Daily news roundups

Pontius, Rosenberry, Nogueira, and Barnetta honored, US disappoints in Copa opener, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

Chris Pontius was named MLS Player of the Week on Friday. CSN Philly notes this is the first time a Union player has been so honored since Jack McInerney back in 2013. Pontius also won the voting for MLS Goal of the Week, an honor Fabian Herbers was also nominated for.

Further honors cam the Union’s way with Pontius being joined by Keegan Rosenberry and Vincent Nogueira in being named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week, with Tranquillo Barnetta named to the bench. More at Philadelphia Union.

Andre Blake was between the posts for ten-men Jamaica’s 1-0 loss to Venezuela on Sunday, making a particularly spectacular save in the 70th minute. At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald talks to Blake about his performance and expectations for the tournament.

Pattison Ave has midseason Union awards.

Lots of Union love at Fansided, where Keegan Rosenberry is favored to win Rookie of the Year, Andre Blake is favored to win Goalkeeper of the Year, and the Union is favored to win the MLS Cup over LA Galaxy.

A report at Allentown Morning Call on the takeover of Talen Energy by New York City-based private investment firm Riverstone Holdings LLC, notes, “Talen spokesman Todd Martin said it’s too early to say definitely whether the Talen Energy name will remain after the transaction closes at the end of 2016,” adding, “Any name change could affect Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union.” The report continues, “Tim McDermott, chief business officer of the Philadelphia Union, said PPL and now Talen Energy have been a ‘great partner’ dating back to 2009, and the soccer franchise expects ‘that will be the case moving forward.'”

At Philly.com, Earnie Stewart and Union assistant coach Mike Sorber talk about playing in the 1995 Copa America, where the US finished in fourth place.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel fell 1-0 to NYRB II on Sunday in a game that started 30 minutes early because of threatening weather and was halted for one hour and 21 minutes late in the second half when that weather arrived. But, hey, Fred came on as a sub.

Bethlehem’s lineup was:

Samir Badr; Ryan Richter (C), Mickey Daly, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie (Nick Bibbs 21’); Bolu Akinyode, Derrick Jones; Jamie Luchini, Gabe Gissie (Raheem Taylor-Parkes 54’), Josh Heard; Cory Burke (Fred 78’)
Unused substitutes: C.J. Dos Santos, Joe DeZart, Lamine Conte

Bethlehem is now eleventh place in the Eastern Conference (13 points, 3-4-4). Recaps and reports at PSP, Bethlehem Steel FC, Allentown Morning Call, Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog, Brotherly GameUSLsoccer.comNYRB II, Once a Metro, and Empire of Soccer.

An announcement on the Bethlehem Steel website notes, “Due to change in kick off time for the Bethlehem Steel FC vs. New York Red Bulls II match, fans will be able to exchange their tickets for a later match in Steel FC’s 2016 USL Regular Season by calling 1-844-STEELFC on Monday, June 6.”

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph considers Bethlehem players who could be called up via short-term loan by the Union for US Open Cup play.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union Academy teams wrapped up the US Soccer Development Academy Atlantic Division season on Saturday and it was a mixed bag of results.

The U-17/18s (second place, 57 points, 17-3-6) started brightly with Emmanuel Perez tallying in the 8th minute before DC equalized in the 26th minute in what finished as a 11 draw. The team is now seeded at No. 8 in the playoff pool.

The U-15/16s (second place, 51 points, 15-5-6) were thumped 50 by DC. The team is now seeded at No. 12 in the playoff pool.

The U-13/14s completed the season with a 2-0 win over DC United with a brace from Michael McKeown (12′, 43′).

The YSC Academy has graduated its second class: “Of the 13 graduates, 12 will compete collegiately and one is pursuing a professional contract.”Congratulations to all of them.

Harrisburg City Islanders

A brace of goals from Bobby Warshaw saw Harrisburg come back from a two-goal deficit in North Carolina but Wilmington Hammerheads would find a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time for a 3-2 win on Saturday. Harrisburg is now in tenth place in the Eastern Conference (13 points, 4-7-1). Recaps and reports from USL.soccer.comPhilly Soccer News, Wilmington HammerheadsStar News Online, and WWAY.

