Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin’s presser, US faces Argentina tonight, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference took place on Monday (complete transcript here at PSP). Here are some highlights:

  • Curtin admitted the team’s depth in the midfield is thinner now with the unexpected departure of Vincent Nogueira. While the team has options in Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle, as well as with dropping Tranquillo Barnetta deeper and even Leo Fernandes, Curtin said “we will also actively pursue players in that position.”
  • Curtin said the team will have to adjust now that Nogueira is gone but there will not be a “a drastic formational change”: “We’re not going to completely change what’s gotten us here, we’re not going to all the sudden play 3-5-2 or anything like that to just tweak for one spot.”
  • Curtin said CJ Sapong is progressing well from his ankle injury. Whether he returns to play against Chicago on Wednesday, or against Vancouver on Saturday, “is still to be determined.”
  • Josh Yaro has returned to full training: “He is a hundred percent in on training now and will feature in Wednesday’s and Saturday’s games, as well.”
  • Warren Creavalle stopped training earlier due to “a little discomfort in his abdomen/groin area,” but Curtin said, “I don’t think it’s anything major.”

More from the press conference at Philly.com, Delco Times, SBI, and Philadelphia Union.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George writes on the spark Roland Alberg has provided the team over the past week, which, looking ahead, is all the more important given the unexpected departure of Vincent Nogueira.

Also at Delco Times, De George on Fabian Herbers getting starts as CJ Sapong recovers from an ankle injury. Herbers said on Monday, “It’s good for me to have my first start. It brings a lot of confidence…I’m glad to be the one up top. I can play it and be strong up top. I try to draw fouls and make the runs in behind, so I think I can help the team.”

Power rankings! At Soccer America, the Union drop one spot to No. 3: “Head coach Jim Curtin held up his hand and took the blame for his team not being prepared at Yankee Stadium.”

An update on fan voting for the All-Star Game shows Andre Blake is the leading vote getter among goalkeepers and is on the provisional Fan XI. Keegan Rosenberry is No. 4 among defenders behind Brek Shea, Laurent Ciman, and Ashley Cole, while CJ Sapong is No. 5 among forwards behind Sebastian Giovinco, Didier Drogba, David Villa, and Chris Wondolowski. Only the top three defenders in the fan vote, and the top three forwards, make the Fan XI so vote Rosenberry and Sapong now.

Previews for Wednesday’s home game against Chicago at Philadelphia Union (previewknow your opponent) and MLSsoccer.com.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George points to the Union’s upcoming stretch of five home games over the next six games (including the US Open Cup): “It appears to be a stretch of the season where the Union can really assert themselves as a top team in the East and go a long way toward accumulating the points needed to achieve their primary goal, ending a four-year playoff drought.” De George notes after July, “the Union have just five home games the rest of the season, through August, September and October.”

In the latest Inside Doop at CSN Philly, Dave Zeitlin wonders if pressure will be on Maurice Edu will feel pressure in his return from injury now that Vincent Nogueira is gone.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead analyzes the Union’s loss to NYCFC and also has player grades.

Philly Sports Network says goodbye to Vincent Nogueira.

US

The US faces Lionel Messi and Argentina in the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario tonight in Houston (9 pm: FS1, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports Go, UniMás).

Needless to say, Argentina are the favorites. But that isn’t stopping Jurgen Klinsmann from doing what he perhaps does best, dreaming big to motivate instill belief within his squad. Said Klinsmann, “There is no reason at all why we can’t win Copa America. Dream big. Why not?”

Klinsmann added, “All I will tell them is go at them; be courageous, believe you can do it, absolutely. Every team is beatable in the world. If you understand that moment right now, then do it. Go for it.”

Michael Bradley said, “To play at the biggest games when everything is one the line is what we all want. To play in the Semifinal of Copa America on our home soil against a big team like Argentina is an incredible opportunity.”

So far as facing Lionel Messi goes, Bradley said, “I think you guys are probably worrying more about Messi than we are. He’s a very good player – again, that’s probably understating it, but it’s still a soccer game. It’s still 11 of their guys against 11 of our guys. Our mentality has to be that we’re going to make the game as hard as possible and have the mentality and the commitment to do it over and over and over again for 90 minutes…For us, again, it’s a game. It’s a semifinal, against Argentina, 11 of them against 11 of us. There’s a bunch of very good players on their team. We have a few good players as well. Our mentality, again, is sure, on paper they’re the team that everybody thinks is going to win. No problem. But ultimately when that whistle blows, it’s still 90 minutes of competition.”

At Yahoo Sports, Leander Schaerlaeckens on the US team’s belief in itself: “Most of all, they have a adopted the mindset of a team that still may not be able to compete with the very best technically, but no longer doubts that it can consistently get the results against them all the same.”

