Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin’s presser and other Union bits, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

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

  • Curtin said it is too early for Maurice Edu to return to play for the first team after getting his first minutes of game action since last September with Bethlehem last weekend, adding the midfielder is “in good spirits and anxious to get back out on the field and play in another game with Bethlehem.” Bethlehem is on the road to play Charleston Battery in South Carolina on Saturday. Will the DP be on the bus for the nearly 10-hour drive?
  • Curtin said Edu’s appearance with Bethlehem last weekend was more about confidence than match sharpness: “Now, as we start to move to the next one, we want a little more, and a little more sharpness on the ball, getting the ball in the six spot and starting our attack, and we’ll look more at that part of things.”
  • Asked if the fact that Portland, the team’s next opponent after Saturday’s home game, has a turf field would affect Edu’s availability, Curtin said, “[I]f Mo tells us he feels good, then we would have no hesitation, turf or grass.”
  • Curtin confirmed Alejandro Bedoya and Andre Blake will resume training with the team today after returning from international duty. Curtin also said Josh Yaro has rejoined the team after returning from Ghana for his mother’s funeral.
  • Asked to assess Roland Alberg’s performance in his start in the loss against Chicago last weekend, Curtin said, “We didn’t get him on the ball enough. Again, he’s a guy who needs to be on the ball if he’s in the game. There’s different areas of the field that we like to have him deciding the tempo of the game and I think we came up a little short in terms of feeding him the ball between the lines. Part of that’s on our guys, and part of that’s on Roland, too.”
  • Curtin stressed the importance of the team finishing in one of the top four playoff spots for the Eastern Conference: “You don’t want to just get in at the six or five spot because you put almost nine or ten months of work together to have, all the sudden, get thrown out there on a Wednesday and it can be over in a second on the road.”

More from the press conference at Philly.com, Delco TimesPhilly Voice, and SBI.

Edu said of his appearance with Bethlehem, “It’s nice to be out on the pitch again, putting myself in unpredictable situations, getting touches on the ball in tight spaces. Obviously I felt a little bit rusty, and I know that’ll come, so I’m not too worried about that. But it was a good test to see where my leg’s at in terms of going into tackles, going into challenges, reacting to different plays, having to cut, turn, all these awkward, unpredictable moves you have to do during a game. To get 30 minutes is good, as a test of my fitness. From all those standpoints, it was definitely a positive and a step in the right direction.”

Asked if he experienced any pain after he played, Edu said, “To be honest, immediately after the game, it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t feel any worse for wear. I didn’t feel that I was going to be really sore in terms of my legs as well as my shin. But honestly, I didn’t feel too bad. I think the training that I’ve had and the fitness I’ve been doing served me well in that 30-minutes stint.”

Forbes has released valuations of all MLS teams and the Union comes in at No. 14 on the list (it’s also 14th in terms of average attendance), where it is valued at $152 million with $24 million in revenue for 2015 and an operating income of $1 million. The most valuable team according to the rankings is Seattle Sounders, which is valued at $285 million. DC United is ahead of the Union at No. 13 ($155 million) and FC Dallas is at No. 15 ($150 million). More at Philadelphia Business Journal and Brotherly Game.

The report notes, “The average MLS team is now worth $185 million. That’s up 18% over last year, 80% from 2013 and a staggering 400% from our first MLS valuations in 2008, when the average team was worth $37 million. The Seattle Sounders are once again the league’s most valuable franchise, now worth $285 million or about as much as a low-level NHL team.”

League commissioner Don Garber says in the Forbes report that the next round of expansion, which would take the league to 28 teams, “could be the final round of expansion for Major League Soccer.” Or not.

Vote John McCarthy for Save of the Week (he’s up against former Union man Brad Knighton).

Alejandro Bedoya and Eric Wynalda got into on Twitter on Wednesday. Asked in Wednesday’s press conference what he thought of the exchange, Jim Curtin said, “[T]wo guys that have strong opinions. Alejandro is a grown man, he can say and speak what he wants…I’m not a babysitter. Alejandro’s a guy who speaks his mind and I respect that. I’m a guy who thinks you should have freedom of speech and what was said between him and Eric is between him and Eric; unfortunately, I guess it’s not [laughs] but, at the same time, yeah, it’s between the two of them and, at the same time, my biggest focus is Montreal, getting the team ready.” More at Deadspin, Vice SportsFox Soccer, CBS Sports, USA TodayGoal.com, SBI, and Brotherly Game. Ho hum.

