Daily news roundups

Blake named to MLS Best XI, Steel and Academy bits, new OC head coach, league news, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake has been named to the 2016 MLS Best XI. The bio of Blake in the award announcement says,

A Generation adidas signing, and the first goalkeeper ever to be taken with the top pick in the history of MLS SuperDraft, Blake emerged in his first full season as a starter to guide the Union to its second ever postseason appearance and first since 2011. Blake has starred for both club and country, starting all three Copa America Centenario matches for his native Jamaica with 22 career caps while registering 32 starts between the posts for Philadelphia en route to his first AT&T All-Star and MLS Best XI selections this season.

The last Union player to be named to the MLS Best XI was Sebastien Le Toux in 2010. More reports at Philly.com, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly GameSection 215.

At the Union website, a roundup of social media posts on what John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, and Maurice Edu have been doing during the offseason.

In a ranking of all 50 DPs in MLS at Fox Sports, Alejandro Bedoya comes in at No. 30:

When he came in as a summer signing, there were high expectations for him to change the way Philadelphia played. He did that and he looked like a smart signing early on, but he struggled as the season wore on. It can be tough coming in midseason, especially in a year where the Union seemed to be still figuring their new identity out. There will surely be higher hopes for next season.

The ranking says this about Maurice Edu, who comes in at No. 48: “He didn’t play at all because of injuries.”

Bethlehem Steel FC

PSP, USLsoccer.com, Allentown Morning Call, Section 215The 42, and extratime.ie.

Philadelphia Union Academy

After winning their first game at the USSDA Winter Showcase in Lakewood Ranch, Fl. 51 against Sacramento Republic, and losing their second showcase game 40 against Vancouver Whitecaps, the Union Academy U-15/16s were defeated 63 on Monday by Sporting Kansas City in their final game at the tournament, finishing the game with nine players after two were sent off.

The Union were behind quickly, Sporting scoring in the first minute before Axel Picazo leveled the scoreline in the 15th minute. Seth Kuhn put the Union ahead with a goal in the 33rd minute but Kansas City goals in the 42nd and 45th minutes saw the Union behind 3-2, the second goal coming from the penalty spot after Benjamin Ofeimu was sent off for an intentional handball in the box. The Union then leveled the scoreline again although just who scored is a little confusing: The Union Academy Twitter account has Brendan Aaronson scoring in the 60th minute (a report on the Sporting Kansas City website agrees in terms of the time of the goal but the goalscorer isn’t mentioned) while, as of this writing, the Union game report records Jason Aoyama as the goalscorer in the 69th minute. Regardless, The Union were down to nine men after Nykolas Sessock was sent off in the 65th minute for a second yellow card (the Union Academy Twitter account says the 67th minute). The Kansas City game report has Sporting scoring the go-ahead goal in the 69th minute while the Union Academy Twitter account has Kansas City scoring in the 70th minute. The Union then conceded goals in the 76th and 80th minutes in the 6-3 loss.

At the Union website, a brief recap of how the Union Academy teams did at the Winter Showcase.

A report at the Union website notes Rayshaun McGann’s play with the US U-17s at the Nike International Friendlies.


Liam Doyle, who spent his rookie year with the City Islanders in 2016, has been transferred by the City Islanders and signed by Swope Park Rangers.

Ocean City Nor’easters have announced former player John Thompson (2004 PDL Defender of the Year, two-time All-PDL selection) as their new head coach. Thompson, who played for Ocean City in 2002-6 when the team was known as the South Jersey Barons, replaces Tim Oswalt, who spent five seasons leading the club.

Amirah Ali (F; Eastern High School) has been named the NSCAA High School Girls Player of the Year. Area players making the NSCAA High School All-American girls team include Cashlin Copley (M; Manheim Township High School), Rachel Dowart (F; Cumberland Valley High School), Elizabeth King (F; Strath Haven High School), Katarina Nilsson (F; Hopewell Valley Central High School), and Gianna Yurchak (F; Conestoga Valley High School).

