Daily news roundups

“Manhandled”: Union boss DC, Blake and Rosenberry named to ASG Fan XI, Bethlehem victorious, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Before Saturday’s game against DC United, Union head coach Jim Curtin stressed how important it was for the Union to bounce back at home from the road loss in Houston.

That they did, with a comprehensive 3-0 win, one that Curtin described as his team’s “best performance of the year.”

He added, “I can’t stress enough this building, being good in this building. If you include the Open Cup, I believe it’s 10-1-2 so, again, there’s a belief in the guys, there is a belief in the fans, that we’re going to win here, and that is just powerful, it’s really powerful, and it’s something that’s growing.”

With the win, the Union pull within one point of first place NYCFC.

Recaps and reports at PSP (recap, postgame), Philadelphia Union (recap, report), Philly.com (recap, report), Delco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Voice, Philly Soccer News (recap, report), 973espn.com, Brotherly Game (recap, analysis), Pattison AveProst AmerikaVavel, Section 215, Philly Sports Live, MLSsoccer.com (recap, Union, DC), DC United (recap, post-match facts), Washington Post, Black and Red United (recap, report),  SBIGoal.com, and Pro Soccer Talk. USA Today has a photo gallery.

How nice was it to have CJ Sapong back at Talen Energy Stadium? DC United head coach Ben Olsen said after his team’s loss, “C.J. (Sapong) manhandled us.” At Delco Times, Matthew De George says Sapong’s return changes everything. More on Sapong at Philly.com.

And how about Ilsinho’s second goal? Vote Ilsinho for Goal of the Week!

Andre Blake and Keegan Rosenberry PSP, Philadelphia Union, Reading UnitedPhilly.com, Delco Times, CSN PhillyPress of Atlantic City, 973espn.com, Philly Soccer NewsBrotherly GameProst Amerika, MLSsoccer.comUSLPDL.com, Georgetown Athletics, and UConn Athletics.

In his midseason awards at ASN, Brian Sciaretta names Rosenberry Rookie of the Year.

Philly Voice on Union PK and free kick takers.

In a post published before Saturday’s game, Philly Sports Network reviews the good, the bad, and the ugly from the previous four Union games.

Fox Soccer includes the Union among MLS teams that might benefit from signing Mario Balotelli. At least the article’s author is also are smart enough write, “It’s hard to imagine that the Union, who are four points out of first place, would make a move for Balotelli —€” there’s no good reason for them to do so.” (The article was published before Saturday’s win.) More Union transfer window rumors — one more, anyway — at Section 215.

At Philly.com, Bob Ford has a good read on the impact Earnie Stewart has had on the Union. Stewart says,

I don’t just look at good players. I look at good players for the Philadelphia Union. Not every player fits in MLS, and not every MLS player fits with the Philadelphia Union. You identify who you are and what you want your product to be on the field, and that’s the people you try to get. You have to make that identity very clear before you make those decisions.

Stewart adds, “I believe we can really have something special. We’re not going to have the money that L.A. or New York has, but that doesn’t matter. We’re going to do it in a different way. We have our own identity, and I truly believe that with that identity, not with that money, we can do spectacular things. I see this here, and I want to be part of it.”

At Philly Voice, Part 2 of Kevin Kinkead’s talk with Union CBO Tim McDermott. On the question of non soccer events at Talen Energy Stadium, McDermott says he and Earnie Stewart are on the same page:

I think what Earnie is saying, and what I would say is, that it’s time for soccer to sit at the adult table and get away from the kid table. For us to do that, there are certain ways that we need to act, look, and behave. When we have a facility that has lines all over it from another sport, then that’s not placing soccer at the top of the totem pole. I think, at the end of the day, we want to ensure that we always have the best field that provides us a competitive advantage. Beyond, quite frankly, the Philadelphia Union, there’s this responsibility, that if we truly believe in soccer as being one of the big sports in this country, then let’s show it and let’s act that way. That means that we have to maybe eliminate some of the things that we traditionally have done because it doesn’t look great if you’ve got markings and lines all over the field.