MLSsoccer.com Armchair Analysit Matthew Doyle names Keegan Rosenberry to his Rookie XI.

Metro notes the Union’s playoff push.

Saturday night’s game is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Night at Talen Energy Stadium. At the Union website, Marisa Pilla talks to John McCarthy about the friendship he now has with young Cameron McCarthy (no relation), who is now cancer free.

City Islanders

The fading playoff hopes of the City Islanders grew dimmer with Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat to NYRB II at Millersville University. With the win, NYRB II claimed the 2016 USL Regular Season Championship and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Recaps and reports at USLsoccer.com, Philly Soccer News, NYRB IIBig Apple SoccerEmpire of Soccer, and Once a Metro.

Local

A post at ESPN says that if the Philadelphia Eagles were a Premier League team they would be Burnley: “Who needs the ball? Burnley defied all wisdom last month when they beat Liverpool 2-0 despite earning just 19.4 percent of possession. Philadelphia spent less time on offense than any other NFL team last season but still won seven out of 16 games and finished second in the NFC East. That was, admittedly, a reflection of the beliefs of since-departed head coach Chip Kelly, who once famously argued, “Time of possession is how much time can the other team waste.”

MLS

Two games were played on Wednesday night. In the Eastern Conference, fifth place Montreal (37 points, 9-8-10), the Union’s opponent on Saturday, lost 4-1 at home to now sixth place Orlando (34 points, 7-7-13). Didier Drogba scored for Montreal in the second minute of play but Brek Shea equalized two minutes later before Kaka scored twice (including one goal from the penalty spot), and Carlos Rivas finished the scoring for the visitors. In the Western Conference, second place Salt Lake (44 points, 12-8-8) drew 3-3 with third place LAG (44 points, 10-4-14) thanks to a 94th minute equalizer from Juan Manuel Martinez.

Portland Timbers have loaned defender Chris Klute to Minnesota United through the end of the season, which will be Minnesota’s lst in the NASL before beginning play in MLS next season.

NWSL

Washington Spirit defeated Seattle Reign 2-1 on Wednesday night to clinch home-field advantage in the league semifinals. Coverage of the win, however, is largely focused not on the game itself but on the decision of the Spirit’s ownership to play the national anthem while players from both teams were still in the locker room, thus preventing Seattle midfielder Megan Rapinoe from repeating her support of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the anthem as she did before last Sunday’s 2-2 road draw with Chicago Red Stars.

Washington Spirit, which is owned by Air Force veteran Bill Lynch, said in a statement, “We understand this may be seen as an extraordinary step, but believe it was the best option to avoid taking focus away from the game on such an important night for our franchise.” The statement also said,

While we respect every individual’s right to express themselves, and believe Ms. Rapinoe to be an amazing individual with a huge heart; we respectfully disagree with her method of hijacking our organization’s event to draw attention to what is ultimately a personal – albeit worthy – cause…We strongly feel that there are better ways to begin a conversation about a cause than tarnishing a tradition that is so important to so many.

To willingly allow anyone to hijack this tradition that means so much to million of Americans and so many of our own fans for any cause would effectively be just as disrespectful as doing it ourselves. Professional athletes have incredible numbers of followers, to which we believe they have the ability to articulate a conversation with objectives and plans and begin a serious conversation directly, or through traditional media appearances, without insulting our military and our fans.

Predictably, the decision provoked strong reactions.

Rapinoe said of the Spirit’s action, “It’s fucking unbelievable. Saddened by it. It’s pretty clear what the message is I am trying to bring to light in Chicago and what I continue to try to talk about the last few days. Clearly with [Spirit owner Bill Lynch’s] actions, it’s a necessary conversation. It was incredibly distasteful, four days before [the anniversary of] one of the worst tragedies in our country, to say that I tried to hijack this event. … It’s just really disappointing and disrespectful. We want to talk about disrespect, and me disrespecting, he didn’t even give both teams a chance to even stand in front of it and show their respects. It’s unbelievable. It’s truly an unbelievable act to me.”

