Daily news roundups

Union bits and bobs, US Soccer postpones Division 2 decision, more

Photo: Daniel Studio

Philadelphia Union

More on Andre Blake being named to the MLS Best XI at the Union website.

At the Union website, a review of some of the Philadelphia Union Foundation’s initiatives in 2016.

Speaking of the Union Foundation, Chipotle locations “throughout greater Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, South Jersey and Delaware areas” have partnered with the foundation for a fundraising event on Dec. 14. If you show the cashier the flyer in this article and say you’re making a purchase in support of the Union Foundation, 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the foundation. (The wording in the article and in the flyer seem to contradict one another. The article says “All you have to do is show up, present the flyer below to your cashier, and say that you are there for the Philadelphia Union Foundation.” The wording on the flyer suggests you just have to say you want your purchase to be included in the fundraising effort: “Bring in this flyer, show it on your smartphone or tell the cashier you are supporting the team to make sure 50% of the proceeds will be donated to Philadelphia Union Foundation.”)

At the Union website, a reminder that the Sons of Ben’s annual Help Kick Hunger charity event takes place on Saturday at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company.

At Fox Sports, a ranking of the ten worst DPs in MLS history includes former Union man Rais Mbolhi at No. 6:

No team has ever handled a position worse than the Philadelphia Union did goalkeepers. They had Zac MacMath, a highly thought of youngster who was coming into his own, then decided to trade up and draft Andre Blake No. 1 overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft anyway. Then, inexplicably, they signed M’Bolhi to a Designated Player contract — which is almost always a bad idea for any goalkeeper — despite his being a journeyman who simply had a nice World Cup for Algeria. The Union would have loved it if he was “fine” for them, though. Instead, he was one of the worst goalkeepers in the league, and the Union continued to play him over their younger, better options anyway before finally getting rid of him.

Thanks, Nick!


Temple’s Jorge Gomez Sanchez and Carlos Moros Gracia have been named to the NSCAA All-East Region Teams, Gomez Sanchez to the first team, Moros Garcia to the second team.


David Villa has been named 2016 MLS MVP.

Dallas has re-signed 2016 MLS Defender of the Year Matt Hedges to a new four-year contract.

NYCFC is looking to unload Mix Diskerud. NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said, “He’s looking for playing time. We’re having discussions with him and trying to find the best way to satisfy both Mix and ourselves.”

The headline at Los Angeles Times: “Landon Donovan retires from Major League Soccer, again”.

25-year-old DC United fullback Luke Mishu on his decision to retire after only two seasons as a professional: “I had to be realistic. I love soccer, but MLS isn’t the NFL or NBA. I felt like I could play until I was 30-whatever, but I didn’t want to leave the league needing to get an entry-level job.” Mishu was on the league minimum for senior players, $62,500.

Minnesota United will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its new stadium in St. Paul on Monday.

Tuesday was looking to be a crucial day regarding the fate of the NASL and whether it would retain Division 2 status but it now seems we’ll have to wait a little longer.

US Soccer announced on Tuesday it has “postponed the decision on sanctioning/re-certification of leagues for Division 2 and Division 3” (MLS and the NWSL were re-certified as the first division). The announcement continues, “We expect to have further discussions in the next 7-10 days as we focus on the resolution of this important matter.” ESPN notes the postponement gives the New York Cosmos “more time to secure new owners.” Soccer America says the postponement “should give [NASL] clubs interested in joining the USL more time to seek favorable terms for a move to its rival league.” More at Fox Sports.

AFP reports, “A club source with knowledge of the situation denied a report that the Cosmos had ceased operations and terminated contracts of its players and staff.” The source says the Cosmos future depends on the result of talks between the NASL and US Soccer: “We haven’t made any decisions with regard to ceasing operations or anything like that. Some player contracts haven’t been renewed or extended. But at the moment we haven’t said anything because we’re not sure what direction we’re going to go in.” Big Apple Soccer reported on Sunday night the team had ceased operations with Empire of Soccer reporting on Monday all player contracts have been terminated and players have begun tweeting farewells to fans while former Union youth technical director Alecko Eskandarian tweeted about the Cosmos legacy. Meanwhile, Cosmos fans have started a GoFundMe page to raise money “to purchase gift cards at retailers like Amazon, Toys R Us, Modell” which will then be distributed “evenly among as many front NY Cosmos front office employees as possible.”

