Daily news roundups

West Chester and Reading out of USOC, Crystal Palace friendly, notes from Curtin’s presser, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

US Open Cup

West Chester United and Reading United were both defeated in US Open Cup second round play on Wednesday night.

Playing at home, the amateur West Chester side fell 2-0 to the professional Harrisburg City Islanders, with Bobby Warshaw (13′) and Matthew Bolduc (49′) scoring for the visitors. West Chester tallied in the 59th minute but the goal was disallowed for a foul. Recaps at Harrisburg City Islanders, Philly Soccer NewsUSLsoccer.com, and US Soccer.

In Tennessee, Reading United and Chattanooga FC played to a 0-0 draw through 120 minutes before Reading fell 4-1 on penalty kicks. Recaps from the Chattanooga-Reading game at Chattanooga FCThe Chattanoogan, Times Free Press, WTVCWRCBWDEFUSLPDL.com, and US Soccer,

Harrisburg will now face Chattanooga in the third round on June 1.

The draw for potential pairings for the Fourth Round, when MLS teams enter the tournament, will take place today at 11 am. With Pittsburgh Riverhounds defeated 2-0 by amateur side Lansdowne Bhoys FC on Wednesday night, if Harrisburg advances to the fourth it will, along with Philadelphia Union, be one of two Pennsylvania clubs still alive in the tournament.

Philadelphia Union

Before we get to Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference and other team news, the Union will host Crystal Palace in a friendly on Wednesday, July 13 at 7 pm. An announcement from the Union says, “The match will be classified as a Bonus Game for Union Season Ticket Members.” More at PSP, Philadelphia Union, Crystal Palace, and Pro Soccer Talk.

Some highlights from Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference:

  • Andre Blake will be in goal against DC United before joining Jamaica for the Copa America — sometime. Curtin said the team is in continuing “good, open dialog” with Jamaica about when he will join them but “nothing is concrete” regarding a release date. Asked if he had an idea of when the release date might be, Curtin replied, “Yeah, we have a good idea of when that’ll be, but it’ll be game-by-game. Andre will be here against DC and we’ll need to get three points in that one.” Jamaica’s first game in the tournament is June 5 but they face Chile at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago on May 27. The Union play Orlando away on May 25, Colorado away on May 28, and Columbus at home on June 1. Stay tuned, I guess.
  • Curtin said of when Ilsinho will return from injury, “It’ll be close for selection this weekend…If we’re going to be a successful team and make a real push at things, we need him a hundred percent healthy and kicking on all cylinders.”
  • Curtin said of Roland Alberg not getting the minutes everyone might like to see: “[I]t’s a team thing where we have to get a little more stable, a little stronger, as a group defensively — and in attack — to where we can more attack-minded guys on the field. And Roland is an attack-minded player, he wants to get forward, he wants to make assists and make goals — and he’s going to contribute.” Curtin also suggested that Alberg continuing to settle in with the team and the fine play from Tranquillo Barnetta are other factors.

More from the press conference at Philly.com, Union Tally, SBI, and Philadelphia Union.

At Delco Times, Chris Pontius talks about playing his former team:

 A lot of those guys are good friends of mine. It’ll just be weird lining up on the other side of things, but it’s business as usual once you get on the field. I think I’m in the right mental state and approaching it the right way to go for it…Hopefully I’ll have the bragging rights after the game, so it’ll be a good week of talk between us and them. Once we get on the field, hopefully I’ll have the better of them in the game and come out with a win.

Curtin said of Pontius facing his former team, “It’s actually harder to go into RFK Stadium and walk towards a different locker room, I think that’s the hard one where it will really hit Chris.” He also said, “Yeah, there’s a little something extra I’m sure because he’s a former D.C. player. You can’t ignore that. I never get when people completely say, ‘It doesn’t matter.’ It does matter, and he’ll have a little bit extra.”

