Daily news roundups

Union-NE USOC quarterfinal tonight, Pappas fired after guilty plea, Reading and OC advance in PDL playoffs, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union will look to reach the semifinals of the US Open Cup for the fourth time in the past five years when they face New England Revolution tonight at Harvard University’s Jordan Field (7:30 pm, YouTube).

With Montreal away on Saturday in league play, Jim Curtin said of tonight’s game, “We’ll still start our best team. The core group of guys that plays the bulk of the minutes is still going to start. We’re going to go after it and try to win a game at Harvard…Do we change two or three spots? Possibly. But those will be the spots where there’s not much of a drop-off.”

New England head coach Jay Heaps said of his lineup, “We have to make sure that we prepare the right way, use a certain number of guys that are ready, guys that are fit, blend it with a couple new additions to the lineup and really give them our best effort, because I think anyone going into [a chance at] the semifinal, especially playing at home, it’s a really good opportunity.”

Heaps said of the Union, “Philly is a really good team. They’re at the top of [the Eastern Conference] table – them and New York [City FC]. For me, obviously, we have to be prepared for a team that’s playing really well right now, playing confidently. Like you said, [Philadelphia] showed a lot of character coming back [in Sunday night’s comeback win against the New York Red Bulls]. We have to prepare ourselves and be ready to show what we’re made of.”

The latest injury report for New England at the league website:

OUT: F – Charlie Davies (right abductor strain)
OUT: D – Donnie Smith (right hamstring strain)
OUT: F – Juan Agudelo (right knee sprain)
OUT: M – Xavier Kouassi (right knee surgery)
QUESTIONABLE: M – Gershon Koffie (right knee sprain)

Previews at Philadelphia Union (preview, know your opponent), US Soccer, Philly.com, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game (preview, three questions), Pattison AveProst Amerika, VavelMLSsoccer.com, New England Revolution (preview, pre-game press quote sheet, report), Boston Globe, Boston HeraldSentinel & Enterprise, The Bent Musket, and SBI.

At Delco Times, how the Union are looking to improve their road record. Jim Curtin said,

We’ve talked about improving our road mentality. We’ve gotten some good draws on the road, some things could’ve been wins to be honest, if you think back to Orlando (May 25). But the reality is our last win on the road was against Columbus, and that was game two of the year. And this team’s too good to have that be the case…

Knowing what it takes for 90 minutes to be committed, to not fall asleep, to know that you’re not going to get calls, to know that the crowd is going to be hostile, balancing all those things and coming out with wins, it’s the hardest thing to do in our sport, win on the road. And we need to get better at it.

The Union’s away record this season in league play is 1-5-3, with eight of the remaining 14 regular season games on the road. More at Philly.com.

The league’s disciplinary committee has fined Fabinho for simulation in Sunday’s draw with NYRB (video). Yeah, that was a dive.

Chris Pontius is No. 2 in the Audi MLS Player Index Week 19 top 20. At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead includes him on his All-Star Snub team.

FourFourTwo picks Andre Blake as their midseason Goalkeeper of the Year. Keegan Rosenberry is the pick for Rookie of the Year.

Tranquillo Barnetta’s free kick goal against Orlando comes in at No. 6 in SBI’s list of the top 20 goals at the midpoint of the season. Unfortunately, Cristian Maidana’s free kick winner for Houston over the Union comes in at No. 7.

At SB Nation Montreal Impact blog Mount Royal Soccer, a look at each MLS team’s unsung hero, overrated player, and revelation. Chris Pontius is named as the Union’s unsung hero, with Keegan Rosenberry the revelation. The overrated player? “[H]ard to find anyone in that category in Philadelphia … the team has made huge progress this season.”

Section 215 highlights Fabian Herbers’ role with the Union.

At the Union website, a look at the team’s resilience.

