Daily news roundups

Soccer world mourns Chapecoense tragedy, Eastern Conference champ decided tonight, more

Chapecoense

Tributes to Chapecoense, the Brazilian club that was en route to Medellin in Colombia when the plane they were on crashed, killing 71 of the 77 passengers who were on board on Tuesday, have come from across the soccer world, from Philadelphia Union and MLS, and beyond.

At least 19 Chapecoense players and 21 journalists are among the dead (some reports say 20 journalists), including six Fox Sports Brazil journalists, plus an unknown at this time number of Chapecoense coaches and staff.

The team was travelling to face Atletico Nacional in the two-legged Copa Sudamericana final. Atletico Nacional have asked CONMEBOL to grant Chapecoense the championship.

CONMEBOL said in a statement, “This is a tragic day for football…All activities of the South American Football Confederation remain suspended until further notice and the institution officially announces that it joins the three days of national mourning decreed by the government of Brazil.” The period of mourning has been extended to 30 days in Chapeco. All games have been suspended in Brazil for seven days. As the mourning continuesa mass wake will be held at Chapecoense’s stadium, Condá Arena, for those who died in the crash.

Brazilian clubs issued a statement in which they offered to loan players to Chapecoense for free for the 2017 season and called on the Brazilian Football Confederation to “not to be subject to relegation to Serie B of the Brazilian championship for the next three seasons. If Chapecoense finish the championship in the bottom four, the team in 16th place would be relegated.”

The son of Chapecoense coach Caio Junior was supposed to be on the flight but was not allowed to board the plane because he had forgotten his passport.

At ESPN, tributes to the team’s captain and its head coach.

Reports indicate the plane that crashed carried Lionel Messi and the Argentine national team to an and from Belo Horizonte for the World Cup qualifier against Brazil it lost 3-0 on Nov. 10.

Philadelphia Union

At the Union website, a post that notes the successful conclusion of the MLS Works 20 for 20 mini pitch initiative, which saw each MLS team sponsor the construction of a small field, including the one unveiled at Stetser Elementary School on Widener University’s campus in Chester back in October of 2015. Strangely, the post makes no reference to recent comments from Philadelphia Union Foundation chairman Mike Curry, reported by Kevin Kinkead at Philly Voice, that the foundation wants to back the construction of 50 mini pitches in the Philadelphia area.

Philadelphia Union Academy

John Hackworth has called up Union Academy midfielder Rayshaun McGann, and former Union Academy goalkeeper Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos, now with the Benfica academy, for the US U-17 BNT roster that will face Portugal (Nov. 30 at 7 pm), Turkey (Dec. 2 at 7 pm), and Brazil (Dec. 4 at 5 pm) in the Nike International Friendlies at Lakewood Ranch in Florida. All of the games will be streamed live on the US Soccer YouTube channel.

At US Soccer, five things to know about the Nike International friendlies.

MLS

Toronto hosts Montreal tonight in the second leg of the Eastern Conference championship (7 pm, FS1, Fox Sports Go, Fox Deportes). Montreal won the first leg, 3-2. The Eastern Conference champion will face Western Conference champions Seattle on Dec. 10. If Toronto wins the Eastern Conference Championship they will host Seattle. If Montreal wins, Seattle will be the host.

Apparently there are concerns about the state of the pitch at Toronto’s BMO Field. On Sunday night, the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup was played on the field. Toronto FC head groundskeeper Robert Heggie says the field is just fine: “I’d say it’s pretty good. It’s no worse or better than TFC’s seen this year. They’ve seen better pitches this year but they haven’t seen worse. I think they’re sitting in a good place. I think it’s going to play fantastic, I think the footing will be fine, everyone will be safe, no one will get hurt and it will be up to TFC to bring home the W.”

Expansion side Minnesota United has named former Orlando City boss Adrian Heath as their head coach. FourFourTwo talks to Heath about his plans for Minnesota.

Peter Vermes has signed a contract extension to remain head coach at Sporting Kansas City through 2019.

Houston Dynamo midfielder Rob Lovejoy has announced his retirement.

The Washington Post reports, “Members of the D.C. Zoning Commission peppered D.C. United officials with questions about the team’s stadium plans Monday, raising concerns about transportation, environmental impact and design that could affect the team’s targeted start date for construction.”

Don Garber said during his visit to Cincinnati on Tuesday of efforts to bring a MLS franchise to that city, “They’ve just got to keep doing what they’re doing because they’re doing it really well. Build their brand. Continue to expand their fan base. Continue to get embedded in their community with the civic leaders and business leaders. They have done a lot of things really well.” Building a downtown soccer stadium appears to be essential to Cincinnati getting a MLS franchise. More on Garber’s visit at Cincinnati Business Courier, WLWT, and WVXU.

Speculation continues regarding the future of NASL side New York Cosmos. On Tuesday, Tweets reports said the team had notified the league it had ceased operations and that the NASL itself was folding with some teams joining the USL. Other tweets said the team had not notified the league it was closing shop and that the team was waiting until the end of the meeting between the league’s board of governors that is scheduled to conclude today in Atlanta before making a decision about its future.