One former teammate Pontius will not be facing is goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who reportedly will be in DC’s game-day 18 but will not start. That may be something of a shame, as Hamid says, “The first few years, I couldn’t stop a shot against him in training. He had his moves, he had his cut, he had his Cruyff. And he’d just bang it to the far post.:

The latest injury report for the Union at the league website:

OUT: M Maurice Edu (left tibia stress reaction 3/10, out 3-4 months)
OUT: Anderson (right shoulder dislocation)
QUESTIONABLE: D Ken Tribbett (right ankle sprain, left hip sprain)
QUESTIONABLE: M Ilsinho (right adductor strain)

And here’s the injury report for DC:

OUT: GK Andrew Dykstra (back surgery 3/17, out 10-12 weeks)
OUT: D Chris Korb (right ACL tear)
OUT: M Collin Martin (foot injury)
OUT: M/F Chris Rolfe (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: GK Bill Hamid (torn meniscus 1/21, out 4-6 months)

In his press conference, Jim Curtin said of the Union-DC rivalry,

I think all the East Coast teams, there’s a little something special in the rivalry. Are they the No. 1 rival? I don’t know, that’s for you guys to decide. I think there’s still time that needs to happen with the organization, I think there needs to be playoff games, I think playoff games are what really dictate rivalries.

DC United head coach Ben Olsen said on Wednesday, “It’s up to the fans, and how the perceive other teams. I don’t get caught up in that stuff too much. But they are pretty close to us. Someone called it a friendly rivalry, and I think that was a good description of it.”

At MLSsoccer.com, CJ Sapong talks about his fond memories of attending DC United games as a kid.

Soccer America notes the Union-DC rivalry.

At Playing for 90, Sean Maslin argues there is no rivalry between the Union and DC: “Going back to when the Union were founded there is scant evidence of a derby…There isn’t a specific point of contention between the two sides that can make the claim that this is a rivalry.”

Prost Amerika looks at Friday’s game through beer goggles.

At the Union website, Mihir Pandya talks to Ken Tribbett about his path to the pros.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young has his weekly player ratings comparison.

Pattison Ave adds its two cents to the Zlatan Ibrahimovic-Union discovery list saga.

MLS Multiplex looks at what’s behind the Union’s recent success.

Bethlehem Steel FC

The Union and Bethlehem Steel have announced Eric Ayuk’s call up by Cameroon for the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations. Both announcements have Cameroon playing Zimbabwe on Friday, May 20, and the Union announcement says he will return on May 22, but the tournament schedule on the CAF website has the game taking place on May 22. Meanwhile, at Union Tally, Matthew De George writes, “Ayuk departs Friday.”

Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog wonders what the BSFC players will think about playing on a converted baseball field when they face Harrisburg City Islanders at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster on Sunday.

Local

Reading United forward Khori Bennett has been named to the PDL Team of the Week.

Former Reading United midfielder Manolo Sanchez, now with USL-side San Antonio FC, has been called up by Puerto Rico for Sunday’s friendly against the USMNT.

Former Union man Jimmy McLaughlin came off the bench to score the game-winning goal for FC Cincinnati in their 2-1 US Open Cup second round win over Indy Eleven NPSL.

MLS

Wednesday’s midweek games featured all Eastern Conference clubs. NYCFC (17 points, 4-3-5) moves into first place following a 1-1 road draw with fourth place Toronto (15 points, 4-4-3). Fifth place NYRB (13 points, 4-7-1) defeated last place Chicago (7 points, 1-5-4), 1-0. The Union (15 points, 4-3-3) is in third place.

MLS has been named Sports League of the Year at the 2016 Sports Business Awards.

There’s been no official announcement yet, but The Tennessean reports:

A group of Nashville investors has been awarded a new expansion professional soccer franchise by the United Soccer League, a potential major first step toward soccer becoming Nashville’s next professional sport.

But Metro and the ownership team would first need to secure a plan for a stadium for the club.

Meanwhile, the North American Soccer League — which is one tier above the USL in North America’s professional soccer pyramid — remains interested in Nashville.

