Daily news roundups

Separation from mediocrity, USOC, salary numbers, more

Photo: Michael Long

Philadelphia Union

The Union host DC United tonight at 7 pm (UniMas). Jim Curtin said of the game in his weekly press conference on Wednesday,

I think it’s early in the season still but it’s a big game and, again, this league, and our conference especially, is a game of, a conference of runs: two and three games getting results, two, three wins here and there can really separate you. That’s something we’re fighting for right now. We don’t want to go back to being a .500 team, and this is a game where we really have to take advantage and try to jump on DC early and really protect our home field to get that little bit of separation from the danger of mediocrity, which is a .500 record. We don’t want that.

Onward to victory then!

Previews at PSP, Philadelphia Union (preview, know your opponent, game notes, gameday guide), Philly.com, Delco Times, Metro, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Pattison Ave,  VavelSection 215, MLSsoccer.com (preview, “rivalry matrix”), DC United (preview, top moments, by the numbers, friendly rivalry), Black and Red United (preview, likely Union starters, who played on both teams), Sports Chat Place, and the AP.

More at Philly.comCSN PhillyWashington Post, and MLSsoccer.com about Chris Pontius (pictured above being sent airborne by Ray Gaddis back in 2013) facing his former team for the first time.

US Open Cup

MLS teams enter the US Open Cup in the fourth round, which will be staged June 15. The fourth round draw took place on Thursday and the Union will host the winner of Chattanooga FC-Harrisburg City Islanders.

Latest salary info

The MLS Players Union released the latest salary information on Thursday (click here to download the report). Philly.comUnion TallyPhilly Voice, and Brotherly Game look at the Union numbers. Billy Penn compares Philadelphia Union wages with wages earned by members of unions in Philadelphia.

The Union are among six teams that do not have a player making $1 million or more.

The latest numbers show the top 20 highest paid players make nearly 50 percent of the league’s guaranteed salary expenditures, with three teams — Toronto FC, LA Galaxy and NYC FC — accounting for 40 percent of the league’s total salary numbers.

More on the salary numbers at ESPNWashington Post, USA TodayThe Guardian, and Reuters.

More Union news

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin on the similarities between Richie Marquez and DC United center back Steve Birnbaum.

Also at MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin has 10 Things about Keegan Rosenberry.

Playing for 90 talks to Josh Yaro.

At Brotherly Game, the good, the bad, and the ugly from last weekend’s road draw against Montreal

The Buccini/Pollin Group, whose owners are part of the Union’s ownership group, recently partnered with Delaware Rush and the University of Delaware in sponsoring a soccer event with the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel is on the road on Sunday to face Harrisburg City Islanders at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster at 6 pm (YouTube). Preview at Harrisburg City Islanders,

More on Eric Ayuk being called up by the Cameroon U-20 team at Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog.

At the Bethlehem Steel website, a look at Bolu Akinyode’s and James Chambers’ visit to the Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest campuses.

Philadelphia Union Academy

It’s a big weekend for the Union Academy as the U-15/16s and U-17/18s host their counterparts from New York Red Bulls, and the U-13/14s are on the road to face Red Bull. The U-17/18s (second place in the Atlantic Division and four points ahead of first place NYRB, who have two games in hand and a better points per game average) play on Saturday at the Union training grounds at 1:30 pm, followed by the U-15/16s (also second place in the Atlantic Division but level on points with first place NYRB, who have two games in hand and a better points per game average) at 3:30pm. At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph has another excellent report previewing the Academy’s weekend.


Philadelphia Fury host La Liga side Eibar in a friendly at Rowan University on Sunday at 5 pm.

Reading United is on the road to face Evergreen FC on Saturday. Lehigh Valley United Sonic is off this weekend before facing Evergreen FC on Wednesday. Ocean City Nor’easters host the DC United U-23 team in a friendly on Saturday at 7 pm.

TheCup.us has a match report from Wednesday night’s US Open Cup second round game between West Chester United and Harrisburgh City Islanders, which the City Islanders won, 2-0.

Allentown Morning Call reports, “The popular Lehigh Valley SoccerFest and Viewing Party will return to SteelStacks for the third year this June for the Copa America Centenario tournament.”

Rebecca Jarrett (World Class; Washington Township, N.J.) has been called up for the US U-16 GNT camp in Portland, Ore., May 28-June 4.

From the Irish Independent: “Manchester United’s 2016 annual general meeting of shareholders will take place in Philadelphia in June. The club announced on Friday that the AGM will begin at 3.15pm local time (8.15pm UK time) on June 23 in the offices of law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.”


