Daily news roundups

Recaps, Jamaica FA says Blake won’t be with team for Friday friendly in Chile, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

It took until stoppage time, but so what.

The Union defeated DC United on Friday, thanks to a lovely finish from Richie Marquez, who scored his first-ever MLS goal.

Jim Curtin said after the game,

There’s a belief in the group, I think it is clear, even when it is not our best night we can win a one nothing game roll up our sleeves and fight. We can win in a lot of ways. We can win pretty, we can win when we are a little off, and we can win on a restart. So, we’ve won in different ways this year. I think it’s a testament to the group; the belief in the locker room is strong [and] you know that starts with Earnie providing that in the whole organization.

Belief. The Union, undefeated in the last five games are now in first place in the Eastern Conference.

Believe it.

Recaps and reports at PSP (recap, postgame), Philadelphia Union (PSP, photo galleries at USA Today, Brotherly Game,

MLS Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle wrote of the win, “The ability to win 1-0 games is essential for any team that has thoughts of silverware. That said, they’ll need more sharpness from their No. 10, Tranquillo Barnetta. His movement is often brilliant, but his touch has been hit-and-miss.”

Jamaica has announced its roster for the Copa America and, as expected, Andre Blake is on the roster. However, the roster announcement says Blake will not be with the Jamaican team for its friendly against Chile on Friday, May 27, which would lead one to think Blake will be with the Union when they face Colorado away on Saturday, May 28. If that is the case, the question then become whether the Union will have Blake when they host Columbus on Wednesday, June 1, their final game before MLS goes on a two-week break for the Copa America tournament. Jamaica’s first game in the tournament is on Sunday, June 5 against Venezuela at Soldier Field in Chicago.

At Philly.com, John Smallwood writes about how the culture change the Union has undergone begins with Earnie Stewart. The piece includes this great passage:

Talking to Stewart at lunch last Monday, I asked him if he understood how important it was to Union fans that the team qualify for the 2016 playoffs.

Stewart responded by asking: Why talk about making the playoffs instead of asking about winning the 2016 MLS Cup?

“That’s sports,” said Stewart, who played 18 professional seasons, most in the Eredivisie. “You have to strive to be the best.

“In the United States, and I find this exciting, everybody wants to be the champion. That’s what everyone says right from the start, ‘We want to be Super Bowl champs or MLS champs.’ I think that is healthy approach.

“I think it is dangerous to say we want to make the playoffs – not because we won’t. I think it is healthy to say we want to be MLS champs. If you make the playoffs, you’ve reached your goal and then a lot of times you see a dip.

“People might say this guy is crazy for saying ‘MLS champs.’ I feel you have to reach for the highest and the see where you end up.”

Big Apple Soccer reports Michael Lahoud, loaned to New York Cosmos before the start of the season, has been recalled and sold by the Union to NASL-side Miami FC, the currently bottom of the table expansion team:

According to a league source, the Union had the right to recall Lahoud, an international with Sierra Leone, and the team did so with the intention of then selling him to the Cosmos’ rival North American Soccer League side, Miami.

Lahoud had a physical with Miami on Monday morning according to the source.

As of this writing, Lahoud is still listed on the roster at the Cosmos website. But if he has been sold, the latest salary numbers from the MLS Players Union had Lahoud’s base salary with the Union at $110,000, $115,637.50 guaranteed. Presumably, that’s money that can now be redistributed to other players in the form of a new contract (Richie Marquez needs a raise!) or used on a new signing.

Section 215 reviews the season thus far. Sports Quotient on the Union’s turnaround.

Philly Sports Nation notes Tranquillo Barnetta “failed to make Switzerland’s final roster for the upcoming Euro 2016 competition.” Barnetta has not been called up by Switzerland since 2014 so not being called up now is hardly a “failure.”

The Sons of Ben Movie will be released on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and on cable TV on demand on July 22.

At Philly.com, sports cartoonist Rob Tornoe owns up to, in a recent cartoon, overlooking the fact that the Union are, you know, good: “Like everyone else in town, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by they way the Phillies have started the season. But the Phillies, as well as they’ve played, aren’t in first place. The Union are.” He then follows up that first “Like everyone else in town” with admitting “I’m not familiar with many of the players, I’ve never actually been to Talen Energy Stadium,” before saying after the season opening loss to Dallas “the team just seemed to faded into the background.” The absolutes continue (emphasis added):

  • “Part of the problem is that the fan base, while devoted, will never rival the number of fans who follow the other major sports in the city…the team is never discussed on sports talk radio.”
  • “After all, in the rare occasion I’ve drawn cartoons about the Union, it’s normally making fun of the fact no one knows who they actually are…Or that no one in town really seems to care about soccer.”
  • “…seeing Richie Marquez’s game-winning run and score in stoppage time was the most excitement I’ve associated with the Union in the six years they’ve been playing soccer in Philadelphia.”

