Daily news roundups

Injury updates as Union head to Houston, weekend previews, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union play their sixth game in 17 days on Saturday, traveling to steamy Houston, where the forecast has thunderstorms expected a couple of hours before kickoff when it it supposed to be 84 degrees (heat index of 92 degrees) with 65 percent humidity (9 pm: TCN, MLS Live, Direct Kick).

Of course, with injuries throughout the Union attacking corps, no one is thinking about the weather. Here’s the update that was added to Thursday’s roundup in case you missed it:

Matthew De George spoke to Jim Curtin after Thursday morning training session and tweeted that Sebastien Le Toux sustained a concussion on Wednesday night: “Scans showed no further injury. No timeline on concussion protocols.” He also tweeted, “Fabian Herbers did not train today but went through ‘strength building exercises.’ Curtin unsure of his status for Saturday.” (After the game on Wednesday night, De George tweeted details of the injury that kept Herbers out of the NYRB game: “Fabian Herbers said it was a little twinge in his hamstring. He mentioned that sitting out was mostly precautionary.”) De George also tweeted, “Curtin said CJ Sapong will definitely travel to Houston. Leo Fernandes as the false nine is the contingency plan.”

At Delco Times, De George has full quotes. Curtin said of Sapong, “CJ will certainly be on the plane to go to Houston and he’ll contribute and play some minutes for the first time in a few weeks. So we’re excited to have him back which is a good weapon to have.”

Sapong playing “some minutes” certainly doesn’t sound like he’ll be starting, which is no surprise given that he hasn’t played in a month. So then, who will start up top? Curtin said the possibility of deploying a false 9, “Whether we have some interchange with Alberg and Fernandes and they share the load, that’s an option. So we’re looking at a lot of different things right now.

More on Union injuries at Philly.com and Playing for 90,

Previews of Saturday’s game at PSP, MLSsoccer.comBrotherly Game, and Playing for 90.

Here’s Earnie Stewart’s appearance on Men in Blazers on Thursday (starts at approximately 13:07 mark):

At Philly Voice, analysis and player ratings from Wednesday’s US Open Cup win over NYRB. More from the game at CSN Philly, Playing for 90 (Marsch, Twitter trolling), Philadelphia Sports Nation, and NYRB. Photos from the game at Daily Local News and Prost Amerika.

At Goal.com, a review of the resumption of MLS play following the Copa America Centenario break notes, “The Union have tripped up during Copa America, dropping two of three. Throw in the surprising departure of Victor Nogueira and suddenly the Union’s hold on first place in the East is a little tenuous. On the bright side, Roland Alberg has begun to play like the standout midfielder he was expected to be.”

 

Bleacher Report (warning: slideshow) has midseason grades for MLS teams and the Union receive an A for the offense, a B- for the defense, and an A for coaching, which rounds out to a B+ overall.

Brotherly Game says Fabian Herbers “isn’t MLS level talent just yet.”

The Union don’t have any goals in MLSsoccer.com’s video review of the best goals of June. But two goals from NYCFC, and a goal each from Columbus and Vancouver against the Union are in the video, so I guess that’s something.

There is some Union love in MLSsoccer.com’s video of some of the best moments from the US Open Cup Round of 16.

At Philly.com, a report on a Union supporters group called the Sons of Ben. Funny, I don’t remember “Twist and Shout” being played over the stadium loudspeaker after Jesse Marsch was sent to the locker room.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem Steel, currently ninth place in the Eastern Conference (18 points, 4-4-6), face third place FC Cincinnati (28 points, 8-2-4) in the fourth game of their five-game road swing on Saturday at 6pm (YouTube). When the teams met in Bethlehem’s inaugural home opener on April 3, Cincinnati, who is now on a ten-game unbeaten streak, was the 2-1 winner. Previews at Bethlehem Steel, USLsoccer.comFC CincinnatiCincinnati Soccer Talk, and CN/2.

Auston Trusty started and went the full 90 in the US U-20 MNT’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica in the first game of the 2016 U-20 NTC Invitational in Carson, Calif. on Wednesday. The team faces Panama tonight at 10pm ET before finishing the tournament against Japan on Sunday at 6pm. Both games will be streamed on US Soccer’s YouTube channel.