More on the Mitchell & Ness Sons of Ben line of apparel at Philly.com and MLSsoccer.com.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem snapped a four-game winless streak with a 2-0 win over Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday, their first home game after a five-game road series. Corey Burke opened the scoring in the 24th minute, assisted by Derrick Jones), with Leo Fernandes scoring from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time.

Here’s what Sunday’s lineup looked like:

John McCarthy; Ryan Richter (captain), Mickey Daly, Auston Trusty, Taylor Washington; Boluwatife Akinyode, James Chambers (Gabe Gissie 80’), Derrick Jones; Leo Fernandes, Cole Missimo (Josh Heard 70’), Cory Burke (James Luchini 89’)
Substitutes not used: Badr Samir; Nick Bibbs; Helbert Frederico Carriera Da Silva, Amoy Brown

Recaps and reports at PSP, Bethlehem Steel, Allentown Morning Call, WFMZ, Philly Soccer News (Bethlehem, Pittsburgh), Brotherly GameUSLsoccer.com, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Pittsburgh Tribune, Pittsburgh Soccer ReportPittsburgh Sporting News, and Pittsburgh Sports Castle.

Bethlehem, now 10th in the Eastern Conference (21 points, 5-6-6), is back in action at home on Thursday with a head-scratching noon kickoff against eighth place Wilmington Hammerheads (23 points, 6-5-5).

Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog notes Eric Ayuk’s performance with Cameroon in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Libya in the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations. Libya is scheduled to host Cameroon in the return leg on July 23.

City Islanders

A two-game home stand at Clipper Magazine Stadium over the weekend did not go well for the City Islanders. On Friday, they lost 3-0 to seventh place Richmond Kickers (23 points, 6-6-5), who entered the game on a three-game losing streak. On Sunday, the City Islanders fell behind 3-0 before losing 4-2 to 11th place Toronto FC II (19 points, 5-11-4). Recaps and reports at City Islanders (Richmond, Toronto), Lancaster Online (Richmond, Toronto), Philly Soccer News (Richmond, Toronto), USLsoccer.com (Richmond, Toronto), Richmond Kickers, Toronto FC II, and DC Soccer News.

The City Islanders, now 12th in the Eastern Conference (14 points, 4-13-2) and on a nine-game winless streak (0-8-1), return to play on Sunday when their on the road to face Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the second game of the Keystone Derby series. The two teams played to a 0-0 draw on July 4.

PDL

Second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division Ocean City Nor’easters stumbled on Friday, losing 2-0 to third place Baltimore Bohemians. But they bounced back with a 3-1 win over fifth place Jersey Express (16 points, 5-6-1) on Sunday to keep their playoffs quest alive with 24 points and a 8-5-0 record ahead of the final game of the regular season at home on Sunday against Baltimore. Among the goalscorers in Sunday’s game was Chevaughn Walsh, who scored his 13th goal of the season, a new franchise record. Recaps at Ocean City Nor’easters (Baltimore), Press of Atlantic City (Baltimore, Jersey Express), and Baltimore Bohemians.

Sixth place Lehigh Valley United (10 points, 3-8-1) fell 1-0 on the road to fourth place NYRB U-23s (19 points, 5-4-4) on Saturday.

First place Reading (25 points, 8-5-1) had the weekend off and plays Jersey Express away on Wednesday before hosting Lehigh Valley United on Sunday.

Local

The Allentown Morning Call on Coopersburg native Gina Lewandowski’s hopes to make the US women’s Olympic team.

Vineland native and Villanova alum Jill Loyden, the former USWNT goalkeeper, has signed with Sky Blue, where she was an assistant coach. The signing comes after Sky Blue goalkeeper Caroline Stanley suffered a shoulder strain against Portland two weekends ago.

The AP on Carli Lloyd’s personal coach, coach James Galanis.

Romeo Parkes, the former Pittsburgh Riverhounds player who brutally kicked NYRB II’s Karl Ouimette in the back back in May, has reportedly been given a worldwide ban by FIFA.