Ignorance isn’t only bliss, it’s also apparently blissful to believe that not doing your job isn’t your own damn fault. So, you know, spare us the mea culpa and have fun watching other cities’ teams in the NBA playoffs.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel fell 3-1 in Lancaster on Sunday evening in its first-ever meeting with former Union affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders, ending a five-game undefeated streak. Former Union man Aaron Wheeler scored in the 13th and 14th minutes for Harrisburg, with Leo Fernandes answering for Bethlehem in the 17th minute. Bobby Warshaw scored the final goal in the 63rd minute.

Bethlehem’s lineup was:

John McCarthy; Ryan Richter (C), Ken Tribbett (Mickey Daly 46’), Anderson, Taylor Washington; Bolu Akinyode, Derrick Jones (James Chambers 71’); Cole Missimo (Cory Burk 66’), Walter Restrepo, Leo Fernandes; Fabian Herbers (Seku Conneh 46’)
Substitutes not used: Samir Badr, Gabe Gissie, Nick Bibbs

Click here for match video. Recaps at Allentown Morning CallLancaster Online, Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC BlogUSLsoccer.com, and Harrisburg City Islanders.

Bethlehem, eighth place in the East (12 points, 3-3-3) is on the road again on Saturday when they face seventh place Rochester Rhinos before returning to Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium to host New York Red Bulls II on Sunday, June 5  at 4 pm.

Harrisburg, tenth in the East (10 points, 3-5-1) host 12th place Toronto FC II on Tuesday, again in Lancaster at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Penn Live on Danny DiPrima’s return from injury.

Eric Ayuk started and went the full 90 in Cameroon’s 0-0 road draw with Zimbabwe on Sunday. Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog rounds up reports from the game.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union Academy teams faced their NYRB counterparts over the weekend. On Saturday, the Union U-13/14s prevailed 1-0 on the road, with Nicholas Blacklock scoring the winner in the 53rd minute. The team is on the road again this weekend to Virginia to face Prince William Courage.

Playing at the Union training grounds on Saturday, the U-15/16s were defeated 42. Daniel Bloyou gave the Union the lead in the 19th minute before NYRB scored in the 29th, 52nd, 60th, and 61st minute. Kalil El Medkhar then scored the final goal for the Union in the 70th minute. The result sees the Union second place in the Atlantic division with 51 points — three points behind first place NYRB, who also have two games in hand — and a 15-4-6 record

Before the U-15/16s played, the U-17/18s defeated NYRB 21. Justin McMaster scored in the 19th and 60th minutes with NYRB tallying its lone goal in the 90th minute. The Union are in first place in the Atlantic division with 56 points and a 17-3-5 record, seven points above NYRB, who have two games in hand.

The U-15/16s and U-17/18s close the regular season at YSC on June 4 against DC United.

PDL

Reading United crushed Evergreen FC 5-0 in Virginia on Saturday. The team hosts NYRB U-23s on Saturday.

Ocean City Nor’easters defeated DC United U-23s 3-0 on Saturday night in a friendly. On Sunday, the team opened their 2016 PDL season with a 3-0 road win over Baltimore Bohemians.Ocean City is on the road again on Wednesday to face Jersey Express before traveling to face Evergreen FC on Saturday. Press of Atlantic City looks at the Nor’easters’ roster.

Lehigh Valley United Sonic was off over the weekend before traveling to face Evergreen FC on Wednesday.

Local

Philadelphia Fury drew 1-1 with La Liga side Eibar in a friendly at Rowan University on Sunday. Recaps at SD Eibar (crappy Google translation) and Diario Vasco (with a particularly crappy Google translation). Daniel Kinsella, chief financial officer for Global Fútbol Partners, the consulting firm that helped organize Eibar’s US tour, told Philly.com, admitted the tour was “very hastily arranged.”
MLS

In the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia Union (18 points, 5-3-3) is in first place after their 1-0 stoppage time win over seventh place DC United (13 points, 3-5-4). NYCFC (17 points, 4-4-5) is in second place despite their 7-0 humiliation at the feet of third place NYRB (16 points, 5-7-1), the largest road win in MLS history. Of course, the wannabe hooligans had to do their thing. Fourth place Toronto (16 points, 4-4-4) drew 0-0 with ninth place Columbus (11 points, 2-4-5). Fifth place Montreal (16 points, 4-4-4) lost 2-1 on the road to sixth place Orlando (3-3-5). Eighth place New England (13 points, 2-4-7) lost 4-2 at home to Dallas. Last place Chicago (10 points, 2-5-4) defeated Houston, 1-0.

In the Western Conference, first place Colorado (27 points, 8-2-3) defeated ninth place Seattle (13 points, 4-6-1) 1-0 on the road. Second place Dallas (26 points, 8-4-2) defeated New England 4-2 on the road. Third place Salt Lake (20 points, 6-3-2) defeated seventh place Kansas City (17 points, 5-7-2) 3-1 on the road. Fourth place Vancouver (20 points, 6-6-2) lost 4-2 on the road to eighth place Portland (15 points, 4-6-3). Jack McInerney scored Portland’s second goal. Fifth place LA (20 points, 5-1-5) drew 1-1 with sixth place San Jose (19 points, 5-3-4). Last place Houston (11 points, 3-7-2) lost 1-0 on the road to Chicago.

San Jose has signed Chris Wondolowski to a new multi-year contract.