NASL side Carolina RailHawks announced on Tuesday its rebranding as North Carolina FC as part of its efforts to secure MLS and NWSL franchises, for which the team plans to build a new privately funded 24,000-seat stadium, although public resources are expected to be necessary for infrastructure improvements. Regarding questions about whether NCFC will remain in the NASL next season or move to the USL, team owner Steve Malik said, “I’m absolutely involved with all the things that are going on in the NASL. There are a lot of moving pieces. I’ll tell you there are conversations going on with USL, as has been rumored. And what’s important for us is that we put ourselves in a position that we have optionality.”

Another report quotes Malik as saying, “We feel good about the NASL, but as you know, there’s a lot going on.”

USL side Charlotte Independence has previously announced its MLS aspirations, which include plans for a downtown stadium. Independence president Jim McPhilliamy said of the NCFC news, “We consider Steve (Malik) and his organization friendly competitors and welcome the competition. Both teams have MLS ambitions and a lot to do to achieve that goal. As it is on the field, our job is to beat teams from other cities.”

More on the NCFC announcement at News & Observer (report, commentary), WRAL (report, report), Triangle Business JournalIndy Week, WUNC, abc11, WNCN,

Indy Eleven tweeted thanks to their fans for the patience as the fate of the NASL is decided, adding “Know that Indy Eleven continues to plan ahead for the 2017 season at Carroll Stadium.” More at Indianapolis Business Journal.

Action News Jax reports on concerns about the fate of NASL side Jacksonville Armada. NASL teams in Jacksonville

Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards announced plans for his club, which is leaving the NASL to begin play in the USL in 2017, to work toward securing a MLS franchise, including using private funds to renovate and expand Al Lang Stadium, which presently has a capacity of around 7,000. More at Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Bay News 9Fox 13, WTSPWFLASaint Peters BlogBusiness Observer, and MLSsoccer.com.

MLive.com reports, “The Grand Rapids Football Club is in talks with the United Soccer League and potential investors to bring a professional team to the area.”


Roger Pielke Jr., the founder and chairperson of the Sports Governance Center in the Department of Athletics at the University of Colorado, has published a series of recommendations on how US Soccer can address “challenges of governing sport in the 21st century,” namely in the area of conflicts of interest. Soccer America, which notes “US Soccer has been far ahead of the game, compared to FIFA,” summarizes the recommendations.


Soccer Wire wonders, “Who’s accountable as US youth national teams slide into mediocrity?”

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead says Bob Bradley is his own worst enemy at Swansea.


Inside World Football reports, “Mexico’s Liga MX is to start an 18-team women’s league in 2017…Foreign players will not be permitted in the new Mexican Women’s league, although Mexico-US dual nationals will be welcomed.”

The AP reports, “Several construction companies rigged their bids for 2014 World Cup stadiums, driving up costs by overcharging for the work, according to Brazil’s anti-trust body.”

Also from the AP: “Argentina’s union of referees has threatened to go on strike to protest the brutal attack on an official by angry fans.”

Headline of the day: “Celtic fan arrested for throwing a hamburger at a horse.


  1. You gave me a heart attack by posting a photo of M’Bolhi on this… I feared that he was coming back to haunt us!

    • None of us want that I mean just look at this picture he doesn’t even look at the ball when trying to make a save. No wonder he was so bad.

  2. james Lockerbie says:

    From M’bohli to Blake and people think nothing’s changed with the Union

    • Whoa there, I will take Blake any day over MBoli – he was a total embarrassment on MANY levels.

      Blake just got himself on the MLS top XI. Granted, more for his unreal acrobatics than actual stats – but he absolutely gained us points this year than we probably didn’t deserve.