The NSCAA High School All-American boys team has been announced. Area players making the team include Joseph Bhangdia (M; Lewisburg Area High School), Jason Blackwell (M; Salesianum School), Nicholas Jennings (M; Conestoga High School), Timmy Townsend (M; Lower Dauphin High School), Matthew Horner (Bordentown Regional High School), and Joseph Scarpinato (F; Appoquinimink High School).


MLS announced on Monday that tickets for the Toronto-Seattle MLS Cup Final “sold out three minutes after going on sale to the general public.”

Atlanta have signed 22-year-old Paraguayan international midfielder Miguel Almirón to a multi-year contract as a Young Designated Player from Argentine side Lanus. ESPN reports, “The MLS expansion club will pay a transfer fee of around $8 million to the Argentina club, according to multiple league sources, after initial reports had pegged Almirón’s fee as high as $13 million.” Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, “Atlanta United sent the MLS mandated amount of $50,000 in General Allocation Money to Seattle in exchange for its Right of First Refusal on Almirón.”

FourFourTwo says, much like Seattle Sounders before them, Atlanta’s “aggressive spending and recruiting” will “set the new standard for MLS’ next era.”

NYCFC have signed 2016 USL MVP and Golden Boot winner Sean Okoli from FC Cincinnati.

At MLSsoccer.com, a Waiver Draft 101.

The future of the NASL, which by all accounts is decidedly bleak, could hinge on two things happening today. First, US Soccer is expected to decide today if the USL will gain Division II status, which is currently held by the NASL. Second, the Carolina RailHawks rebranding will launch today. A premature announcement on the team’s app last week confirmed the team intends to work toward securing a MLS franchise. The question is whether the team will remain in the NASL or join the USL. If the USL receives Division II status and the NASL drops to Division III, and/or Carolina announces a move to the USL, the NASL may be as good as dead. Again.

Empire of Soccer reported on Monday night that New York Cosmos players “received termination letters on Monday, assuring that the Cosmos will not be taking the field in 2017…Meanwhile, team staff and front office continue on their second week of furloughs, which will now likely become a mass layoff for the organization. Many office staff are now bracing for their third consecutive billing cycle without pay, equating to nearly six weeks of unpaid wages.” The report says the Cosmos ownership group “is looking for potential investors to take over the club,” adding that club chairman Seamus O’Brien “could be looking to offload his shares in the team as well.”

While there is no official word on the status of the New York Cosmos, the Five Points (the collective name for the Cosmos supporters groups Cross Island Crew, La Banda Del Cosmos and the Borough Boys) have called on team owners Seamus O’Brien and Jeremy Wilkins to “sell their controlling share in the New York Cosmos” alleging “improper management” of the club. The supporters group has also called for “the immediate reinstatement of all staff, players, and coaches as well as the payment of any debts owed to them,” presumably before O’Brien and Wilkins sell their share.

FiftyFiveOne reported on Monday, “the NASL is now down to only four teams. A source with information of the situation said it ‘appears that the NASL is officially dead.'”

A Indy Eleven spokesperson told IndyStar the team “continues to plan for the 2017 season in conjunction with other committed clubs and owners that are working hard on a path forward for the NASL.” More at Indianapolis Business Journal.

The Sun Sentinel says the future of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers “who faced an avalanche of financial issues this season and are actively seeking a buyer, remains unresolved and tenuous.” The report notes the team is being sued by Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards, who in November “sued both Strikers ownership and the NASL for control of the team. Edwards, whose firm Marketing Solution Publications loaned the Strikers nearly $800,000 over the summer, claims the club remains $305,000 in his debt, according to Pinellas County court records.”

Soccer America has a breakdown of the current situations of each of the NASL’s present 12 teams, three of which have already announced they are leaving the league. As with reports from other sources, Soccer America notes an important issue current NASL teams must consider in terms of a move to the USL is the cost of expansion fees.

FourFourTwo reviews the ongoing NASL saga:

How did that hopeful group that wanted to remake U.S. Soccer end up in such straits? There’s only hubris to blame.