Before Wednesday’s game, Rapinoe told SI that she plans to continue her protest and will do so if she is selected by the USWNT for the friendly against Thailand in Columbus on Sept. 15.

Earlier on Wednesday, Seattle Reign issued a statement in which it said it recognized that Rapinoe’s earlier action “was offensive to some and a source of inspiration to others,” adding,

We will continue to encourage all Reign FC players to participate in the pre-match ceremony, which honors those who have served and made sacrifices on our behalf.

We will also continue to allow players to participate in the pre-match ceremony in a manner consistent with their personal beliefs, reflecting our respect for the rights earned and defended by those fighting for our nation.

And we will continue to support Megan in her efforts to make a positive impact on our country, encouraging her to do so in a way that provokes needed conversation about serious issues, in a manner consistent with the values of our organization.

NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush, who was at Wednesday’s game, said he was not aware of the Spirit’s plans to play the anthem before the players were on the field. “I would have preferred to have had an honest dialogue of what we wanted to do, what their goals were, and then work through it. I don’t suggest I have all the answers, but it’s better to talk about it. I’m disappointed.”

More at Washington Post (report, reaction), CSN Mid-AtlanticFox NewsCBS Sports, Soccer AmericaGoal.comDeadspin, and the AP.

ESPN reports Barcelona want to field a women’s professional team: “Barcelona are looking to create a women’s team in the United States as part of the club’s plans to boost their profile in the country. The Blaugrana opened an office in New York on Tuesday, and the next phase of their move to the States is to partner with new sponsors and start projects which will help them grow in the American market.” Says club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, “The idea is to create a team that can take part in the National Women’s Soccer League that will help us to promote the club.” More on Barcelona opening a New York office from the AP.

US

Pulisic!

Fox Soccer on how the striker position for the USMNT now looks like a position of strength and depth.

At SI, Brian Straus looks at the USMNT’s road through the Hex to Russia. In another post, Straus says “the Americans are positioned well on the road to Russia 2018.”

USA Today on how Jurgen Klinsmann finally has reason to be optimistic.

ESPN reports that when the new FIFA rankings are released on Sept. 15, the US will rise four spots to No. 22, the team’s “best position since February 2014.”

Elsewhere

AFP reports, “Disgraced former UEFA president Michel Platini will attend the UEFA Congress in Athens next week at the invitation of the European football’s governing body, but paying his own way for a final farewell.”

The AP reports, “FIFA ethics investigators have recommended a fine and social work for a former high-ranking German soccer federation official for failing to report possible corruption around the 2006 World Cup.”

38 Comments

  1. Most notable about last night’s game in Montreal is that Evan Bush, Montreal’s #1 keeper was red carded so won’t be available against the Union (unless the card is appealed).

    • Montreal is wasting an appeal if they try. Their backup GK isn’t named Cheney by any chance, is it?

      • Only way I would think an appeal would work is if denial of a goal scoring opportunity is no longer a red card. Not sure if MLS has adopted that rule or wants to wait until the end of the season.

    • I was all for Bill Lynch’s position until the word ‘hijack’ came up multiple times… at which point I put him in his proper box and moved on….

  2. Jeez, the anthem business really has people losing their sh*t and forgetting the very principles that this country was founded upon.

    BTW – MTL losing and having to play Piatti, Drogba, etc a man down for the 2nd half was a very pleasing development.

    • +2. One for each point.

    • I actually find it offensive when people kneel during the national anthem. I get they have the right to do it if they want and I get trying to draw attention to an important social justice issue; however, I think there has to be a better way to draw attention to it then by disrespecting others.

      • I believe that was started after Kaepernick spoke with some veterans groups. They asked him to kneel, instead of sitting, which they thought was more disrespectful (I have to agree).

      • Yes, that’s true and if someone is kneeling during the anthem, they are not infringing on other people’s rights who chose to stand up for the anthem.

        Agree that it’s disrespectful not to stand for the anthem, but that’s a moral issue for me, not a rights issue.

