Daily news roundups

Swiss report says Barnetta asks for time to consider contract extension, notes from Curtin’s presser, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Tranquillo Barnetta’s contract with the Union is up at the end of the year. Barnetta’s hometown newspaper, Click here for a PDF version of a crappy Google translation of the article).

Barnetta says of his time with the Union, “Life here is great and exactly what I was looking for the one and a half years.” So far as the decision he needs to make about staying with the Union or returning home to St. Gallen, Barnetta says, “It will not be easy, and I do not know what will happen. I am in top shape, and I always wanted to return to St. Gallen in top form. The question is whether now is the right time.” More reports based on the St. Galler Tagblatt story at Transfermarketweb and 4-4-2  (crappy Google translation).

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

  • Curtin confirmed Brian Carroll is available for selection against Portland on Saturday: “BC will play a role in this game, for sure.”
  • Curtin said Warren Creavalle is dealing with tendonitis in his knee and that Ilsinho is still experiencing pain related to his plantar fasciitis injury.
  • Curtin said a decision would be made on Wednesday afternoon as to whether Maurice Edu would travel with the team to Portland as “the 19th man” or remain in town to play for Bethlehem on Sunday when they host Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
  • Curtin said he remains confident that CJ Sapong will refind his scoring form: “We need to get him service, and he needs to be sharp in front of goal.”
  • Curtin confirmed that PRO has told the team that Armando Villarreal was wrong not to whistle for a penalty kick in last Saturday’s draw with Montreal.

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

By the way, Portland lost 4-2 to Saprissa on the road in Costa Rica on Wednesday night in CONCACAF Champions League play. A number of regular starters saw significant minutes. Hopefully their flight home to Portland will experience an unexpected delay or two.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George looks at Alejandro Bedoya’s numbers since joining the Union: “Wherever on the continuum your opinion falls, one thing appears to be certain. The Union identified Bedoya as a key cog to acquire in part because of his ability to aid them keeping the ball. Replacing Nogueira with someone that helps to keep possession so adeptly has paid clear dividends.”

Speaking of Bedoya, vote Alejandro Bedoya for the MLS FIFA 17 custom cover.

We noted earlier this week that Keegan Rosenberry and Fabian Herbers were both in a teaser video ahead of the start next week of MLSsoccer.com’s “24 under 24” series. A shortlist of 50 players under consideration for the series was released on Wednesday. Rosenberry and Josh Yaro are on the list, but Herbers is not.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin talks to Yaro, who speaks movingly of his mother’s passing.

Great read at Penn News on the English Language Programs classes led by University of Pennsylvania instructors that international Union players take twice a week to improve their English skills.

At Brotherly Game and Section 215, expansion draft talk.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young has his weekly player ratings comparison.

In honor of Scartember, MLSsoccer.com has a piece on Sons of Ben director of tifo Ryan Bross, the guy in the River End wearing the skirt made of some 70 Union scarves. (Did they run this story before?)

Briefly a Union man and a City Islander back in 2013, former Trinidad and Tobago youth international Damani Richards has been granted $150,000 bail after being charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition and marijuana possession in his home country. More at Trinidad Express and Trinidad Guardian,

Bethlehem Steel

Once a Metro looks at the battle for eighth place in the USL’s Eastern Conference, of which Bethlehem and City Islanders are part of the pack.


Seattle Times reports,

Sounders forward Clint Dempsey, who has been sidelined since last month while undergoing evaluations on an irregular heartbeat, returned to practice on Wednesday morning at Starfire Sports.

Dempsey has undergone an unspecified “procedure,” according to Seattle general manager Garth Lagerwey, “to address some of the issues” associated with his irregular heartbeat. Though Dempsey has been cleared to return to training, he has not yet be cleared to play.

Carlos Ruiz to FC Dallas?

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle reports, “With its entry into MLS confirmed for 2017, Minnesota United is compiling a list of managerial candidates for next season, even as manager Carl Craig finishes out the current campaign, a source with knowledge of the club’s thinking told ESPN FC.”

At SI, Don Garber talks about expansion and other topics:

When I look at what’s happening across the U.S. for the most part, because I think we’re fully expanded in Canada, and you see markets like Austin and San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, Sacramento, Las Vegas and Cincinnati, these are big cities that have fans that already are engaged with the sport at some level professionally. I don’t know how we don’t provide those fans and owners and municipalities the opportunity to be involved in MLS. We’ve got to be smart about it, careful about it. I go to sleep at night continually thinking that we should not make the mistakes of the [original] NASL or other leagues that have expanded too quickly. It would be a shame to take our eye off the ball.