PDL

A Zach Zandi brace saw Reading defeat Ocean City 2-0 on the road on Saturday. With the result, Reading (10 points, 3-0-1) is now in second place in the Mid Atlantic Division, Ocean City is in third place (9 points, 3-2-0). Recaps and reports at Reading Eagle, Ocean City Nor’easters, Press of Atlantic City, and Philly Soccer News.

Reading plays first place Baltimore Bohemians on the road on Friday. Ocean City plays NYRB U-23s away on Wednesday.

Lehigh Valley United Sonic drew 1-1 at home with the NYRB U-23 team. LVU, last in the Mid Atlantic Division (1 point, 0-3-1), hosts Jersey Express on Wednesday.

Local

At the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame website, a report on May’s’ annual awards banquet.

Cape May’s Rich Papperman has been named the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s High School Male Referee of the Year.

MLS

Swansea City have announced the takeover of the club by US investors Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, “subject to the approval of the Premier League.” Levien, you will recall, is part of DC United’s ownership group. More on the news at MLSsoccer.com and Reuters.

US

What was more disappointing, the toothless US performance in Friday’s 2-0 loss to Colombia in the opening game of the Copa America Centenario, or hearing Jurgen Klinsmann say “We were absolutely OK with the team performance” in what he described as “a totally even game”?

Recaps and reports from PSP, US Soccer, Copa America Centenario, CONCACAF, Philly.com (recap, report), East Bay TimesWashington Post, New York TimesNew York Daily News, The Guardian (recap, report), ESPN (recap, report, commentary), Fox Soccer (recap, analysis, commentary), SIMLSsoccer.com, Soccer America, ASN (recap, analysis, commentary), Goal.com (recap, analysis), SBIWorld Soccer Talk, Brothery Game, and the AP.

Player ratings at MLSsoccer.comCBS Sports, ASN, Soccer America, and Goal.com.

Ladie and gentlemen, Jermaine Jones.

Clint Dempsey said of Tuesday’s game against Costa Rica, who played to a 0-0 draw with Paraguay on Saturday, “It’s a must-win situation, backs against the wall. It’s going to be a difficult game. They know they got a result that puts them in position to get out of the group. And for us, it’s a must-win. So it’s going to be a difficult challenge.” More on Tuesday’s game at US Soccer, ESPNSI, and The Guardian.

Pulisic! Pulisic! Pulisic!

At MLSsoccer.com, a handy review of the rule changes approved by the IFAB in May that are being implemented for the first time at the Copa America.

The Guardian on why it is Mexico, and not the US, that will enjoy home field advantage during the Copa America Centenario.

Also at The Guardian, a look at American Outlaws’ growing pains.

USWNT

The USWNT defeated Japan 2-0 on Sunday in a friendly that was abandoned in the 76th minute due to due to lightning and heavy rain: “U.S. Soccer is awaiting final word from FIFA as to whether the match and all the statistics will count as official.” Julie Johnston and Alex Morgan scored for the US. Recaps and reports at ASN and Soccer America.

The team continues its preparations for the Summer Olympics on July 9 when it hosts South Africa at Soldier Field in Chicago.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled on Friday that the USWNT is bound by the terms of its 2005-12 collective bargaining agreement with US Soccer and therefore cannot go strike for higher wages and improved conditions. The ruling has no bearing on the federal wage discrimination complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission earlier this year. More at New York Times, Washington Post, USA TodayNPR, CNN Money, Soccer America, The Equalizer, Goal.com, Courthouse News ServiceReuters, and the AP. You can read the judge’s decision by clicking here.

After defeating Sweden 3-1 on Thursday, the US U-23 WNT defeated Norway 2-1 on Saturday at the four-team Nordic Cup, which is being staged in England. The US faces England in the final game of the tournament on Tuesday.

Elsewhere

The AP reports, “Ukraine’s intelligence agency SBU said on Monday it has thwarted a plot to attack the European Championship in France by arresting a Frenchman who wanted to cross from Ukraine into the European Union with an array of weaponry.” More at The Guardian.

