Daily news roundups

Barnetta leaving at season’s end, other Union news, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Official: Tranquillo Barnetta will not extend his contract with the Union at the end of the year and will instead return after the 2016 MLS season to Switzerland to play for his hometown club, St. Gallen.

Barnetta said in a statement, “The entire soccer community here was so welcoming, and I’m so thankful to everyone at Philadelphia Union for making me feel so appreciated. Playing in front of my friends and family and making plans for life at the end of my career where I want to live is a force I can’t resist.”

An announcement on the St. Gallen website says Barnetta will rejoin the club in January of 2017 after signing a contract through the summer of 2019 (translation here). In a Facebook post, Barnetta gives “a big thank you” to Union fans, teammates and staff for his “unforgettable” time with the club, adding, “Let’s secure [a] playoffs [spot] now!”

You will recall that Barnetta’s hometown newspaper, St. Galler Tagblatt, reported on Sept. 13 that Barnetta had asked the Union for time to consider whether he would extend his contract or return to his hometown club. “Life here is great and exactly what I was looking for the one and a half years, Barnetta said. “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.” Apparently, it is. In case you were wondering, the MLS Players Union says Barnetta 2016 salary was $687,500.

More on the Barnetta news at PSP, MLSsoccer.comPhilly.com, CSN Philly, and Brotherly Game.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George notes the Union are one of two MLS teams that have never won more than 12 games in a season (the other is Orlando) and observes, “The Union, as we’re seeing now, are atrocious at finishing seasons.” Looking at the team’s current position in the standings, he concludes,

Before the season, being in this position as September winds down was the stated objective of the Union’s new regime. But the goalposts have been moved by the Union’s early-season achievement, and accruing late-season momentum in the pursuit of a postseason run – not merely a token, one-and-done appearance – is the refined objective.

As with everything else the Union have done this year, achieving that new goal requires upending a lot of bad history.

In the latest Inside Doop at CSN Philly, Dave Zeitlin wonders if Maurice Edu will get minutes before the end of the season and what role Roland Alberg will have as the season plays out. Speaking of Edu, at ESPN he plays a little FIFA 17 with critical commentary from Alejandro Bedoya and Charlie “CD9” Davies.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has analysis and player grades from Saturday’s draw in Toronto.

Brian Carroll makes the bench in MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.

SBI has named Alejandro Bedoya’s goal against Toronto  the Goal of the Week. US Soccer notes Bedoya’s goal.

Power rankings! At ESPN, the Union move up two spots to No. 6: “The Union didn’t sign Alejandro Bedoya to score goals, but the midfielder’s first in MLS for his new team was a big one as Philly grabbed a point in Toronto.” At SI, the Union remain at No. 9: “The Union needed the red-hot Altidore to hit the post with a late effort and a non-PK call in stoppage time, but a 1-1 draw at Toronto FC is still a big result for a club that is still looking to secure a top-four spot in the East and the home playoff game that comes with it. Bedoya’s chip over Irwin is at the very least a strong Goal of the Week–if not year– contender.” At Soccer America, they move up one sport to No. 12: “No matter how long he plays in MLS, Alejandro Bedoya will need a very special goal to top his first in the league, a masterful chip that floated under the bar in the 35th minute. Fabian Herbers caused some problems and landed two of his three shots on goal. Otherwise, Philly relied on grit to grind out a point and move a little closer to clinching a playoff spot.”

In the weekly Instant Replay video at MLSsoccer.com, Simon Borg says referee Ismail Elfath “got it right” when he didn’t give Toronto a penalty kick at the end of last Saturday’s game. He also praises the assistant ref for correctly runling Alejandro Bedoya onside when he scored that lovely chipped goal.

At the Union website, Marisa Pilla looks at the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Local

The weekly Philly Soccer Six awards have been announced:

Player of the Week: Alec Neumann, Penn (hat trick in win over Drexel)
Defensive Players of the Week: Greg O’Connell, Saint Joseph’s and Will Steiner, Villanova (combined for shutout in Soccer Six game, also added impressive efforts in second games of their teams’ weeks)
Rookie of the Week: Jacob Anderson, Villanova (two goals in 2-1 win over Marquette)

Temple is on the road to face Penn State tonight (7 pm, Big Ten Network Plus).

MLS

Two CONCACAF Champions League games today involving MLS teams. At 8 pm, NYRB faces Antigua FC in Guatemala (Facebook, UDN). At  10 pm, Portland faces CD Dragon in El Salvador (Facebook, UDN).

