of USL Productions, a standalone division of the League that will be the exclusive and premier producer/provider of all USL content across all linear and digital platforms. USL Productions will serve as a one-stop shop in developing standardized, high-quality and broadcast network-level production values for USL content using the latest in media technology.”

Philadelphia Union Academy

Union Academy Michael Pellegrino came on in the 36th minute in the US U-16 BNT’s 2-2 draw with Slovenia at the Tournament Delle Nazioni on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the US team defeated Brazil, 2-1, to finish 1-1-1 in group play.


Allentown’s Danny Barbir played the full 90 in the US U-19 MNT’s  2-1 win over Ukraine at the Slovakia Cup on Tuesday. The US will meet Russia in the final on April 29.

Rebecca Jarrett (World Class; Washington Township, N.J.) came on in the 36th minute of the US U-16 GNT’s 6-0 win over Iran, scoring the final goal in stoppage time. The match was the first time a US women’s team at any age level has played a team from the Middle East.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Presidents Cup final will take place on Sunday, May 1, at Lehigh County Fields in Allentown. “A total of 178 boys and girls teams ranging from the under-12 to under-17 levels entered the competition, which started in March. Twenty-four teams emerged from group play to compete for a state title and a spot in the US Youth Soccer Region I tournament.” Click here for the schedule of the final games.


In midweek play, Montreal (13 points, 4-3-1) moves into first place in the Eastern Conference after drawing 1-1 on the road with eighth place NYCFC (7 points, 1-3-4) thanks to a stoppage time equalizer from Dominic Oduro. Thanks to a late own goal, New England (9 points, 1-2-6) moves into sixth place after drawing 1-1 at home to Portland (9 points, 2-3-3), who are eighth place in the Western Conference. Also in the Western Conference, seventh place Vancouver (11 points, 3-4-2), down to ten men, drew 1-1 with sixth place Kansas City (13 points, 4-4-1).

The backers of the move to bring an MLS franchise to Detroit unveiled renderings of the 20,000-25,000 seat stadium that would be part of a $1 billion downtown redevelopment project with the possibility of beginning play in MLS by 2020. The problem? The proposed site is county-owned land on which is now located is an unfinished county jail, construction of which has been halted for two-and-a-half years because of cost overruns. Wayne County officials have said they plan to finish construction of the jail. Any other use of the land would have to mean local taxpayers would recoup the $150 million already spent on the jail.
Detroit stadium renedering

Don Garber said at a press conference in Detroit,

The stadium and the stadium location is a very important and key part of this plan…We need to get this right. We’re going through what will likely be the last round of expansion in our league’s history. These next four or five teams are really, really important. Dan made a great point. This is a 20-, 30-year decision that the public is going to make about the jail site. For us, it’s similar. Because we’re getting in the point we’ll be fully expanded. You need to have great owners, you need to have great buildings, great markets. And you need to recognize it’s a generational plan. So, I don’t get distracted by what people are thinking today. Because I’m thinking about what this league will look like and what our country will look like as a soccer nation 20 years from now.

Reports on the announcement at Detroit Free Press (12, 3), MLive, The Detroit News, Crain’s Detroit BusinessCurbed Detroit, Fox2DetroitWDET, WXYZWZZM, MLSsoccer.com, SIReuters, and the AP. On the questions surrounding the proposed site of the stadium, reports at Detroit Free Press (1, 2, 3), MLive, Crain’s Detroit BusinessCBS Detroit, Deadline Detroit (1, 2), Soccer America, and Yahoo Sports.

New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savares has confirmed his club has been in contact with Francesco Totti. Cosmos COO Erik Stover admits of the possibility of signing the Italian legend, “The honest truth is I think it’s really unlikely under the circumstances.”


US U-20 MNT head coach on Christian Pulisic: “Will he play for our U-20 national team? Chances are he probably will not. But this is why I always want to keep him in the conversation about our team: Every young player has ups and downs. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back.”

From SI: “One U.S. Soccer source says that not only does he expect Pulisic to be part of the U.S. Copa America squad, but he also would not be shocked at all if Pulisic is in the starting lineup.”