This echoes the report from Big Apple Soccer we linked to in Tuesday’s roundup quoting team CEO Seamus O’Brien as saying the team was in wait and see mode. A report at CBS New York on Tuesday said the same, quoting a “Cosmos source” as saying, “Are they going to close up shop and go away? I think that is highly highly unlikely. That’s not going to happen. This is not the death of the Cosmos after all. It’s not a case of the Cosmos disappearing and going away. It’s a case of what’s the next move. It’s not another 30-year hiatus. That’s not happening.” The report concludes with a list of possible scenarios for the team.

A report a Metro also says rumors of the team’s demise “are greatly exaggerated,” and quotes a “highly-placed team source” as saying, “The Cosmos aren’t going away, they aren’t folding. It is about the next step. No decision has been made, the organization will be here in some form moving forward.”

A tweet from SI’s Brian Straus early on Tuesday afternoon included the first official statement from the Cosmos (finally): “The Cosmos have not ceased operations. We are actively engaged in NASL League meetings that are taking place over the next couple of days.”

A report at Newsday quotes a “person familiar with the Cosmos’ situation” as saying about the state of the NASL, “It doesn’t feel like it’s going in the right direction.”

A report from ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle on Tuesday evening quoted “a club source” as saying, “We’re in league meetings over the next couple of days. Based on the outcome of those meetings, then we’ll make a decision on the club’s future.” The report then discusses questions about the status of the NASL itself, namely what will the league do if the USL is granted second division status and the NASL drops down to the third tier. Carlisle writes,

According to one former NASL team executive, the Cosmos, and chairman Seamus O’Brien, have no interest in moving to the USL, and see themselves as a Division I franchise…

“O’Brien’s vision is media, television rights, and with the Cosmos being a global brand, he saw the club as being at the forefront of that,” said the source. “That’s where he saw the future, so for him, the USL is just not an option. No second-division league in this country has ever been on TV. It just doesn’t happen.”

Carlisle explained further, “One source attending the meetings in Atlanta indicated that new owners for the Cosmos were being pursued, and that four investor groups interested in starting NASL expansion teams were also in attendance. It was unknown how far along those talks are.”

Big Apple Soccer reports, “As of Tuesday night, the Cosmos were still standing as was the North American Soccer League, although tensions apparently were on the rise at the league’s board of directors meeting in Atlanta.” The report says U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, and USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis and president Jake Edwards, were also in attendance at the meeting.

US

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Bruce Arena said of the USMNT, “We’re fighting for our lives starting March 24. We’re behind the eight ball. We’ve got to close the gap, and we get six points in the next two games, the gap is closed.”

Arena said identifying a playmaker for the team is a priority: “Generally in the world today there’s not that (many) real No. 10s. Some countries have it, some don’t. We need a better passer in the midfield than we have. We need to have a player in the attacking half of the field that can deliver the right ball at the right time. Who that is remains to be seen.” Arena made it clear he does not see Michael Bradley as a playmaker but as a No. 6:

More on Arena’s conference call at Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, ESPN, MLSsoccer.com (player pool, playing style), and the AP.

FourFourTwo has a to-do list for Arena. Soccer America has a list of topics Arena needs to address.

ASN talks to Frankie Hejduk, Tony Meola, John Harkes, and Tony Sanneh about why they believe Arena is the right man for the job.

The US has been drawn into Group B for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which will take place in Costa Rica, Feb. 17-March 5. Also in Group B are Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Haiti.

At ASN, Jurgen Klinsmann’s top five achievements as USMNT head coach. It’s not the strongest list.

FourFourTwo looks back to the first Women’s World Cup in 1991, won by the US 25 years ago today, which “established a soccer outsider, one of the few nations on the planet where the sport is not king, as a genuine giant.” Also at FourFourTwo, a Q&A with the coach of the team, Anson Dorrance.

Elsewhere

The child sexual abuse scandal in English football is wideningNew allegations say that Chelsea paid off a victim who was abused by the team’s chief scout forty years ago. More at The Guardian.

8 Comments

  1. So the greatest worldwide sex abuse cover up perpetrated by the catholic church upon children — has a potential 40 year protestant friend in the pew… this is surely a sign of the coming apocalypse. No? …..
    .
    ….I hope PA legalizes medical marijuana (fast) so I can feign an ache and drift to the happy apathy of oblivion as it commences.
    .
    Oh and lest I forget- for you who called me a troll– then Peanut Galleried in agreement– here’s my middle finger for you. 🙂
    .
    Dear Dan and Ed. Thank you for the sight… as much I try…means too much to walk away.

  2. I’m a fan of MLS teams and players. I like that we have a pretty good domestic league and try to remain optimistic that market forces will push it to be a more open and better quality league in the not-to-distant future.

    That said, I don’t like Garber publicizing tours to cities as if he’s personally in charge of deciding whether or not a club can make it to the promised land of MLS. I know in part that the club’s have a role in the spectacle for PR purposes, but it smacks of ring kissing and influence peddling. And that’s the best case scenario. It would really be troublesome if he was there simply to tease the city, pat them on the head with a bunch of patronizing bullshit while harboring no intentions of giving them fair consideration to join MLS.

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