  3. Questions on my mind today…

    1. Is Diskerud really that bad?
    2. If the reports of the Cosmos fold, where will Gio Savarese go?

    Glad to hear about the gofund me for furloughed Cosmos employees. Hell of a time of year to lose your job.

    • IMO…Diskerud has no risk to his game… he plays safe always.
      In the presence of a pure footy man, and when I say man, I mean a man…like Patrick Viera- Mix Diskerud stood and stands no chance.

    • Messed up my second point… If the Cosmos fold, not reports…

      I take the point on Mix. …

    • To me I take Diskerud in a heartbeat yes he has fallen off, but we all said the same thing about Pontius. Mix is a clear number 8 that this team needs I want to swap him and Edu.

      • Agreed about the potential.
        But in my opinion, he is at his best as a #10(ish) player – the center attacking mid in a 4-2-3-1, the tip of a 4-4-2 diamond, the attacking most midfield in a 4-3-3. While he was likely never as good as the hype made it seem when he was first called into the USMNT scene, I think he can have plenty of MLS success if put in the right position to do so. I think in trying to covert to a deeper role has led his entire game to become more reserved, as CI alludes to with his passing. When he first arrived on the national team radar, he was much more aggressive with his distribution, finding through balls and such.

      • I could see this, but the Union will never switch to another formation even if they should. So then you have LW Pontius Mix 10 Bedoya RW and the 8 and 6 still empty. However if you switch to the 4-4-2 you point out Up top you get Sapong and Alberg in the midfield LM Pontius CAM Mix RM Bedoya , CDM someone yet to be name. I think this could work of course not likely to happen like I say.

      • Agreed, I’m not saying the Union should go after him – in fact, I would say they should not because I don’t think he fits in the system they want to play.
        It was just a comment on Mix as a player – I think if he finds a team that better suits his style that he could prove to be a solid player in this league – as could be said for other players like Maidana.

      • pass on Mix. Pontius was great because he was healthy. to the above point, Mix lacks a dimension, healthy or not

      • This.
        Pontius was a clear cut gamble. If he is healthy he produces.
        Mix, well I’m not sure he has a higher level than what we saw in his limited appearances for the Pigeons.

  4. 1 – picking up on the conversation in the Atlanta article from yesterday: If I have to watch Atlanta outperform the Union from day one with young South American players, and we run CJ Sapong out on opening day as our 1st team ST, I’m going to lose my shit, then just go numb.

    2 – Does every 2nd or 3rd division club in the U.S. have “serious MLS aspirations”? I would think they feel that way because they are getting encouragement from the Don and MLS. So what Garber, are we going to have a 40+ TEAM MLS with no pro/rel?

    • Theoretically MLS could break into like 4 regional conferences and have a playoff format at the end of the season combining the leagues. Each conference could have a pyramid under it eventually. Honestly this wouldn’t be too different than the European setup.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        In effect, last season USL operated that way. Out of the total games played, which was somewhere in the four hundreds, only three were interconference, St Louis – Louisville home and away and the championship final.
        The Mississippi River divides the two regions.
        The widely held assumption is to cut travel costs, an assumption which applies much more easily east of the river than west. The Steel flew to games twice last season, and one of those was due to a scheduling quirk more than distance (Louisville).
        All other travel was by bus.
        In the West bus is less useful. The worst Western travel I noticed was Rio Grande Valley to Vancouver, Canada. That was six or seven hours on a plane I think.

    • Citizen Insane says:

      ‘I’m going to lose my shit then just go numb.’
      Magical imagery.

    • Oh I expect that you will lose your shit and go numb because as it stands and the contract they gave Sapong I see nothing to say they are looking to replace him for the beginning of next season. Especially putting him out there game after game when we all know what to expect.

      • With the way that Curtin was playing Sapong for a majority of the season, I wasn’t surprised at his regression towards the end of the season.
        I always thought it was a bad idea to be playing him up top, then moving him to winger for the final thirds of games.
        First asking him to be a post up man and work his ass off (which I still think he’s mostly underrated) followed by letting him ‘rest’ on the wing – where he is then asked to run himself ragged until the end of the game.