Reuters reports,

FIFA president Gianni Infantino accused the man who masterminded reforms of soccer’s global body of “playground” behavior and told Swiss newspapers that his salary, still to be confirmed, would be less than 2 million Swiss francs ($2.05 million).

Infantino, elected three months ago to haul FIFA out of the worst graft scandal in its history, said his “enemies” wanted to make him look greedy after a newspaper leak said he had been angered by a suggested package.

Also from Reuters: “A battle between Adidas and Nike for dominance of the global soccer gear market is driving a steep rise in sponsorship payments to elite clubs – and cutting into the two manufacturers’ profits.”

25 Comments

  1. The Realist Brian says:

    Biggest issue I have with Dempsey up top is his lack of work rate pressuring the backs for Colombia. I get it he doesn’t like defending, but that is where we need to cohesively pressure the backs with Wood and Zardes making singular runs to pressure. Needs to be one movement with Midfield stepped up too.
    .
    Micheal Bradley is capable of playing bad games, and that one was one of his worst that I have seen in his career. His touch and short passing instincts were atrocious Friday. What is confounding is his lack of ability to move the ball to guys like Nagbe and Pulisic who have a good handle/touch. Is it a lack of confidence in his teammates or a lack of his own abilities? I don’t have the answer, but let the ball do the work my man.
    .
    Nagbe needs to start, Wood up top and Zardes should be a sub (he has a very bad touch, and he needs to continue to work with the Toca Touch Trainer).
    .
    Final piece, parents with young kids: get a couple of mini-balls and let your kids dribble in your house. I spoke with a dad yesterday at my son’s 5 year old game at LMSC, and his son is really into soccer but said he doesn’t have the back yard (too sloped) to play with him, and said he wasn’t very good as a player himself and he needed to put his son in more “soccer environments” so he can learn (Which is a good first step in my opinion). After reading Tom Byers Soccer Starts at Home and reading Mark Pulisic’s accounts of Christian’s development by working with his trapping and showing him ball skills from a very young age (his mom said he was two footed by the age of 3!!!) I am convinced we can change culturally by raising every kids skill level in the states. (By the way, I heard multiple parents yell kick the ball! Kick the ball! And I corrected them by saying trap and dribble; figure out a way to get by your defender. Educate your parent friends not to praise blind kicking). Make it fun and get them to dribble around furniture and trap balls you through to them. Put tape down on the floor in a square/circle and have them try to trap the ball in the square/circle. You will see how quickly this helps their game like the Colombians who could trap anything and give themselves time and space to keep the play alive. Critical to make our national team better. Good luck.

    • I agree about Dempsey, along with the fact that he flops at the slightest touch and doesn’t get calls because the refs know he does it. Wood should definitely be up top.
      Bradley definitely had a very poor game. Nagbe should definitely start, not sure who you start next to him. I really want Johnson in midfield, but I again don’t know who to put at LB.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Regarding Bradley, I think that Klinsmann’s “let the players on the field figure it out” style affects a player like him the most. He was a kid who is a son of a coach and also spent his youth watching Serie A so tactically, he’s very aware. As a #6, it’s essential that you know what your teammates movement & responsibilities are as well as being able to track the opposition. I’ve described it at times as being a traffic cop in a busy intersection. Things are happening all around you and you have to keep it all straight. Hence, playing this position in a team that rarely, if ever, has a consistent starting XI is a very difficult to do well.

      Your point on young kids just playing with the ball is spot on. This is the best way to develop your first touch as well as understanding how the ball reacts to different things (spin, velocity, bounce, etc.).

      • FINE…..
        .
        ….This is a fair assessment of Michael Bradley’s play as it pertains to the never ending interchange of players and roles around him.
        .
        I still tend to lean towards a dip in form as it relates to a dip in talent around him day in day out…though that Giovinco guy is pretty okay.
        .
        .
        Funny how we are discussing ball control… as that was ONE thing that stood out most to me in the game friday… the ball as carrion in the talons of columbian birds of prey.
        .
        It is hardwired into their DNA… the game they play EVERY single day… as though not to play— were not to eat.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Zardes’s heavy touches are especially tough to watch.

