Daily news roundups

Stage 2 of Re-Entry Draft today, Union home opener on March 11, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft takes place today at 3 pm.

The Union will open the 2017 season on the road against Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday, March 5 at 9:30 pm ET. Their home opener comes the following week against Eastern Conference champions Toronto FC on Saturday, March 11 at 4:30 pm.

The complete schedule will be released next month before the SuperDraft, which takes place on January 13. More on the home opener schedule release at PSP, Philadelphia UnionPhilly.comDelco Times, Brotherly Game, and Section 215.

At MLSsoccer.com, a post recounting the history of how expansion teams did in their first game says this about the Union’s 2-0 loss to Seattle on March 25, 2010:

The Union kicked off life in MLS by falling to the previous year’s expansion darlings. Unfortunately for the visitors, there were more bookings than goals on day 1, as Danny Califf earned a yellow card just 33 seconds after the opening whistle and rookie Toni Stahl was ejected when he received his second caution in the 37th minute.

US Soccer has published info on the two games the US U-20 team recently played against their counterparts from Costa Rica in that country. In the US’ 4-0 win on Dec. 17, Derrick Jones and Auston Trusty were both subbed into the game in the 68th minute. In the 0-0 draw on Dec. 19, Jones started and played 59 minutes before being subbed out, while Trusty was subbed into the game in the 80th minute. The US will participate in the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Costa Rica Feb. 17 through March 5. The team is in Group B where they will face Panama (Feb. 18), Haiti (Feb. 21), and Saint Kitts and Nevis (Feb. 24).

Former Union man Greg Jordan has signed with NASL expansion side San Francisco Deltas after spending the last three seasons with MLS expansion side Minnesota United. More at SFGate.

Bethlehem Steel

At the Bethlehem Steel website, a report on the holiday “soccer and toy drive” the team organized in partnership with New Bethany Ministries: “In the short amount of time that the drive took place, Steel FC and its supporters collected well over 100 items”.


At tweet from Jonathan Tannenwald links to a post on the France Football Federation website that says the France WNT will play the England WNT in Chester at Talen Energy Stadium in the US Soccer Federation-backed SheBelieves Cup on March 1. Last year’s edition of the tournament included the US, England, France, and Germany playing in three doubleheaders in Tampa, Nashville, and Boca Raton so, if the FFF article is accurate, and the tournament features the same lineup and format, the USWNT will presumably be playing Germany in Chester on March 1. The other locations listed in the FFF article for the 2017 tournament are Harrison (Red Bull Arena) on March 4 and Washington (RFK).

Holiday Inn Harrisburg East have signed a deal with City Islanders making them the team’s official hotel partnership for the 2017 and 2018 soccer seasons.


The 2017 season will open on Friday, March 3 with Portland hosting expansion side Minnesota United. Atlanta United will play its first MLS game on Sunday, March 5 when they host NYRB. Click here for the complete list of home openers. At MLSsoccer.com, five early storylines for Week 1.

FiftyFiveOne reports Minnesota have agreed to a transfer fee with Liga MX side Club Leon for the return of midfielder Miguel Ibarra.

Atlanta have signed midfielder Jacob Peterson “to a multiyear contract.” The free agent scored six goals with Kansas City in 2016.

Is Greg Garza about to join Atlanta on loan from Club Tijuana?

Houston have signed midfielder Adolfo Machado from Deportivo Saprissa, where the Panamanian international was captain.

San Jose have signed defender Nick Lima “as a Homegrown Player to a multi-year contract.”

Salt Lake have confirmed a report they have signed midfielder Jose Hernandez to a Homegrown contract. The team has also re-signed defenders Aaron Maund and Chris Wingert.

At SI, Brian Straus begins a in-depth series on each of the ten leading candidates for MLS expansion with a look at Sacramento.

FourFourTwo considers how big is too big for MLS expansion.


The latest on the NASL saga: A US Soccer spokesperson has confirmed to IndyStar that discussions regarding Division 2 sanctioning for the NASL and USL are continuing. The spokesperson said, “Discussions are still ongoing and will be through the end of the year.” The report adds, “The spokesman added ‘there is no specific reason’ for the delay and that sides ‘are still talking it through.'” More on the IndyStar report at Big Apple Soccer and Fox Sports.


The US remains at No. 28 in the final FIFA rankings of 2016. Mexico remains at No. 18, Costa Rica at No. 17.

At Brotherly Game, Eugene Rupinski considers what Donald Trump’s presidency might mean for soccer in the US.


The Guardian reports from England: “Police investigating allegations of sexual abuse in football say victims may have been as young as four years old and that detectives are examining possible attacks on 429 people.”

