Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin’s presser, Street Soccer USA building two futsal courts in North Philly and Kensington, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

Some highlights from Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference on Wednesday (full transcript here at PSP):

  • Curtin said of taking out CJ Sapong of the New England game, “you only get one brain.” Curtin said Sapong passed the first step of the concussion protocol: “It looks like he’ll be fine for the weekend and cleared to play.”
  • Brian Carroll is recovering from his plantar fasciitis injury quicker than expected. “He’ll be back, hopefully, on Monday in training. Maybe not full, but at least doing the technical part of things.”
  • Maurice Edu continues to participate in full training with the team as he recovers from his injury. Curtin said “it’s just a matter of time” before Edu gets minutes with Bethlehem Steel, adding, “he looks stronger and stronger each day, and we’re optimistic to having him back, hopefully sooner rather than later.” Asked if he could see playing time with Bethlehem as soon as this weekend, Curtin said, “Anything is possible.”
  • Curtin praised Alejandro Bedoya’s “calming presence” on the field.
  • With Chris Pontius the first American player this season in MLS to reach double digits in scoring, and CJ Sapong now at 7 goals, Curtin said, “[W]e want to build American players. We think it’s important to be a club that’s known as one that brings young American players through our academy, one that has US national team players…I want the US national team to be good, and I think that it’s our job as coaches in this league to make our national team stronger…we’ll push and continue to do all the little things to find the blend of a good core of American players, the right international guys that sprinkle in and are special like a Tranquillo.”
  • Curtin discussed the need to find ways to get Roland Alberg more minutes, describing him as “lethal” around the goal. “A little bit of an unfortunate situation where he’s the odd man out [on the depth chart] on a good group. But, I think you need depth on all teams. You look across the league at a lot of the top teams and they have some interchange and some strong players that come off the bench.”
  • Curtin said of the challenge of having to defend Sebastian Giovinco, “You joke about it but you literally could put a guy man-to-man and tell him to follow him the whole way around the goal, and even if that went perfect, if you foul somebody else around the box he gets his goal that way [from taking a free kick]. So, it’s a tough task. I’m glad I didn’t play when he was in the league. He’s a handful, as dangerous a guy as there is right now…he can beat you in so many different ways, and that’s what makes dealing with him so tough — and that’s why I say it’s not a one-person job, we have to have multiple guys around he ball and just hope he has an off night. That’s all you can try to do.”

More from the press conference at Delco TimesPhilly Voice, SBI,

CJ Sapong said when asked how he’s feeling after the injury, “I feel good. I’m going through protocol right now to make sure there’s no residual effects. Right now, my mind feels good, my body feels good, and I’m just trying to get through that process.”

At Philly.com, Alejandro Bedoya talks about adjusting to a new position in the No. 8 spot: “No disrespect to MLS, but the play is a little slower than I am used to, so I think I am more comfortable…I was brought in here as a DP and I have to show I can make the team better. I think I am confident enough to say I can do that.”

At the Toronto FC website, a projected lineup for the side that will face the Union on Saturday.

SportsNet on how Jozy Altidore is playing a big part in Toronto’s streak of five unbeaten games that includes four wins and a draw.

At MLSsoccer.com, a look at strength of schedule and expected points for the remainder of the season. The Union have the third most difficult schedule in the Eastern Conference and are projected to finish fifth in the conference with 48 points.

Also at MLSsoccer.com, Andre Blake talks about how he began as a goalkeeper.

Roland Alberg is the most improved player in MLSsoccer.com’s Fantasy League.

Philly Sports Network on how last weekend’s win over New England “is the Turning point of 2016.”

Former Union man Dzenan Catic, now with USL-side Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, has returned to play after a long layoff following a concussion in May. Catic said, “It was really, really difficult. I had to sit in my room 24/7; I couldn’t go outside. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was going to get better or if I was even going to play this year. There’s no timetable for a concussion. I had headaches for a good two months. So to be back out there now is really good for me.”

Bethlehem Steel FC

Bethlehem is on the road to face FC Montreal on Sunday (3 pm, YouTube). At the Bethlehem Steel site, a scouting report.