Linking up the Cosmos in 2012 and replacing David Downs as commissioner with Bill Peterson later that year, the league took an adopted antagonistic stance toward Major League Soccer, eventually walking away from a partnership that would have allowed MLS teams to place players at its clubs…

The game O’Brien, Peterson, the Cosmos and the NASL played was high stakes-high reward, but for soccer fans who’ve adopted these teams, it comes at a high cost. Instead of continuing down the path Downs was paving — one that would have provided stability — the NASL took a different course. In search of glory, that choice was understandable, but with the endgame in view, fans in a number of markets are about to bear the cost of their league’s bill of goods.

More NASL talk at SB Nation.


The nominees for US Soccer’s end-of-the-year awards have been announced. Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Bobby Wood, Michael Bradley, and Geoff Cameron are up for Male Player of the Year. Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, and Becky Sauerbrunn are up for Female Player of the Year. The nominees for Young Male Player of the Year are Andrew Carleton, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Josh Sargent, Christian Pulisic, and Jordan Morris. Up for Young Female Player of the Year are Emily Ogle, Andi Sullivan, Kaleigh Riehl, Karina Rodriguez, and Ashley Sanchez. Adam Ballou (Paralympic Soccer National Team), Nico Calabria (US Amputee Soccer National Team), Emily Cressy (US Deaf Women’s National Team), Matt Eby (US Deaf Men’s National Team) have been nominated for Disabled Player of the Year. “Winners for the Male and Young Male awards will be announced on Dec. 9 during FOX Sports special MLS Cup preview show at 10 p.m. ET on FS1, while the Female and Young Female award will be announced on Dec. 11 during ESPN FC’s weekly recap show Sunday evening on ESPN2. The Disabled Player of the Year will be announced on ussoccer.com on Dec. 12.”


From ESPN: “Brazil will play Colombia in a friendly at the end of January to help victims of the air crash that killed most of the players, staff and directors of Brazilian club Chapecoense last week.”

The AP reports, “The FIFA official in charge of World Cup security and fighting match-fixing in football has left the governing body. FIFA says Ralf Mutschke is no longer its director of security and has not immediately been replaced.”


  1. All this NASL news in one place feels a lot like the Baptism of Fire final scenes from The Godfather. All the bad guys getting rubbed out one by one by Michael Corleone. Victor Stracci, Moe Greene, Phill Tattaglia… Just when they think maybe the war is over, shot in the eye mid massage.

  2. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, to see that Hope Solo is not up for female player of the year. After all, isn’t she some sort of cross between Patrick Roy, Pele, and Maradona?

  3. 2 things come to mind in the NASL saga, which are constantly discussed in sports – salary cup & revenue sharing. A salary cup is somewhat irrelevant in this case because of the lack of revenue sharing. When every team has money to spend, a salary cap keeps salaries low, resulting to an extent that teams do not overspend. But with the lack of revenue sharing, from gates and TV, means that teams like the Cosmos can spend whatever they want, create an uneven playing field and putting themselves in debt.
    Say what you want about MLS’ financial restrictions, but it has helped create a financially stable league, which means sponsors and TV networks are less afraid to commit to it. As the FourFourTwo article mentions, had they stayed true to their original mission of creating a viable pyramid, and worked with MLS and USL, this may have turned out differently. Instead, they are going through an epic collapse. Their insistence on competing with MLS, and more so putting teams in markets with MLS teams, ultimately doomed them, while markets like Cincinnati, Arizona, Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga and other small markets were begging for teams – until the USL came along. It’s a sad day, because I would love to see a true soccer pyramid

  4. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I commend the Brian Strauss article Ed references to the attention of those interested.
    The FiveFiftyOne headline is misleading and the article itself is confused, if what I think I already know is actually the truth. Three of the four NASL sides mentioned mentioned are widely thought to be folding or in other financial difficulty. Only FC Edmonton seems healthy and is mentioned as likely joining a Canadian Premiership League in 2018.
    My guess is the FiveFiftyOne headline writer misunderstood the writer.

  5. Scott of Nazareth says:

    Leaving overall soccer philosophy aside, from a strict dollars and cents (sense?) POV, who in their right mind would invest in a NASL franchise right now?

    USL should figure out a way to get the remaining NASL teams into their league (assuming NASL will fold) and then split into two leagues with pro/rel between the two.

    Use the whole thing as an incubator for future MLS franchise development, then maybe 20-30-50 years from now consider full pro/rel…

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