MLSsoccer.com tries to explain why the Western Conference outperforms the Eastern Conference.

Sounder at Heart looks at how MLS salaries compare to those in MLB, NBA, and NHL. ESPN has a “best value-for-money XI, as well as its highest-paid XI and a starting lineup composed of its most well-compensated Americans.”

NWSL

First place Washington (13 points, 4-1-1) lost 4-1 on the road to third place Portland (12 points, 3-0-3). Second place Chicago (13 points, 4-1-1) defeated sixth place Seattle (7 points, 2-3-1), 2-1. Fourth place Orlando (12 points, 4-2-0) defeated seventh place Houston (7 points, 2-3-1), 1-0, on the road. Fifth place Western New York (9 points, 3-3-0) thumped eighth place Sky Blue (7 points, 2-3-1), 5-2. Ninth place Boston (3 points, 1-5-0) defeated last place Kansas City (2 points, 0-4-2), 1-0.

US

On Saturday, Jurgen Klinsmann announced the 23-player USMNT roster for the Copa America Centenario. Among the players on the roster is Hershey, Pa.’s Christian Pulisic. Jordan Morris is not on the roster.

Klinsmann said, “I think we have a roster that is absolutely capable to do really well in this Copa America.” Easy now, that’s some confident talk, Jurgen.

More on the roster at ESPNSI, MLSsoccer.com, Fox SoccerASN, Soccer AmericaPro Soccer TalkThe Guardian, and Reuters.

On Sunday, the US defeated Puerto Rico PSP, ESPN, SI, MLSsoccer.com (recap, analysis), ASN (recap, analysis), Soccer America, Goal.com (recap, analysis), Pro Soccer TalkSBI, and the AP. Player ratings at ESPNMLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, Goal.com, and the AP.

On Friday in its second match at the 2016 AIFF Youth Cup, the US U-17 MNT defeated India, 4-0. The team faced South Korea on Saturday, and finished with a 0-0 draw. Today, the team faces Malaysia but — I believe, anyway — has qualified for the tournament final where it will face Tanzania on Wednesday.

Elsewhere

The headline at Goal.com pretty much says it all: “Tear gas, disorganisation & fires in the stand: Coupe de France fiasco raises questions over Euro 2016 safety.”

The Daily Record on 106-year-old Hibs fan Sam Martinez, who saw his team defeat Rangers 3-2 at the Scottish Cup final over the weekend, the team’s first cup title in 114 years.

8 Comments

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    I’m not so worried about Blake’s availability Saturday because that’s going to be a very tough game even with him but at least it’s out of conference. I was more worried about him missing Wednesday night and it seems like he will be available then to hopefully help the Union open up some breathing room at the top!

  2. As far as fires in the stands all one has to do is watch a pre game video of Rosario Central fans… flares, fires –happens a whole bunch in other lands… regarding tear gas… Dear France… you have about two weeks to figure it out.
    .
    .
    Rob Tornoe I can say this here, there and everywhere… don’t want ya, don’t need ya, this is the middle toe of my foot to you.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Did you see how much progress the sport of soccer has made in America in just a few days? The Fury in the ASL drew with a La Liga side that finished mid-table this year.

      Extrapolating that up the pseudo US pyramid, this puts MLS as one of the best leagues in the world a good five years before Garber had even planned it to happen! Incredible and we all lived to see it. 😉

  3. Being ignorant of everything that happens at philly.com keeps me, well, no one who knows me would ever accuse me of blissfulness, but let’s just say I’m better off

  4. The next funny cartoon Rob Tornoe draws will be his first.

    But John Smallwood does regularLy cover the Union, including today’s good article on Stewart. Most people on PSP probably know most of what Smallwood reported, but it gave good background and insight on Earnie.

  5. So I went to the Fury-SD Eibar friendly. I found the idea of watching a La Liga club too alluring to miss. I also was able to drag my wife with me (joy!). It was raining out, making the conditions less than optimal but at least it was warm. I would say that there were between 100-200 people that attended the match. But to the game:

    It seemed that travelling to South Jersey had a major impact on Eibar as their play was sluggish (weather conditions also didn’t help). To me, I thought Eibar were able to control the game and dominate possession for the whole 90 but in the 20ish (?) minute they gave up a goal through some sloppy play. Their cb and gk had a miscommunication on who was going to play a ball that was cleared by someone on the Fury, allowing the Fury’s striker to win a 50-50 ball with the keeper and guide it into the net. That awaken Eibar and they were able to equalize right before the end of the half. The second half was all Eibar as they were searching for a way to score but were unable to.

    The Fury played well, their defense was organized enough to only allow a handful of dangerous chances. I also enjoyed the Fury’s goal keeper, he held command of the back line and was effective at communicating to his teammates. He also made a couple of diving saves in the second half.

    Overall, I did enjoy it even though I felt that Eibar wasn’t playing up to their abilities whether it was due to travel lag or disinterest.

  6. Leo Fernandes Still Looking For First Goal says:

    According to official match report at official United Soccer League website, Bethlehem Steel FC’s lone tally yesterday was an own goal.

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