Sacramento Bee has an update on the stadium Sacramento Republic want to build as part of their plans  to join MLS.

Official: Nashville has been awarded a USL franchise, with plans to debut in 2018. More on the team’s stadium plans here.


The USMNT roster for the Copa America Centenario will be announced during halftime of Saturday’s NYCFC-NYRB game on Fox. SI amd MLSsoccer.com project the US roster.

On Sunday, the USMNT plays Puerto Rico (12 pm,FS1, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports Go, UniMás, Univision Deportes). Previews at MLSsoccer.com and Soccer America,

The LA Times reports, “US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati says his group has not made a decision regarding a bid for the 2026 World Cup and has certainly not offered to share that tournament with Mexico, contradicting reports from last week’s FIFA Congress in Mexico City.” More at Soccer America.


Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listing of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week. There a lots of cup finals this weekend.

Reuters reports, “Catalan nationalists said on Friday they would hand out 10,000 Scottish flags to Barcelona supporters in the Spanish King’s Cup Final soccer match on Sunday after Madrid banned the display of the Catalan pro-independence flag in the stadium.”

The AP reports, “Sepp Blatter’s support for the American World Cup bid should face more scrutiny, the head of Qatar’s 2022 organizing committee said on Thursday in his latest expression of frustration at the focus on the probity of their winning campaign.” Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar organizing committee, said, “Blatter wanted the U.S. to win — it’s just fascinating that nobody is raising any concerns about that and looking into that one to start off with. But fair enough. I guess we will take the flak again.”

The AP reports, “FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he will announce his salary ‘as soon as it has been confirmed.'”

PA Sport reports:

FIFA’s ethics committee adjudicatory chamber has recommended a two-year ban from all football related activities for Wolfgang Niersbach, the former president of the German Football Association (DFB).

Niersbach, who is a current member of the FIFA Council and the UEFA executive committee, resigned in the wake of the 2006 World Cup scandal in November after allegations first published by German news weekly Der Spiegel in mid-October.


  1. Bendik beat Blake in the final for SOTW.

    • These are the same people that voted for a semi-routine finish around the penalty spot over a 40 yard chip of the keeper on the dead run. At this point, I pretty much just ignore those results.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Just as the Heisman trophy should be awarded to the winning University’s Sports Information Director, not thed football player, so save of the week should be awarded to the tech savy fan base in the specific metropolitan area.

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    So, I completely sympathize with the Catalans and the BS ban on their flags in the stadium. The question I have is, what is the significance of using the Scottish flag as a flag of protest? Is it that Scotland voted to breakaway from the UK, as the Catalans are hoping to do as well? Or do they just like the way that deep blue and white contrast?

    • Separatists Unite!

    • Actually, Scotland (very narrowly) voted to not break away at the last referendum. However, the Scottish flag is meant to symbolize the independence movement. Kind of a proxy.

      It may also have something to do with “Scottish envy”, but who doesn’t suffer from that a little…

  3. Give Ritchie and Keegan a raise!

  4. Did we pay a transfer fee for Alberg? I read briefly through one of the salary rundowns and they were talking about the ability to amortize the fee over the duration of the contract as it pertains to the cap. I was confident he came over here on a free up until right now.

    • I believe he was under contract with ADO when the Union signed him so a fee was likely involved. They did say that TAM was used in the signing as well.

      • Yeah that does sound familiar now. He was probably just out of favor there. Having paid that fee, and of course having no clue how much it was thanks to the MLS black hole of money information, greatly effects our ability to sign someone over the summer

      • Yup, so no idea if the salary just published regarding him includes some part transfer fee or if it reflects just his year-to-year salary.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Purely my assumption here, no citations, the amortization over the time of the contract both makes sense and rings a bell, but the are other possible explanations of the discrepancies between total compensation and base salary.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    I notice in the quick reference report the Union are 5-7-3 against DC. If you add on the 4 US Open Cup games, they’ve played each other 19 times (excluding preseason). I think that means tonight will be the first time the Union have faced another team 20 teams.

  6. If MLS (and American sports) has taught me anything, it’s that one person or a small group of people cannot necessarily run a major corporation fairly and justly, even if their intentions are good and moral. Now it’s clear to me that FIFA is gone and there is really nothing that can be done to fix it, at least not until the current corrupt channels are all flushed out, and that could take decades. So instead of having a pyramid structure where FIFA, as a single entity, runs the many, MANY, leagues and teams throughout the world, the countries need to separate and operate on their own, with the federation heads or elected officials of federations forming a governing body to run the sport and events. There is no one man in charge. The body votes on World Cup bids, World Cup berths, sponsorships and whatnot, and the host of each event is in charge of running said event, while an elected committee oversees them and keeps them in line. Checks and balances only works when someone is actually checking the balance, and not just balancing the checks.