City Islanders

Three months after the scheduled first leg of the three-game Keystone Derby series on April 8 was postponed due to “anticipated extreme weather conditions throughout Western Pennsylvania,” City Islanders will be on the road to face Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Monday, July 4 at 7 pm (YouTube). Previews at City Islanders and Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

The April 8 game in Pittsburgh has been rescheduled for July 18. The series wraps up in Harrisburg at Metro Bank Park on August 27.

PDL

Third place in the Mid-Atlantic Division Ocean City Nor’easters (15 points, 5-4-0) host sixth place Lehigh Valley United (10 points, 3-6-1) today at 5 pm. It’s the start of a five-game homestand to complete the season that continues for the Nor’easters on Sunday when they host fifth place NYRB U-23s (15 points, 4-3-3) , also at 5 pm. All of the games to finish the season will be played at the Tennessee Avenue Soccer Complex rather than Carey Stadium.

First place Reading United (19 points, 6-3-1) hosts second place Baltimore Bohemians (17 points, 5-3-2) on Saturday at 7 pm.

Local

Penn Fusion is one of 25 clubs that will take part in US Soccer’s new Girls’ Development Academy. “The program will feature three combined age groups: U-14/15, U-16/17 and U-18/19. Clubs will be expected to train a minimum of four times a week.  The use of combined age groups will require clubs to form teams with a balanced roster of players from two distinct birth years. The games will be scouted by U.S. Soccer and the program will serve as the primary pathway to the Youth National Teams.” The inaugural season will take place in the fall of 2017 with more teams expected to be announced “in the near future.” The Girls’ Academy was announced in February.

Speaking of Penn Fusion, defender Kylie Daigle (Millville, N.J.) has been called up for the US U-14 GNT camp in Ft. Collins, Colorado, July 9-16. Defender Sydney Zandi will be with the U-17 GNT camp in Raleigh, North Carolina that begins on July 6, and midfielder Shea Moyer will be with the US U-18 WNT in England beginning on July 6.

Australia FourFourTwo on James Galanis, the “coach, mentor and manager of 2015 FIFA Women’s Footballer of the Year Carli Lloyd” whose Universal Soccer Academy is located in Lumberton, NJ.

MLS

Portland has loaned midfielder Dairon Asprilla to Millonarios in Colombia through June 30, 2017.

Houston has loaned midfielder Zach Steinberger to NASL-side Jacksonville Armada through the end of the 2016 season.

Dorchester Reporter considers the chances New England Revolution will reach a deal with UMass to build a soccer stadium.

St. Louis Business Journal has an update on the plans to development an 1,800 acre site that could be the home of a MLS stadium.

Detroit Free Press has an update on the uncompleted construction of a jail that is on the site tabbed to be the location of a MLS stadium in that city.

US

US Soccer has announced the USMNT will play Cuba in a friendly in Havana on October 7, the first time the teams have met in a friendly since 1947. The only other time the US played in Cuba in the last 69 years was in a 1-0 on September 6, 2008 in a qualifier for the 2010 World Cup. In that game, Maurice Edu started and went the full 90 while former Union man Danny Califf was on the bench. The US played two games in Cuba in 1947, the first internationals the team had played since the 5-1 loss to Mexico in a friendly on September 25, 1937 at Estadío Parque Espana in Mexico City. The two-game series in 1947 was for the North American Football Confederation Championship, the US losing 5-0 to Mexico on July 13, 1947 at the Gran Stadium Cervecería Tropical in Havana, and then losing 5-2 to Cuba on July 20. The North American Football Confederation merged with the Football Confederation of Central America and the Caribbean in 1961 to form CONCACAF.

What’s that, Guardian, Jurgen Klinsmann will not save England? But Goal.com says many US supporters would be happy to see him go. Shucks.

The AP reports Carli Lloyd is rested and ready for the Summer Olympics.

Elsewhere

Wales vs. Belgium today in a Euro 2016 quarterfinal matchup (2:30 pm: ESPN2, ESPN3, Watch ESPN, ESPN Deportes) The winner will face Portugal, who defeated Poland 5-3 APK after the scoreline remained at 1-1 following 120 minutes of play, in the semifinals on Wednesday (2:30 pm: ESPN, ESPN3, Watch ESPN, ESPN Deportes). Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer for the upcoming week on TV, online, and on satellite radio.

Zlatan Ibrahimovich announced on Instagram on Thursday, “Time to let the world know. My next destination is @manchesterunited #iamcomingPA Sport reports Zlatan is in Manchester for a medical. Insert Union Discovery List compensation joke here.