      • Simple way to solve this if you ask me just play him on the wing where he is probably better off.

  5. Old Soccer Coach says:

    the twitter posts from the Cosmos goalkeeper strongly suggest that they are done. He certainly thinks he is done with them.
    The NASL crisis illustrates the continued wisdom of the MLS business model in procuring year-to-year survival.
    Anybody else notice that the stadium size for new MLS franchises seems to be 20 K? PPL/Talen/??? faces expansion in its future. Yuck.

    • Citizen Insane says:

      ~ such an intriguing choice of words.
      As if only to belabor the point, what precisely is wise about being the only person allowed to play in your own sandbox that your mom and dad built for you in the back yard.

      • I’d say the ability to continue to play in your somewhat profitable sandbox, charge others a ransom to enjoy your sandbox and look at the view of the open pyramid sandbox whose sand is blowing in the wind.
        Being in business > closed forever

    • One of the new promises would be MLS clubs seem to need to make in acquiring a stadium is that it be “downtown.” You’ll see that adjective attached every time. The group that does demographic studies for MLS 0- the one that is credited with transforming the KC Wizards into Sporting KC and jump starting interest in the team, found that urban areas were ideal. They can attract much bigger crowds among younger and more dedicated fans, according to studies the group has performed over the years. NE is looking to move from Foxborough to Boston. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Union look to make a move to the city before they expand Talen. Although likely more expensive, it could be a great investment in the team. I’d love for it to happen.

      • Yeah, that’s not going to happen until they need a new stadium. The Union have not had an issue selling tickets to the game when the team is going well. I don’t know why people cling to this idea. They are not building a new stadium until the current one is AT LEAST 30 years old, probably more.

      • People cling to the idea, because it’s a good one. It would absolutely put more butts in seats. Give the team more visibility in the 5th most populous city in the country and generate more revenue.

        That said, I understand it’s not a likelihood in the short term. I said they might sooner build a new one than spend money expanding the current one. Maybe they’ll add a few thousand seats in the interim at the most.

        That said, I’m not so sure they haven’t had trouble selling tickets. But I don’t know either way.

      • I thought I heard that Talen was built to expand to 26,000 However they wanted to expand the river end and that was vetoed by most. The other additions I think were suppose to be along the sidelines adding vertical to the stadium. But not sure if this is correct.

      • They’re on a 30year lease, so I don’t see a move anytime soon. And if they skip and stick DelCo with a soccer specific stadium, long term mortgage and no tenant, well good effing luck getting public money anywhere else in PA to build something.

      • That would not be a good use of resources. The stadium is beautiful, and so is the setting, with the bridge and the river in the background. I very much wish the public transportation access were better — and that’s my major gripe — but OTOH, when I go to games I park on the street in Chester and don’t pay a nickel to do so. I can’t think of any other stadium anyplace where that is possible.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        It’s Fifteen minute walk to the train. I went to the Monday night football game and it was ten minutes walk, followed by twenty minutes to get into the station. Meh

  6. There are so few rumors attached to this team that I even wonder if they are looking at players or are they all just on vacation. Wish there were at least a few rumors now and then.

  7. Lucky Striker says:

    Vancouver and Morales officially parted ways. Without knowing the back-story of the rhubarb, if Pedro checked out professionally and was interested…….at 31….. U’d have what I’d consider an important puzzle piece fitted by the draft……..

    • “an equation is postulated”

    • Was just about to hit the same note. However, I wonder what type of salary he would be looking for having been a DP? Also, he is slated to be in the Re-Entry draft unless he opts out or his rights are traded so it would not be completely straightforward to pick him up.
      For the record the Re-Entry draft order is determined by a reverse combination of the teams’ playoff and regular season positions so the Union should be about middle of the pack, meaning about half of the other teams in the league would have to pass on him first, should he remain eligible for selection.

  8. Lucky Striker says:

    All that remains is to stand outside the myoptics for 90. There’ll be no “Xtra Time”.

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