Daily news roundups

Copa play at Linc concludes tonight, Union readying for Hburg, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Copa America in Philly

Philadelphia’s series of Copa America Centenario group games at the Linc concludes tonight with Chile vs. Panama (FS1, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports Go, UniMás, UDN). Group play concludes at 10 pm with Argentina vs Bolivia (FS1, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports Go, UniMás, UDN.)

Attendance at the first two games at the Linc was 23,002 for Uruguay-Venezuela and 51,041 for USA-Paraguay, so it will be interesting to see what attendance is like for tonight’s game, which will determine whether Chile or Panama finishes second in Group D and face Mexico in the quarterfinals. In related attendance news, the AP reports,

When the United States hosted the World Cup in 1994, it set records with 3.6 million spectators and an average of almost 69,000. The first 20 Copa America matches through Sunday averaged 40,429.

“It’s not a World Cup, so we were not expecting to sell out every game,” U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said. “Our baseline projection going into the tournament had been 30,000 per game.”…

Last year’s Copa America in Chile averaged 25,223, according to figures in match reports. The 2011 tournament in Argentina averaged just under 34,000 and the 2007 edition in Venezuela about 40,000.

Philadelphia Union

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has a transcript of Jim Curtin’s comments to reporters after Monday’s training session. Some highlights:

  • The Union scrimmaged reserve players from the USMNT on Sunday at the team’s training facility. “We had a good game with them, just so that our first game back isn’t a shock to the system because there has been a bit of downtime.”
  • Andre Blake will be back with the Union from the Jamaican national team in time for the US Open Cup fourth round game against Harrisburg City Islanders on Wednesday. Curtin said he will make a decision about whether Blake plays on Wednesday after the goalkeeper is back with the team.
  • Curtin said the team remains focused on winning the US Open Cup: “We’re going to treat it again as if there are two major trophies you can win. I say it all the time; there’s the MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup. We’re going to try to win both of them. It’s different this year since we’re towards the top of the league. But it’s still an important competition and one that we’ll take seriously.”
  • Curtin said the team is taking a conservative approach as Josh Yaro continue to recover from his shoulder injury. “I think if you told me where was a playoff game tomorrow, would Josh be able to play? I’d say he would. We’re being a little cautious with the shoulder. It’s ‘uncomfortable’ for him, is probably the best way to put it. It will be (a few days) before he does exercises that involve contact. Then we’ll have him back as a full participant in training.”
  • With the exception of Yaro and Maurice Edu, the team is healthy.
  • Curtin said Edu’s progress is good: “[H]e’s moving around better. He’s out striking the ball, you know, a 40- to 50-yard ball on the ground which is important just for his confidence, to be able to know that he can do it and that the leg will hold up. He’s at that stage of things right now. You’re seeing more smiling from him just because he’s back on the ball…He’s already itching, asking if he can get in on possession (drills) but we’re sticking to the advice of the medical staff with that. He’s still a little bit away, but progressing nicely.”

More on Curtin’s remarks at Delco Times and Philly.com.

PSP’s Peter Andrews was in Santa Clara for last night’s Jamaica-Uruguay game, lost 3-0 by Jamaica, and spoke to Andre Blake after. Here’s a transcript of Blake’s comments:

On the disappointing finish in the tournament

Definitely, it’s not a good feeling, one that I’ll probably not want to have again in my lifetime. But it’s a learning process, and I’ve definitely gained a lot more experience. You know, as a young goalkeeper the more games you play the better it is for you, and playing against Mexico or Uruguay, it was big for me. So, going back to Philly now, I’ll just take this and move on.

Has he spoken with Jim Curtin about playing in the US Open Cup on Wednesday?

No, we haven’t spoken. (laughs)

What he’ll take back to Philly

Yeah, I’ll get back and I’ll use whatever I’ve learned here, which— this was a very high level, and I’ve learned that, you make a mistake, good teams are gonna let you pay. But for me, I’ve learned a few stuff also that hopefully I can take back and get back to winning ways with the Union and stay on top of the table.

One moment that he’ll remember

Well, maybe that header save in that Venezuela game. (laughs)

At the Union website, a review of the match history between the Union and the City Islanders.

Section 215 and Philly Sports Nation have more background on the US Open Cup.

Vote CJ Sapong for the MLS All-Star Game!

