Daily news roundups

Curtin hopeful Sapong available for Saturday, more news

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference is scheduled for today at 12:30 pm (Facebook).

One of the topics he’ll surely be asked about will be CJ Sapong’s status following his exit following the first half against New England after he sustained a head injury in a challenge for the ball against Jose Goncalves. Philly.com’s Marc Narducci talked to Curtin about Sapong’s on Tuesday and the Union head coach said Sapong had gone through the concussion protocol:

At halftime [against New England] we thought he would be able to continue, but then he started to get a little bit of discomfort with his neck so we made the proactive decision [to sub him out]…I think he will be close and be available this weekend. He seems to be doing fine.

The Union will need all hands on deck when the host Toronto, who are on a five-game unbeaten streak, on Saturday. Sportsnet.ca notes Toronto defenders Mark Bloom (ankle sprain) and Justin Morrow (twisted back) both had to leave last Sunday’s road game against Houston with injuries: “While Morrow is considered day-to-day and remains a possibility for this weekend, [head coach Greg] Vanney confirmed that Bloom has been ruled out for Saturday’s visit to Philadelphia.” In other injury news, Will Johnson (bone fracture) and Daniel Lovitz (knee injury) are both available for selection this weekend, as is right fullback Steven Beitashour, provided his recovery from hip injury continues to progress as expected. Goalkeeper Clint Irwin (quadricep) and midfielder Benoit Cheyrou (hamstring) remain unavailable.

At the Union website, a quick “Know Your Opponent” piece on Toronto.

Vote Andre Blake for Save of the Week!

More power rankings! At MLSsoccer.com, the Union move up three spots to No. 7: “Did Alejandro Bedoya fix everything, just like that? Too hot a take for us, especially considering the way the Revs have struggled. But any 4-0 road win against a conference foe is worth celebrating, and Philly are still well within striking distance of the top of the East.” At SBI, the Union move up two spots to No. 9: “So much for the four-match winless streak.”

Bethlehem Steel

Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog recaps Bethlehem’s 2-1 road loss last Saturday to Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Philadelphia Union Academy

It looks like Union Academy defender Matthew Real, who is with the US U-18 MNT for the Vaclav Jezek Tournament in the Czech Republic, did not play in the team’s 3-1 win over Slovakia on Tuesday.

You will recall Union Academy defender Rayshaun McGann was also called up for the US U-17 training camp in Utah. The team came from behind to defeat Utah Valley University, 4-3, on Tuesday but I’ve not yet seen a lineup to know whether McGann featured in the game.

City Islanders

City Islanders midfielder Jose Barril has been named to USLsoccer.com’s Team of the Week. Barril is also up for Goal of the Week. More at the City Islanders website.


Temple forward Jorge Gomez Sanchez has been named to the American Athletic Conference preseason men’s soccer All-Conference Team. Temple finished in fifth place in a preseason poll of the league’s eight head coaches.


In CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday night, Kansas City drew 2-2 on the road with Trinidad and Tobago’s Central FC. NYRB drew 1-1 on the road in El Salvador with Alianza.

Dallas has waived defender Agustin Jara.

A press release notes, “Major League Soccer teams rank no lower than second in each of America’s four largest markets included in the inaugural J.D. Power 2016 Fan Experience StudySM released today. The New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire rank highest in their respective markets while the Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo rank second in theirs.” You can view the report by clicking here.

Pioneer Press reports Friday’s big announcement in St. Paul will be that “Minnesota United will join Major League Soccer as an expansion franchise for the 2017 season,” with the club “operating in ‘good faith’ that their proposed $150 million stadium project…will receive confirmation of the positive political support garnered from the city of St. Paul and the Legislature.” The report says “there’s a chance the 21,500-seat stadium could be ready for the club as soon as the 2018 season. In the meantime, United FC is expected to play in the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium next season.”

The AP notes the Detroit MLS bid comes amid a boom time for lower league soccer in the Detroit area.


The Washington Post reports the USMNT will host New Zealand in a friendly at RFK on Oct. 11.

Is Christian Pulisic looking for a loan away from Dortmund in search of more playing time?


In the semifinals of the women’s tournament at the Olympics, Sweden parked the bus again to defeat Brazil 4-3 on penalty kicks after the teams finished level at 0-0 after extra time. Brazil goalkeeper Barbara said after the game,

Sweden stayed back and played defense with all 11 players in the back. We tried to break through with three, four attackers. We shot on goal a few times, what they didn’t do, but unfortunately the ball didn’t go in for us today.

Each team works the way they think they must. I wouldn’t call it a coward’s approach, but they only played defense. I think they used their strategy. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to break through. Their strategy worked today, they came out with the win and that’s football.

Sweden will face Germany, who defeated Canada 2-0 in the other semifinal, in Friday’s gold medal game.

