Daily news roundups

Union host Red Bull, Steel wins, PDL regular season play concludes this weekend, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Right then, the Union host NYRB on Sunday at 7 pm in a nationally televised game. If the Union win, they could be back on top of the Eastern Conference.

Jim Curtin said of the game, “It’s a rivalry game, you know our fans don’t like them and their fans don’t like us. The coaching staffs are very familiar with each other. But it’s two really good teams on the field – that needs to be said – fighting for a top spot in the Eastern Conference.” No word on whether the Union bench will be provided with protective gear in the event Jesse Marsch gets all ball throwy again.

Our preview will be up later this morning but you can check out our quick reference to get up to speed on past games between the teams. In the meanwhile, there are previews at Philadelphia Union (printvideofive reasons to go to the game), Brotherly Game, MLssoccer.com (preview, report), and The Guardian. At Uncle Mike’s Musings: A Yankees Blog and More, Uncle Mike shows he’s not kidding about the “More” with a ridiculously exhaustive guide on how to be a Red Bulls fan in Philadelphia that also includes the usual predictable swipes at Philly sports fans.

At Philly Voice, more on Wednesday night’s friendly against Crystal Palace. Union Tally’s review of the friendly focuses on Cole Missimo, beginning with his lovely nutmeg of Palace’s Connor Wickham. Like the rookie says, it was a “Pretty cool moment.”

At Delco Times, Matthew De George has fine read on the impact Earnie Stewart has has in transforming the club:

The Union are halfway through the first season of Stewart’s return to MLS. In that time, myriad aspects of the club’s approach have changed drastically — so much so that it seems the club’s elevated position in the table is but one short-term impact, a reflection of changes that aim for more enduring effects.

The elegance of Stewart’s influence lies in its layering: He’s tasked with curing the big-picture ills that afflict the Union, but his implementation of solutions has included immediate remedies that carry the air of sustainability. For all the talk about Stewart’s business acumen and his progressive ideas on player development, some of his earliest fixes have been moored in common-sense management that has been mind-bogglingly absent in Chester for so long.

And the sum of that tinkering is what has energized the Union’s fanbase.

Feel the Earn.

The gameday roster for the All-Star Game will be announced at halftime during ESPN’s broadcast of Sunday’s Montreal-NYCFC game, which kicks off at 5. Will Andre Blake and/or Keegan Rosenberry be on it?

Blake is the only — that’s right, the only — Union player to make a list at Philly Voice of “ranking the current best 25 athletes in Philadelphia sports.” If that isn’t absurd enough, not one Union player is included in a list that precedes the rankings of 14 athletes who “just missed the cut.” Hilarious.

Blake makes a list of “best most valuable player candidates” at MLS Multiplex.

A review of the most improved teams in MLS at Football Everyday includes a look at the Union.

Carl Mandell, the Union’s director of broadcast and video production, talks about “in-venue engagement” at Talen Energy Stadium in this video from the Sports Video Group’s Sports Venue Production Summit, which took place in Philadelphia last month:

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem defeated Wilmington 3-0 on Thursday afternoon for the team’s first-ever winning streak after defeating Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-0 last Sunday. The scoreline is also the highest for the team in its inaugural season with goals from Josh Heard, Derrick Jones (assisted by Ryan Richter) and Gabe Gisse (assisted by Corey Burke). With the result, Bethlehem is now eighth place in the Eastern Conference (24 points, 6-6-6).

Brendan Burke said, “It’s important to grab as many points as we can during the next four games at home. This is a vital part of the season for us. We have started exactly the way [we wanted], we couldn’t get it any better. We scored five goals, we haven’t conceded one, and we got 6 points out of the last two. I think a few days off for the boys is in order. You know, after five games on the road and then turning around and playing two quick ones at home here off the back of Toronto, so that’s what we are going to do for them and then we’ll come back in and focus on Monday.”

Josh Heard said after the win, “We have a string of home games. We got a good result against Pittsburgh and we got another one here. We’re playing well. We’re flying right now. We just have to keep it rolling”

The team hosts City Islanders on Thursday, July 21 at 4 pm.

Recaps at PSP, Bethlehem Steel (recap, quote sheet), Allentown Morning CallWFMZPhilly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, USLsoccer.com, Wilmington Hammerheads, Port City Daily, and WWAY-TV3.