At the Union website, Matt Bodiford notes the contributions of the Union’s young core. Nine players under the age of 25 have gotten minutes this season, three of whom — Keegan Rosenberry, Josh Yaro, and Fabian Herbers — are rookie draft picks.

At MLSsoccer.com, the Union’s rise in the standings to first place in the Eastern Conference is among the big storylines in a post brushing up on the season so far.

MLS Multiplex includes the Union among its picks of Eastern Conference teams that will earn a playoff spot.

Bethlehem Steel FC

We noted in Monday’s roundup that Eric Ayuk scored the first goal in Cameroon’s 3-0 win over Zimbabwe in U-20 Africa Cup of Nations play on Sunday. Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog has more on the game.

At the Union website, a profile piece on Josh Heard, who made his first start for Bethlehem in the recent 1-0 loss to NYRB II.

At the Bethlehem website, a photo gallery of last Friday’s 1-0 win over Charlotte Independence.

Philadelphia Union Academy

At the Union website, an interesting read on how the YSC Academy and Union Academy are working to help develop its students potential not just as soccer players but as people. Academy director Tommy Wilson says, “We create and develop top-class individuals alongside top-class players. The culture hits you right between the eyes when you walk through those doors.” U-18 head coach Chris Brewer explains, “They have the desire to be a part of the culture to begin with. The way they behave is important because they are not only representing themselves, but they’re representing their club and their city…This is information we have given to the players, and this is information the players have taken to heart. If you’re excellent as a soccer player, and not great as a person, then we (the coaches) have not done our jobs to the fullest of our potential.”

Wilson also participates in a discussion at the BBC on the state is youth development in Scotland.

Harrisburg City Islanders

York Daily Record has a piece on Dallastown graduate, and former Union Academy and Reading United defender, Shane Campbell, who now plays for Harrisburg. Campbell says of facing the Union in the US Open Cup on Wednesday, “It will be a cool little homecoming for me. A little different being on the other side.”

The City Islanders have re-launched their official mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

PDL

At the Reading United website, a report on the friendly against Bethlehem Steel that took place on Sunday as part of Reading’s Philadelphia Union Festival. Penn Images has a photo gallery of the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

At the PDL website, a profile piece on Ocean City Nor’easters.

Local

West Chester United scrimmaged with the Chilean national team on Saturday night at UPenn. Head coach Blaise Santangelo told PSP: “It was great, they made us play with their goalie and two of their field players. In the end I think it was 4 to 0. Only played 60 minutes but it was fun and the guys thought it was a lifetime event!” West Chester United will scrimmage again with the Chilean team on Wednesday.

Five Penn State players are among the 23 players called up for the US U-20 WNT camp in North Carolina, June 15-23, ahead of the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea, Nov. 13-Dec. 3.

MLS 

Orlando City has issued an open letter in the aftermath of the despicable attack in Orlando. While extending its condolences to all who were affected by the cowardly attack, and saying it will use only black and white images on its social media platforms, the team says it hopes Saturday’s home game against San Jose can serve in some way to bring the community together: “Sports should be a unifier and a place where people can come together to celebrate all that is good in life.”

Four MLS teams — Colorado, Salt Lake, Portland, and San Jose — begin US Open Cup play tonight. Colorado and Salt Lake are playing USL teams, while Portland and San Jose are facing each other. The rest of the league begins US Open Cup play on Wednesday.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle reports the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA), the union representing referees, has filed a complaint with National Labor Relations Board arguing the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), the body that employs and assigns referees for MLS, NASL, and USL games, of engaging in unfair labor practices. Namely, PSRA says PRO “‘engaged in unlawful direct dealing’ whereby PRO negotiated directly with a union-represented referee for the purpose of paying them more than the amount stipulated by the collective bargaining agreement signed by PRO and the PSRA back in 2014.” The referee in question is Alan Kelly. An arbitrator is expected to issue a decision in early August.

US

At Fox Soccer, Ryan Rosenblatt considers what roster changes Jurgen Klinsmann might make for the Copa America quarterfinal game against Ecuador on Thursday given that Deandre Yedlin is suspended and seven players are carrying yellow cards. Yellow cards do not get reset until after the quarterfinals so any player with a card now — the list includes Michael Orozco, John Brooks, Fabian Johnson, Michael Bradley, Bobby Wood, Jermaine Jones, and Alejandro Bedoya — who earns another on Thursday would be suspended for the semifinal if the US should win. More at MLSsoccer.com.