More on Garber’s remarks at Goal.com.

At MLSsoccer.com, a look at the Elite Formation Coaching License, a collaboration between the French Football Federation and MLS.

The Guardian reports NASL-side Fort Lauderdale Strikers, currently owned by a Brazilian group that includes the Ronaldo, is up for sale. Reports in July said players were receiving their salary checks late and that some checks were bouncing.


The USWNT hosts Thailand in a friendly tonight, a game that will be Heather O’Reilly’s last with the team (8 pm, ESPN2).

Will Megan Rapinoe take a knee during the national anthem? It seems she’s unsure: “I’m still working through that a little bit. I’ve gone back and forth with a number of different things. I want to ultimately bring as many people to the conversation as possible, and if I’m doing something, whether I think it’s right or wrong, if I’m doing something that immediately turns 20 percent of the ears completely off, that will not be open, am I really accomplishing what I want to accomplish?”

Asked about the fact that if she does engage in protest it will be different because she is representing the US rather than a club team, Rapinoe said, “While it’s different than the club, I actually think it’s more meaningful to face the flag and try to have a conversation that … I want to have.”

Head coach Jill Ellis said, “I totally understand where Megan is, in terms of her willingness to talk about hard social issues. I respect that. I support that. Those conversations should be had. Me personally, in this environment for a national team, I don’t disassociate playing for your country. I think that’s a part of a national symbol. So in terms of standing for a national anthem, I think that’s an expectation of a national team player…What I always think about is the team ahead of the individual agenda. [That] is probably where I’m at, in terms of there’s a myriad of things that our players are concerned about. But I also think when you bring it to the team, you bring it to everybody and people that maybe don’t even want to be embroiled in that discussion.”

SI reports, “U.S. Soccer has communicated to Rapinoe that it thinks taking a knee would be disrespectful and that doing so would take attention away from Heather O’Reilly’s last game with the national team.”

At FourFourTwo, a look at how Ellis and technical director April Heinrichs “overhauled U.S. women’s development pipeline.”

The US U-20 WNT and South Korea played to a 0-0 draw at the NTC Invitational tournament on Wednesday night. The team plays England on Friday.

The latest FIFA rankings are out today and the USMNT rises four spots to No. 22. Mexico dropped one spot to No. 15 while Costa Rica moved up three spots to No. 3. Argentina is No. 1.

Pulisic! Pulisic! Pulisic!

At Soccer America, US U19 MNT coach Brad Friedel talks about the need for young MLS players to get more playing time.


Reuters reports, “FIFA will suspend Guatemala’s national soccer federation due to a dispute over a committee overseeing the body known as Fedefut, a senior FIFA official said on Wednesday.

The AP reports, “Germany is pressing ahead with its bid to host the 2024 European Championship, insisting Wednesday that its soccer leadership should be trusted because it is not linked to mounting allegations of wrongdoing against the 2006 World Cup campaign.”

Relatedly from the AP, “The German football federation (DFB) says former soccer great Franz Beckenbauer received payments totaling 5.5 million euros ($6.2 million) for his work leading the country’s successful bid to host the 2006 World Cup. Beckenbauer was previously said to have worked in an honorary unpaid capacity for the bid, according to Der Spiegel magazine, which first revealed details of the payments Tuesday.”

The Guardian reports, “The new UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, a hitherto largely unknown Slovenian lawyer, has vowed his first priority will be to look again at the controversial recent deal to give more Champions League revenue to the continent’s biggest clubs.”

PA Sport notes, “Premier League clubs spent almost twice as much on international transfers as the second-biggest spending league, the German Bundesliga, this summer.”


  1. There was a pretty lengthy piece in the Guardian yesterday about Canadian dissatisfaction with MLS. (Garber’s expansion comments recalled this story for me just now.) At issue is that Canadian players are considered internationals for U.S.-based MLS teams while U.S. players are considered domestic for the three teams based in Canada. Canadian Soccer wants a level playing field. MLS folks quoted said some very unconvincing things about US labor laws in order to explain the difference. Worth a read if you’re interested.