Cincinnati mayor John Cranley will give Don Garber a “driving tour” of the city on Nov. 29 to promote FC Cincinnati’s MLS expansion prospects. Garber will speak at a public event after the tour. Reports at Cincinnati Enquirer, WLWT, WCPO, Soccer America, and Fox Soccer.

The Tennessean reports the owner of the new USL franchise in Nashville is joining in the effort to bring a MLS franchise to that city.

Midfield Press reports an ownership group in San Diego that was reportedly looking to join the USL for the 2017 season will instead join the NASL with the intention of beginning play in 2018. The article also includes some speculative information about a group on Los Angeles that was reportedly also looking to join NASL in time for 2017: “Neither the Los Angeles or San Diego groups are officially accepted in the league at this time, but they both have impressive backing and roots in the community.” You will recall reports we linked to in Monday’s roundup from San Diego Union-TribuneKPBS, and  Soccer Nation about a survey that was issued by San Diego State and a “private investment group” last week gauging the interest in a MLS franchise in San Diego.

US

The Sun reports Bob Bradley has had a “top-secret meeting” with Swansea to take over as the club’s new manager. More at WalesOnline.

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “World soccer’s governing body FIFA was under fire on Monday for winding up its anti-racism task force with former presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan describing the move as worrying and shameful.”

ESPN reports, “FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura said the organisation is working closely with Russia to formulate tough anti-discrimination regulations for the 2018 World Cup after it emerged that it was disbanding its anti-racism task force.”

Also from Reuters, “Asia’s top soccer officials delivered a major snub to FIFA on Tuesday, forcing the postponement of an election for three spots on the world body’s new governing Council in a row over the disqualification of a Qatari candidate.”

12 Comments

  1. You know, I thought Sapong should’ve been called for that penalty. But looking at it again, and hearing Borg’s commentary, I have to say that I agree with him that it was a correct non-call.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      The replay in Adam’s “Analysis” post yesterday showed me it was definitely a foul on Jozy first, and the correct call was made. Props where they are due, that is a tough call for an MLS ref to make, at that point in the game, at full speed, against the home team.

  2. It’s not the worst time to make this announcement. It gives the Union time to plan for his absence, know you don’t have to protect him in the draft and generally have one less cloud hanging over the Unions head.
    .
    It wouldn’t surprise me if Earnie forced the issue just so we can move on faster. He will most certainly be missed but in Bedoya he is already replaced. His salary can be used for upgrades and to fill holes in the roster.
    .
    Safe travels Teanquillo.

    • My first thought exactly.
      .
      It’s a winall around that he can make that decision now, the team still has him till the end of this season, the team gets as much time as possible to plan for next season, WE get a chance to say goodbye properly, HE gets to home…Where his heart is.
      .
      Thanks for the thrills Quillo

    • Agreed. And a big thank you and best wishes to Quillo.
      .
      So Earnie will have an open international roster spot (I also believe that the international spot that the Union traded to Houston with Williams expires and they will have that back after this year) and nearly 700k in the salary cap.

  3. First, I think Tranquillo deserves thanks from the club for really giving 110% while here. Dude played his ass off for this club.
    .
    Second, I don’t see anyone on the current roster that takes that number 10 role as well as he did. Illsinho has the passing and play making skills, but not the fitness or defensive discipline. Alberg has the fitness, but not the discipline. I think Bedoya gives you the fitness and the discipline, but not the ability to really place a sweet through ball. I can almost talk myself into seeing what Herbers could do there, but that’s probably getting way ahead of myself.
    .
    Good news is that we have a whole off season to address the situation. Bad news is that it is another important hole we have that our surplus of attacking midfielders doesn’t seem to address.

    • Yeah, there’s no one here now. Let’s see what Earnie does in his second go-around for a full offseason. He has time to work the market now.

  4. Tickets to the red bull game Saturday are cheap. Under 20 a piece. We can and should #occupyrba

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Thanks to THE CALM for a great season and a half… and thanks for being professional about it… and GOOD LUCK back home. For MLS he makes serious money. Giving that to ES in the off-season is exciting. It’s going to be fun to think what he will do with it. #InESweTrust

  6. Viel Gluck to Tranquillo. Such a shame to lose a player of that quality and drive for such a completely understandable reason. Danke Schoen for your efforts here.

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Apropos of nothing above, Coach Brendan Burke of the Steel said over the weekend that the Steel have provided three plaers to the first team this season.
    .
    Only tonight did I suspect that the third is Ken Tribbett back in preseason who was originally signed to a USL contract before winning promotion while down in Florida.
    .
    The other two are Summer-of-’16 Home Grown signings Derrick Jones and Auston Trusty.

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