      • Is there a better way to draw attention? This protest may be offensive to people (but really, does it change anything in your life) but the media is talking and getting their message out there, so clearly what they wanted to have happen did.

      • But are they really talking about the underlying social justice issue? Seems to me that most of the media discussion is about not standing for the national anthem (and not why it’s actually being done). More articles have been written about Kap and Rapinoe’s actions then about having a discussion on racial social justice issues.

      • Yeah, that’s true, but a lot of people are talking about the issue too. The media sucks in a lot of places, and of course it will be easy to tell which outlets discuss the real issue and which ones will just try to fake outrage.

    • John P O'Donnell says:

      I get the kneeling but is there an end game? If all I hear about is them kneeling and not the message they are trying to get across…what’s the point? Shouldn’t the dialog be about fixing the problem, instead of the right to protest the problem?

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Well said.

      • Also kneel, sit, stand soon so many people will do it to protest one point or another that it will no longer have the effect that people I guess are striving for.

      • Unless it becomes a movement. It has gotten Kap the spotlight, which will get him onto shows and in the media’s face, at which point he can (and already has) gotten the message out there. If you want to listen or not is up to you, but don’t pretend that each time any of these athlete’s are asked about it they always turn to the topic of why they are doing it and not the fake outrage.

  3. Yaro and Herbers are also included in Doyle’s Rookie XI in addition to R’berry.

  4. Once again if I’m Maurice Edu I’m not riding any bus 10 hours EVER … team pays for a flight, Edu pays for the flight, team and Edu share the costs of the flight. This is the second or third time this has come up and I can’t tell if it is serious or tongue in cheek.
    .
    the guy is a DP…what’s it say to the players at BSFC that one of the Faces of the Franchise is riding a bus to North Carolina. This may seem like a quibble and small thing…but perception is at times reality.

    • el P whats it say about Edu if he doesn’t travel with his team (does he not care to get to know the players who could one day be part of the first team). Ten hours is a long time to game plan and work on teaching the youngsters. No one should be above the team, DPs included. He shouldn’t be getting advantages the others don’t just cause he is paid more. You get the larger contract with proven play which I still think we have never seen while he is in a Union Jersey, but that is besides the point. Getting paid more should not mean special treatment above the team.

      • I disagree. Players on the Union inherently receive better travel arrangements than Steel players. Edu is with Steel to rehab after a long injury for conditioning work. What happens if the foot stiffens up during the 10 hour ride and he reinjures it? While there may be situations where a player like Edu should be with the team on the bus ride, this isn’t one of them. The risk/reward just doesn’t make sense.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        My goodness …. thank you.

      • My arguement is that he has not been with the first team most of the year he has to earn it back to me that means you go through what the steel players go through. Also it was not his foot is was a stress fracture in his leg assuming a normal stress fracture and the point of being able to play 30 minutes at 10 hour bus ride probably provides him more ability to move and have his leg in a better position than say a 2 to 3 hour flight.

      • I agree with both of you guys.
        .
        I don’t think Mo would jump at the opportunity to travel that far by bus but at the same time I could see why Earnie/Albright/Curtin might press him to. It would be a good chance for some of the younger players like Jones to pick his brain and sends a message to everyone that no one is above the team – which is a concept they seem to really be driving home. It would also be a good leadership statement for Mo, saying “I’m the captain but I’m also one of the guys” as well as “I’m willing to help the younger guys on the team”.
        .
        .
        .
        Plus, if you ask me, road trips are just good ol’ fashion fun!

      • el Pachyderm says:

        20 hours in a bus for a rehab assignment?
        .
        Dude needs to be with the first team this isn’t a trip to The Smokies.
        .
        With respect.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Sure I guess if Carmelo is riding wherever with the D League Knickerbockers….and Mascherano is hoping the team bus for 20 minutes of rehab assignment with Barca B across the country…
        .
        Come on.

      • You’re listing world class players and comparing them to Edu. To me no one is above this team and much can be learned from that both for Edu and those on the bus with him. If it were me if he wants to rehab push his body, push the players, be the captain, he is on the bus.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        Dude definitely can not be captain if he does not ride on the bus with the rest of the team.

      • MJ rode the bus

      • MJ bought the team a brand new bus.

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