In the today’s men’s semifinal games, Brazil faces Honduras at noon and Nigeria faces Germany at 3 pm (both games can be viewed at NBCSN, NBCOlympics.com, and NBC Sports Live).

Ernesto Rodrigues, author of a biography of João Havelange, on the former FIFA president who died on Tuesday:

I think that Havelange will be remembered both as a “mafia-type” boss but also as a man who transformed the football into an billion-dollar entertainment. He was also a rare combination of an authoritarian in the way he ran football but a visionary in  the way he ran the business of sport. His problem was that his vanity was stronger than his intelligence.

Havelange resigned as president of FIFA after an investigation found he had accepted millions of dollars in bribes. PA Sport notes, “The relative lack of public grieving for a Rio local who became a two-sport Olympian and a giant on the global sports politics stage is a testament to the tangled legacy he has left behind.” More on his legacy at ESPN.

Reuters reports, “A FIFA investigator has proposed at least a six-year ban and 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,393) fine for ex-South Africa football chief Kirsten Nematandani over alleged ethics violations connected to fixing international friendlies in 2010.”

The Guardian reports on a prank for the ages:

Steaua Bucharest officials were left red-faced after a prank organised by supporters of their arch rivals Dinamo Bucharest appeared to sabotage their pre-match display before the Champions League qualifier against Manchester City [on Tuesday].

With anticipation high ahead of the visit of Pep Guardiola’s side, Steaua owner Gigi Becali had commissioned a “tifo” at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest to mark 30 years since their victory in the 1986 European Cup final. However, when the huge mosaic was unveiled just before kick off, it was revealed to say “Doar Dinamo Bucuresti” (Only Dinamo Bucharest).

According to reports in Romania, the display had been organised by a group of Dinamo fans who posed as professionals offering to help prepare the display before the match.

Steaua Bucharest went on to lose 5-0 to Man City.


  1. if Pulisic has fallen down the depth chart due to the recent BVB acquisitions, he absolutely needs to move on, no question

    • No way. He’s only 17. And Dortmund is the kind of team who need borderline world class players to compete at the level they expect to. There was no way he was going to be anywhere near a locked in started, no matter how good he looked last year.

      He still has plenty of time to learn and grow in one of the best youth set ups in the world, and he still has the trust of the head coach. There is no reason to throw that all away so soon.

    • it’s a good debate to have, but going from regular first-team minutes to out of the match day 18 is a step backward and not what he needs

      • I would argue that it depends on where he is loaned. If say he gets loaned within the Bundesliga but gets more playing time is that really a downgrade. However if he gets loaned out to 2nd or 3rd tier div or sent to a team in say the norwegian league or turkey I might argue it is a step back.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Spot on. The question is where can he continue to effectively develop while getting consistent professional minutes at high level

  2. Really, really, REALLY wish the Owls actually played in Philly. Getting to Ambler to watch a weekday game is a brutal proposition. Riding my bike up to campus would be spectacular.
    Edit: Hold that thought. Are they going to be playing at 13th and Girard this season!?
    Edit2: Yes, yes they are. This is outstanding news.

  3. Sweden’s gonna need a bigger bus.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I know it’s a tactic but it’s absurd that they are in the Final, and couldn’t care less about scoring a goal. Frustrating to watch but effective, I guess.

      • Portugal in the Euro’s took a similar tactic defend and counter. If it works while it might not look good I have to argue that you do what you can to win. If the other team can not find tactics to beat your organized defense so be it.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Oh no I agree with you. It’s awful to watch. He a win, is a win… especially in a semi-final

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    Don Garber tweets how happy he is about the JD Power numbers…. I tweet, his narrative is poison.
    Houston and Chicago are getting about 1,000 butts in seats a game right now. Total farce. Shameful.

    • If you’ve watched matches from Houston or Chicago, you would realize that your per game attendance estimate of 1,000 is way off.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Indeed I’ve also seen games where that number is not way off.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I thought Zizou meant the number was clearly lower than 1000 🙂

      • Zizouisgod says:

        I would expect that your and my definitions of “way off” is likely…ahem, way off.

        Remember 7-8k people in a 20k seat stadium looks really small. Those two cities do get poor attendance, but they always have well in excess of 1,000 people there for MLS matches.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I choose hyperbole as a means of elucidating my points.

    • Jim Presti says:

      Absolute joke. MLs can’t give tickets away to the matches in Chicago, Houston, & Dallas.
      And let’s not even talk about attendance for weekday matches across the league, including Open Cup ties.
      Just keep running the “We get 50k in Seattle and sell out Portland and SKC” message.

  5. Well played, Dinamo supporters. That was brilliant.

  6. Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

    Hope Solo, meet class. Her name is Barbara.

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