Whatever lineup he puts out, Klinsmann says fan support will be crucial: “This is a knockout game and knockout games in big soccer tournaments like a World Cup, like a Copa America are nerve-wracking games. It’s down to your belief and it’s down to your willingness to suffer and to go, really, through pain. This is what the players will go through on Thursday night. So if the fans are behind us and help them to go through that pain, then we’re going to make it.”

Vice Sports hails Alejandro Bedoya.

One more time: John Brooks.

Elsewhere

The Guardian reports, “Russia have been handed a suspended disqualification from Euro 2016 over crowd disturbances at the game against England in Marseille on Saturday, UEFA has announced…UEFA’s control, ethics and disciplinary body met in Paris to consider the case and imposed the suspended disqualification and a €150,000 financial penalty. However, any further incidents of crowd disturbance inside grounds at Russia’s matches during the European Championship will see the suspension lifted and the country thrown out of Euro 2016.” More at Reuters and ESPN.

Vice Sports notes video that has appeared on YouTube captured by one hooligan wearing a GoPro camera of Russia supporters rampaging through the streets of Marseille attacking England supporters, damaging property, and generally acting like thuggish a-holes.

From Reuters:

Ultra-nationalist and schooled in their country’s historical grievances, Russian soccer hooligans see themselves as fighting the Kremlin’s geopolitical battles in miniature when they clash with foreign fans at the Euro 2016 tournament.

“Our fans in Marseille are a copy of Russian foreign policy,” Professor Sergei Medvedev from Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, wrote on social media after Saturday’s clashes around the England-Russia game in the French city of Marseille.

Describing the mentality of the Russian hooligans, he said: “‘We won’t win the championship but let’s at least put on a brave face, beat some people up, and have the whole world talking about us’.”

In related news, Reuters reports French prime minister Manuel Valls “said on Tuesday some football fans will be deported from France after violent clashes marred the start of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, and a group of Russian fans was detained near Cannes on the French Riviera.” More at The Guardian and Reuters.

French officials have imposed a two-day ban restricting the sale of alcohol in Lens ahead of Thursday’s England-Wales game. 2,400 security forces will be deployed.

ESPN reports, “Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that he has witnessed draws for European football competitions that were rigged using the “hot and cold balls” method. Blatter claims no draw for any FIFA event has ever been fixed in his 18 years as the head of the world’s governing body, but the same cannot be said about European competitions.” More at The Guardian and Vice Sports.

Also from Reuters: “Auditing firm KPMG has stepped down as auditor of FIFA, the global soccer body said on Monday, saying it was welcoming the opportunity to work with a new audit firm. KPMG confirmed it had resigned, but declined further comment. It said in September it had launched an internal review of its Swiss business over audits of FIFA’s financial record keeping.” Hmmmm.

13 Comments

  1. The Copa tickets are too damn expensive. I feel very privileged to be able to afford them, but there is no question that it was a major miscalculation on the part of FIFA/Conmebol/Concacaf/USSoccer whatever. The prices should be 70% cheaper, they’d have a full Linc, they’d make even more money on beer and parking, and everyone would have a better time.

    • Spot On. Really disappointing to me, so much so it affected how well I was able to enjoy the Uruguay game cause I was in typical fashion stewing.
      .
      As an example… charge the 200 section prices for the middle ring of Linc, sell that out! —- then make the upper bowl nominal… this is easy stuff sir and I agree, I hope to God US Soccer figures this out if we are going to engage in mass Americas tournaments, because the disconnect at the stadium was unnecessary even for the US game with 50,000 people.
      .
      US Soccer can have their numbers— which display a pretty well attended Copa but I’m not taking the sleight of hand… especially considering there are 300 million people here which when compared to 17 million Chileans actually says…. DUHHHHHHHH.