    I sure hope Tranquillo decides to give us at least another year.

  2. Guess who Saprissa’s jersey sponsor is?
    Same as the Union – BIMBO!
    Hopefully that is a good sign for a similar result…

    • Valeri and Adi put a lot of work into that match. 70 or so minutes each. In the highlights, Adi is shown limping off the pitch after scoring the team’s second goal. Not sporting to hope he’s knocked out of Satruday’s match, but I’ll take any advantage we can get. We’re gonna need it.

      Side note. I think the conversation about MLS’s stature as a world league should cease until an MLS club can win a CCL final. I really wish these games would make TV. I’d love to watch. Sounds like it was on MLS live maybe? I dunno. Crowd at Saprissa looked a lot more lively than the average MLS fixture.

  3. Barnetta needs to stay. The question being how do we convince him to stay? Any ideas?

    • Bring Zlatan in to replace Sapong? Would earn him some silverware for sure.

      • I agree money might help, but it is not the only important thing to Barnetta seeing him throughout his career its not all about money to him its often about the team and atmosphere. Maybe we can make philly more like Switzerland. Or give him money and better teammates. Or does he have kids do they need something? Does he need a new house? Whatever it is I say give it to him. There is to much turnover on this team and I think there is finally something that is starting to work.

      • Money is the only real thing that can be done.
        Better team/teammates? Costs money. New house? Costs money. Better facilities? Costs money. Well-renowned coaching staff? Costs money. It all just comes back to how much money the team is willing to spend solely on him and how that effects the overall plans for the organization. (Barnetta is not married and has no children)
        Other factors cannot be addressed really by the team – location (homesick), overall league prestige, etc.
        The Union can not compete sentimentally with a player’s “first club” so the only option is financially – either directly or indirectly.

      • True and I would say we give it to him. He needs to be here for more time bring some stability to the middle of the pitch.

      • Yeah and I’m with you that I want him here too.
        But at the same time, the Union are not one of the richest teams even just in the league so smart decisions need to be made.

      • Hmm…not married and no children…
        …there may be an angle there. But it’s gonna have to be pretty hush-hush…

    • Lucky Striker says:

      Leave. him. at. the. 10.

      Channel your inner Jackson Browne:

      ” oh won’t you staaaaayyyy
      just a little bit longer?

      please, please stayyyyyy….just a little bit more “.

  4. Good read from De George on Bedoya. It is an admittedly small sample size thus far, but the PPG difference between his starts and anyone else’s is notable. For reference, I ran the simple numbers quickly based on who was playing the #8 role for the team that day. We’ve had 4, Nogs, Bedoya, Barnetta, and then the C&C double pivot.
    Nogs: 8 Games, 12 Goals For, 11 against, 1.5 PPG
    Bedoya: 5 games, 10 goals for, 5 against, 2 PPG
    Barnetta: 7 games, 14 goals for, 18 against, 1.14 PPG
    C&C: 9 games, 12 goals for, 11 against, 1.22 PPG
    Some things we already knew are drawn out very clearly. Barnetta doesn’t provide enough defense in that role, the offense was least efficient with C&C, etc. But Bedoya’s numbers right now suggest an attack on par with using Barnetta at the 8, and a defense better than the one provided using C&C. Even with some expected regression, it looks safe to say that the team has more than adequately replace Nogs.

    • The question about that is whether Bedoya is expected to play at the #8 for the long-term. He obviously has been incredibly impactful and successful there, I’m just wondering about his aspirations (regarding the USMNT) and any promises that may have been made.
      But at his salary, you don’t send him out on the wing unless you have someone better than him in the middle.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        While our actual best eleven remains a lively debate in these pages and with always be so, often the quantity total salary on the bench exceeds that of the lowest seven salaries that start., even the middle seven that start.
        Salary number is not a “determinant” of who starts, for this team or any other.
        Long-term strategic major consideration? You bet, right there with you.
        But tactically, for a game, the money is already contracted one way or the other.
        And bonuses are after fact. As I think about it, in MLS bonus structures are a league determined factor in many cases, not always by the individual “office” as the league officially calls what we all think of as franchises.

      • It sure would be great to see a midfield of:
        Pontius, Barnetta, Bedoya
        Edu, Carrol
        Just once this season.