MLS

In Eastern Conference play, first place NYCFC (30 points, 8-6-6) lost 3-1 on the road to Kansas City. Second place Philadelphia (29 points, 8-6-5) defeated seventh place DC (21 points, 5-7-6), 3-0. Third place Montreal (25 points, 6-4-7) drew 1-1 on the road with Salt Lake after conceding in the 79th minute. Fourth place NYRB (24 points, 7-9-3) drew 0-0 with Portland. Fifth place Toronto (23 points, 6-6-5) defeated last place Chicago (14 points, 3-8-5), 1-0. Sixth place New England (22 points, 5-7-7) defeated ninth place Columbus (16 points, 3-7-7), 3-1. Eighth place Orlando (21 points, 4-4-9) drew 0-0 with Houston.

In the Western Conference, first place Dallas (37 points, 11-5-4) defeated eighth place San Jose (22 points, 5-6-7) 1-0 on the road. Second place Colorado (34 points, 9-2-7) drew 2-2 on the road with sixth place Vancouver (25 points, 7-8-4). Third place Salt Lake (29 points, 8-5-5) equalized late against Montreal to draw 1-1. Fourth place LAG (29 points, 7-3-8) defeated last place Seattle (17 points, 5-10-2) 1-0 on the road. Fifth place Kansas City (28 points, 8-8-4) defeated NYCFC, 3-1. Seventh place Portland (25 points, 6-6-7) drew 0-0 on the road with NYRB. Ninth place Houston drew (18 points, 4-8-6) 0-0 on the road with Orlando.

Dallas have signed Brazilian forward Getterson Alves dos Santos on loan from Brazilian side J. Malucelli.

Columbus have transferred Emil Larsen to Danish Superliga side Lyngby Boldklub, the midfielders hometown team.

The Star Tribune reports, “Plans that would shape the streets, parks and types of buildings around the proposed soccer stadium in St. Paul are nearly complete. The city’s Planning Commission on Friday approved an outline for a 34.4-acre ‘superblock’…The overarching idea is to create a vibrant “urban village” that’s well connected to bike paths, parks and transit, including the Green Line and new bus rapid transit route.”

NWSL

First place Portland (26 points, 7-1-5) lost 2-1 on the road to eighth place Kansas City (13 points, 3-5-4), the first time the Thorns have been defeated this season. Second place Western New York defeated seventh place Seattle (16 points, 4-4-4) 3-2 on a borrowed Triple-A baseball field (their home field, Sahlen Stadium, had been booked for a 90s throwback concert before the NWSL schedule was announced) the dimensions of which — 50 yards x 100 yards — made NYCFC’s puny pitch look expansive. League commissioner Jeff Plush issued a statement after the game saying the league made a mistake in allowing a one-time exemption from the league minimum of 70 yards x 100 yards. Third place Washington (23 points, 7-2-2) topped fourth place Chicago (18 points, 5-4-3), 2-0. Fifth place Orlando (18 points, 6-6-0) defeated last place Boston (4 points, 1-10-1), 2-1, coming from behind to win with two stoppage time goals from Kristen Edmonds. Sixth place Sky Blue (16 points, 4-4-4) defeated ninth place Houston (7 points, 2-7-1), 1-0.

US

The USWNT defeated South Africa 1-0 in Chicago on Saturday in a warm-up game for the Summer Olympics tournament. Hope Solo recorded her 100th shutout, the most ever by any international goalkeeper, male or female, in the win. It was also her 150th career win. The team’s final warm-up game is on July 22 against Costa Rica in Kansas City. Recaps and reports at ASN, and the AP.

The Guardian reported on Friday, “The Germany general manager, Oliver Bierhoff, has suggested his compatriot Jürgen Klinsmann is in discussions with the Football Association over the vacant England head coach role and would be a good choice.” At Soccer America, “Klinsmann to England? The story that won’t go away.”

CONCACAF held the draw for the final round of World Cup qualifiers on Friday. Soccer America notes, “If form holds, [the US] will open at home against Mexico and then away to Costa Rica in November.” Yikes. More at MLSsoccer.com.

28 additional clubs have joined the initial group of 25 clubs announced as part of the inaugural roster of the the US Soccer Development Academy’s girls’ academy system that will begin play in the fall of 2017.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new National Training and Coaching Development Center in Kansas City took place on Sunday. More at Sporting Kansas City, MLSsoccer.comThe Kansas City Star, and KMBC.

