Daily news roundups

Curtin praises Barnetta, Kratz secures P1 Visa, Blake called up by Jamaica, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference takes place today at 12:30. What will Curtin have to say about the news that Tranquillo Barnetta is leaving the team at the end of the season?

Before Tuesday’s training session, Curtin said of Barnetta to Philly.com’s Marc Narducci, “I can’t say enough good words about him. Pedigree-wise he is the best player the Philadelphia Union has ever had…Tranquil is not about money. When Tranquil was signed, he was very adamant on taking an 18-month deal, which was shocking to us because we had a much longer-term deal on the table and it was guaranteed money.”

At Union Tally, Matthew De George considers how the Union will fill the hole left by Barnetta’s departure. Brotherly Game has a readers poll asking what the midfield will look like without Barnetta in 2017. More reports about Barnetta’s impending departure at Delco TimesPattison AveSection 215Soccer AmericaESPN, and Goal.com. .

Stone Sports Management, the agency representing new Union signing Kevin Kratz, tweeted on Tuesday the German midfielder’s P1 Visa has been approved and he should be back in the US “by week’s end.” Kratz retweeted the Stone Sports tweet soon after. Section 215 notes the Stone Sports tweet.

You will recall that Warren Creavalle was recently named to Guyana’s 55-player provisional roster but, as of this writing, the Guyana Football Federation’s website and Facebook page are both down so I do not know if the roster has been finalized. The Union does not play after Saturday’s road game against NYRB until it hosts Orlando on Oct. 16.

The latest Rookie Rankings at MLSsoccer.com begin with praise for Fabian Herbers, who moves up two spots to No. 3 in the rankings behind No. 2 Keegan Rosenberry and No. 1 Jordan Morris. As Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle noted, Herbers is on 7 assists, the highest total for a rookie in MLS in six years. The record is 10 assists, set by Clint Mathis in 19968.

Power rankings: At MLSsoccer.com, the Union remain at No. 8: “They are getting great production out of Fabian Herbers (7 assists) but Chris Pontius has struggled in his last seven games (1g, 0a).” To clarify, Herbers has 1 goal, 3 assists, and 12 shots, 6 of which were on target, in his last seven games. In addition to the goal, Pontius has over the same period 15 shots, 9 of which were on target.

Bedoya-Edu chip shot competition? Made me click.

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

At the Union website, Marisa Pilla notes Jim Curtin’s participation in the inaugural “Pro Pilot course,” which was launched this year by US Soccer to award a Pro License for coaches.

Bloomberg notes the efforts of US pro sports leagues to embrace LGBT fans, although it notes of perhaps the most visible example of inclusion at the the club level, “the number of stadiums and fields that haven’t yet hosted a pride night outnumber those that have.” Why hasn’t the Union hosted a Pride Night?

City Islanders

The Royal Gazette reports, “Danté Leverock is in no rush to sort out his future and will explore other options before deciding whether to remain at United Soccer League side Harrisburg City Islanders.”

Local

Midfield Press talks to Matt Driver, CEO of the ASL, about his plans to launch a Philadelphia Fury team in the NASL. As was the case in the Philly.com report last spring, the “plan” seems to be little more than an idea. Asked if he has secured a group of investors, Driver said (emphasis added), “I have secured almost all of the pieces of the puzzle, albeit the investor part. I have secured sponsorship, ticketing, etc. The final piece would be the stadium, outside of the investors, and I have a few locations which I am currently speaking with and they are all conducive to city type locations.” In other words, everything is “secured” except for investors and a stadium. Asked when the team would begin play in the NASL, Driver said (emphasis added), “Who knows. I would like to think we could be ready around the 2018 Fall season if we moved quickly. Although, let me make it very clear, I have not made any movement to the NASL about joining the league as yet and won’t until I have a business plan and partners in place that I know we can succeed with.”

Speaking of the ASL, LancasterOnline has a report on AFC Lancaster Lions, who are playing their first season in the league. Lions head coach John Fisher says in the article that the ASL is “in the fourth tier of men’s professional soccer,” which is interesting considering that, as far as I know, US Soccer only recognizes three pro divisions, MLS, NASL, and USL, and the ASL league is not sanctioned by US Soccer (unlike the semipro — though largely amateur — NPSL which is via its affiliation with the USASA, as is fellow fourth tier league, the USL-backed PDL). There was a report on the ASL website in 2014 that the league would receive provisional sanctioning from the USASA but that report is no longer on the site and the league is not listed on the USASA website as an affiliate. For the best objectively critical reporting on the ASL that I’ve come across, check out Brian Doherty’s work at Scratching the Pitch and Doherty Soccer.