    • Fwiw, the higher prices are so U.S. Soccer can actually reclaim some revenue. They only see parts of the ticket revenue, but had to pay for things throughout the tournament, while CoNCACAF and Conmebol receive the majority of the revenue from ads, sponsorships and tv deals. So, yes the prices are too high and yes it has affected attendance, but to be fair I don’t know how much of a draw Panama-Bolivia, Costa Rica-Paraguay or Peru-Ecuador would normally be anyway. I paid $58 for an upper level individual ticket, which I felt was reasonable for a USMNT crucial tournament match, but for comparison’s sake, I sold 2 Sixers-Warriors tickets at the Wells Fargo Center for $85 each. I get Steph Curry, but people will overpay for tickets, which is why the prices keep going up.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        And that’s why I didn’t go even though I could have afforded it…I don’t want to see ticket prices going up. Compare the upper level at the Linc with anywhere in the Wells Fargo Center and you realize how much better it is to watch a game at the latter (or at Talen Energy Stadium.
        .
        They give the comparison with the previous Copas but don’t say how that compares to capacity. If 30K is 95% of capacity, that implies a better draw than 46K at 60% of capacity.

      • so, if I understand your argument, USSoccer only gets a fixed amount from each ticket, and zero from concessions, and zero from parking…my argument was based on them getting a percentage cut from all of the above, but I don’t know the arrangement

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Does anyone have an idea how much did tickets cost last year in Chile? Or the year before? Just curious. While I do agree they were expensive, and I do feel damn lucky to be able to afford to have gone to the US game… I am just wondering what they cost in South America, compared to here.

  2. Message to Jim Curtin… I hope you are watching the Italian National Team. If you like defense, they are masters as evidenced yesterday.
    .
    Memo to Jurgen Klinsmann…if Mexico is willing to start and sub 20 year olds….. umm why not Nagbe who by similar standards is in his footballing prime. This This This need to be addressed. By the time a Mexican player is 24 they have been in the cauldron up and down Jacob’s Ladder so many times they have callouses… but hey, nothing says moving forward like playing a 26 year old and a 17 year old in a 2-0 hole to Colombia and then not one more minute again.
    .
    Happy happy everything in the world is happy happy with our national team… I’m smiling… I swear.

  3. The Realist Brian says:

    Yes, the blew it with the pricing, and I have to believe they know it. I know plenty of casual fans that didn’t go because of the prices, and I believe it would have been a sell-out if it was more moderately priced. Screw the greedy federations or whoever set those prices.

  4. I personally chose not to attend due to the prices even though I could have swung it. When 2 tickets cost upwards of what I pay for season tickets plus parking to the Union its hard to justify that to watch a mediocre at best national team game.
    During the Gold Cup last year we sat in the equivalent of the 200 section at the linc in Baltimore at M&T stadium for less than $100. I just can’t fathom how watching them play Paraguay is worth more than 2x that.
    Also I feel like this tournament has prolonged our overall misery due to Jurgen obviously sticking around. This team has been neither impressive in attack or defense sans Brooks and shows no signs of improvement in a technical sense at all. Great we beat Costa Rica at home and hooray we survived that Paraguay match but do any of us have any real confidence playing Ecuador? I’m excited to watch the game because hey how often do we get knockout round football but I’ll be shocked if I actually enjoy the quality of play from the US in the game.
    Progress is progress though I suppose.

  5. Scott of Nazareth says:

    Early last week I was shocked at first that there were still tickets available for the US-Paraguay game and looked into taking the family down. Then I saw the cheapest ticket was $60.

    Family of 4, gas, tolls, parking, food, plus 2.5 hours travel back and forth and it was a no brainer to sit on my couch with a beer in hand and enjoy the game on TV.

  6. My reply to sitting on the couch with a beer in hand is fantastic but made you & YOUR KIDS miss being part of 50,000 plus fans cheering USA USA USA !!! Once again sorry you missed the first hand experience, it was UN-COMPARABLE, and does not come around often in our life time (do the math),myself I have only seen the USMNT 4 times, but I truly appreciate the costs involved being excessive, I bought the 3 game and then sold off the other two games and had upper level on the 50 yd line for a FANTASTIC experience…basically affordable… KEEP ON WINNING BOYS… USA USA USA USA USA !!!

    • Excellent scene down there. Dead on. Maybe one or two chances of that magnitude in a lifetime…..50,000 literally willed US across the 96th minute.
      .
      US Soccer screwed the pooch on the price point, but the experience for my kids leveled it out… hell taking your family to a lousy movie that makes you dizzy with cinematography runs a family of four over a dime… It’s all relative.
      .
      It wasn’t pretty, seldom is– I’m the first to admit… but it mattered and they won.

  7. John Osborn says:

    I hope Alan Kelly isn’t penalized too harshly. I think he’s one of the better MLS refs.

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