US

ESPN has several US roster updates ahead of the friendly against Puerto Rico on Sunday. It seems Fabian Johnson and Geoff Cameron have arrived at the Miami training camp but aren’t 100 percent, Johnson with a groin injury, Cameron with a sore hamstring. Hertha Berlin aren’t pleased that John Brooks could be with the US for the Copa America.

At SI, Brian Straus on the evolving motivation of Clint Dempsey and his “crazy hunger.”.

At Fox Soccer, Ryan Rosenblatt considers who the starting goalkeeper will be for the US at the Copa America Centenario.

At Brotherly Game, Andrew Stoltzfus presents his picks to make the USMNT Copa America Centenario roster.

Jill Ellis has announced the 25-player roster for the USWNT’s upcoming friendlies against Japan on June 2 and June 5.

At ASN, a profile piece on Christen Press.

Bob Bradley on SiriusXM FC:

When I have a chance to observe different managers, the ones that do good work, I mention Pochettino, Klopp, [Thomas] Tuchel that took over for Klopp at Dortmund, he’s a fantastic young manager. We haven’t even talked about the Guardiolas and the Ancelottis. But I’ll tell you what, maybe I’m stupid, but I think I’m a manager in and around that level…

I’m not saying I’m better than these guys — I haven’t had those types of opportunities — but I think people that have played for me have always felt that the experience in the team was different, that training was challenging, that there were a lot of things done to help them become better players and better people.

Bradley’s Le Havre team missed out on promotion to Ligue 1.

From Sport in American History: “Supporters’ Clubs of USMNT, MLS, and USL: Vulgarity, Hooliganism, and Discrimination.”

Soccer America reports, “For the third consecutive year, NBC Sports Group set a record for its average viewership of the English Premier League. Across all networks, NBC Sports Group averaged 514,000 viewers per match window — up 7 percent from 2014-15. The EPL outdrew the NHL, which averaged 503,000 viewers  for 105 NHL regular-season games on NBC and NBCSN in 2015-16.”

Elsewhere

Sevilla defeated Liverpool in the Europa League final on Wednesday with a 3-1 comeback victory.

The AP reports, “Barcelona says the Spanish government’s ban on Catalonia’s separatist flags during the Copa del Rey final is ‘an attack on freedom of expression.’ The club released a statement expressing its ‘total and complete disagreement’ with the announcement made on Wednesday, four days before the final against Sevilla in Madrid.”

From Reuters:

A former FIFA official from Nicaragua who was responsible for overseeing the soccer governing body’s development efforts in Central America has been extradited from Switzerland to face U.S. charges stemming from a wide-ranging bribery probe.

William Sullivan, a lawyer for Julio Rocha, confirmed his client had been extradited and said he will plead not guilty to the charges, which also include money laundering and wire fraud.

The AP notes, “Rocha is the last of seven men, including two FIFA vice presidents, who were arrested in Zurich last May to be extradited. Six went to the U.S. and one to Uruguay.”

51 Comments

  1. US news to add: Whitecaps player Kekuta Manneh is now eligible to apply for US citizenship after living in the US and commuting to Vancouver for a number of years now.
    .
    http://www.starsandstripesfc.com/2016/5/18/11710568/kekuta-manneh-u-s-citizenship-eligible-usmnt

  2. Also in MLS/Union news, salaries for this season have just been released.
    .
    https://www.mlsplayers.org/images/May%2015,%202016%20Salary%20Information%20-%20By%20Club.pdf

    • Excellent, thanks for this. I took a quick look, and nothing appalling for the Union we didn’t already know about. The fact that we have Sapong at 225K for the next 3 years is amazing. Most teams pay A LOT more for their everyday striker, especially if that guy is any good.

    • I can see why no one wanted to sign Okugo. $320k is way overpriced.

    • I hope Yaro’s picking up the tab when he and Rosenberry go out to dinner.

      • I thought that was very odd, considering they went back to back in the draft. I guess that’s the difference between being a CB and an outside back.

