Daily news roundups

2017 schedule, SuperDraft today, league news, more

Photo: Ed Farnsworth

Philadelphia Union

2017 schedule released

The Union’s 2017 schedule was released on Thursday and it’s a tough opening to the season with three of the first four games being played on the road.

While there is a break in league play for the first time for the Gold Cup between July 7-18, games are scheduled during other FIFA international dates when World Cup qualifiers are being played. The Union are off during the March 20-28 FIFA window. They play NYCFC two days before the June 5-13 window (the US hosts Trinidad and Tobago on June 8 and is away to Mexico on June 11), Atlanta two days before the Aug. 28-Sept. 5 window (US hosts Costa Rica on Sept. 1 and is away to Honduras on Sept. 5), and host Seattle one day before the Oct. 2-10 window (US hosts Panama on Oct. 6, is away to Trinidad and Tobago on Oct. 10).

More on the schedule release at PSP, Philadelphia Union (five can’t miss home games), Philly.com, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly GamePattison Ave, and Section 215.

While the Union’s local broadcast information for 2017 will be announced soon, five Union games will be nationally broadcast, four of which are home games, with three of those home games on ESPN, one on FS1, and the lone road game on ESPN. Here’s ESPN’s complete MLS schedule for 2017.

SuperDraft today

The 2017 SuperDraft takes place today in Los Angeles (3 pm; livestreams at YouTube, Facebook, ESPN3, Fox Sports Go) and with the Union not making their first selection until the second round (33rd overall, followed by the 42nd pick with the 55th, 77th, and 82nd picks of the third and fourth rounds taking place on Tuesday, Jan. 17), Earnie Stewart admits, “It’s not going to be as exciting as it was last year.”

At CSN Philly, Ryan Bright quotes Stewart, “We’ve done our homework when it comes to scouting players and what’s in the draft right now. There’s always those guys that fly under the radar. With the picks that we have, we hope they keep flying under the radar and we’ll be able to pick them up. That would be fantastic.” Indeed.

Earnie Stewart recently described the Union’s approach to this year’s draft: “For the most part, we’d like to be two deep in every spot, and that’s especially what this draft is for – some young talent that can fill those holes that we still have.”

At Philly.com, Marc Narducci writes,

If the Union like a player in the first round, Stewart said he won’t hesitate to trade up. But the team solved two of its key offseason needs last week when they signed English striker Jay Simpson and Dutch left back Giliano Wijnaldum, who can also play in the center but will likely stay outside…

Among the remaining priorities, according to Stewart, are a center back and a controlling midfielder.

Without a first-round pick, the only way the Union could likely draft an impact center back is if they trade into the first round. This won’t be easy, especially since next year’s first-round choice has already been dealt to New England in the deal to acquire forward Charlie Davies.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George notes late draft picks can yield diamonds in the rough, pointing to the 2005 Supplemental Draft that saw the start of the MLS careers of Local lads Dan Gargan and Jeff Larentowicz, as well as Dan Kennedy and Chris Wondolowski, who together have played nearly 1,000 combined MLS games: “And as the SuperDraft as an institution is increasingly assailed as an outdated fixture, the achievements of Gargan and his draft cohort provide a cautionary counterpoint.”

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph looks at some late pick prospects the Union might consider. Click here for a full list of eligible players.

More

In an article at SI about how Bruce Arena is giving players an opportunity to revive their USMNT careers, Brian Straus writes of Chris Pontius’s offseason:

Chris Pontius had planned a trip to Costa Rica. The 29-year-old attacker was thrilled to have completed a productive, injury-free season with the Philadelphia Union and expected a relaxing vacation before reporting to preseason camp. It didn’t turn out that way.

“Our training staff in Philly, we looked at the hotels I was staying at,” Pontius said. “‘O.K., this one didn’t have a gym, so you go on longer runs that day. Figure out body exercises. The next hotel has a gym, so here’s your weight exercises for those days. And you’re still running.’ My girlfriend was a real trooper about that.”

Pontius had to maintain his fitness while away because for the first time since the summer of 2011, he had been called up by the U.S. He’d enjoyed a strong 2012 with D.C. United (a year after breaking his leg) then missed a chunk of 2013 and nearly all of 2014 with hamstring issues. He’d been an All-Star and a member of the league’s Best XI. But by the time he was traded to the Union, the national team was far from his imagination. He was hoping simply to continue his career.