Power rankings! At MLSsoccer.com, the Union drop one spot to No. 5: “That was a ferocious rally on Sunday night, and Jim Curtin’s right – Philly could have taken all three points. But they’ve got to figure out how they ended up in a 2-0 hole at home in the first place.” At SBI, the Union remain at No. 6: “The Union scored two goals merely moments apart to erase a two-goal deficit against one of their local rivals. It was a gutsy performance from a team that looked destined for defeat, and it could be one that proves vital in the tight Eastern Conference race. Just three points behind NYCFC with a game in hand, the Union are very much in the thick of things in conference play.”

The Sons of Ben have announced the annual River Cup game, which benefits the Philadelphia Union Foundation, will not take place this year: “As you’ve seen there have been many changes in personnel within the [Front Office], but also within the Foundation. Many events and efforts have had to be rearranged or postponed due to these changes. The proceeds of RiverCup have always been to benefit the [Philadelphia Union Foundation], and with the cost and manpower associated in putting on this event, it has overwhelmed all parties involved to do so with lack of attendance & volunteer assistance.”

Justin Sherlock and Tariq Fontroy will represent the Union in the Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Game on July 26 at at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.

At FourFourTwo, Graham Parker uses attending Sunday’s Union-NYRB game and enjoying the Sons of Ben as the starting point to address the recent widely panned New York Times Magazine article, “The Dark Side of American Soccer Culture.”

The Union announced three new front office promotions and three new additions on Tuesday. Dave Debusschere, who has been with the team since 2008, has been promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Dennis Carroll, with the team since 2009, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Finance. Craig Amhaus, with the team since 2011, has been promoted to Vice President of Corporate Partnerships.

Joining the club as Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships is Jean-Paul Dardenne, who last worked for the New Orleans Saints. Doug Vosik, who comes to the club after working at Under Armor as Senior Global Brand Manager of Football (soccer), is the new Vice President of Marketing. Charlie Slonaker has been named Vice President of Tickets Sales and Fan Services after last working for Indiana Pacers. More on the front office moves at Philadelphia Business Journal.

The Union have terminated their contract with gameday color commentator Peter Pappas after he pled guilty in federal court on Tuesday to participating in health care fraud, “receiving nearly $500,000 in kickbacks for filling unneeded prescriptions for himself and recruiting others to the scheme.”

Bethlehem Steel FC

Derick Jones has been named to USLsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.

At Allentown Morning Call, Ryan Richter talks about how grateful he is to be playing close to home, particularly after the birth of his son Theo on May 31.

City Islanders

The City Islanders have signed forward Cameron Vickers from Arizona United.

Jose Barril has been named to USLsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.


After going down a goal, Reading United fought back to defeat Western Massachusetts Pioneers in the first round of the PDL playoffs on Tuesday night. The Pioneers opened the scoring in the 23rd minute before Frantzdy Pierrot equalized in the 40th. Rayane Boukemia’s shipped effort gave Reading the lead in the 71st minute with Ismael Noumansana scoring an insurance goal in the 90th minute. Recap at Reading United, Reading Eagle, and WFMZ.

Ocean City Nor’easters defeated GPS Portland Phoenix 3-1 on the road in first round play. Chevaughn Walsh opened the scoring in the 14th minute with his league-leading 15th goal of the season before Nathan Regis adding another goal only a minute later. The home team got on the scoreboard from the penalty spot in the 67th minute before Mutaya Mwape added another goal for Ocean City in the 87th minute. Recaps at Ocean City Nor’easters and Press of Atlantic City.

Reading will host the host the Eastern Conference Championships this weekend at Don Thomas Stadium in Exeter. According to the PDL website, Ocean City faces top-seeded Charlotte Eagles in the first semifinal on Friday at 5:30 pm, followed by Reading against Carolina Dynamo at 8 pm. The Eastern Conference Championship will be played on Saturday at 7 pm. (Both the Reading and Ocean City recaps have the semifinals being played on Saturday rather than Friday.)

TheCup.us projects both Reading and Ocean City qualifying for the US Open Cup in 2017.