      • Yaro is Generation Adidas and Rosenberry is not. I believe that is where the difference comes from.

    • I agree with Gonzhao, CJ at $225K is a tremendous bargain.

      Not surprising that Rosenberry is so cheap as an unproven rookie. Generally takes 2 years of excellent play to convince people you’re the real deal and get a raise. And on that note, Richie Marquez at league minimum is a humongous bargain. Assuming his level of play stays the same, I hope he gets a raise next year.

      The big underperformer for salary so far (not counting the injured Edu) is Alberg. But Curtin is right — it often takes transplants half a season to a whole season to adjust to the league. Even the likes of Robbie Keane were not so great during that adjustment period.

      • Dr. Union says:

        If you ask me the games that Alberg was able to give Barnetta to recover from injury were worth what he is paid. He will have more role to play as the season continues. I like his drive and effort I think we have yet to see what he can do. A lot of games he was starting he looked just short of breaking out with an amazing goal or assist he always seems just on the edge of doing something no one else on this team does. I’m on the side of waiting on him, I think he will be worth the money.

    • Also of interest on this topic: “In 2016, a Designated Player that is 24-years-old or older during the league year will carry the Maximum Budget Charge ($457,500) unless the player joins his club after the opening of the Secondary Transfer Window, in which case his budget charge will be $228,750.”
      .
      So since only Edu is listed as a DP it means that the Union have bought down both Barnetta’s and Ilsinho’s salary with TAM/GAM. Everyone else including Nogueira are have non-DP level contracts.

      • Yup. We still have available to us in the summer 2 DP slots, if we have the cap space to sign a player for 228,750. We’ve probably spent all of our TAM at this point. Obviously, this would require Sugarman to want to spend money, which is… unlikely at best.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      I love when this list comes out. You can play “who would you rather have?”

      Ozzie Alonso at $900k/yr
      or
      Diego Chara at $150k/yr

      • pragmatist says:

        Frank Lampard
        or
        ANYONE ELSE

      • Zizouisgod says:

        So true, the answer always is ANYONE ELSE.

      • Octavio Rivero at 900k
        or
        Joao Plata at 175k
        .
        Kennedy Igboananike at 900k
        or
        Quincy Amarikwa at 200k
        .
        I honestly can’t believe that that’s still all they pay Chara. He’s been out recently and it’s really hurt the timbers

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Those are good ones. Amarikwa is such a bargain, a nightmare for centerbacks physically and allows Wondo to do his thing.

        Yup, Chara’s salary is shockingly low. That guy’s probably the best holding mid in the league.

    • Dr. Union says:

      I still think Edu is paid to much even if healthy. Still right now don’t put him above Barnetta or Nogs. Not sure he is better than Alberg, Pontius, Le Toux or even Carroll(while I know I will hear it for the Carroll comment no one can deny that he has some great games this year and even last without him clogging up the middle this team has struggled in the past). While Edu could offer more than some of these guys can’t say I’ve ever seen it during his time with the Union. I still think he is the odd man out on this roster.

      • Well, since you brought it up, it really depends what you want your Defensive Mid to do. If the only thing you need from him is to screen the young center backs and play easy outlet balls, Carroll is your guy. If you want more creativity or ability to join in the attack, then we need to look at Mo.
        .
        There are absolutely games where, even with both healthy, I might prefer BC. But he should be a situation player at this point.
        .
        With that over, can’t say enough about what BC has done for this team. The consistency and calm he brings is exactly what we need with our young defenders.

      • Dr. Union says:

        I can agree with that although got to say from what I’ve seen Mo’s ability to be in the middle of the pitch has dropped significantly. His first touch is poor, he wanders, and he doesn’t like to stick to the game plan. Now yes all this could change, but until I see it happen I’d much rather have that $700,000 to go out and find someone worth it. Pair that with say another $300,000 if we have it in the budget and you got 1 million to go offering to that key player that will help take this team to the next level or split it between 2 guys there are a lot of options if we had that Edu money to play with. Anyway I look at it like this even if Edu comes back and plays great I don’t see him taking this team to that next level.