Several players who appeared for the Union in Wednesday’s game against Crystal Palace were in action for Bethlehem less than 24 hours after the friendly. John McCarthy and Ryan Richter went the full 90 while Cole Missimo played 45 first-half minutes, Derrick Jones started and played 62 minutes, and Taylor Washington started and played 89 minutes. Oh, to be young again.

Philly.com and Philly Soccer News on Derrick Jones’ performance with the Union on Wednesday night.

City Islanders

City Islanders are on the road to face Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Sunday in the second game of the Keystone Derby (7 pm, YouTube). Both teams are struggling this season. The 12th place City Islanders (14 points, 4-13-2) are on a nine-game winless streak that includes eight loses. 15th place Pittsburgh (10 points, 2-10-4) are on a four-game losing streak following a 2-0 home defeat on Thursday night to Richmond Kickers in a game that saw the start of the second half delayed until around 10:30 pm thanks to a weather-related delay that was followed by a power outage. The first game of the three-game Keystone Derby ended in a scoreless draw in Pittsburgh on July 4.

At the City Islanders site, a preview of Sunday’s game.

PDL

Reading United (28 points, 9-3-1) claimed the Mid-Atlantic Division title and a playoff spot with their 4-0 road win over Jersey Express on Wednesday but this weekend’s conclusion of regular season play still has meaning for area clubs.

Reading has a chance to win the East Conference title when they host Lehigh Valley United, sixth in the Mid-Atlantic Division (10 points, 3-8-1), on Sunday at 5 pm.

Before facing Reading on Sunday, LVU is on the road to play third place Baltimore Bohemians (20 points, 6-4-2) tonight at 7 pm. If LVU win, that would mean third place Baltimore could not move above second place Ocean City Nor’easters (24 points, 8-5-0), who are still in the running for a playoff spot themselves, when the Nor’easters host the Bohemians on Sunday at 5 pm.

The final playoff spots and conference title are dependent on whether first place in the South-Atlantic Division Charlotte Eagles (31 points, 10-2-1) lose when they host Tri-Cities Otters in their regular season finale on Saturday. At least that’s how I think things stand. Info on the PDL playoff format is available here.

Local

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph notes former Union Academy players who are now on the PDA U-18 team that has reached the USSDA semifinals.

NBC10 reports that standout boys soccer player Austin Wylie, who was a Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week in September, has gone missing. A car the Shipley School forward was driving “was located at 5th and Spring Garden streets in Philadelphia since the teen went missing” on Wednesday morning. More at 6abc, Bryn Mawr-Gladwyne Patch, and Main Line Media News.

Former Temple women’s soccer defender Paula Jurewicz has joined the team as an assistant coach.

Jen Hoy, the Sellersville, Pa. native and Princeton grad who plays for Chicago Red Stars, is a new brand ambassador for G-Force, a leader in athletic impact protection that recently launched a new line of shin guards that “are the first fully flexible, soft shin guard to meet the highest global protection standards from NOCSAE and CE.”

MLS

Portland Timbers have signed Lithuanian national team defender Vytautas Andriuškevičius, whose last club was Cambuur in the Eredivisie.

Sebastian Giovinco picked up the award for best MLS Player at the 2016 ESPYs.

Could Mix Diskerud be on his way out of NYCFC?

From MLSsoccer.com: “Liga MX club owners approved on Monday a rule that will limit the number of foreign-born players allowed on each matchday squad to 10, a measure that will have serious implications for US-born players based in Mexico and could conceivably dissuade some Mexican-Americans from leaving MLS for Liga MX in the future.”

From FourFourTwo: “Liga MX, the most-watched soccer league in this country, just wrapped its season curtain-raiser in Southern California, selling out StubHub Center for a pair of competitive clashes Sunday, and it’s just the beginning. League officials have plans for something big, something special, something that would create a real partnership with Major League Soccer and better position globally for both of North America’s best leagues.”

Empire of Soccer talks to USL president Jake Edwards about the league’s expansion plans — “There will be a point where we stop expanding and that could be in the high 30’s” — and desire to receive Division II status: “We set a goal and we’re aspiring to be one of the top second divisions in the world. There’s a lot of work to do…There are some fantastic second divisions out there but we can do that by bringing on world class owners. We’ve got many of those in our league now that have been there and done it at the highest level. Bringing on markets like this (Nashville) that can sustain and can put 10, 15, 20 thousand people in a soccer stadium, that’s the second division we want to be.”

US

Pulisic!