Local

The US Soccer Foundation announced on Monday that Street Soccer USA was one of seven programs around the country that had been awarded Safe Places to Play grants. Lawrence Cann, CEO of Street Soccer USA, tells Brotherly Game, “Street Soccer USA is planning the launch of two programs, one in North Philly at the site of the old Spring Garden school next to the Drexel Sheller Family Health Center. The other will be in Kensington and be operated in partnership with Kensington Soccer Club and facilitated by New Kensington CDC and Shift Capital…US Soccer Foundation has funded the futsal style flooring for one of the field and the Street Soccer USA Board and Comcast Corporation have funded the remaining costs of the Street Soccer Court construction.” Construction of the first site could begin as soon as late September.

Leah Scarpelli (PDA; Brick, N.J.) started in the US U-15 GNT’s 12-0 demolition of Bermuda in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF U-15 Championship on Wednesday. The team will now face Costa RIca in the semifinals.

The Temple women’s team begins their 2016 season on Friday when they host Drexel at the newly opened Temple University Sports Complex at 7 pm. The team is then on the road to face Delaware State on Sunday.

Jeremiah White has an good read on adapting to the culture of Saudi Arabia when he played there in 2010.

At The Guardian, Michael Lewis has a good read on Henry Farrell, the Philadelphia-born member of the US soccer team at the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

MLS

CBS Los Angeles reports, “The Los Angeles Football Club is preparing to break ground on its state-of-the-art Exposition Park stadium next week.”

The Star Tribune reports, “Plans for the Minnesota United FC soccer stadium site and acres of new development around it won final approval Wednesday from the St. Paul City Council.” More at MPR and MinnPost.

The Dallas Morning News reports, “Improvements planned for Frisco’s Toyota Stadium are being scaled back after construction bids came in millions of dollars over budget.” Renovations at the FC Dallas stadium include the construction of the new home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame: “The revisions unveiled Tuesday will deliver all the same components but in a more consolidated way at the stadium’s south end. For example, rather than elevating the Hall of Fame on a new level that’s disconnected from the stadium seating, the soccer museum will now be built into the main concourse level.”

Metro Soccer Nation wonders if NYCFC will ever get their own stadium.

US

It’s official: The USMNT will host New Zealand in a friendly at RFK Stadium on Oct. 11 (8 pm, ESPN). The game comes on the heels of the friendly against Cuba in Havana on Oct. 7. For Union fans worried about Bedoya being called up for the friendlies, the Union is on the road to face NYRB on Oct. 1 and does not play again until hosting Orlando on Sunday, Oct. 16. However, the USMNT plays St. Vincent and the Grenadines away on Sept. 2 before hosting Trinidad and Tobago on Sept. 6 in World Cup qualifiers, which means Bedoya would miss the Union’s road game against Chicago on Sept. 3 if he is called up.

You may recall early reports said the RFK friendly would be against Ghana. That game was nixed by new FIFA rules prohibiting excessive travel for international friendlies. Of course, New Zealand is a whole lot farther away than Ghana, but they are already in country to play Mexico in Tennessee on Oct. 8. ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle noted in a tweet: “It’s all about where the 2nd game is. If it’s a 5-hour flight & more than two time zones away, can’t happen.”

Fox Soccer wonders if the USWNT is struggling to find their post-Abby Wambach identity.

Alex Morgan when asked about Hope Solo calling Sweden “cowards” after they knocked the US out of the quarterfinals of women’s soccer tournament at the Olympics: “I saw her comments but I feel like those are opinions I don’t share.”

The Guardian’s David Squires skewers Hope Solo in his latest cartoon.

Elsewhere

Brazil thumped Honduras 6-0 — Neymar opening the scoring with the fastest goal in Olympic history 14 seconds after the start of play — in Wednesday’s semifinal game and will face Germany, who defeated Nigeria, 2-0, in the gold medal game on Saturday (4:30 pm, NBCSN).

19 Comments

  1. Is it just me or does anyone else think Bedoya might get in trouble for his mouth. I’m not saying he isn’t right to make some of these points, but to call the transfer process ridiculous and then call the game play slower than he expected and not up to levels he’s played at. I can’t see Garber liking any of these comments if he doesn’t watch out he might be getting fined in the future. I mean yes the transfer process is absurd and sure the game play is slower than Europe and needs to be picked up. But anyone else who comes here from another country seems to try to praise the league and say it is improving. He is one of the first I’ve noticed to consistently bad mouth it while playing in the league. I mean I’m all for doing that if it will change and improve things, but he should just watch out the team needs him to be on the field and playing and happy.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      .
      Kudos to Alejandro Bedoya. If you follow him on Twitter you will see nothing is different just because he’s hanging in philly for awhile.
      .
      Breath of fresh air… even those times when he may overstep- which that is pretty well subjective anyway. He consistently voices his opinion and it tends to run contrapuntal to the narrative…. I for one hope he’s a horsefly on Garbers head. I very much appreciate athletes who actually tell us something.
      .
      Didn’t really mind Hope Solo calling Sweden cowards either… It’s some of her other ‘newsie’ habits I find off putting.