PA Sport reports, “Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko is among five declared candidates for five European vacancies on the FIFA Council but must pass an eligibility check ahead of April’s election. Mutko, who has sat at FIFA’s top table since 2009, has submitted an eligibility questionnaire — but questions surround his candidacy following a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation into state-sponsored doping in Russia.”

Vice Sports reports, “The Bolivian Minister of Public Works, Milton Claros, issued a report on the November plane crash that killed 71 of the 77 passengers, including nearly every member of the Chapecoense soccer team. The report officially blames the pilot, Miguel Quiroga, and the charter airline, LaMia, for the disaster. (Quiroga was also a co-owner of LaMia. He died in the crash.)”


  1. Dear Santa,

    All I want for Christmas is Damion Lowe back in Union Blue & Gold.


    • Not a bad idea at all, though I’ve got a much bigger list for Santa. It includes a striker, a winger with speed, CM help, and a veteran CB to add to the mix.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        your CM is just “help?”
        How about one who has played a minute in a division one league, anywhere?
        Derrick Jones will likely get his shot, probably his MLS debut minutes will occur this coming season. But that’s not a starter.
        Other positions need upgrades.
        Center midfielder needs players, any players.

  2. Vancouver has a CCL game on Thurs. March 2nd against NYRB, so we get them on short rest. Probably the best possible situation we could hope for from a trip out west to open the season.

  3. Interesting stuff on China…. If the government decides it’s super league is “too big to fail,” I bet the spending will continue.

    The 442 piece on expansion is interesting, too. Argentina’s 1st division has 30 teams (though there’s talk/plans to reduce that number). I’m sure Garber and Co. will keep things growing if teams continue to be willing to shell out $150 million or more.

    • I don’t see why the US isn’t big enough to support a league of 36-40 teams. You could have 18-20 teams in MLS East and another 18-20 teams in MLS West. Each team plays a balanced schedule within their division. East and West teams would only play each other in MLS Cup and US Open Cup games(which IMO would add extra “specialness” to those events). Similar to how baseball was before interleague games.

      • Well you said why yourself. We can support 40 teams, if we split them up. I personally would love that idea. But thats a far way away i think.

      • I’d like to see a little more control around schedule. Develop rivalries in conference and cut down on west coast trips. I like the idea of making the conference champions the best record for each conference and then it might make even more sense to close the season with the cup as a special event. Give all three trophies — MLS Cup and both conference championships — more significance. If that happens, then a larger league makes sense. It would be like two leagues — Like the American and National leagues in baseball.

      • this is exactly what should happen. i also think it inevitably will happen; it is the most obvious way to go

      • Well no other professional league in the US has that many teams. There are 32 in the NFL, and MLB, NBA, and NHL each have 30. Why would you believe that the country can support more teams in a sport that is, by most measures, less popular than those? (Or, at least, less popular than the first 3.)

      • That’s a good question, As silly as it probably is to argue about a 40 team league when that is 18 teams away right now, I think the one difference in soccer from the other major sports in this country is that a big argument against expanding the other sports is dilution of the talent pool (arguably a very real issue for the NBA). But in soccer, the talent pool is far greater. There are obviously limits — as the league gets better, it will compete with other leagues for talent. But the pool is global, unlike the NFL in particular.

      • Section 114 (former) says:

        Right, because for the NBA, NFL, and MLB we have world class talent. So if MLS is going to be content as a minor league, expansion should continue. If not, stop soon (and find someone to buy the Union!).

  4. Is ATL poised to be the most successful expansion team since the Chicago Fire won the MLS Cup in their first year? On paper, they already have the makings of a very good team.

    • I thought Orlando was going to hit the ground running when they entered the league and that didn’t work out so well. We’ll see. I think it’s harder than it seems.

  5. Much as I would love to go to a France-England, Germany-US women’s doubleheader, I’m not sure that I want to go to that doubleheader on a weeknight (Wednesday) on the 1st of March (presuming the games are at night).

  6. …I wish I was special too.
    ~ You know ~
    Atlanta United is beginning to remind me of Lululemon… the specialty store where the prettiest girls work.

  7. Anyone have any ideas as to why the home opener is so late in the afternoon? Given that daylight savings time doesn’t start until that night, it’s going to be dark (and cold) by the middle of the second half. I doubt it’s a national TV game so I would think a 2 or 3pm start would be friendlier to everyone.
    79 days until the home opener.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      It’s a Sunday, so, I had been assuming it was a national TV game and that that fact was dictating all the other nonsense you detail above.

      • Actually, the game in Vancouver is on a Sunday. The Union’s home opener is a Saturday (which is why I don’t think it’s a national TV game).

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