UK newspaper The Independent reports, “The Football Association will interview Jurgen Klinsmann for the England manager’s job and are seriously considering him as a successor to Roy Hodgson, though the Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce remains the frontrunner to get the position he was denied ten years ago.” The Daily News reports, “A source confirmed to the Daily News that England’s Football Association has not made the official request” to interview Klinsmann. The Times reports the FA is unwilling “to pay top-of-the-market rates” for a foreign coach. More at The Week.

Elsewhere

The BBC reports, “FIFA president Gianni Infantino is to be interviewed by ethics investigators following allegations he breached the governing body’s code of ethics.” The report explains, “The interview in Zurich – possibly as early as Friday – is part of a preliminary probe. If there is sufficient evidence then a full investigation could be opened. Under such circumstances Infantino could be suspended from his role for up to 90 days.” The allegations arise from “a possible conflict of interest when using private jets laid on by a World Cup-bidding country; that he filled senior posts without checking people’s eligibility for the role; and billing Fifa for mattresses, flowers, an exercise machine and personal laundry.”

Reuters reports, “The investigatory chamber of FIFA’s independent ethics committee has asked for former executive committee member Worawi Makudi to be banned from soccer for at least four years for allegedly breaching the soccer governing body’s code of conduct.” Makudi is the former president of the Thailand Football Association.

The AP reports, “The Russian city of St. Petersburg said Friday it has fired the general contractor building a trouble-plagued stadium which is to host World Cup matches in 2018.”

Je Suis Nice.

18 Comments

  1. el Pachyderm says:

    “The elegance of Stewart’s influence lies in its layering”
    .
    Number one, this is well written
    Number two, this is Vision, Philosophy, Plan
    .
    Thank you to Mr Stewart.
    .
    Adam S? Jerome?

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Agreed.

      The one quote that has really stuck with me throughout many of the Stewart articles was the one where he asks Curtin “how he would like to play” and Curtin starts to answer about how the Union’s existing personnel fit as well as what each player can do or not do. Stewart then stops him and asks the question again. I believe that Curtin was one relaying the story and it really hit home on the impact that Stewart has had on the Union.

  2. Even better written (!) are M de G’s tweets that Mo trained full speed, 7 v. 7 this morning!

      • What’s a realistic expectation to have him ready to be a bench option, a month?

      • From same Twitter feed JC said Mo looked sharper than expected. Does he play for BSFC first?

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        How much cardiovascular has he lost, and how quickly will it come back for him?
        .
        Those are the two relevant variables.
        .
        Curtin usually has asked 30 minutes of his starters the first game of preseason, then 45, 60, 75 and 90. That pattern is no more frequent that 2 games a week.
        .
        So I would guess at a minimum, with no set backs at all, four weeks after the first few full practices with no restrictions.
        .
        There may be injury rehab games down with the Steel, as there were with Anderson and Tribbett, and as may have been planned for Ilsinho and Alberg.
        .
        I would seriously doubt any of those injury rehab games would involve long away bus rides.

      • If Mo is back in the lineup to go Sep 1 and then 100% by Sep 15, perfect timing.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Would point out reference Pittsburgh Riverhounds lying 15th in the table, that’s a good trick in a 14 team conference! 😉
      .
      By my count they are 13th of 14, Montreal FC being lower. In the league as a whole they lie 28th of 29. Tulsa is 15th of 15 in the west but currently has 12 points to Pittsburgh’s 10.
      .
      Romeo Parkes did a real job on Riverhounds when earned his suspension and termination.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    You learn something new everyday. After reading the article about the most improved teams in Football Everyday, I found out that Blake was an off season signing.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    No really…. Adam S – Jerome where are you?
    .
    Precisely the intellectual honesty I asked from you for four months that is absent like a falling barometer…..You guys are reminiscent of the seagulls yesterday that tried in vain to work me for the slice of pizza outside Jilly’s.
    .
    I know, they haven’t won anything yet… right?
    .
    Where’d you go? Flying randomly around Wonderland in hopes of popcorn detritus, sqwuaking away…

    • John P O'Donnell says:

      This is the third or fourth time you mentioned this….what gives?

      • el Pachyderm says:

        .
        Just. Having. Fun.
        .
        Though to be true, funny how those two no longer have much to say after being incapable of seeing other POV regarding direction of the club this is preseason.
        .
        Told them I would do this if they disappeared when it was clear the team was heading in correct direction. Just sticking to my word, sir.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Or maybe it’s just a slow day and I’m posting bored.
        .

  5. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    I want a feel the Earn t shirt!

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