  3. EPL-514,000
    NHL-503,000
    MLS-ESPN:244,970; FOX Sports: 96,545; Univision-244,000

    MLS is last years numbers

    • Tells you what you need to know… that and $100,000,000 buy ins….
      .
      then….couple some of that with a dash of Poor Professional Soccer Sod making $51,000 or $62,000 dollars a year, simmer for one hour in a league refusing to – spread the money around to clubs who develop talented players – because the league has to come first….and I’d say…MLS still missing it by a mile.
      .
      But hey to the staunch defenders…keep on “Lovin’ it” just like those smoothies at McDonalds looking out for your best health.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Disappointing when I read the daily article and there is nothing about Ibrahimovic starting to train with the Union…maybe tomorrow.

  5. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    I would refute the article by Sean Maslin at “Playing for 90”. Very first game at the Linc, someone thought it would be a good idea to seat DC fans in the 2nd level. LeToux completes the hat trick to tie it up and the DC fans rained trash down on the Union supporters sitting below them. I mean don’t get me wrong, NY fans are complete D Bags, but DC United fans are straight scum. I’ve ALWAYS looked at DC as the rivalry since that very first “home” game.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Looks like the Union will host the winner of the Harrisburg/Chattanooga game.

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    The Lancaster Stadium last summer for the first exhibition game with the Union, was laid out entirely on grass. Hence the seats are very poor for watching a game. But the pitch quality seemed okay, judging by the players.
    .
    Both City Islanders goals were high quality against West Chester United.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      CI played Groome in goal. Flat back four. Di Prima and Warshaw in a boule pivot of DCMs. Jose Barril was ACM, Cardell Benbow was left flank, Craig Foster was the striker. Did not know the other flank mid. Only familiar back was Shane Johnson.
      .
      Barril and Foster combined well in attack. Benbow is very pacey.

    • The Lancaster games were actually better than I expected. Definitely made me jealous to have a Lancaster team. Hopefully I can get to the game on Sunday.

  8. OneManWolfpack says:

    “Bradley’s Le Havre team missed out on promotion to Ligue 1.”… on goal differential… and it was by one goal. Dude is solid, and deserves a chance with a big club. Hope he keeps it up and he gets a crack at the EPL soon.
    .
    I have no real problems with any salary on the Union… except maybe Rosenberry… compared to Yaro, he is giving the Union one hell of a homegrown discount. He’ll get paid soon I’m sure, but that is a hell of a bargain.

    • I tend to agree but he of himself putting his coaching abilities into the same conversation as he did the other day with some of his peers…is rather a stretch… but that’s me.

    • Agree about Bradley.
      .
      The difference between Yaro’s and Rosenberry’s salaries comes from Yaro signing a Generation Adidas contract and Rosenberry not being offered one.

  9. http://www.espnfc.us/major-league-soccer/story/2876202/orlando-citys-kaka-again-tops-list-of-biggest-salaries-in-mls
    .
    A quick ESPN view of all this salary nonsense. They put together a list of how much each team is spending and the Union are 15th. Teams that spend less are: Houston, Chicago, Columbus, DC, and Dallas. Sebastian Giovinco makes more than our entire roster.

    • pragmatist says:

      Gio is maybe the one player in the league who justifies that salary. He’s certainly in a group that is no larger than 5 or 6 who deserve to be at that price point.

    • Don’t the DPs when summed make more than the rosters of the whole league?