At The Daily Beast: Will soccer’s growing popularity in the US have an effect on style? As in fashion style?

Elsewhere

Moths Portugal defeated France 1-0 in extra time on Sunday to win the Euro 2016 championship. At least it didn’t go to penalty kicks.

Moved by Ronaldo’s tears? This, to me, is way more powerful:

A study by two sports scientists of the 2014-15 La Liga season shows “referees favor the big teams by reducing the extra time when these teams are ahead on the scoreboard. In contrast, and according to an article published in the journal ‘Perceptual and motor skills’, referees slightly draw out the match when the big teams are losing.”

The AP reports, “Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has undergone minor surgery to treat skin cancer. Blatter’s spokesman, Thomas Renggli, told The Associated Press that he is at ‘home and fine’ after a surgical procedure on his left ear.”

28 Comments

  1. it’s almost like Earnie has a vision and a philosophy for the team…

    • I think there is some luck involved here. No way he knew the East would be this much of a tire fire. No way he knew the Defense would gel so quickly. No way of prediciting how many games Blake would single handedly keep us in. No way of knowing Carroll would once again perform well enough to start regularly.
      .
      This is why I am kicking back and not trying to be too critical of this season. it was supposed to be a rebuild year. This is like playing with house money.

      • pragmatist says:

        ^This.
        .
        Been saying it all year. It’s a rebuild with unexpected success. Playoffs are the goal. Anything over that is gravy.

      • Oh I knew about Blake, and I can’t imagine I was the only one. We had an inkling about that one. But on Carroll, and the defense, absolutely yes. Curtin has publically said that, as high as they were on Rosenberry, even they didn’t know he would be THIS good.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I give ES some credit. I think he knew this was a rebuild year at heart, but had to look at the last few years of the East, and think to himself – hey of this group grows a bit and works out, even a little bit, we could be successful – maybe not 1st place successful, but playoffs successful. The East has been a tire fire the last few years, and consistently weaker than the West.

      • pragmatist says:

        Especially after the move teams like SKC and Houston out of the East and into the West.

      • You could add that nobody could have rightfully expected Pontius to be this impactful already either, given his health over the last few years. On the flip, the rebuild of the defense and additions of players like Pontius and Ilsinho were calculated risks on players that fit a plan. I do believe that they’ve created some of their own luck with some well placed bets that have pretty much hit across the board (Drafting Rosenberry and Yaro, seeing something in Tribett, Pontius trade, keeping BC around one more year with the big club, Alberg, etc.). And with the notable exception of Columbus, is the East any worse than expected?

      • pragmatist says:

        Orlando is worse than expected. But your point is very valid. No one in the East has been intimidating for a long time.

      • You could make cases that Toronto and Montreal would finally get their shit together. And New England would be scrappy and competitive.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Kudos to Curtin on switching the set piece takers around so the other teams have to prepare for multiple possibilities.

  3. For the best example of how CJ manhandled DC, see the 3rd goal. I still have no clue how he got on the end of that in that crowd. Still needs a bit of work playing the final ball with his feet tho.

    • pragmatist says:

      I liked the first foul in the 4th minute. He set the tone with Opare VERY early in the match. He was faster and stronger on that play and forced Opare to foul him in a bad spot. The rest of the game followed suit.
      .
      But yeah…the 3rd goal was quality work out of him, too. Great game by CJ. Now…if he can just shoot on frame…

  4. Zizouisgod says:

    Little kid in Portugal shirt – “Come on, be a big big boy and don’t cry over a football match.”

    Very sweet reaction from the youngster.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Lately, I’ve seen a lot of criticism for CJ not scoring enough goals. I realize he is the lone striker, but is it really all about him? The team is leading the league in goals scored and second goals per game. In the last 10 games (including Open Cup) there have only been 2 where the Union haven’t scored at least 2. One of those was at altitude in Colorado against a team who has given up less than 0.75 goals against per game. The other was in steamy Houston playing their 6th game in 2.5 weeks with their top 3 choices at forward all with injury issues.
    .
    So if you’re looking for a season like Seba had in 2010 with 14 goals and 11 assists, you should probably keep ranting against CJ. But if you’re looking for a player who’s a vital cog in a well oiled offensive machine, then it really doesn’t matter who’s scoring, as long as they are going in.