Fox has announced its coverage of the Copa America Centenario: “FS1 is scheduled to carry 21 matches, with four airing on the FOX broadcast network. FX, FOX’s widely distributed general entertainment channel, is slated to televise two quarterfinal matches and the Third Place match, with four group stage games appearing on FS2. Every contest is available on the recently updated FOX Sports GO and FOX Soccer 2Go mobile apps and on desktop computers via FOXSportsGO.com.” The release says the US “concludes group play vs. Panama on FS1 (7 p.m. ET) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.” The US plays Paraguay at the Linc on June 11, not Panama.


Club America defeated Tigres 2-1 on Wednesday night (4-1 on aggregate) to win the CONCACAF Champions League for the second year in a row.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for men’s and women’s friendlies between North Korea and South Korea: “The message that football carries, which is beyond borders, beyond frontiers, which is inclusive, which can help and can bring people together as well…why not think also about a football match between North Korea and South Korea? Men and women? We should think about that and organise that. We should bring everyone together around the football pitch.”

Reuters reports, “A federal judge has ordered two insurance companies to pay the legal fees for indicted FIFA soccer official Eduardo Li.”


  1. RE: Detroit
    It’s interesting the roles we take on within a population or community based on the choices we make, you wake up one day to find you are the responsible child, the class clown, you find one the local franchise you support has credible proof there is a Vision a Philosophy a Plan… so the challenge become a categorical imperative in another vein…
    How at kick off last night there may have been 500 people at the NE Revolution game….

    • How MLS will tell us the paid attendance was 20,000 how another narrative will declare, “See, this country could never support an open pyramid…look at NE and their paltry attendance.”
      My gol is greatness. What is yours. What is MLS.
      Think people. Think hard. Shrug this all off and use the narrative..”see how far US Soccer has come in 20 years…” Tell me to stop writing and railing on and on and on… close your eyes and just be happy happy with average. with niche. with what is being sold to you.

  2. The Realist Brian says:

    The more I hear about MLS expansion, the more I agree that it is a Ponzi Scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud. Read up on Stefan Syzgiel’s views from a soccer economist, and I know his views aren’t going to be popular with the Kool-aide drinkers. .
    I think you should have the views from the local Detroit FC fans that are upset that MLS is trying to get in based on the popularity of that local club. Teams like FC Cincinnati, Detroit FC and other USL clubs that have good turnouts are pretty much screwed unless they have a wealthy well-connected owner that can pay for the entrance fee or should we call it an investment fee to get into the hallowed halls of MLS.
    Syzgiel’ feels that MLS will collapse based on this Ponzi scheme sooner rather than later. I believe this would be a good thing, and as nature abhors a vacuum, a new league will form and many of the teams will survive and joined a new league ( and the shitty teams willful, which is a good thing). We have been sold a story that if the MLS folds, soccer in the country will die. I think this is the furthest thing from the truth, and the growing popularity around the country and non-MLS markets is proof. If you can’t tell, I’ve become a supportive of pro/rel because it is the right thing to do, the rest of the world employs the system without their leagues collapsing, and it’s critical for the development of her US national team and our youth players.
    One final thing, the crowds for midweek games are pathetic and this is a massive prom for MLS. do the owners care when you have an ambivalent public knowing that these early season games don’t matter? You hear that from Sigi Schmid and Bruce Arena, and their is no pressure because their is no consequences for poor play in this league.

    • …. you sir are aware.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      One of the things that I’ve learned in life is that everyone has an agenda and talks their own book…and I mean, everyone.

    • I’m a pro/rel skeptic. Not an opponent. I am not of the opinion that pro/rel is “the” answer.

      However, the fact that teams like Detroit or Cinnci, with healthy fan bases, have to find billionaire sugar daddies to play in the top league is an argument against the current system.

      New England with it’s ridiculous location in a football stadium in the middle of nowhere, Mass (I’ve been to Foxboro) is an argument against the current system.