Drexel hosts Delaware tonight at 7 pm.

Area schools in the latest NSCAA/USA Today High School Boys rankings include Salesianum School (Wilmington, Del.), who move up one spot to No. 5, Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.), who move up ten spots to No. 15, and Lewisburg (Lewisburg, Pa.), who drop one spot to No. 18. Receiving votes were Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.) and Lower Dauphin (Hummelstown, Pa.).

In the High School Girls rankings are Pennsbury (Fairless Hills, Pa.) move up one spot to No. 7.

At PA Prep Live, Matthew De George has a piece honoring the late Upper Darby coach, Larry Flood.

MLS

There are four games in league play tonight, three of which are 7:30 pm games that involve teams nipping at the Union’s heels in the standings: Toronto hosts Orlando (FS1), Montreal hosts San Jose (MLS Live), and DC hosts Columbus (MLS Live). Seattle hosts Chicago at 10:30 pm (MLS Live).

In CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday night, NYRB advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time with a 0-0 road draw in Guatemala against Antigua GFC. Darlington Nagbe scored in the 90th minute from a free kick to give Portland a 2-1 comeback road win over CD Dragon in El Salvador. Tonight, Dallas hosts Guatemala’s CD Suchitepequez (8 pm, Facebook), and Vancouver hosts Trinidad and Tobago’s Central FC (10:30 pm, Facebook). Vancouver has already secured a spot in the semifinals.

Seattle Sounders announced on Tuesday that Clint Dempsey will not return to the team this season “as he continues to deal with an irregular heartbeat.” Dempsey’s ability to play for the US in next month’s friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand,not to mention the World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Costa Rica, is in question: “No additional information is available on whether the condition could potentially end Dempsey’s career.” More on the news at Seattle Sounders, MLSsoccer.comSeattle TimesESPN, KOMOKIRO7sports.mynorthwest.com, Sounder at HeartSportsPressNW, and Emerald City Swagger.

Official: Atlanta United has named former Barcelona and Argentina manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino as the expansion side’s first head coach. More on the hiring at MLSsoccer.com, ESPN, SI, Soccer America, and FourFourTwo.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports Soldier Field is in the running to host the 2017 MLS All-Star Game.

FourFourTwo on the majority of MLS teams adopting the 4-2-3-1.

NWSL

Average regular season attendance is up by 10 percent to 5,558, besting last year’s average of 5,046. The boost is thanks in large part to Portland’s season average 16,945 per game, which Soccer America notes is “better than the average of five MLS teams: Columbus (16,943), D.C. United (16,490), Colorado (16,229), Chicago (15,358) and FC Dallas (13,994).” The top three teams in terms of average attendance in the NWSL are all MLS-backed teams: Portland, Orlando (8,785), and Houston (5,696).

US

Saying, “I’m not trying to diss her cause in any fashion. I think it’s great,” Carli Lloyd nevertheless has reiterated comments she made before the last USWNT game that Megan Rapinoe’s ongoing national anthem protest is a distraction: “What is a distraction is the actual action of it. People are only talking about the kneeling aspect of it. I think it becomes more of a distraction because it gets our coach involved, our support staff involved and we as a team.” SI reports Rapinoe plans to continue her protest when the US hosts Switzerland on Oct. 19.

Pulisic! Pulisic!

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “South American’s Copa Libertadores, the region’s equivalent of the Champions League, will be played over 10 months instead of six and will end with a one-leg final from next year, the continent’s soccer confederation CONMEBOL said on Tuesday.”

Also from Reuters, “FIFA president Gianni Infantino played down the significance of Tuesday’s postponement of Asian elections for seats on the new FIFA Council, saying it was all part of the reform process at soccer’s scandal-hit world governing body.”

Reuters reports, “An emotional and apologetic Sam Allardyce said on Wednesday an error of judgment had led to his shock exit as England manager following a newspaper sting.” Allardyce, who was England manager for 67 days after being hired in July, was caught in a sting operation by The Daily Telegraph negotiation a lucrative side job as a consultant “a Far East firm seeking advice on the transfer market.” Calling his actions a “silly mistake,” he said, “Entrapment has won on this occasion and I have to accept that. I’ve apologized to (the Football Association) and all concerned.”