Jason Kreis has been named as the new head coach of Orlando City.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle reviews the ongoing lawsuits and claims for and against training compensation and solidarity payments from player transfers.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “Three days after Real Salt Lake pulled the press credential of Salt Lake Tribune sports columnist Gordon Monson prior to RSL’s home match against the New England Revolution Saturday night, the organization reinstated the longtime voice of the Tribune Tuesday morning.” The reinstatement comes at “the behest of Major League Soccer and in accordance with league policy,”according to a statement from RSL’s chief business officer, Andy Carroll.

FourFourTwo says the 35,061 on hand for the friendly between Cincinnati and Crystal Palace last Saturday is a “reminder that perhaps a dozen (or perhaps even more) cities across this big land of ours could support the highest level of professional soccer.”

Averaging only 1,310 fans for its home games this season, NASL-side Fort Lauderdale Strikers are moving from Lockhart Stadium, home of the Strikers of the original NASL and also defunct MLS side Miami Fusion, to the much smaller Central Broward Stadium.


Speaking at an event hosted by the Republican National Coalition for Life on Tuesday, Lou Holtz, the retired American football coach whose long career included ten years as head coach of the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” American football team, said of the ongoing immigrant “invasion” of the US, “I don’t want to become you…I don’t want to speak your language, I don’t want to celebrate your holidays, I sure as hell don’t want to cheer for your soccer team!”


At The Guardian, Sean Ingle wonders how FIFA can continue to support Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup in the aftermath of the McLaren report on the Russian government’s support of efforts to circumvent anti-doping measures and the IOC’s announcement that it will not “organise or give patronage to any sports event or meeting in Russia.”

ESPN reports, “French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says security forces foiled what could have been a ‘particularly deadly’ terrorist attack shortly before Euro 2016.” The report continues, “Meanwhile, a l’Opinion report on Monday said that at least two potential terrorist attacks had been thwarted during Euro 2016. Citing an anonymous source, the French newspaper said one of the attacks was planned for the night of the Euro 2016 final between France and Portugal on July 10.”

ESPN and Fox Soccer pick up on reports out of Italy that Lazio sold only 11 season tickets on the opening day of sales for the 2016-17 season.


  1. Don’t know that I would exactly call Pontius “unsung”… I mean he is the team’s leading scorer. Though it’s true that he doesn’t get as quite as much juice as he deserves for having done all that scoring. But probably the true “unsung hero” for the Union this season, in the sense in which that term is generally used, is Brian Carroll.

  2. lastguyoffthebench says:

    The Mid-Atlantic division in the Eastern Conference of the PDL continues to be the strongest from top to bottom… Expect to see Reading vs OC Nor’easters for the Eastern Conference title on Saturday night in Reading…

  3. Buccistick says:

    Um … while the U indeed “showed a lot of character coming back [in Sunday night’s comeback win against the New York Red Bulls],” that effort earned them only one point — not all three.
    I wonder if Lou “Leo” Holtz cheered for Cindy Daws and her NCAA championship-winning team before he exited South Bend. Having added two more College Cups to the trophy case since, they’ve certainly given his former blue ‘n gold employer plenty to cheer about.

  4. Leo Holtz needs to recognize what year it is. Foolish old men saying foolish things bore me.

  5. Foolish and ignorant. The beauty of this country is Lou doesn’t have to do any of those things he mentioned not wanting to do.

    On a lighter note, I just spent a glorious minute trying to visualize Lou Holtz teaching immigrant “invaders” how to speak English.

  6. Where will this game be shown? Will try to get to Tir Na Nog and get them to show it on the big screen.

  7. From the Lou Holtz story:
    “Jesus loves you. Everybody else thinks you’re an asshole.”

    Sorry Lou, Jesus thinks you’re an a-hole too

  8. Say it ain’t so, Peter Pappas!

  9. ESPN has MLS midseason awards:
    Curtin voted Coach of the Year and Rosenberry as Rookie of the Year

    • pragmatist says:

      LOL!!! Seriously…people hate us. Even when trying to pay us a compliment, we seem like the redheaded stepchild:
      “But Curtin has helped engineer an impressive turnaround; as a result, he has the Rapids poised to make the playoffs for the first time in five years.”
      Nope, not the Rapids. But thanks for trying!

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