Daily news roundups

Alberg named to Team of the Week, no timetable for Sapong return, more Union bits, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

In conjunction with CoverSports, PSP is giving away two tickets to the home game against Chicago Fire on July 9, which is Ticket for Troops Night at Talen Energy Stadium. All you need to do to enter into the drawing for the giveaway is send an email to giveaway@phillysoccerpage.com with your name, address and phone number. The winner also will have the opportunity to participate in an on-field tribute with members of the military.

Philadelphia Union

Roland Alberg has been named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week. More on Alberg making the Team of the Week at Philadelphia Union.

It looks like CJ Sapong will likely be unavailable for the US Open Cup game against NYRB at Talen Energy Stadium on Wednesday night. While Sapong says he’s “feeling optimistic” about returning soon to play, Jim Curtin told reporters on Monday there is no timetable for the forward’s return. More at Philly Voice and Philly.com.

Power Rankings! At ESPN, the Union drop five spots to No. 9: “The Union finished June with a pair of wins and a pair of losses, but it’s the defensive record in that span that should worry manager Jim Curtin. In four games, Philadelphia has given up a whopping 11 goals.” At Soccer America, the Union remain at No. 3: “Six goals conceded in two home games justifiably raises concerns, though the Union is still plus-8 at Talen Energy Stadium, where it has also scored a league-leading 20 goals.”

Delco Times and CSN Philly looks at the suddenly leaky Union defense. Union Tally says the leaks aren’t due to Vincent Nogueira’s departure or Alberg entering the lineup.

Looking ahead to Wednesday’s US Open Cup match, NYRB’s Sacha Kljestan hasn’t forgotten the Union’s quarterfinal win at Red Bull Arena last year: “I think we owe a little bit of revenge to Philadelphia this year, and I hope we can go down to their place and do what they did to us.”

Is Dax McCarty motivated by revenge? “No, I don’t think so. You want to win the game, I think you play against these teams in the East so much that you’re not looking for revenge, you’re just looking to beat them. Certainly, they knocked us out last year and that was a bitter pill to swallow and it went down to penalties. Anything can happen when those games go to penalties.”

Head coach Jesse Marsch said, “This is a good Philly team, we all know that. They are very tough to beat at home so it will be a big challenge. I think what’s more important is that it’s not the same team in the past, We need to show that we need to perform on the road and get results. It’s a hard time for us right now, we are in the middle of a four-game road streak. If we don’t get it together now we will be out of the Open Cup.”

Marsch has noted Roland Alberg’s rise: “He can score with his left, with his right, he is so dangerous for them we need to make sure he doesn’t get the ball.” Alberg’s on fire, your defense is terrified. Alberg’s on fire, your defense is terrified!

Previews at Philadelphia Union and MLSsoccer.comAt US Soccer, game notes for Wednesday’s match.

In the latest update on the fan vote for the All-Star Game roster, Andre Blake remains at No. 1 for goalkeepers. Keegan Rosenberry drops from No. 3 to No. 4 for defenders (only the top three defenders make the Fan XI). CJ Sapong, who had been at No. 5 in the vote for forwards, is now out of the top 5. Cast your vote by clicking here. The fan vote closes at 3 pm on July 4.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Half Off Eastern PA notes that, beginning today, “you can purchase a four-pack of tickets valid for any remaining Bethlehem Steel FC 2016 home game for only $25!  That’s more than Half Price!”

Philadelphia Union Academy

As we noted in Monday’s roundup, the Union U-18s have advanced to the quarterfinals of the US Soccer Development Academy playoffs, which will take place July 7 at YSC. Sam Horbal writes at the Union website, “Their opponent will likely be the Players Development Academy, who split the two game season series with the Union.” More on the U-16 and U-18 team’s runs in group play at Brotherly Game.


Reading United drops from first place to third place in USLPDL.com’s Eastern Conference Power Rankings.


The Oregonian on Lancaster, Pa.’s Zarek Valentin settling in with Portland Timbers


Fox Soccer looks at how the league will be implementing video replays.


ASN has a Copa America Centenario post mortem. SBI has five takeaways.

Soccer America wonders if Jurgen Klinsmann is worthy of his long tenure as head coach of the USMNT.

Average viewership numbers for Univision’s Copa America broadcasts outperformed the network’s numbers from the 2014 World Cup. “Performance also out-delivered all NHL matches, regular season or playoffs, during the 2015-16 season as well as all MLB matches across all networks for the current 2016 season to-date.”

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle has more on the success of the Copa America Centenario. Yahoo Sports on what the US proved in successfully hosting the tournament. More positives from the tournament at One World Sports. Reflections on the tournament at Philly.com.

The 91st Minute wonders if US Soccer’s youth national system needs an overhaul.


“They thought this would be a walk in the park.” So said Iceland’s Rangar Sigurdsson after his team defeated England 2-1 in Monday’s Euro 2016 Round of 16 game. Instead, The Three Lions walk out of the tournament, tails between their legs, only days after England voted to leave the European Union. Next up for Iceland is host country France in the quarterfinals in Paris.