The AP reports, “The committee organizing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar plans to try out a ‘fan village’ that could house up to 2,000 soccer spectators in Arabian desert tents.

The Guardian reports, “Football’s international governing body, FIFA, is facing pressure to rule next month that six Israeli football clubs based in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories should either relocate to Israel or be banned from Fifa-recognised competitions.”

16 Comments

  1. Pulisic was class yesterday- Dortmund has a bevy of unreal youth players… and ‘our’ young man is exceptional. Please don’t worry- get excited and enjoy. We may yet have our first World Class field player ever.
    .
    RE: Duece. I am sorry sir. Please get better. I hope this does not end your career…though if it does…please please enter the booth, I would love to know what’s on your mind.

    • Was happy I watched most of that Dortmund-Madrid match. Was a fantastic and classic CL match! Besides that was fantastic to see Pulisic make things happen when he came on by running with the ball at defenders and watching his great passes. I predict that he will play for Madrid or Barcelona within 5 years.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Pulisic was brought on in a Champions League game vs Real Madrid, that Dortmund was losing. The fact that he is trusted enough at his age to be counted on in a game like that says it all. OH, and then he set up the tying goal. WOW. Just absolutely beyond impressive.

    • Post-game comments from Pulisic:
      .

  2. Does carsen Wentz like soccer?

  3. I don’t know what to think of Tata Martinez coming to Atlanta/MLS. Vieira, I think, demonstrates that you don’t need to be an MLS product to succeed. But it does seem a little like overkill to me. Will be interesting to see how it develops.

    Interesting to read guys like DeGeorge and Kinkead keep pushing for a 4-4-2. I’m pretty sure that’s never going to happen, even if I agree that it would be interesting to see tried. If for no other reason than to see if CJ is more effective with a partner up top.

    • Lucky Striker says:

      relatedly; as much progress as Herbers has shown, the lack of pace from both sets of wide midfielders concerns me going forward. Maybe it’s just the “rookie wall” but he’s had some opportunities to break in for shots that never get off-because he’s consistently getting caught from behind. I think he fits best as a forward in a 4-4-2….as does Davies………

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      I would think the closest you would likely get is a 4-4-2 diamond.
      .
      the defensive benefits of having someone protecting the space in front of the center backs seems quite clear.
      .
      To do that a flat 4 in the midfield either gives up, or creates uncertainty about, the creative attacking space behind the strikers.
      .
      The 4-“diamond 4”-2 concedes space to a truly world class central midfielder, which can be a problem itself.

    • He was basically playing as a second striker in the middle for a lot of last game.

  4. “The record is 10 assists, set by Clint Mathis in 19968.”
    .
    That was a good year. 😉

  5. Who is Kevin Kratz? He is supposed to be German. Some say he plays as a 10 while others insisted he was either a 6 or an 8. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody has ever seen him play or knew anybody that has watched him in a match, but to hear Stewart tell it, everybody could have seen Kratz play. You just never knew. That was his power.

    The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.

    • One thing we know he’s not is a goal scorer. 1 goal in 14 appearances/12 starts/ in the Bundesliga for Eintracht Braunschweig.

  6. Great D3 Soccer game today at 4 at Haverford College: Haverford vs. Washington College. Much more enjoyable to watch than D1 soccer where most players seem to be on steroids and are running around the field like chickens without heads. Haverford is also currently ranked 8th in the nation (moved up form 22nd):
    http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/soccer-men/d3/nscaa-coaches

  7. Tata may be overkill but then Curtin underkill. Herbers lacking in pace? Wow then Ilsinho is a freakin turtle. Sad that this organization whose head coach bemoaned the lack of pace at the end of last season is no faster. And it’s starting quality attacking players can’t play a full 90. And Stewart traded away an icon and tireless runner. Oh, and we have to play a 4-2-3-1 bc our center backs need protection from not one but 2 defensive midfielders. Maybe we should have gone out and gotten a bonafide CB instead of drafting an undersized and really fast one (read: not a CB at all but more of a miscast fullback).

    And we wonder why Barnetta wants to return to Switzerland…

  8. Remember Curtin sweetened and extended Gaddis’ contract? Saying he was a building block for the future and an elite mls fullback. Now the guy can’t even get in the game to preserve a 1-0 lead with 20 min to go. Why doesn’t someone ask Curtin about Gaddis’ role? (Or lack thereof.)

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