Daily news roundups

Playoff push continues in Toronto and other Union news, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

Despite being winless over the last three games with only a point gained, the Union have been fortunate in that other results haven’t seriously damaged their playoff hopes. Obviously, no one wants to rely on events out of one’s control when one’s own future is at stake.

In a video at ESPN, Alejandro Bedoya acknowledges other results have favored the Union even if their own performances have not yielded the desired points and says he is being vocal in telling his teammates that no one should be content with simply making the playoffs: “I hope we can still push and get as many points as possible to see if we can finish top two because that will help us get that bye. I think that’s important to help us get closer to the MLS Cup.”

Will Saturday’s road game against first place in the Eastern Conference Toronto show the Union are equipped to do something themselves about their playoff hopes? Just a point would do for me, as splendid as all three points would be.

Previews at PSP, Philadelphia Union (reasons to watch, video preview)  Metro, Philadelphia Sports Nation, MLSsoccer.com, Come On You Reds (podcast), and MLSGB.

ESPN reports Saturday’s game “should see the return of the Italian dynamo” Sebastian Giovinco, who has missed the past two games with injury: “With Jozy Altidore red hot, the team now has two of the league’s most dangerous forwards at his disposal. The Union will likely need to prioritize stopping that duo over any other goals they might have in the match, a difficult set of circumstances considering the Union’s own need to solidify their playoff position.”

At CSN Philly, Dave Zeitlin talks to Ken Tribbett and Keegan Rosenberry about the challenge the Union will face in shutting down Toronto’s potent attack.

Toronto midfielder Armando Cooper will be unavailable on Saturday after the league disciplinary committee suspended him for one game “for violent conduct” in the 90th minute in last weekend’s draw with NYRB.

Philly Soccer News reviews the injury information provided by Jim Curtin in Wednesday’s weekly press conference.

Goal.com says the matchup between Tranquillo Barnetta and Michael Bradley is one to watch this weekend: “Barnetta is one of the most underrated players in MLS, but Bradley isn’t likely to overlook his fellow Bundesliga alumnus.”

Jim Curtin said in his press conference on Wednesday of Maurice Edu, “The hope would be to bring him to Toronto…it’s trending toward him starting to play a role in our 18 as opposed to starting for Bethlehem.” The Scotsman notes Edu was one of the players who started for Rangers and scored the equalizer when the Glasgow side last played Aberdeen in January of 2012 ahead of the two team’s meeting this weekend.

The Telegraph talks with Roland “Romario” Alberg and reports he is on “a two-year deal with Philadelphia with a two-year option and while he is ‘very happy’ at the club, he is dreaming of playing in England one day.” Alberg explains, “As a footballer you never know. England is a big football country with big teams. Hopefully, maybe, one day it could happen if I am doing well. But am happy here, first I want to win MLS Cup with Philly.” Alberg says of that stretch in June when he scored seven goals in four games, “I was magnificent.”

At Brotherly Game, Andrew Stoltzfus looks at the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

It’s more than two months away, but Brotherly Game has the results of a poll asking readers who the Union should protect in the Expansion Draft, which will take place on Dec. 13.

Keegan Rosenberry makes the “24 under 24” Starting XI at MLSsoccer.com.

Brian Carroll comes in at No. 13 in the conclusion of Kevin Kinkead’s “34 over 34” series at Philly Voice: “Carroll has continually shown the middle finger to father time.” Bless him for it.

Player rankings for the Union ahead of the release of FIFA 17 on Sept. 27 have been announced. Tranquillo Barnetta is tied with five other players at No. 17 at 77 points overall in a ranking of the top MLS players according to their FIFA 17 numbers. I have no idea what any of this means because when I think of soccer video games I think of this.

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem wraps up its inaugural season on Sunday when they host Orlando City B (3 pm, YouTube). Preview at Bethlehem Steel and Orlando City B.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union Academy U-12 team is on the road on Saturday for a pair of games in Bethlehem against their counterparts from Lehigh Valley United. The rest of the Union Academy teams are on the road to face Baltimore Armour.

City Islanders

City Islanders conclude their 2016 season on the road against FC Montreal on Saturday (2 pm, YouTube). Preview at City Islanders.

Local

The Army-Navy Cup game kicks off tonight at 7 pm at Talen Energy Stadium.

In this weekend’s Philly Soccer Six games, Penn hosts Drexel in a West Philly Derby game on Saturday at 7 pm. Also on Saturday at 7 pm, La Salle hosts UMBC. Temple is on the road to face UConn in their conference opener on Saturday. La Salle is on the road on Saturday to face Central Connecticut. Villanova is on the road on Saturday to face Marquette.

