Daily news roundups

“Proud”: Union cut Crew to enter Copa break 1st in the East, more news

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

They conceded first early, and then conceded again late playing against ten men, but let’s put that aside for now because the Union came from behind to win on Wednesday night, extending their unbeaten streak to eight games (they’re unbeaten at home in league play in nine games stretching back to September 20, 2015 with a 7-0-2 record) and solidifying their place at the top of the Eastern Conference ahead of the Copa America break.

Jim Curtin said after the game,

Credit to the guys, they’ve fought hard over these last three games. We’ve proven now that we can go Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday without blinking, and worrying, and acting like that’s the biggest deal in the world…Proud of the group, proud of the performance, proud of everyone at the club, that needs to be said…you can see a group of guys that pushes, is not scared, gives every ounce of energy, represents the city of Philadelphia, and is playing pretty good soccer right now.

And I’m a big believer in the table tells the truth. At the end of the day we’re where we are because we put a lot into it. Again, it is still tight in the East, it’s going be tight the whole year. So, we’re not satisfied. We’ll continue push but I am happy with my team.

And you should be, too.

Recaps and reports at PSP (recap, postgame), Philadelphia Union, Philly.com, Delco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Pattison AveProst AmerikaVavel, MLSsoccer.com (recap, Union, Crew), Columbus Crew, Columbus Dispatch, Massive Report, SBI, Goal.com, Pro Soccer Talk, US Soccer PlayersSky Sports, Press Association, and the AP. At USA Today, a photo gallery of the game.

Conor Casey’s return to Talen Energy Stadium was a short one, being sent off with a straight red card only three minutes after being subbed into the game. Casey said off the card, “That’s not a foul and I get a red card. So it’s pretty puzzling … It’s a one-goal game with 10 minutes left and someone decides to fabricate something and then we’re down a man. It’s not OK.”

Fabian Herbers has a massive lead in a poll at MLSsoccer.com on which debut MLS goal was better, Herbers’ goal against Columbus, or Cristian Martinez’s goal for the Crew against the Union.

The Union provided an update before Wednesday’s game on Josh Yaro’s shoulder injury. Yaro has been diagnosed with “with a torn right labrum and will be sidelined for up to 2-3 weeks.” The Copa break couldn’t be better timed for that.

A post at ESPN grades each of the MLS teams ahead of the Copa America break. The Union get an A-: “The offseason appointment of Earnie Stewart as sporting director has imposed order on the technical side of a Philadelphia organization historically lacking it. Manager Jim Curtin has taken advantage to shape a spirited, purposeful team that leads the East on merit.” CJ Sapong is named as the team’s key player.

At US Soccer Players, Jason Davis says “the standings in the East mean a whole lot of nothing”:

Maybe it’s the Earnie Stewart effect. Maybe Jim Curtin is maturing into the job as head coach. Maybe the Union actually improved the team so much in the offseason that they can’t but be a first place outfit.

Or maybe the Eastern Conference is such a parody-ridden morass that even being marginally better than everyone else is good enough to put you on top of the standings. It’s not that the Union aren’t better. They are. It’s just that they’re not so much better that we should view as one of the League’s elite.

Vote Andre Blake for Save of the Week! Blake’s rise is included in a video at MLSsoccer.com of the Top Five Moments (?) so far in the 2016 season.

Earnie Stewart freaking rules

Longtime readers will recall many a rant here at PSP about non-soccer events taking place at Talen Energy Stadium that invariably take a toll on the pitch. Most recently it was the NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament that took place last weekend and resulted in the Union grounds crew having to re-sod parts of the field. Speaking to reporters before last night’s game, Earnie Stewart made his feelings about such events clear:

I’m always against it. No matter if it’s the next one, and the next one, or the next one. I have to stand up for my group, as the business side stands for their part. We’re going to have discussions, but I’ll always be against it…You can have things but you can’t jeopardize the field. It’s difficult when you have a marching band, rugby or lacrosse – it wears and tears the field. I don’t know if there’s a middle ground, to tell you the truth. If you choose to be a soccer organization, that comes first and foremost – and every decision you make, I feel, has to be geared toward that…

As far as I know, this is a soccer organization. Otherwise, it should have been an entertainment company or something. I think it starts with soccer. That’s why they built this club.