      Having Matt Miazga’s transfer fee — and for that matter all transfer fees and contract deals — tied up in a central legal entity is an argument against the current system.

      Pro/rel or not, it’s hard to argue that more open competition wouldn’t be a force in resolving these issues. I suppose the counter to that is nothing is stopping NASL from competing with MLS’s status and I think many agree that cities like Boston, Chicago and Philly with soccer clubs in removed, suburban locales are vulnerable to second teams in the city.

      I don’t know how this issue is solved without self reform coming from within the league. If FIFA wasn’t a criminal organization, it could lead on the issue. I have no idea what US Soccer thinks.

      • Real question – is Detroit considered a healthy fan base with “crowds” of 3500? Even with their population freefall you’d think they could support another team.DCFC is NPSL, not NASL, so it’s a stretch even calling them professional. If MLS’ starting salaries are $35k, whats 3 levels down like, McDonalds coupons?

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      MLS is nothing until the next step is announced. After expansion. After 2020. For now, I think adding teams, and money, and sponsors, and all that is a good thing. Maybe I’m a bit drunk on the kool-aid, or maybe I just so desperately want the league to be successful on every level, but until the next step is announced and implemented… I am willing to just enjoy.
      The next phase is critical. I don’t know if we will get it right, or if the whole thing will be exposed. But I will be watching, and waiting, and hoping… and this includes pro/rel…

      • One thing I wonder about is if there were a Pro/Rel system, wouldn’t it be better to see your team compete in a 2nd division than to get wrecked by a better team? As an argument for pro/rel, I’d prefer to see my team win the 2nd division cup than to be below mid table in the first division. I think today Burnley fans are a much happier lot than Aston Villa supporters.

  3. I applaud the constant drums for pro/rel. I agree with that system and your thought process. I’m also going to tell you it’s not going to happen. Not for at least 50 years. Do you really think when these millionaires put down their money for a team they ever thought of the fear of the team being knocked down and losing huge revenue. They would sue MLS faster than you can bat an eye.

    Another thing, the rest of the world does it, yes, but we are not the rest of the world. We do everything different. It’s why our racetracks go counter clock wise, why the rest of the world doesn’t play our most popular sport, why we don’t have regulations like the rest of the world, why we have salary caps in sports and the rest of them don’t, etc.

    Final point. These owners have learned from Fulham and Aston Villa the dangers of pro/rel. Do you not think they don’t talk and see the terrible downside for their “investment”. No pro/rel means no downside unless the whole thing folds, which also isn’t happening.

    I really do support a pro/rel league. Premier league games are much more fun when someone is fighting to stay up. There are a lot more games that mean something at the end of the season. I’m telling you though, unfortunately it won’t happen here for 50 years if ever. I hope I’m wrong, but deep down we all know I’m not. Thanks guys for reading this far!

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Well put and very true.

    • All true. I don’t even know why we bother to discuss pro/rel. It is never. Going. To. Happen.

      Unlike all of you, I don’t see that it is necessary either. You can say that other countries do it just fine without destroying their primary league, which is true. But on the other hand, baseball, American football, basketball, and hockey all thrive in this country without ever having had pro/rel. I fail to see why it is necessary for a league to succeed.

      • You don’t know that. MLS doesn’t have final say.

      • USSF does. Let’s not pretend MLS and USSF aren’t chummy to the point that,in fact, MLS does have final say. Which is why the rules shifted for what constitutes a D1 league, just out of NASL’s grasp.