Downingtown, Pa.’s Becky Edwards, the former USWNT youth international and WPS and NWSL standout who is currently with Orlando Pride, has announced she will retire after Saturday’s game against FC Kansas City.

MLS

Orlando’s Cyle Larin comes in at No. 1 in the “24 under 24” series at MLSsoccer.com.

Minnesota United announced on Thursday it has sold 8,000 season ticket deposits “following its Major League Soccer announcement just four weeks ago at CHS Field in St. Paul.”

The Sun Sentinel reports, “Responding to reports the franchise is in financial difficulty, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers issued a statement late Thursday confirming the club has sought assistance from the North American Soccer League.” Strikers managing director Luis Cuccatti was quoted by the team’s Twitter account on Thursday as saying, “I can say we are 100% playing next year in this league under this ownership,” adding, “There’s a difference between dropping all economic responsibility and asking for a loan.” This follows reports from WRAL and SI on trouble at the Strikers and the league. Miami Herald has more background on the news.

Late on Thursday night, the NASL issued a statement reiterating the passion and commitment of its owners as they work through “an important period in [the league’s] evolution.” The statement continued, “The league’s dedicated owners remain undaunted in the challenge to reach their long-term goals, and are in the midst of a series of meetings and discussions to ensure that the 2017 season lays the groundwork for an exciting future…The NASL also looks forward to working closely with U.S. Soccer and other professional leagues to grow and develop the game at all levels in North America. ” More on the league’s troubles Soccer America, FourFourTwoESPN, and Midfield Press. At Ottawa Citizen, background and reaction to the rumors the Ottawa Fury will leave the NASL to join the USL.

Star News reports from North Carolina that sources say “the Wilmington Hammerheads are leaving the USL at the conclusion of this season and will play in the Premier Development League starting next summer…This transition comes amid growing rumors that the Hammerheads were leaving Wilmington.” You will recall a report we recently linked to from the Washington Post that the team could relocate to Baltimore and then rejoin the USL.

NWSL

NWSL spokesman Patrick Donnelly tells the Washington Post the league has decided not to discipline Washington Spirit owner Bill Lynch for playing the national anthem while players were still in the locker room in an effort to thwart Megan Rapinoe from continuing her kneeling protest. The league says it also will not discipline Rapinoe for calling Lynch “homophobic.”

US

At FourFourTwo, Graham Parker on how “The culture around USWNT maintains stars and myths” and so heightens “the influence of those stars, for better or worse.”

Bloomberg reports a federal appeals court on Thursday has denied an effort by the USMNT’s players union to stop US Soccer “from using images of a group of players in a sponsorship poster advertising tequila” made by federation sponsor El Jimador.

Elsewhere

The Guardian reports, “The 72 Football League clubs have definitively ruled out the prospect of Premier League B teams playing them in league football or Rangers and Celtic joining them as part of a planned revamp.”

Reuters reports, “Willem II’s midfielder Anouar Kali became the first player in the Netherlands to be sent off by a video assistant referee after a yellow card in Wednesday’s Dutch Cup tie against Ajax was turned into a red.” The AP reports it is uncertain whether video review will be approved for use at the 2018 World Cup.

ESPN reports, “Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has ruled that clubs are within their rights to seek damages from fans for fines handed to them by the German Football Association (DFB) for violating stadium rules.”

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.

24 Comments

  1. how oh how will the game look in this country 25 years from now… such an important time.
    .

  2. el Jim is a respectable mid-range tequila why the hate? something to do with the occasional arch-rival Mexico? holding out for Don Julio money? I don’t get it

  3. nasl will be dead pretty soon imo

    • But most of the clubs will remain, that’s the important thing.

    • There is no way NASL is going to die. It would be an indictment on all of US Soccer.
      .
      NASL will either merge or be given its own standing as a first tier league. The latter I feel is becoming less and less likely… though not all hope is lost, yet.
      .

      • Eh, I wouldn’t be so sure of that. I can pretty much guarantee they will not become a first tier league. I would put the odds of them folding much higher than anything else. Your beloved Cosmos are not even drawing 4000 per game. I harbor no ill towards the league and only want the game to grow here, which the NASL can help, but the fact is, the league is on life support.

      • The attempt to achieve first tier status is a pipe dream that has doomed them. The USL is moving in a direction to take full second tier status. The NASL could be a fully functioning second tier league, but it does not appear that they have the structure of finances to hold it together.

