Daily news roundups

Playoff race just got tighter, notes from Curtin’s presser, praise for Barnetta, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

In his weekly press conference on Wednesday afternoon (full transcript here at PSP), Jim Curtin noted, “All points matter at this stage. Some results have gone our way in recent weeks so that there will be a week where they don’t go our way, so we need to take care of business and get as many points as possible down the stretch here.”

On Wednesday night, a couple of results didn’t go the Union’s way.

Fifth place Montreal (41 points, 10-10-11) defeated San Jose 3-1 at home on Wednesday night and are now within one point of fourth place Philadelphia (42 points, 11-11-9). While the Union are on the road to face second place NYRB (48 points, 13-9-9) on Saturday, Montreal are on the road to face eighth place Orlando (35 points, 7-10-14) on Sunday.

Additionally, DC United (40 points, 9-9-13) moved into sixth place and two points behind the Union with a 3-0 home win over ninth place Columbus (32 points, 7-12-11). DC travels to face Toronto on Saturday.

At the Union website, Marisa Pilla reviews the scenarios for the Union clinching a playoff spot this weekend. Also at the Union website, Matt Bodiford looks ahead to Saturday’s game. At the NYRB website, some connections between the two clubs.

Some injury highlights from Curtin’s press conference:

  • Curtin described Tranquillo Barnetta’s knee injury as “one that is manageable.” Curtin explained, “I think he’ll play a role in the New York game, whether that’s as a starter or off the bench still remains to be seen.” (Barnetta said of training the past few days as he recovers from the knee knock that saw him miss last weekend’s game in Toronto, “It was good. I still have to take day by day and see how it goes.”)
  • Ilsinho continues to suffer from pain related to his plantar fasciitis injury. Curtin said the Brazilian was to receive “a shot” in his foot for the pain on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Curtin said Maurice Edu continues to look good as he works to return from injury and that “he’s getting up closer to the numbers that we want him to get to each day.” However, while Curtin said the plan was for Edu to travel with the team for this weekend’s game, Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle remain ahead of him.
  • Curtin also said Josh Yaro has returned to full training after passing concussion tests.

Curtin understandable spoke at length about the impending departure of Barnetta, whom he described as “the best player that ever wore a Philadelphia Union jersey,” adding, “he kind of embodies everything that we want this club to be.”

Curtin said further, “People are going to say ‘How do you replace it?’, and you can’t, to be honest. That’s the reality. We’ll do our best to but there’s not many people and players that have the total package like he had, and kind of embodied the city and embody what the club is about.”

More from the press conference at Philly.com, Delco Times (playoff stretch, Barnetta), CSN PhillyPhilly Voice, and MLSsoccer.com.

Alejandro Bedoya’s goal against Toronto is up against the goal from Shkelzen Gashi against Vancouver in the final of the Goal of the Week. Bedoya’s chip bested goals from Steven Mendoza and Jordan Morris to reach the final. Cast your vote here.

Section 215 notes the attention Fabian Herbers has recently been receiving from the MLSsoccer.com Rookie Rankings and the team’s promising depth of young talent.

Power rankings! At SBI, the Union move up one spot to No. 9: “The Philadelphia Union will count themselves lucky to have earned a point against the strong Toronto FC. The Union were under pressure for the vast majority of the match after Alejandro Bedoya scored his first MLS goal to give the visitors the lead, but after Justin Morrow’s equalizer, Jozy Altidore could only find the post as TFC failed to capitalize on their home turf. The Union are six back of the Eastern-conference leading triad, but will get a chance to gain a few points when they visit the New York Red Bulls this weekend.”

Alejandro Bedoya / Charlie Davies / Maurice Edu skill challenge versus ESPN FC video. The former Union Ale, he’s still got it.

A post at HITC Sport looking at former players at Rangers in the team’s final season before administration notes, “two former Rangers players from the 2011/12 season now play for the U’s, as they are known,” Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya. The “U’s”?

Local

Drexel was defeated 20 at home by Delaware on Wednesday night. Fede Prieto scored both goals.

Also on Wednesday, Villanova defeated Princeton 10 with an overtime penalty kick goal.

On Tuesday night, Temple defeated Penn State 10 for its first road win of the season, and first road win of the Nittany Lions since 1989.

Saint Joseph’s was defeated 20 on the road by St. John’s on Tuesday, Filippo Ricupati scoring a brace for the home side.

Philadelphia Weekly has a Q&A with Abby Wambach ahead of her appearance next week at the Pennsylvania Con­fer­ence for Wo­men.