    • Pragmatist says:

      He is EXACTLY what this league needs: one of its best players speaking out loudly about the need for improvement. His opinions are going to be welcomed with open arms by fans across the league.
      .
      Maybe Garber won’t like his quotes, but that will just lend more credence to them.

      • Jim Presti says:

        +1 Real change won’t come to the league until top players start voicing their opinion. I tend to think Curtin & Stewart share Bedoya’s opinion but refrain from speaking publically.

    • Agree with El P. here, pretty much. Bedoya is pretty free to say what he thinks because the league needs him more than he needs the league. At least at this point. And he has not at all been nasty about it. Just speaking the truth.

      Also agree on not being a little bit bothered by Solo’s “cowards” comment. I think it was probably accurate.

  2. So excited for the futsal courts. Huge.

    • Hope they continue to expand and push into my area. Allentown, Easton, Bethlehem. We could really use them. Especially Allentown and Easton.
      .
      And I saw That nyrb has built some in nyc and throughout jersey. They looked really cool. Would be cool if the Union did something along those lines as well

  3. The Realist Brian says:

    BRAVO on the futsal court! BRAVO! The first of many hopefully. Every club/community should be required to have one. One of the key elements to German rebirth was building these all across the country.
    .
    On a personal note, Ed and I started discussions to get one built in N. Liberties. Very preliminary, but our neighborhood can benefit with these. Sadly the Realist family had to move to the burbs, and I hope someone will continue to work on getting more courts built that aren’t restricted from use by the city. I will be bringing my son down to play though as there aren’t many futsal places in the Delaware Valley. Also, my son is in camp up here, and I saw the park they are practicing in, and the first thought I had with building a futsal court next to the volleyball courts, basketball courts, and unused baseball diamonds. Similar to the courts that were built in Evenston Chicago.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Id like one on an old basketball court just outside west philly… there are no poles- right along route 3… we play street ball there a good deal.
      .
      Perfect perfect place to draw from Lower Merion Havertown & Upper Darby…. especially upper Darby which has a large multicultural and Liberian culture where many Junior Lone Star players reside.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        High fences, please, with ball nets above them. On of my past experiences was a sidewalk away from Lancaster Avenue.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        Speaking of Junior Lonestar, It amazes me that they don’t tap into the young kids around them. That would be cool if they developed more kids 5-14.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    In other news…. I’ve been in San Diego LA San Fran the last 14 days and I find it disheartening that only one of those cities has one first tier team and that city has roughly 12 million people in and around it…. They are missing the boat.
    .
    Open the pyramid. Change the model. Do something….. better. So sad to me that finally this game is ready to and IS absolutely exploding and some executive (s) are sitting on top of the pot doing everything to keep a lid on the game making just a few very wealthy and is THEN telling me everything is dandy. It’s not and the JD Power crud just highlights how screwed the machine is.
    .
    .
    It is an ethical obligation to continue banging on.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      We have full confidence you will and support your right to do so, even if there are quibbles over detail from time to time.
      .
      I wonder how the first twenty years of MLS compares to the first twenty years of organized professional baseball. Major flaws in such a comparison, I realize. One of them is the role of the civil war in introducing the game to a geographic cross section and then broadcasting those seeds back across the country upon demobilization.

    • Agree with the point, but wouldn’t San Jose technically be in the San Francisco area? So you have two teams. But still, yes. Woefully inadequate. Cali could proobably support at least 5 top tier teams.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Fair. My greater point though is millions and millions and millions of people… too big a funnel not enough fine meshed Sieve!

    • Well… LA will soon have two MLS teams and has two 3rd division teams. San Fran has San Jose and will soon have a 2nd division team in the city.
      .
      San Diego needs a 3rd division squad, but they have a Liga MX team in their backyard already.
      .
      It’s need to be better, but the picture isn’t as bad as you think.

    • The Realist Brian says:

      +1000
      .
      Open the market, when you see 100K people showing up to game in Michigan, soccer popularity in the US isn’t the problem. Stop the cronyism and Ponzi scheme that is MLS.
      .
      And play your kids.

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