      • Isn’t that the point of the DP’s though (not saying I think it’s good)

      • Yeah, that’s definitely the point. We want teams to be able to go get that one special player, it just usually hasn’t worked up until recently. The new targeted allocation money system they started using last year has been much better at getting talent here IMO. DP’s are mostly aging superstars who are no longer worth the money on the pitch and try to make up for it in the marketing department (think Lampard) or USMNT players. TAM doesnt attract the names as much but it does much better getting players with some years left on their legs here (think Godoy in SJ, Barnetta here).
        .
        Here’s to hoping that better supporting casts leads eventually to better DPs

  10. But It's Only A USL Game says:

    Even assuming that the Zimbabwe v Cameroon match IS played on Friday and that Eric Ayuk does NOT play for the Junior Indomitable Lions that day … the Philadelphia Union want me to believe that Ayuk can get on a plane from Africa, fly all the way across the Atlantic Ocean sometime on Friday, complete the journey to central Pennsylvania, have absolutely no side effects from jet lag or the pure travel time, itself, and be in the proper ‘shape’ to actually play for Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday?

  11. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Having done the math, by my arithmetic, the Union are $453,500 over the salary cap for 2016, currently. The key thing to remember that I almost forgot, is that a DP, while listed in the salary data at full price, counts only $457,000 against the cap

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Very roughly, that’s Ilsinho.
      .
      Mr Sugarman has authorized some money.
      .
      That’s nearly half a million dollars in GAM and TAM.
      .
      Reinforcements over the summer may not be likely, unless space is somehow cleared, or unless they’ve got even more TAM and GAM secreted away. [As far as I know we hoi polloi have no way to know how much TAM and GAM they have accumulated and spent].

      • Are you counting the GA players against the cap? Also, do the players we have given season long loans to Steel count against the cap?

      • I ran the numbers myself as well. The tricky part is guessing how much allocation money we’ve used, (Both GAM and TAM). We have to have used at least 250k of TAM (likely much more) to buy down Ilsinho and Barnetta, and we have received at least 1.3 million since last July.
        .
        GAM is much harder to figure out. The yearly allotment is 150k + more for missing the playoffs last year. We also just got 50k from Chicago for a player on our discovery list, and there’s a provision where teams who haven’t used all their DP spots get GAM from those who have.
        .
        Basically, it’s a make a guess scenario. I have them over by 637k and having spent 250k in TAM. That leaves 1.05 million in TAM and whatever GAM we have (let’s estimate 250k, to make this easy). 1.3 Million total available – 637k = 663k available to spend with 1 open roster spot.
        .
        Since DP’s would only cost half if signed over the summer, this is actually very doable as long as the Union are able to maximize the use of all these assets with the absurd roster rules.

      • And to actually answer your question, if we can recall them and they play here, they count. However there’s a part of the roster for what they call “Reserve players” that don’t count against the cap anyway. We have 3: Tribbett, Washington, Missimo. Lahoud doesn’t count, because he’s with the Cosmos.
        .
        GA players don’t count against us either. They all fall into another roster section called Supplemental. Yaro, Blake, Herbers are GA players, and I think Ayuk also counts in this section.

    • Also, I’m late to this but, are you factoring in 18-20 players that count against the cap, not the full roster? The others are off-budget players if I recall correctly. I’m not sure how the designation is made between budget vs non-budget beyond the GA deals. Why wouldn’t we want to put all of our most expensive players as off budget to maximize salary cap space, but I’m sure there’s some rule preventing that. Also, I don’t believe these salaries that are listed factor in any transfer fees or other costs that end up being built into cap hits.
      .
      It would be very nice if MLS just released salary cap information. To me as a fan, I’m much more curious about that than I am about player salaries. And I know this salary release is done and negotiated by the players union, not for fans, but it’d still be more interesting to see the cap info.

      • http://pressbox.mlssoccer.com/content/roster-rules-and-regulations
        .
        Quick reference there for you if you want to get really in depth with it. Roster spots 1-20 count against our cap, spots 21-28 do not. 21-24 are “Supplemental players”: all gen adidas go there, senior minimum players can as well. 25-28 are “Reserve players”: they can be players getting paid the reserve minimum who are under 24 or homegrowns who are getting paid more than that.
        .
        I’ve got our non-budget players as: Blake, Yaro, Herbers, Ayuk, Tribbett, Missimo, Washington.

      • Cool, thanks for the info and the link. Will be interesting to see what moves, if any we make in the summer.

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