33 Comments

  1. “Victor”? Nogs deserves better, Ives

  2. Embarrassed to admit how much I’d’ve bet in March against Jim Curtin as MLS Manager of the Year at the turn. Maybe it’s the lingering afterglow of the 2d half of Wednesday’s match coupled with how deftly he deflected any credit for it back on his players afterward. No wonder they play so hard for him and seem unfazed by any setback. Contrasted with Marsch’s spectacle at the end, what maturity he has shown in the lean times and bad calls. And let’s give Big Ern props for this chance and stepping out of the limelight in this unexpectedly good start. Is any other coach in this league more deserving?

    • Agree Phil. Whatever Curtin lacks in technical competence, he more than makes up for in character. He has always seemed to me like a guy who is a solid and responsible guy. He and Stewart strike me as being cur from similar no-nonsense cloth. I think the tactical coaching stuff can be learned but the character cannot. We are lucky to have him.

      • For several reasons the second half likely will be tougher and both roster management and in-game adjustments trickier but he has grown – especially lately – in each. Can’t wait to see it unfold.

      • On the character front I can’t agree enough. Love Jim’s character in press conferences. The team seems to genuinely enjoy playing with each other, which isn’t always an easy thing to get players to do. I can’t find that “me first” attitude in any of them. It’s very much a team first vibe, and it shows in the on field product.
        .
        As for curtin tactically, I’ve been impressed recently. The NYRB subs were spot on, barnetta as the 8 has put the attack into overdrive. Players are making runs like rabbits on coke, getting into good positions and threatening opponents like we’ve never seen. Sure, the set piece d needs to be overhauled. But seeing the adjustments made so far this year, I trust him to get this right.
        .

    • Funny — this weeks happenings leave me a little annoyed at Big Ern and Jim for leaving us so thin at the striker position. It’s not like this couldn’t have been anticipated. I mean, we need a #8 now, but no one could have predicted that, so I don’t fault Stewart. Yet I (and plenty of others) have been worried about our lack of depth at the striker position, and about the fact that Curtin pretty much played Sapong into the ground. And now even our third-string striker, whose skill set is not really well suited to being the lone guy up top anyway, has a concussion. Oy.

      I guess I could be generous and assume that there just wasn’t enough money left to get another striker. It also seemed that they were banking on Alberg’s (and Ilsinho’s) positional versatility.

      • I hear you. Still Earnie is playing the long game, which suits Sugarman perfectly. They will lose games this year before they overpay for a quick fix at striker. Or a bad fit in the locker room. Alberg’s case is a window on how Stewart can pick value & talent while giving Curtin wide berth to work him into a conference-leading club’s XI. Others here know way more than I about our options to date. But I’ve circled July 14th and will bide my time.

      • pragmatist says:

        We lost 3 strikers to injury at the same time. How deep should they go?

      • I wouldn’t count LeToux as a true striker. More like an “in case of emergency, break glass” striker.

      • pragmatist says:

        I agree. But when that guy goes down, you know you’ve hit some bad luck.

      • He has been most successful as a true striker and is better at taking a shot on goal than he is at the build up play the rest of them are looking to do right now out of the midfield.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Re: Le Toux” is better at taking a shot on goal than he is at the build up play the rest of them” – still not really that great at either. Is not a starting striker in this league

      • ES is all about cost/benefit. He probably has a spreadsheet that determined the maximum he should pay for each 3rd striker option available in the offseason, and it told him that no one was worth the asking price and he would be better off sticking with Herbers, LeToux, and Pontius as depth for CJ. Yes it may cost them a few points, but that $$ could be better spent elsewhere. Plus, he really only had to make the current arrangement work until the summer transfer window, which is conveniently about to open.

      • Jim Presti says:

        They could not have expected to see three strikers in a 1 FWD set-up all go down within a few weeks of each other. So they had depth, but its more the quality of such.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        The other possibility may perhaps be down with Bethlehem Steel. Corey Burke is rounding towards shape from the injury he suffered with the Jamaican National team during our preseason.
        .
        In the organization as a whole Burke is the #2 classic English #9. It is not an easy move as it would involve a contract signing by the Union. [For those familiar with MLB

  3. More in depth stuff on Men in Blazers Podcast:
    http://meninblazers.com/page/podcasts

  4. In a thread earlier this week, I suggested that we play Alberg as a False 9, since to my eyes he plays more like a striker than a CAM anyway. My suggestion was roundly (though politely) disapproved by the PSP commentariat. But it looks like we might get a chance to see my idea anyway (though not the way I wanted to).