I love him. More on Stewart’s comments at MLSsoccer.com, CSN Philly, Philly.com, and Philly Soccer News.

Bethlehem Steel FC

At the BSFC website, Charlotte Muscroft on 17-year-old defender Auston Trusty’s contributions to the team.

Section 215 on how Bethlehem is developing players for the Union.

The Allentown Morning Call notes Bethlehem Steel will be providing a free clinic for kids aged between 5-12 on Tuesday during the Lehigh Valley SoccerFest at SteelStacks.

Harrisburg City Islanders

Craig Foster scored the equalizer, and assisted Paul Wilson’s game-winning goal in the 80th minute, as Harrisburg City Islanders came from behind to defeat NPSL-side Chattanooga FC in third round US Open Cup play on Wednesday in Tennessee. Harrisburg will be hosted by the Union in the fourth round on Wednesday, June 15. Ticket and parking information for that game will be announced later today.

Reports at Harrisburg City IslandersUS Soccer,  Philly Soccer NewsChattanooga Times Free Press, The Chattanoogan, and WDEF.

PDL

Daniel Huertes scored for Lehigh Valley United Sonic in the fourth minute, but a Martim Galvao goal in the 76th minute, and a Miguel Jaime penalty kick goal in the 85th minute, saw Ocean City Nor’easters come from behind to win 2-1 on the road on Wednesday night. With the win, Ocean City moves into first place in the PDL’s Mid Atlantic Division. Reports at Ocean City Nor’easters and Press of Atlantic City.

Philadelphia Union Academy

Union Academy defender Matthew Real was on the bench for the US U-18s 4-0 win over their counterparts from Chivas de Guadalajara on Tuesday. The US plays Universidad de Guadalajara today and completes its training camp in Mexico against Club Atlas on June 7.

Local

Philly Voice reports on the draw for the inaugural Philadelphia International Unity Cup, which took place on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park, which will be the site of the final. The groups are:

A: Ivory Coast, Honduras, Germany, Cambodia
B: Congo, Indonesia, Lithuania, Argentina
C: Liberia, Spain, Colombia, Myanmar
D: Nigeria, Italy, Jamaica, South Korea
E: Senegal, Poland, Mexico, Vietnam
F: Sierra Leone, Turkey, India, Puerto Rico
G: Cape Verde, Ireland, USA, Haiti
H: Sudan, Ukraine, Bhutan, Guatemala

The report notes, “dates and locations are still being finalized for group-stage matches.”

Philly.com and Philly Voice pick up on the Bristol Post report we linked to in Wednesday’s roundup about Bristol Rovers fans tweeting to Philadelphia City Council president Darrell Clarke, who has the same name as the Rovers’ manager.

MLS

In Wednesday’s Eastern Conference games, first place Philadelphia (23 points, 6-3-5) came from behind to defeat ninth place Columbus (14 points, 3-5-5). Sixth place DC (16 points, 4-6-4) lost 2-0 at home to Seattle, who are ninth in the Western Conference (16 points, 5-7-1). In other Western Conference play, seventh place Portland (19 points, 5-6-4) defeated sixth place San Jose (20 points, 5-4-5), 1-0.

Tonight, NYCFC hosts Salt Lake at 7 pm, Dallas hosts Houston at 9 pm, and and LAG hosts Kansas City at 10:30pm. All the games are on MLS Live and Direct Kick. If NYCFC wins, they will move into second place in the East with 21 points.

MLS, along with Australia’s A-League, Germany’s Bundesliga, and Brazil’s Campeonato Brasileiro, has been selected by the International Football Association Board to test the use of video replays. “In a league statement, MLS said it ‘will work closely with the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) and the United Soccer League (USL) to implement the necessary tests,’ starting this summer with trials in USL, a league which is home to 11 owned-and-operated MLS reserve teams and another nine MLS-affiliated clubs…According to the IFAB, the trials are expected to last two years with a subsequent decision potentially coming in 2018 or in 2019.”

Kaka has been ruled out of playing with Brazil for the Copa America Centenario after picking up “a muscle injury” that is expected to see him out for three weeks.

US

The USWNT hosts Japan tonight in a warm-up game ahead of the Olympics (9 pm, FS1). The teams meet again on June 5. Soccer America has a preview.