MLS

As mentioned above, Montreal defeated ninth place in the West San Jose on Wednesday, further darkening the Earthquakes already dim playoff hopes but, more importantly, putting the Impact within one point of the Union. DC are now within two points of the Union after defeating Columbus. In Wednesday night’s other league games, 10-man Toronto (49 points, 13-8-10) regained first place with a 0-0 home draw against eighth place Orlando (35 points, 7-10-14). Seattle (41 points, 12-13-5) moved into sixth place in the West with a 1-0 win over last in the East Chicago (27 points, 6-15-9).

In Wednesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League games, Dallas hosted Guatemala’s Suchitepequez to a 0-0 draw, while Vancouver thumped Trinidad and Tobago’s Central, 4-1 to finish undefeated in group play.

Team technical director Carlos Bocanegra says new Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martino will implement a “fast and fluid tempo” of play as head coach of the team. At MLSsoccer.com, Sam Stejskal on how Atlanta landed Martino.

At SI, Grant Wahl reports “multiple sources” say LAFC “has significant interest” in hiring Bob Bradley as head coach. The expansion team is to begin play in MLS in 2018.

At Soccer America, the owner of NASL expansion side San Francisco Deltas says changes are coming in terms of how the league operates.

From the USL website:

The United Soccer League closed out its 2016 regular-season schedule over the weekend and reported a total season attendance of almost 1.5 million for its 29 teams, a 33 percent increase from 2015.

The USL drew 1,496,493 fans compared to 1,132,218 last year. The average attendance for the league’s top 10 drawing teams was 6,724, a 25 percent increase versus 2015.

Also at the USL website, a look at the Eastern Conference playoff teams.

US

Jurgen Klinsmann says there is no truth to rumors linking him to the now vacant England job (again).

Pulisic! Pulisic!

Hope Solo has announced she has undergone “long overdue” shoulder replacement surgery “to address an injury I’ve been dealing with for some time,” adding, “I’ve got a brand new shoulder (read: bionic) and for the first time in years, I can raise my right arm above my head.” So, a one-armed Hope Solo was better in goal than other GKs who have been able to raise their right arm above their head? Does that say something about player selection at the USWNT, the goalkeeper pool, or both?

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “A Guatemalan sports confederation has voted to reinstate a FIFA-appointed oversight committee, officials said, in a bid to head off the suspension of the country’s national soccer federation.”

The Telegraph sting that resulted in Sam Allardyce resigning as England manager was part of an investigation that also claims “Ten managers were named by players’ agents as taking bribes to fix player transfers.”

PA Sports reports, “The English Football Association, Premier League and English Football League (EFL) have released a joint statement insisting that any allegations of corruption will be investigated fully.”

13 Comments

  1. Perhaps it’s the rain this morning. Or the flat tire I got on the way to work (donut time!). I’m feeling quite certain that doom and darkness are in store for our team. I see a very real likelihood that DC and Montreal slip past us this weekend, sending us to the precipice of the red line, forcing us into a must win game against Orlando that we somehow manage to miss.

    That said, I’m quite comfortable in the face of near certain catastrophe. This club has been flat lining since August and it’s hard to imagine them beating a resurgent DC or even an inconsistent Montreal side on an elimination game. My expectations are quite low, but for some reason, I’m OK with that. I don’t really know why.

  2. All the more reason to Occupy RBA

  3. There was a moment in the DC United game last night when Nyarko is fending of a defender with some really lovely dribbling and shielding skills….. and naturally nobody is moving for him- so after securing the ball and just enough time—- lays it off to his left defender, who with four DC United players flanked to his right, also not moving or in decent body shape——– but at least wide open…. punts the damn ball up to the halfway line and gives it right back to the Columbus player.
    .
    .
    .
    THIS.

  4. Anybody else rather play Montreal than DC? The latter is so flukey (and often crap) and somehow pull off results — don’t want to have a one-off with them. I think I’d rather play a Montreal team that doesn’t look great recently (they should have drawn last night if not for an awful PK take from Wondo).

  5. Union are (almost) in with a win in any of the last 3. In order for them not to qualify if they go 1-2, New England would need to win all 3 and make up a 16 goal differential. Now getting a higher seed will probably take more than a win.

  6. Is it my imagination or does the link to the NYRB site show an article that says the Union have a player from the same country as an Energy drink player from 8 years ago and that some of the players on both teams are from Brazil and that two guys grew up an hour away from each other in California? Do they really pay someone to write that?

    • two professional soccer teams, both with players from Brazil, what are the odds of that?!?
      anyone who says investigative journalism is dead, just send them that link

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