  7. Ugh… those “go to Hell blue” kits. Glad they’re in the past. The current white away kits are so much better… 🙂

    • quite liked the signal blue kits.
      the two whites have disappointed; bland (original) and toilet paper (current)

  8. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I have tried to do the arithmetic well, and have tried to understand the published MLS roster rules and salary cap regulations.
    At the moment I write, it is my belief that the Union’s base salaries exceed my understanding of this year’s salary cap by $453,500.00.
    Since I have not way to know, and no way to reasonably – or unreasonably for that matter! – estimate, how the application of general allocation money and targeted allocation money are each separately applied, only that they have been mentioned as being applied to Anderson, Alberg, and Barnetta, TAM and GAM are the only ways of which I can think that the Union were in compliance with the roster rules on the roster compliance date this past March.
    Do others see a mechanism by which a half price young Designated Player could be squeezed under the cap in the summer? I lack the imagination and knowledge to come up with a way. I fear we are maxxed out, and would have to subtract from the present team in order to add anyone else.

    • Yeah, it’s so hard to say because we just never know how much TAM/GA money we have used and how much money we get for a player in Pontius’ situation. I know they Union were interested in posting some of this information but the league overruled them. Things have gotten better, but they are still nowhere near where they should be.

      • One more priceless MLS wrinkle I just read: We might still be on the hook for Lahoud’s salary against our cap, just not the roster spot itself even though he won’t play a game for our team all year. It depends on the loan deal itself and whether or not the league approved that. There’s another mystery 120k.

    • I can tell you for certain that every team received at least 1.3 million dollars worth of TAM since they rolled it out in July 2015, more if we made any trades for some. 500k at the onset, 800k more before this season, and we get another 800k next year, so don’t worry about burning it all already. We must reduce any non-dp player with salary above the 457,500 to at least that. There is a floor of 150k, so we can’t buy down below that.
      Only 2 players on our roster qualify based on salary alone: Ilsinho and Barnetta. The maximum amount of TAM we could have used on them is 866k. Anything else we used of that would have to have gone into Transfer fees. (Alberg, maybe Anderson?) So basically, depending on how much you think we spent on Alberg tells you how much we have left and how much cap space we have.

    • I’m under the impression that non-playoff teams receive extra GAM…how much, I don’t know. One thing I’m confident of–if the Union wanted to spend big on a marketable DP, they and the league would figure out a way to make it work.

      • I checked, they do not make that information public (because of course not). But you are correct that in an attempt to maintain competitive balance they give the non playoff teams extra GAM.
        From what I’ve been able to gather, it seems doable. The names being thrown around are all strikers. Whether that’s because we’re genuinely interested in them or because that’s all we the fans/media talk about remains to be seen.

  9. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Apropos of nothing in this particular article and thread of conversation.
    El Pachyderm has lamented the current first team starting wingers/flank midfielders inability to attack their defenders one v one on the dribble.
    For what it’s worth, and it needs some qualifiers, Walter Restrepo has such skills at the USL level. Further, inferring from onfield performance, he has heard messages from the technical staff that his defending had to improve. He and Ayuk both have glimmers of possibility, and when Gabe Gisse grows up he may as well.
    Who knows if any of the three will have such skills at the first team level.

    • I think Pontius can attack folks on the dribble. And that’s Ilsinho’s specialty; once he gets healthy and displaces Le Toux from the XI, that won’t be an issue. #amoreperfectunion

    • Ayuk could also do this. I’m surprised that we seem to have shipped him to USL for the year. I thought he was a serviceable back-up (better than what little I’ve seen from Restrepo and Leo this year).

  10. One more thought on summer signings/salaries. We can basically buy down any cap obligation with GAM, at any time. If another team wishes to sign a player from our discovery list, they are pretty much obligated to give us 50k worth of GAM. This has already happened once this year: De Leeuw went to Chicago. There’s a decent chance it happens again: Zlatan. 100k right there.
    A young DP signed in the summer will cost 150k, end of story. So basically we need to have saved 50k of GAM so far (or make one more team pay us for a discovery list player) and we’d be able to afford any player we wanted under 23 years old. If we have our full allotment of 150k that we get every year (plus some extra for missing the playoffs), then we could afford any DP we wanted (max hit of about 250k).

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