The USMNT drops two spots to No. 31 in the latest FIFA rankings. Costa Rica (who is in Group A along with the US for the Copa America Centenario) moves up two spots to No. 23,with Mexico remaining at No. 16.

At US Soccer, five things to know about Colombia, the USMNT’s opponent on Friday in the opening of group play at the Copa America Centenario. Also at US Soccer, five things to know about the US. At ESPN, five things to watch out for with the US.

Goal.com previews Friday’s match against Colombia.

The Washington Post and Soccer America preview the US in the Copa America Centenario. USA Today says the US needs a strong start. SBI previews the US’ group, Group A.

The Guardian says if the US perform well at the Copa America, and find a coherent style in the process, it will be in spite of Klinsmann.

A roundtable discussion at The Guardian previewing the Copa America predicts the US will struggle, and Argentina will win.

World Soccer Talk on expectations for the US team at the Copa.

From Reuters: “United States soccer audiences can turn their attention to the skills of Latin American players this month after a year of watching dozens of FIFA officials from the region parade before U.S. law enforcement officers.”

At SI, Sunil Gulati, acknowledging the challenges of staging the Copa AMerica tournament on such short notice, says: “This is a great, standalone event. We’ve proven we can do big events in the U.S. and have them have a great response, pull them off operationally. But this isn’t to launch our World Cup bid or something like that.”

Pulisic!

Following recent stories at The Guardian and ESPN, MLSsoccer.com has an article on the US team that finished in fourth place in the 1995 Copa America tournament in Uruguay.

Elsewhere

The Guardian has a guide with profiles of all 24 teams and 552 players participating in the Euros “including tactics, caps, goals, hobbies, tattoos and much more.”

The AP reports, “Stadium construction for the 2018 World Cup is on schedule, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, contradicting recent reports of delays and cost increases.”

From the AP: “The departure of FIFA audit panel chairman Domenico Scala in a dispute with president Gianni Infantino will hurt efforts to reform the scandal-hit body, former anti-corruption adviser Michael Hershman said on Thursday.”

At The Guardian, a fascinating read on the simply outrageous depth of corruption at CONCACAF under Jeffrey Webb.

30 Comments

  1. ebradlee10 says:

    With both healthy, do you play Tribbet or Yaro?

    • I say Yaro. His passing was improving so much every week it was becoming an asset to our attack.

      And since our defense is stil young and growing I want Yaro to be part of that as a starter and not on the bench.

    • Yaro has impressive speed, and an amazing passing range (though Tribbett is pretty good with the ball himself). He also presumably has the higher ceiling, given his pedigree (though that is scarcely definitive). I guess I would start Yaro, but it’s a close call, and I am thrilled to have Tribbett on the bench.

      Also, mad props to the organization for finding outstanding center backs from nowhere two years in a row!

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Two years out of three, said the quibbling picky pedant, since you said “found”!
        .
        They found Richie Marquez in John Hackworth’s last season. Marquez played every minute of the Harrisburg City Islanders’ season that year, a decision for which Hack deserves full credit. We owe Bill Becher, the Harrisburg coach, a good deal for Richie’s development.

    • What a great question to have. Remember when we were asking who to start at CB because we didn’t really have any actual CBs?

      • now that you mention it this seems like a good time to mention that former union centerback aaron wheeler will be back at talen on june 15th but he’ll be playing as, get this, a forward!

      • a goal scoring fiend. 3 in 2 matches; 2 against Bethlehem

    • I would go with a default of Yaro. His vision and passing is better, and he is much faster. Given how our outside backs get forward, recovery speed in very important in our CBs. If we face a team that has less speed and more height, maybe play Tribbet. There were definitely times last night where Tribbet’s lack of speed scared me a little. His positioning has been good to make up for it, but still makes me nervous.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      My instincts would be Yaro, unless the opposition striker is 6’8″ the way that Czech striker was a few cycles ago. But Tribbett is certainly a good option to have, for either Yaro or Marquez.
      .
      And look out for Auston Trusty, the Academy LCB who has started six for the Steel. He is committed to UNC Chapel Hill, but I would expect the Union have used one of their three “Hands Off” signs on him. [By the USL roster rules, as I read them, you can protect only three of your Academy players playing “up” with your USL affiliate from “poaching” (in the sense of hunting not cooking of course) by other organizations.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      IMO this isnt even a question. The CB you used a first round draft pick on plays now that he’s show you he can. Next.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Tribbett. But they’re both looking really good. Nice choice to have to make.

    • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

      SQUAD ROTATION — we need everyone out there. Start Yaro 60% of the time, Tribbett 60% and Richie 80%.

  2. I guess Earnie has put the kibosh on my idea of a Philadelphia Union Marching Band.

  3. Re: The Jason Davis piece. I think he’s partially right. I was talking with a friend this morning about the Union’s place right now and I feel like they’re a B team playing in a C division (grading on a curve of MLS). I think the West right now is a B division with only the Rapids and Dallas playing like A teams, though it might be more accurate to call them A- or B+ teams. It’s not fair though to call the Union mediocre (again, on an MLS scale). They’re a good team that has taken advantage of weaker teams. I wonder, too… had they converted one or two of those draws into wins, would there be any doubt about the team’s quality regardless of the division? I don’t think so.

    • The Union tied the Rapid and Galaxy. 3rd best goal differential in the league. The top 3 teams in the west are without a doubt better than the east, but the bottoms are almost the same. If the Union win their next game they are 1 point behind Dallas with equal number of games played. So far the Union are right under the elite MLS teams. The national media just doesn’t want to believe it yet. And the team’s progression has been pointing up all season.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      My .02cents…Yes, Jason the east sucks by relative comparison – welcome to professional American sports where seldom both conferences are excellent ~ are you new, young or just not paying attention?
      .
      NFL NBA NHL tends to be this way across the board. No shit.
      .

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      we have no wins against western conference opponents; two losses (to the second place team and the ninth place team); and three draws (first place, fifth place and sixth place teams).
      .
      Two of the draws are positive in that we came from behind to tie; one, negative. One loss was just embarrassing; the other, not as badly so.
      .
      The “good” ties were both at home and on the road; the bad one was at home. Both losses were on the road.
      .
      We have already played four of the six western teams currently lying within the playoff qualification parameters in the West (remember the uneven nature of the MLS schedule in midseason).
      .
      The behavioral trend against the western conference is improving over time this season; it has to have improved as the Dallas game stank.

    • Buccistick says:

      Also, *parody*-ridden beautifully captures MLS as a whole. Particularly the scheduling, the officiating, the finance, …

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    Yo. Sunil in some hot water maybe.
    .
    Follow the story closely friends. Here’s hoping.
    .
    New president for all!

    • “Meet the new boss,
      Same as the old boss.”

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        Garber retires from commissioner to replace Sunil. Long live single entity.

        To soon…. el Pachyderm? “\_(‘~’)_/”

    • philpill says:

      Aaron Timms’ Guardian piece makes sense of the yawning gap in JK’s promise 5 years ago and where we stand today. His sharp tongue should appeal to those who wrote off JK before I did. I was satisfied and optimistic after Brazil and last Spring’s friendlies, but JK has proved since he is as wrong for his job as SG is for his. More importantly, the comparison with Australia supplies the roadmap for the next leadership to follow. Let’s get started after what promises to be an early exit from Copa.

      • I read the article as well and generally agree… but have to say… I think things may be turning for JK.
        .
        I believe, based on some of the play I’ve seen the last few friendlies, they get out of the group and if they wind up playing Brazil, to be honest, that game is wide open- as Brazil is unsteady and missing quality pieces… next thing you know you’re in the semis of a tournament on your soil and maybe you draw Mexico which would be classic.
        .
        If Klinsman plays this right, balances his lineup at Copa and truly begins a turn towards 2018 with a young, vibrant and CLEARLY more technical-smarter group of players– could be he is ‘On the turning the way.’
        .
        .
        Mind you none of this solves deep inherent systemic problems, but for this Copa tourney I believe we see a brand of game that shows we are moving in the ‘right direction’ and we have some youngish players ready to mantle up.

      • philpill says:

        Is the movement in that direction better talent? For JK to play a system (4-3-3) with the best at each position would be a big change from playing top talent out of position (poor Bedoya in tbat Brazil fiasco).

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    Ganso!

  6. James Lockerbie says:

    If Mr. Stewart keeps making comments like this in the press, I see him singing this song on his way to his car after the game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQXp36oef0k

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