At USA Today, Martin Rogers writes, “The U.S. soccer team has built its summer revival on a siege mentality, an in-house idea that the world is against them. The concept is contrived to the point of being laughable, but nevertheless seems to be reaping rewards…Before facing the challenge of Argentina superstar Lionel Messi and his cohorts, Klinsmann has manufactured a scenario in which he has gotten his troops believing they are the victims of unfair criticism and judgment from the news media and the American sporting public…But, hey, whatever it takes. No matter the means, the way Klinsmann has lit a fire in the camp to set up Tuesday’s date with destiny is mightily impressive.”

Previews at PSPNew York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington PostLos Angeles TimesNJ.comThe Guardian, Reuters, MLSsoccer.comESPN, Fox Soccer, SI (previewUSAArgentina), Soccer AmericaASN, Goal.com (1, 2Pro Soccer Talk, NESN, and Brotherly Game.

At Yahoo Sports, Shahan Ahmed on why tonight’s game is “the biggest, most important match in the history of the U.S. men’s national team program. Maybe in American soccer, period.”

Union sporting director Earnie Stewart, who was on the US team that defeated Argentina in the 1995 Copa America and also in a friendly in 1999, talks about the US team in the Copa America Centenario and their chances tonight:

MLSsoccer.com recalls previous US encounters against Messi and Argentina.

Argentina defender Ramiro Funes Mori grew up in Texas. I did not know that.

Want to watch tonight’s game in a movie theater? Click here for a listing of theaters showing the game, including Riverview on Delaware Avenue.

From Soccer America: “The USA-Ecuador game, broadcast the same night as Game 6 of the NBA Finals, averaged a combined 5,632,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1 and UniMas (simulcast on UDN), making it the most-watched U.S. match at the Copa Centenario.”

Michael Bradley has donated the rainbow captain’s armband and jersey he wore in the quarterfinal win over Ecuador for an online charity auction in support of the OneOrlando Fund and Equality Florida, “two organizations providing financial resources to victims and families impacted by the Pulse nightclub mass shooting earlier this month.” The auction runs through June 24 and you can place a bid by clicking here.

Fail.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog notes a recent decline in the number of Union players on loan to Bethlehem and wonders if this signals “a major policy shift.”

Philadelphia Union Academy

At the USSDA showcase in Frisco, the Union U-14s were defeated 21 by Sockers FC of Illinois. Nicholas Blacklock scored in the 17th minute to give the Union the lead, but Sockers struck back with goals in the 40th and 55th minutes. Today at 6:30, the team faces their counterparts from Chicago Fire. The Union U-16s and U-18s begin play in the USSDA playoffs in Frisco on June 22.

At the Union website, Sam Horbal reports on the Union U-13s and U-15s run in the National Premier Leagues Regional Finals in Glastonbury, Connecticut, over the weekend. The U-13s defeated Bethesda-Olney to reach the finals, where they faced Baltimore Armour defeating them 3-0 to claim the NPL Northeast Region championship and a spot in the Nationals in Aurora, Colo., July 14-18.

The U-15s bested Players Development Academy on penalty kicks in the semifinals and then faced Oakwood in the finals, losing in extra time.

City Islanders FC

City Islanders host FC Montreal tonight at 7 pm at FNB Field in Harrisburg (YouTube). At the City Islanders website, a preview.

PDL

In the power rankings at the PDL website of the top six teams in the Eastern Conference, Reading United remains at No. 1. Reading hosts Lehigh Valley United on Wednesday at 7 pm and then hosts Ocean City on Saturday, also at 7 pm.

Ocean City Nor’easters are on the road tonight to face Evergreen FC. Preview at the Ocean City website.

MLS

Columbus have re-signed midfielder Dilly Duka “after acquiring his Right of First Refusal from the Montreal Impact.” In return, Montreal received General Allocation Money, Targeted Allocation Money and Columbus’ second round SuperDraft pick in 2017.

Elsewhere

The Guardian on why some Croatia fans are actively working to sabotage their national team and the Croatian Football Federation.

Reuters report, “French police re-arrested Russian soccer fan leader Alexander Shprygin in the southwestern city of Toulouse on Monday, two days after deporting him in connection with violence that marred the beginning of the Euro 2016 tournament.” More from the AP.

The AP reports, “A total of 557 ‘violent supporters’ have been arrested so far at the European Championship, France’s interior minister said Monday.”