        The path forward has been paved by the other football. An AFL-NFL style merger. And that may get you to 1MLS 2MLS. USL teams would have to be spun off from their motherships to make a 3 level pyramid. Maybe. Wouldn’t be surprised if it became a West MLS / East MLS without investment risk.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    I’m going o disagree with the majority on the pro/rel issue. I think it would work poorly in the US for a number of reasons. First, in order to make it work, you need to get rid of the mindset that parity is a good thing (and even though we think certain teams receive favoritism from the league, parity is still the mindset). The problem with removing parity is that you then run into the situation like in Spain or Germany where a couple of teams dominate every year. That works there, but won’t work in the US where there are so many other sports competing for the consumer dollar. You’ll end up with a situation like the NASL in the late ’70s and early ’80s with only one viable team and everyone else in serious financial trouble.
    The other big issue is the cost of running an MLS team compared with other leagues. In the Premier League, the longest road trip is the equivalent of Boston to Washington and can be done by train without an overnight stay. In the US, trips are often across multiple time zones and by plane. Now that the USL is removing interconference play, I’m sure their operating budgets have gone down somewhat.
    Also, in the US their are fewer levels between top teams and their development teams. If the Union dropped and Bethlehem Steel were promoted, they’d being playing in the same league. Even if Steel wasn’t promoted, could the Union afford to continue to finance a division 3 team if they were in division 2 themselves? Probably not which would mean that as soon as the Union got relegated, Bethlehem Steel ceases to exist.

  5. old soccer coach says:

    Strip away the dross of detail from the promotion-relegation controversy and the discussion becomes the one most of us associate with Adam Smith’s book The Wealth of Nations which most of us sound byte as Laissez Faire aka unrestricted, atomistic market, economic competition.
    Adam Smith’s vision of the marketplace never really applied in his day because he was fulminating against the privileges of wealthy landowners and traditional practices handed down from the middle ages in both England and France.
    Equally informative to the pro-rel argument are the methods used by those who concentrated wealth in the early days of the Sugar Revolution and then the Industrial Revolutions as they broke out in the sequence of the various early, middle and late 19th century venues where they did: capital accumulation, restraint of trade, market share dominance, monopoly. To summarize, the new economic paradigm spawned replacements for the old economic paradigm’s special privileges that reinforced the power and privilege of those who held them.
    In the historic leagues of Europe, open competition was the principle adopted, probably – I myself do not know and so hope that Ed Farnsworth will comment in his capacity as a soccer historian – at a time when the myriad small teams in each marketplace, somehow evolved to use open competition to determine rankings by quality.
    The United States comes late to the process of developing successful professional soccer, the way Japan in the 1870s comes to develop indistrialization, the USSR in the 1930s, various 3rd World countries after WW2. We are trying to leap frog over the century and more of historical development that has produced the Premier League, Eredivisie, Ligue Un, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A, et al.
    Understandably as a beneficiary of oil baron capitalism, Lamar Hunt chose not to emulate the Five Year Plans of Stalin’s Soviet Union! But the monopoly practices of MLS are direct descendants of John David Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, et al., and of the Japanese Goernment in the ’70-80s and the USSR before WW2.
    Only the power of government will break the MLS monopoly, unless the monopoly fails in the marketplace (as will any ponzi scheme given enough time). And, for government to break the MLS monopoly, it will have to break the monopolies in all the other major american sports, an event unlikely in the current national political climate.

    • Spot on, OSC. Having a closed shop is something that the National League came up with at or soon after it was founded in 1876, making a monopoly on audience as American as, well, baseball. Pro/Rel in England came about later and because when the various football associations there merged, it was not on equal terms the way the American League joined forces with the National League here.

    • I respect the history lesson….
      There is not an underlying infrastructure in place that would argue for breaking the other monopolies though.
      There is no reason… parties agree the NFL and the MLB and the NHL and the NBA are models that work as constructed… they were also contracted as leagues supporting a game developed and perfected stateside. They also use the collegiate system as a means of development that actually goes on to produce the world class athletes who ultimately play in said leagues…
      of which non of these points are the case for soccer which is exactly why a large and large voice of disenfranchisement and anger is swelling at this truly important time in the history of the games growth in this country… MLS wants you to believe soccer in this country would fail if the pyramid opens when what really happens when a pyramid opens is that the central league no longer matters…. the table, as it is called delineates standing within the league that is made up of clubs… MLS knows that in letting the pyramid open soccer in this country becomes club driven and not franchise or league given.
      You know what… if it stays as is… if thousands and thousands and thousands of clubs and possible developmental pipelines to producing world class players remains closed to the top tier…this is fine… I’m not a fanboy and many many others are not as well… and the game here will never be what it could be…
      those who argue on behalf of an open pyramid do so because it produces either: world class clubs or clubs capable of producing world class talent… if we invented soccer and capitalized n this 150 years ago, maybe… but we didn’t .