Reaction to the win — which was fully deserved — in Iceland. Reaction to the loss — which was fully deserved — in England. More reaction roundups here, here, here, and here.

To the delight of all, Iceland commentator Gudmundur Benediktsson has not lost his voice. Benediktsson screamed at the final whistle,

This is done! This is done! We are going to Paris! Did you see that! Did you see that! Never wake me from this amazing dream. Boo as you like England! Iceland is going to Stade de France on Sunday. France Iceland! You can go home. You can go out of Europe. You can go wherever the hell you want. England 1 Iceland 2 is the closing score here in Nice. And the fairytale continues.

Meanwhile, here’s the exact moment ex-England coach and current TV commentator Steve McClaren has his heart broken.

At Fox Soccer, just how big of an upset was Iceland’s win over England? Soccer America says England’s loss to the US in the 1950 World Cup is still the bigger upset.

At Slate, Mark Franek, an attorney who used to be dean of students and head coach of the boy’s soccer team at Penn Charter (where he coached Bobby Convey), writes about playing semipro soccer for six seasons at a club in Iceland. I wonder if Franek has come around to supporting the Union?

Never underestimate Italy.


  1. Great article at 91st Minute about the Youth National teams and the overhaul that is required if we want to produce a better MNT.

  2. After a weekend of poor results for my rooting interests (Argentina, Union, U.S.) yesterday’s victories by Italy and Iceland were a much needed pick me up. Iceland. What a story!
    I dread this Open Cup game tonight. Red Bulls have bounced back from their poor start and have looked very good lately. This is the toughest contest. Win and I like the Union’s chance at returning to the final.

    • Open Cup game is tomorrow night. (You scared me, man! I had to go check…)

    • Pete, the game is tomorrow 🙂 But yes, a win and I also like the Union’s chances of returning to the finals.

      • Going to New England could be tough, because any road game is tough and that field is really shitty. If the Cosmos win vs NE, though, things get interesting. As I recall from an article last week, the Cosmos can’t host in their usual stadium. They would either need to find a new field to play host, or give up the hosting rights.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I believe I read that they are hosting the New England game at the stadium where St. Johns plays rather than Hofstra where they normally play. I assume if they win tomorrow, they would host the Union-Crap Drink winner there as well.

      • My bad. I can’t really be expected to know what day it is, can I?

      • John Ling says:

        Fair point, Pete. There are days I’m lucky I know my own name…

      • Dont feel bad, I thought the game was tonight too

    • Hope we get a good crowd!! Just bought a whole bunch of seats for $10!!! Not sure whether this is only for SOB season ticket holders but find out by calling Fan Services (1-877-21-UNION, press 1 for Ticketing, then press 4 for Fan Services). Get your ticket NOW!

  3. RE: 91st Minute Article
    It pains me… pains me sub-atomically and on a causal level about the obviousness of need to overhaul US Soccer. It is no coincidence: Spain, Germany and now Iceland are having international success of which we could only dream. Total commitment from the Federation across ALL age groups with only one governing body dictating the education.
    For a kid to be truly successful amongst the great clubs and individual players in the world it is very nearly in spite of US Soccer not as a result of US Soccer. This is truly disheartening.
    Angst. Gnashing of teeth. Falling behind. There are no rose colored glasses….oh Copa Copa. semifinal..MLS for whatever reason, is in a stage of its development that is hindering our players arc in meeting their full potential while not capturing the quality of the abroad players in the pool- something is OFF.
    Feel free to argue. All I know is across random age groups there is sporadic and intermittent success and for the second cycle in a row, our arguably most important age group U23 will be watching the Rio Olympics from Rio Grande, TX and Rio Grande, NJ
    If you have a kid in the system who plays at a high level with dreams and ambitions…. I feel for you… unlike if it was baseball or basketball or that other sport they call football while using hands.

    • Whatever Iceland is doing, we should be doing the same. But I think we needed to do it 20 years ago.

      • Whatever Iceland is doing we could do just here in Philly (that has a population that is circa 7 times bigger than in Iceland). The Union/YSC are on the right track. In a couple of years Bethlehem Steel could most likely beat the US MNT.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Well, only if the players are “tied” to their club rather than their country.
        Trusty is will the U-18s USMNT, and McMaster and Real are with the U-17s.
        would be some biggish holes in the Union lineup.

    • Is the soccer infrastructure really any different than baseball or football? It all seems the same to me. Dads teaching a sport they know very little about.
      I’d argue that MLS is what it should. And that is to give kids a local team to cheer for. The only way we get better is to have kids dreaming of playing for the Union. Kids need to be able to go to the park an watch the sport. It needs to be on TV. There is no way MLS should be able to compete with the best leagues yet. But MLS (and especially the Union) is really becoming watchable for anyone now. It’s a slow burn but that’s how culture change happens. Not saying we should be satisfied or anything, and I freely admit there are many issues with our setup, but there has been pretty big progress in this country, we just haven’t broken into the elite.