    BTW, I would not have thought of putting Fernandes up top, but he looked pretty good in his limited minutes up there against the Red Bulls.

    • pragmatist says:

      I think Fernandes may find a comfort zone up top. He’s better suited to the middle of the field than the flanks. Problem is, minutes are hard to come by in the middle on this squad. But he has the skill, speed, and strength to play striker.
      .
      It could all backfire, but I have a feeling he’s going to be a very good backup striker, at least. (Just an amateur hunch!)

      • John Ling says:

        Scott – I’ll go ahead and admit to be a “silent supporter” of your idea. I thought it could work, at the very least on an emergency basis. Easy for me to come out and say so now, of course. 🙂
        .
        Prag – along with the skill, speed, and strength I think Leo showed he has the smarts for it too. His movement up top Wednesday night was fantastic. Even when he wasn’t getting the ball, his movement was pulling their defenders apart and making holes for others. It was beautiful to watch…

      • Curtin said in his presser after beating the RBs that he really liked Leo as a striker. Said something to the effect that “When people ask me who the best player on the team is, I say Leo. He’s fantastic in practice.” We may very well see Leo in that spot.

      • HopkinsMD says:

        The best player on the team is Leo? That’s crazy talk.

      • Oh how I’d love you to eat those words.
        .
        I’ve been high on Leo for awhile and keep hoping and hoping he blossoms– watched him play for the Cosmos and watched him train this winter… the coach isn’t kidding.
        .
        He’s 24…. tick tick tick.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        I’m skeptical that Leo can play more than limited minutes there and be effective, but I hope that I’m proven wrong and he plays well.

        Remember how much Hackworth used to talk about how good Keon was in practice when he was a fixture in the Union starting XI?

      • pragmatist says:

        I’m hoping he’s a solid injury-replacement. That’s the bar I’m setting.

    • Jim Presti says:

      Leo played striker at Stony Brook at some point, but he’s also bigger and stronger than he looks. He battled with Collin and Zubar – to of the biggest CBs in the league – for 20ish minutes. Horst and Raul are pretty physical themselves, but if Leo can make smart runs and receive and move the ball on the deck with the midfield, he will be fine.

      • All I want from him is lots of movement, occupy defenders and drag them around. It’s something he did very well last year with the cosmos while trying to make space and runs for raul, who had lost a step or ten. He can play this false 9. I’m actually excited since if there’s a defense we can confound with this type of scheme, it’s houstons.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Agreed. Disappointed because I will be at the beach Saturday but still hoping to catch the match. If Beasley pushes to far up the wing and Leo can drag Raul and Horst into the midfield, then there will be acres of space for Barnetta, Ilsinho, and Alberg to operate.

  5. sweet lou says:

    This is so random but I think Philly needs another MLS team. All of these derby games make me jealous. Maybe not another team in Philly but at least Pittsburg. I need another team to hate 🙂

    Also the blue and gold will always be my club. I just want a derby

    • pragmatist says:

      I understand the desire for that, but I can’t picture 2 sections of the Philly area that would naturally dislike each other enough for a strong rivalry (not even talking about the ability to support two teams).
      .
      I love the London Derbies, and Manchester, Madrid, everywhere else. But even in cities like NY and LA, it’s tough for 2 teams to survive. Moving outside of those massive markets makes it nearly impossible.
      .
      But in theory, yeah, it would be great!

  6. Lucky Striker says:

    4-2-4 please

    ( assumes Il, Sap, Herbie and the 2 are unavailable/limited )

    Rotation and opportunity are for Europeans so:

    For one game, BC / Warren pivot.

    No striker – 4 across.
    Switch Barnetta back outside L, kick Pontius to ACM with Alberg and allow Walter 70 minutes on the outside R.

    It’s how I spend Saturday mornings watching the Bundesliga. If you have no players anyway-what could it hurt ?

  7. John Hackworth says:

    What do y’all think about Carroll at striker? I’m leaning towards Gaddis.

    • Nothing would make me happier than to see ol’ Capt. Carrol work up front and show us that he is a savage strike-beast.

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