26 Comments

  1. I swear some mornings I’m itching for this news roundup so hard I feel like a junkie waiting for my methadone clinic to open

  2. i love argentina. i rode the 2014 cup wave hard. but even i know how important this is for club and country. it’s all RED white and blue tonight. let the better team win. and to contradict Mr. Bradley, it’s only 11 v 11 if you have discipline (looking at you, DeAndre) AND you better have more in you than 90 minutes. if you plan on winning this match, it might come down to kicks.
    regardless, i’m happy for both the potential final and 3rd place matchups. this will be fun.
    no competing sports distractions tonight. enjoy, everyone

  3. I dropped this on the game preview but I’m going to drop it here again in case anyone is on the fence about staying up to watch the game…
    .
    During training yesterday one team consisted of: Guzan, Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Johnson; Zusi, Beckerman, Bradley; Pulisic, Dempsey, Zardes

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    People are saying tonight’s game is the most important in USMNT history. It’s not. In the most important one to date, they lost a 2-0 lead to Brazil in South Africa in 2009. Let’s compare the two. That one was a final, this is a semifinal. That one involved surviving a group with Italy, Brazil, and Egypt. This one took surviving a group with Colombia, Costa Rica, and Paraguay. To get to the pivotal game, that one involved beating #1 ranked Spain at a neutral site. This one involved beating Ecuador at home. So while important, this one is not nearly as big as the Confederations Cup final in South Africa.

    • CA>>>CC

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Not sure if you’re suggesting that the Copa America is a qualifying tournament for the Confederations Cup. If so, I believe it was last year’s Copa America which was used (and that Chile is already qualified).

    • I’d go with the 2002 World Cup quarterfinal vs. Germany. Yes, it was a quarterfinal, but the WC is granddaddy of all the tournaments, and it was/is an the highest level of achievement for the team in the WC in the modern era. They had a great run that year and almost beat the Germans to make the semifinals.

      Yes the CA is important, but this year it is nothing more than a one-off exhibition tournament/cash-grab for CONMEBOL & CONCACAF. The CC is also important, but it is ultimately just a dress rehearsal for WC.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Was putting together my post below when you wrote this, but you are spot on…it’s the World Cup…period.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I can buy those arguments in favor of a WC game, although then the 6-1 loss to Argentina in Montevideo has to enter the picture along with the Germany game you mention.

      • Roger Allaway says:

        We wouldn’t have gotten to that 1930 semifinal if all the best teams in the world had been there. But England, Scotland, Italy, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, which may have been the six best teams in Europe at the time, didn’t enter.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Neither of these matches are the most important in USMNT history as those would be during the World Cup which is the most important international tournament (take your pick on those).

      The Confederations Cup (just a dress rehearsal for the WC host nation to have) and the Copa America Centenario (a newly made up tournament to grab more cash) don’t hold a candle to the World Cup.

  5. Only the top three defenders in the fan vote, and the top three forwards, make the Fan XI so vote Rosenberry and Sapong now.
    .
    Frankly, I’d rather they didn’t play in the all-star game. Too much travel. Instead, lets make a concerted effort to get Noguiera onto the team!

    • [sigh]
      .
      The only Union jersey in my entire family of six is my 16 year old son’s black #5 third jersey.
      .
      Vincent, all health and peace to you.

      • +1 to the health & peace part 🙁 Got my own #5 jersey- a white away one with my picture on the number somewhere. Still tough to read the words “departure” and “Nogueira” in the same sentence. Never growing attached to any player ever again… PERIOD!

    • Agreed!

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    While I agree with much of what PSP says and does, I’d like to see the all-star game downplayed. It’s another example of how MLS tries to Americanize soccer. Soccer doesn’t need an all-star game, it already has a similar honor. It’s called being called up for your national team and the players truly try their best as compared to going through the motions against a European team that is trying to get into form for the upcoming season.

    • I don’t like all-star games in any sport, least of all soccer

    • I agree, the MLS all-star game sux. If I bothered to vote, I wouldn’t vote for any Union players. Why risk injury to one of your top players for a meaningless exhibition?

      • Normally, I agree that All Star games are pointless and lame since the effort is not there.
        .
        But thinking about the larger picture, the MLS All Star game serves an important purpose.
        .
        MLS is still fighting against naysayers both domestic and abroad about the quality of the league. Since the format is the MLS vs another, normally much more famous team, it provides the opportunity for the league to catch the eyes of both new fans and foreign players/coaches who may consider the league an option in their careers.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      What if MLS called it “The Super Fantastic AT&T MLS All-Star Game”?

  7. I’ve had nightmares of seeing a starting lineup tonight with Beckerman and Wondo in it. Please, God, don’t do this to me. I get the concept, I get the reasoning, I just don’t WANT to see that. Give them our best shot, show some cojones. I don’t think it’s great to go into the game thinking bunker and pray. Play the youth and creativity.
    .
    Aside from emotion, I don’t understand playing Beckerman anyway. He’s essentially a better version of BC. He plays well in national team games against lesser opponents and does well to hold down leads and bring defensive toughness. He dominates MLS competition at times. What he doesn’t have is any type of speed, period, and it gets massively exploited against better teams, especially quick ones. What will he realistically do against this dynamic argentine offense? Chase, clutch, grab, slide. All of which don’t work, and end in cards, which have been the bane of this team so far.
    .
    I don’t think I need to talk about Wondo.
    .
    Look, JK, play with emotion and intelligence, play with energy and be as dynamic as possible. Play the younger guys and let the cards fall where they may. Above all, lets go US!

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