    • While this is interesting I think it is overall a bit skewed as we have to look who played the role of the 6,10 over the period of times during these games as well and the teams they played. For example likely Barnetta played when C&C were in the middle while Alberg likely played when Barnetta was at the 8.

      • Oh yeah, I’m not suggesting we chalk this up as a be all end all. But the number 8 role has very much dictated the level of success this team has had this year, so it felt worth a closer look. And I do think this can inform us that in a pure search for wins, C&C should be preferred to an out of position barnetta, since as you suggest, he has more value at the 10. (aesthetically it should not be, those games hurt to watch). Plus, it feels like the right time to remember what we have looked like before we thrust edu back into the mix, hoping for the best.

  5. I don’t think we need to get Sapong service Coach, I think he needs to make his own space and create shots. Oh, he can’t do that … right forgot. The fact that Davies didn’t come in the game against Montreal is a mystery to me. If he is in the 18, put him on the field! Don’t feed me this garbage about CJ being good on set pieces. When you need a goal and your center forward is not scoring (or even shooting for that matter), you replace him no matter how good he is on set pieces.
    venting done
    #rebuilding #inearniewetrust #yearone

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      While I respect your frustration with the lack of offensive production and share it, Jim Curtin is correct that CJ Sapong is an effective defender on set pieces, And I would add that he is also an effective defender on the field, both as a striker and as a flank midfielder.
      Whether we like the results or not, our current head coach almost never ignores the defensive implications of putting every player he chooses onto his pitch.
      That seems to be a principle as important to him as are honesty and loyalty and family.

      • OSC you are wise, thank you for providing this perspective into Curtin’s approach to the game. While it is clear now that you say it, it didn’t come to mind when I was venting.
        In jest I’ll say, Sapong was on the field for Montreal’s set piece goal.

  6. Old Soccer Coach says:

    We do need to keep a small point in mind as we read about Tranquillo Barnetta’s impending, potentially franchise changing decision. .
    He was talking to his hometown newspaper. He will go back there to live once he is done his career, perhaps. We all understand avoiding burnt bridges.
    It is clearly a serious matter.
    If he is a family man – and it is totally appropriate that we soccer fans do not know that – there are issues in play other than soccer. If Vincent Nogueira earned the Philly Soccer community’s respect for his privacy, so has Tranquillo Barnetta.

  7. FYI to all the PSPers the Seattle Times article does not contain any more useful medical information but scrolling down to the end does reveal the gem “Naked man in river photobombs high-school senior’s photo shoot” and yes it is worth following the link if you haven’t already seen it on your facebook feed.

    FWIW the “procedure” that Dempsey almost certainly had involved threading a tiny wire into his femoral artery upwards into his heart and either zapping a short circuit, if that’s what he had, or making a bunch of new circuits (maze), if he had A fib; recovery is typically not prolonged.

  8. Also, can someone from PSP get a quote from Earnie regarding his unbridled excitement for Rock Allegiance?

  9. In the article about the Union’s English language programs for foreign players, Curtin offers the following quote about Fabinho’s improved English:
    “His ability now to problem solve, process things on the field, and his performance on the field is at his best level,” says Curtin. “It’s no coincidence that that side of the field for us now is one of our strongest.”
    1. I totally see it in his improved performance on the field. We’ve all made the joke, “They played so poorly that it’s like they are not speaking the same language.” Looks like this was a big part of the problem during his ‘sun rocket’ period. I wonder if they ever taught him what ‘sun rocket’ means in Portuguese?
    2. “…that side of the field for us now is one of our strongest.” Uh, coach…there are only two sides of the field.

    • Unless you are playing Football X-7 like in Phineas and Ferb.
      Can’t tell which I like more… “Nostrils on the bus” or the tree that sighs….”Doofensmirtz,” when it falls.
      Come on someone…anyone…please tell me you know what I am talking about.

      • yes, but its fading … playing inside a big green donut – we are watching Bob’s Burgers, Dr. Who and (one of them) Mr. Robot now.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Dude “Nostrils on the bus” was by the far top 3 things that show ever did. Loved watching it with my son, who is 11 now, so he was the perfect age for it. Ah… who am I kidding, we all still watch the reruns now.
        PS – Watch “Narcos” on Netflix. Awesome

      • “phew…..for a second there, I lost myself.”
        i feel better knowing I’m not alone.

      • Hey… has anybody seen Perry?

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