        The liklihood is that if the NASL folds, surviving clubs would join the USL and try to expand into MLS.

      • Pretty sure the first tier league push is ultimately part of the problem the NASL has with sustainability. Theyre going after markets that can field MLS teams, who use NASL as a stepping stone. Even with pro/rel in other leagues, most teams are in roughly the same position every year. Bayern Munich will finish top 4, 1860 Munich will stay in Bundesliga 2. Teams like the cosmos will work long term since there’s basically no upward mobility for them, but adding a large market team like San Francisco is very, very likely to get poached down the line.
        .
        The league needs to accept it’s role, much as USL did. Develop quality teams in mid market areas to drive national interest.

      • Pretty sure it will be dead. And even if it limps along as the Cosmos barnstormer tour, the dream of D1 is crushed. By the year end they may not even qualify for D2 status. Some will fold like when the circus leaves town, leaving things to be shoveled and trash to be picked. A few will land in USL and keep their secret MLS promotion dreams alive. The Cosmos will return to being an online site selling memorabilia tee shirts. This has been the grandest pro/rel battle ever, an entire league relegated to the bin while USL jumps them to D2.

    • Deck sure seems stacked against NASL. And it won’t be easy to grow the league or even sustain it if it keeps on contracting.

      • If I were an Nasl exec, I’d be in potential USL markets recruiting them for the league pointing straight at bethlehem steel saying “do you want to be competitive or a feeder?” I know as a union fan, that team is awesome. But for a local who was looking forward to consistent quality soccer they haven’t been that in year 1. It’s hard to get into a team that doesn’t know who is going to be on the roster week to week

      • Good point. Might be a compelling argument to existing “non feeder” teams in the league with history — Rochester, Carolina…. But NASL has to demonstrate stability.

      • My bad here. Carolina is already an NASL team. Duh.

    • Scott of Nazareth says:

      They should just merge NASL & USL and create a 40 team league split in half with pro/rel between the two.

      MLS could use that new league to develop and identify markets and infrastructure for future expansion.

      • You sir are paying attention.
        .

      • Wow. There’s an idea.

      • to follow up Soctt….Which then grants all of the USL MLS teams the right to earn D2 status …. but not just given that right.
        .
        Too much handing out of status… if the NYRB II belong in D2 then let them prove it. If BSFC belong in D2 let them prove it. Meanwhile a strong pyramid is growing beneath the ceiling… with teams pushing up to be a second tier team with its natural financial benefits.
        .
        the fact there is a ceiling will still always hamper our status… but for player pool growth as it relates to USNT, a strong and stable multi tiered league with clubs having financial incentive to be a D2 club is important to proper growth.
        .

      • Why would USL do that when it will be able to cherry pick the clubs it wants and have them pay for the privilege?
        .

  4. Old Soccer Coach says:

    The Bethlehem Steel Roster on the USL website has been revamped. Old names have been removed, new ones added. Of particular interest may be the list of those under 20 years old, in effect the Academy cycle for the recently begun academic year 2016-2017. I would guess these guys are the early favorites to earn their way onto, and perhaps through, the process Trusty followed this past year.

  5. John P O'Donnell says:

    The NASL has just repeated the same mistakes of the past. It’s hard to feel sorry for the league. It’s easy to feel sorry for the fans. When the business plan is to hope you can force pro/rel or division one status, you are doomed to fail. Once again they expanded without properly vetting new ownership groups. But this is what happens in America when you have a league of clubs with different agendas. The only plan they should have followed is the building of infrastructure. Stadium, academy & training facility. This creates sustainability and roots in the community. It gets you corporate sponsors which are needed in pro sports. The Cosmos are winning championships and losing fans. It’s easy to see why as they play in a college Stadium and not a very good one at that. But hey, they saved a $100M to build a club, to bad they can’t figure out they need other teams to play. Meanwhile if they joined MLS they would already have a team valued at more than double what they payed.

    On a side note, it looks like there are gone to be some players available on the cheap.

    • So if your worldview is to start your own restaurant your saying NY Cosmos were silly for not opening an Outback cause they already have a liquor license.
      .
      For the record… not sure I agree. I also do not particularly agree with the consistent theme I read that the NASL is just repeating the same mistakes of the past…. way more discernment to the story is needed then that broad statement.
      .
      But hey man…. Victoria Filet tastes the same in each state I’ve ever tasted it in… so clearly the model works if you like USDA Choice over USDA Prime.
      .
      I don’t.. when I go red its the best I can find.

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