      • For me, the development argument is a separate argument than pro/rel. For development to progress in the United States, we need more clubs, more coaches, better facilities, more professional environments, better trained coaches, and to cast a wider development net among many other things. I think this can be achieved through solidarity payments and is a separate argument than pro/rel. If clubs are compensated for producing world class players, that is the key to development as it is the incentive to keep developing players and improving the talent pool.
        I just struggle with pro/rel being feasible in this country for a myriad of reasons. I think in concept, it would be awesome, but the fan environment, travel distances, and overall cost of doing business are not conducive to having pro/rel. I’m fully aware that this is a USSF & FIFA decision and not an MLS decision, but I can’t see a scenario where either of those bodies agrees pro/rel is a good idea here at this time or anytime in the foreseeable future.
        One question on this topic, is anyone familiar with the A-League in Australia and their fan culture? I believe they have a similar franchise model as MLS and is there a huge debate among their fans regarding pro/rel? I’d be interested in understanding why or why not either way.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        FWIW – there’s a lot of countries that have an open pyramid that haven’t produced world class players or clubs.

      • Come on Zizou… show me a closed system that has produced one top level player. Even Liga MX with its arcane system of promoting and relegating which is as conservative as it can be produces world class players.
        – you can do better than this thinking.
        Every player playing on a first team in europe or south america comes from an open system and you’re telling me about the minuscule open systems that haven’t produced a world class player… in Laos.
        We’re america….there’s 200 world class players here…just waiting for a system to actually help them.
        Come on.

      • Dude – “why a large and large voice of disenfranchisement and anger is swelling”, come on. I’m not sure there’s a large total voice of soccer fans, much less one of disenfranchisement. Who the hell is enfranchised? Were there votes/polls/referendums in those other countries? I’m currently sitting 800 yards from a German champions league team that was nothing more than a pub team until the local company/economic engine poured tons of cash in. Which isn’t an argument for pro/rel so much as it’s a great buy low/sell high investment strategy. I get that pro/rel may (theoretically) force (incentivize?) owners to invest more to stay up or get up. I do. So let’s say we get pro/rel in 10 years, then what? Soccer is still a smallish voice in the US sports din. Maybe we’ve attracted some better players, more technical skills, maybe it rubs off on the local kids? And…so what? Would globalization do that just as easily? A strong US dollar? Corruption crack downs on South American shady agents? Better schools and way of life make it more attractive? Is pro/rel the only elixir to better soccer or can we just ‘Murica our way through better opportunities, economics, way of life? Cause we kinda already got that.

      • Funny how that local pub team your sitting 800 yards from wound up playing in the first division and Champions League though.
        That is the exact point… a local pub team found funding and climbed the ladder. Did you intentionally make a counter argument- you have me thoroughly confused now.
        …regarding the voice of dissent… it is growing and it sure as hell isn’t happening through main stream media.

  6. John P O'Donnell says:

    Pro/rel the great elixir. Hey Chester, we would love to build a stadium but we’re not sure if we’ll stay up to draw the crowds to fill it over time. That’s okay, I never would want Billionaire to get a stadium on public tax dollars. We agree said the Cosmos, in fact we’ll pay for everything. But all we’ve heard for over two years is the sound of crickets. You see as much as we might live and breath soccer, it’s not really the case with most of America, practically the older politician types. MLS as league, is building an infrastructure. Look at what the Union have done in seven years, stadium, training facility, offices, practice field, academy, I know we can be cynical but it is a lot in a short time. None of this would have happened if the team was relegated to NASL or USL. So you might want slow your horses because there is still much to build across all leagues when it comes to infrastructure. By the way if the league failed with so much success compared to the first NASL, good luck getting a new tv contract for a domestic league for the third time. I’m sure the EPL would be quite happy about that. The pro/rel kool aid also comes in some of the same flavors as well.

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