      • What I mean is, these other sports have infrastructures in place which are producing players considered world class.
        We’ve been at this soccer thing for a LONG time… I don’t accept the ‘nascent’ first tier league an excuse.
        Iceland does not even have a professional ‘first tier’ league… read that again —- so it sinks in.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Only a few ethnic enclaves played the game when I was a boy, making the 1950 defeat of England that much more remarkable.
        Those European infrastructures have been developing since WW2 ended, and in many places from before that war back to its predecessor. WW2 ends 71 years ago; WW1, 97. That’s a while to learn from your mistakes.
        We got serious in the run up to the ’94 world cup. That’s less than 30 years.

      • With all noted respect OSC… I played travel soccer 30 years ago… at a time when clubs like Nether and Hempfield were just ridiculously good. I understand people tend to think as though US Soccer came to Jesus and was born again as a result of World Cup… but that is what prompted the First Division to be reborn…
        That was ’86 Hand of God.
        I was 12.

      • A.
        Good points about MLS. It helps to grow soccer. Curtain’s
        “EuroSnobs” may continue to put down MLS but it is still growing.
        El P,
        Again your anti-American soccer comments strike me as over the top.
        As far as USMNT—Klinsmann.
        No, he isn’t evil person or anything like that but let’s be realistic–at national stage the coach means more than individual player. The coach picks the roster–and in Klinsmann’s case he also picked coaching staff for the younger teams and has input on their roster.
        This is important because many of these players do not practice together more than a few weeks a year and usually less than a handful of games each year as the coach gives minutes to a variety of players.
        The coach picks tactics, and the roster to fit those tactics, and sometimes places the players in different positions to fit his vision. The coach determines the lineups for each game and chooses not to play younger American players like Pulisic (who grew up playing soccer in Pennsylvania).
        Furthermore the US team chose as a strategy in 2012 to seek out dual citizens but for USMNT senior team that seems to have emphasized German speaking as opposed to say Spanish or South American dual citizens. Note Klinsmann set scouting office in Austria not Buenos Aries or Barcelona.

        As far as Argentina game as an indictment of US soccer development, the 4 players on defense plus the keeper play in Europe. Two were on the German national u20 and younger teams. Not saying they are totally at fault or bad players but hard to say US soccer system is at fault when that is defensive half of team.
        Yes, Iceland are fun to watch–btw US did defeat them in friendly 3-2 earlier this year, mostly with MLS players in his January camp.

        Sorry, I do get tired of the bashing of American players, MLS and American youth system. Is it perfect? No of course not…but it has definitely come a long way in past 20 years as has MLS. To judge them due to US Soccer lack of success is pure sophistry. Just because the current US National team coaches have not proven they are up to the task that doesn’t mean that US soccer as a whole stinks.
        Are Jamie Vardy or Joe Hart suddenly less talented players because their team lost to Iceland? Will you stop watching Premier League because of England’s loss in the Euros or poor performance in the 2014 World Cup?
        So why do you put MLS on same scale as US Soccer?
        I don’t claim to be the expert on soccer/futbol that El P is but just stating my observations and no offense is intended to El P or any of the other anti-American soccer/Anti-MLS posters on here.
        Thank you for hearing my rant.


      • el pachyderm says:

        Good points in here UnionGoal…
        Now let me say this… it’s 4:34 in the morning and I’m tired so forgive me… but
        … It irks the shit out of me that you think I’m “anti-US anti -American” soccer. Never once have I claimed to be an expert either… opinionated yes, discerning yes, capable of debate yes… not afraid to say thinking on a topic is superficial, yes… quite confident in my belief that MLS is not up to standard yes, firm in my belief travel soccer is holding us back yes.
        In deep deep need to see us self actualize as a soccer nation, yes.
        Do me a favor, leave my commentary the F alone you have neither the courage or conviction to stand in… only to call me out than run and hide when I respond to your commentary… done with you.

      • el pachyderm says:

        see now I feel like Rex the dinosaur in Toy Story and have regret.
        apologies for being terse.

  4. that article from 2008 is cringe-worthy. and incredibly sad.
    “The $115 million soccer-specific stadium will anchor an additional $400 million economic development project, including a convention center, ritzy townhouses and a promenade – all for a struggling riverfront town that wouldn’t know a soccer ball if it washed ashore.”

    and this:
    “The Chester project is being publicly financed by a drop-kick worth $87 million, even though most studies show that such “sports pork” projects only modestly improve the local economy, if at all.”

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      The plans were made before the real estate bubble burst.

      • Real estate bubble is convenient, but it would not have mattered. You can find many, MANY stadium projects around the country in the last 30 years, in all sports, that have used this same, tired justifcation of public funding. You will be very, VERY hard pressed to find any (major or minor) that actually delivered anything remotely close to the promises they made.
        A lot of folks like to use Camden Yards as the successful example, but the Inner Harbor project was in place well before that and the real catalyst for the renaissance of the surrounding areas.
        I did a couple of college papers regarding the subject. It was depressing.

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