        Graham Hunter, the Spain based writer who was born in Scotland, has a great podcast called The Big Interview. In it, he talks to football people (former players & managers as well as current managers). Several times during interviews, several of his subjects (e.g. – Damien Duff, Peter Beardsley, Eddie Howe, etc.) have all talked about how valuable it was to them to just be playing with the ball when they were growing up. Most of the time, just kicking it against a wall and trapping it over and over for hours on end. There weren’t any coaches or parents there, they weren’t playing in a match or doing a drill. Just a kid with a ball, both getting to know each other.

      • I’m all for Podcast education. Well played. I will add it to my list. Thanks.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        You’re welcome. Hope that you enjoy it.

      • .
        One of my favorite youtube videos is of Diego Forlan in his back yard kicking a ball against a wall… just simple stuff… killer wall too- sectioned off with numbers and then two adjacent walls so he can receive on half turn. Cool stuff.
        .
        as evidenced by one of the greats — training is not practice.
        .
        If there was ONE thing I could impart on parents and kids who consider themselves serious about getting better it is this…training is not practice.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    No Brian Carroll on the Team of the Week?

  3. Old Soccer Coach says:

    After reading Matt Ralph’s intelligent speculating about possible Steel call-ups for the Union’s June 15th USOC 4th round game with the City Islanders, I would agree whole-heartedly with one point, but ask questions of two others.
    .
    With complete heartfelt enthusiasm do I agree with the idea of bringing up Ryan Richter at right back. while memories of his time with Union three coaches ago are hazy, he seems to have learned and improved a great deal. Offense starts from the back line, and Richter has consistently been such a catalyst for the Steel, more consistently so from the beginning than the clearly improving, learning Taylor Washington.
    .
    Bolu Akinyode and Derrick Jones have made vast improvement as the Steel’s primary double pivot duo as the #6 and the #8 in front of the steel center backs, and recognizing them for it is highly appropriate as Matt Ralph does. Akinyode is a ball winner, but passes with one foot only, his left. Derrick Jones first appeared in print two preseasons ago as a central defender. He has size, speed, strength and some skills with the ball at his feet, no question, but he is not a creative force for the Steel beyond basic give-and-go one-two’s. Furthermore, Warren Creavalle is a better relief for BC, and we have heard nothing recent in any detail about Mo Edu’s progress towards the field. The need at defensive center mid is less than right back, and the quality on offer is less certain.
    .
    Finally, If Matt Ralph is President and CEO of the “Preserve CJ!!” Society, I am one of his First Executive Vice Presidents. I have a sneaking suspicion however, that the Steel back-up to Fabian Herbers may not be Seku Conneh but instead Corey Burke. First, I do not know when Conneh is due stateside from his international duty with the Liberian national team. Second, in two appearances as a substitute for the Liberian gaining game fitness and in yesterday’s start covering the absence, Corey Burke has provided surges of offensive production and completeness of a striker’s skill repertoire that explains why he was in the Jamaican national team’s camp during preseason where he got hurt. Were it my call from what I’ve seen, I would choose Burke over Conneh. Of course, in offering that opinion, I should say that I have not reviewed the tape of the game the Steel played in Lancaster against Harrisburg to compare how each did against the once and future opponent.
    .
    [Full disclosure: Burke has been my candidate for a salary-cap compatible, bench reinforcing striker since seeing those substitute appearances. I just haven’t figured out how Chris Albright and Earnie Stewart would manipulate the salary cap to make the extra salary fit. They have two slots open on the roster itself, but need to have some type of allocation money above and beyond that already in use in order to make it work, is my best guess.]