    • I do not think I have posted any CJ criticism but I certainly have nodded in agreement with some of the comments, however, I have definitely come around on this point. The way the team played in his absence convinced me. He is basically essential to the squad, even though his style of play suggests a man trying to move a piano while wearing roller skates.

    • pragmatist says:

      He’s not an accurate shooter. It’s a part of his game that needs improvement.
      .
      But his presence, strength, and work rate opens holes for other guys to take the shots. And this team has plenty of talent to capitalize on the opportunities he creates.
      .
      We’d all love to see him punch a few more in. But if leads the league in assists (unlikely, but trying to prove a point), he will have absolutely done his job. He doesn’t need to score, but he does need to create scoring chances. He does that, and he does it better than almost anyone in the league.

    • I have never understood the CJ criticism, and I still don’t. I mean yeah, he’s not the sharpshooter that David Villa or Giovinco are, but how many strikers shoot like that? I think he’s shooting is at least in the average range for starting forwards (which is a solid comparison group), and his hold-up play and aerial challenge game are second to none. What we need is a backup who can play in his style so we can avoid wearing him into the ground. I kinda wish we had kept Conor Casey around.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Well reasoned.

    • Several times on this site, I’ve written that I’d like to see him score more goals because I was worried that less than 10 from our lone center forward was not enough.
      .
      But now we have Alberg, Pontius and maybe Ilsinho pitching in nice goal totals and my concerns are not so great.
      .
      And after that last game, I feel almost stupid for suggesting CJ needs to score more. His assist to Ilsinho should spur a new category over at MLS.com for assist of the week. He was fantastic.
      .
      Anyone else think, when Eder entered for Portugal, that he was Portugal’s CJ Sapong?

    • Absolutely correct. Let’s take the moneyball approach and view this as a team platoon. I don’t care if my primary striker scores 5, 10 or 20 as long as the team scores 50+ over the course of the season.
      .
      No need to harp on his finishing if he does the intangible little things right that lead to easy shots and goals.

  6. el Pachyderm says:

    Man… What a breath of sea salted fresh air the sporting director is.
    .
    As easily as can be said, I’m grateful for this tide.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      The Inquirer article was really good. Nice to get real publicity, with some thought put in to it. And yeah… sometimes I still can’t believe he is running our team.

    • I hope ticket sales will start to improve after the numbers quoted in the article. May Saturday be a sign of this actually happening (were 37 seats short of a sellout).

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        And a tweet from the team said the TV ratings were the highest in team history. Good stuff.

  7. ebradlee10 says:

    LOL Moths.

  8. Chris Sherman says:

    I think we should all take that La Liga extra time favoritism paper with a large grain of salt. I’ve read the exact same (IMO) flawed methodology first used to try and help explain Home Field Advantage in book “Scorecasting: […]” (ISBN-10: 9780307591807, an otherwise excellent book with only a couple areas of IMO flawed, out-of-context-analysis).

    I reviewed their paper and they did not account for the fact that small-reputation-teams who, at the end of the game, get a small lead on a large-reputation-team, are far more likely to deliberately waste time than a vice-versa situation due to respect. While they included some overlapping variables such as number of fouls and substitutions, this can’t account for time players delayed to restart or faked injuries. I don’t think it is fair to conclude, as they do, that referees favor big clubs on extra time unless you actually measure “stoppage time” in the 2nd half as if the clock didn’t continuously run and then include as a variable.

  9. ha, Balotelli – let’s see:

    1. $7M per year
    2. 1st or 2nd tackle like the ones by Opare on CJ the other night (or some of the other horrors MLS refs routinely allow) and Mario loses it and gets sent off.
    3. probably a nice guy off the field

    Ticks all the boxes for Orlando or NYCFC or (last place) Seattle.

    • Pragmatist says:

      If we weren’t in or near first place, I’d be begging for him. I love Mario…psycho and all. He would be a huge success here.
      .
      But you are correct, he’d need to keep his temper under control. But if he did, he’d dominate this league.

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