    • John Ling says:

      Good stuff, Coach. Of course, one potential factor that limits both Burke and Conneh is the limited number of international slots available for USOC matches. Current Union internationals* are Alberg, Ayuk, Barnetta, Anderson, Ilsinho, Herbers, Noguiera, and Yaro.
      .
      (* I’m guessing Blake has a green card? I don’t remember that news, but I also sometimes can’t remember why I entered a room to get something, so…)
      .
      They can only roster 5 for USOC matches. My hunch would be Alberg starts in place of Barnetta, to give our Swiss engine a bit of a longer break – and also to get Alberg some minutes. Much like you and Mr. Ralph, I suspect Herbers starts in place of Sapong. They’ll likely want one of Yaro or Anderson, I would think, at least to serve as a backup at CB. (What would be an alternative, if they went with Marquez and Tribbett and one of them was injured in the match?)
      .
      So that’s three of your five spots (Alberg, Herbers, backup CB). Two spots remain. For this particular match, I’d prefer if we could replace Noguiera. He’s coming off an injury, and they have a league match three days later. I think for the remaining two spots, pick two of Ilsinho, Ayuk, Conneh, and Burke. (Ayuk is still listed on the Union roster, whereas Lahoud has a status of “loaned out” which leads me to believe Ayuk could play while Lahoud couldn’t.)
      .
      So, if my speculation is right you could start Ilsinho and Ayuk on the wings and give both Pontius and Le Toux a break (while still having both on the bench if necessary). That would rule out rewarding either Burke or Conneh, though.
      .
      A lineup could look like:
      .
      Goalie (probably McCarthy, but I could see Jones); Richter, Tribbett, Anderson, Gaddis; Creavalle, Alberg; Ayuk, Ilsinho, Fernandes/Restrepo; Herbers. Bench: Goalie, Marquez, Rosenberry/Fabinho (pick one), Le Toux, Pontius, Fernandes/Restrepo, Carroll (see below for reasoning).
      .
      That allows you to get some minutes for Anderson, and just as importantly get some rest for Marquez. It also gives Le Toux and Pontius a bit longer breather, and allows Ilsinho to play his way back into shape a bit. Sitting your usual wingers allows for some game time for Restrepo or Fernandes, and also allows for Ayuk – a fan favorite – to get some first-team minutes. (Alternately, drop Ayuk and put the other of Restrepo/Fernandes in his place, and put Conneh/Burke on the bench.) It trots Alberg out in a spot he’s not quite used to, but could make for an interesting experiment. If things go to hell in a handbasket in the middle, you can sub in Carroll.
      .
      I think it’ll be important for Curtin to get some rotation for USOC matches. At least the early rounds such as this one. Especially since the team comes into more schedule congestion, with four matches in 11 days starting with the USOC match. Getting bench players some minutes here is a good call…

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I believe Noguiera received a green card last off season. If so, he won’t count against the international spots and it would be good to get him 90 minutes and give Carroll a complete rest.
        .
        Lahoud should no longer be listed as loaned since he was sold a couple of weeks ago.

      • John Ling says:

        Thanks. I had thought Lahoud was loaned to Miami. (Mostly because I got the information 2nd hand from my wife. Yeah, that’s the ticket. I’ll blame her…)
        .
        And yes, it looks like Noggy has his green card. http://www.brotherlygame.com/2016/2/24/11108132/vincent-nogueira-gets-his-green-card Got it in February. Interesting that the Union’s roster page still lists him as an international…

      • Union have 7 internationals:
        Conceicao, Yaro, Alberg, Ayuk, Barnetta, Ilsinho, and Herbers
        .
        Nogueria and Blake got their green cards last year.
        .
        I imagine that Yaro and Herbers are potential candidates to get green cards as well considering they have been in the States for a few years already when attending college. Would be a good question for someone from the media to ask at the next press conference

      • Also, Yaro is still recovering from that shoulder injury so I doubt he will be made available for this first Cup match.
        .
        I believe they were saying they expected him to be out for 2 weeks?

    • We did just sell Lahoud. If taylor twellman is to be believed, that’s 200k in General allocation money, plus his salary of 115k is now definitely off the book. It’s not clear how much of it we were responsible for while he was on loan, but since we were able to recall him to sell him on it’s likely that most or all of it was still our responsibility. So we’ve got room to maneuver.

  4. How about these rumors?!?! Gold Cup and Copa America to merge into one competition!
    .
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2016/06/06/report-copa-america-gold-cup-merge

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