“I didn’t think my body would recover at a high enough level for me to play here.”

Pontius says of the January camp, “There’s spots for grabs. You can see it. Everyone’s flying around here trying to earn a spot.”

Philly Sports Network suggests some veteran center back targets for the Union.

At SI, Rais Mbolhi comes in at No. 2 in a list of the worst DP signings in MLS history: “And not only did they hand him a DP contract, they also paid a $400,000 transfer fee. That all reflects far worse on Union management than M’Bolhi himself, but the Algerian certainly didn’t help matters with his play.” NYRB’s Rafa Marquez comes in at No. 1.

I don’t know what to do with this (1, 2).

Bethlehem Steel FC

At the Bethlehem website, Tom Via looks at how the 2016 SuperDraft picks helped the Steel in its first season.

Sons of Ben

“Due to lack of sales,” the Sons of Ben have cancelled the river cruise scheduled for this Saturday to celebrate the group’s 10th anniversary.

Local

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald looks at Jorge Gomez Sanchez, who could become the first-ever Temple player selected in the SuperDraft. Gomez Sanchez has trained with the Union. Jim Curtin is says, “We saw him against pros, and he more than held his own. You can tell he’s a very intelligent soccer player who has a real knack for the goal.” Observing that he may be too small to play forward in MLS as he did in college, Temple coach David MacWilliams sees him as a No. 10 in the pros.

At Philly.com, Marc Narducci notes local players available in today’s draft.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds have re-signed former Reading United man Stephen Okai “to a one-year deal.” This will be Okai’s third season with the team.

MLS

ESPN on the top prospects in today’s SuperDraft. MLSsoccer.com has top prospects ranked by position. FourFourTwo on why defenders remain the most sensible picks at the SuperDraft. Goal.com expects trades to acquire higher draft spots.

Looks like Jesse Marsch will remain head coach of NYRB “in 2017” after all.

Portland have re-signed winger Jack Barmby and have also signed winger Victor Arboleda, defender Rennico Clarke and goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh from its USL side, Timbers 2.

Galaxy president Chris Klein has penned an open letter to fans in which he pledges “We will work diligently with StubHub Center to uphold and maintain the integrity of our field and the authenticity of the soccer experience at StubHub Center” while the NFL’s Chargers use the field for their home games over the next two seasons.

StubHub Center director of communications Brendan Hannan says, “The Galaxy is the main priority for StubHub Center. The Chargers’ NFL schedule will be built around the Galaxy schedule. The same will happen in terms of 2018…In regards to football lines, we don’t believe that there will be football lines for Galaxy games.” More on how the Chargers playing at the home of the Galaxy at SI.

The Guardian wonders if the relationship between NYCFC and Manchester City is closer than one might think.

San Diego Tribune wonders if soccer can fill the void left by the departure of the Chargers and reports a local ownership group “will submit an application for an MLS expansion franchise later this month with plans for a 30,000-seat venue on the Qualcomm Stadium site that would be shared by San Diego State football.”

At MLSsoccer.com, an update on the St. Louis MLS bid.

Charlotte Observer wonders why the city and county should come up with $100 million to pay for a MLS stadium when the billionaire ownership group backing a push to MLS proposes to put only $50 million.

NWSL

Here are the results of Thursday’s NWSL draft.

US

FourFourTwo and MLSsoccer.com on how the mood is lighter at the USMNT camp now that Bruce Arena is in charge.

ASN has five questions Arena should answer in the January Camp.

The Los Angeles Times checks in with Jurgen Klinsmann.

Christian Pulisic says he was sad to see Klinsmann go.

Pulisic! Pulisic!

Remember the talk of Celtic and Dundee playing a SPL game in the US? Dundee have released a statement that says “unfortunately it will not go ahead at this time.”

Elsewhere

What is going on with the Maracana stadium?

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.

21 Comments

  1. Wow I didn’t realize we gave up next year’s first rounder for Davies; really hope he is fit for this year’s long haul

    • Yeah, the Davies move just doesn’t look good at all. How much time will he see? Factor in that unloading Letoux was at least indirectly tied to that move also.

      • How are we able to assess the Davies move at this point.
        .
        Let us sit on it for one more season before evaluating.

      • ^This

      • Agreed.
        .
        And internal expectations were likely not very high last season. I think both of those moves were made with the next few seasons in mind.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        At the time, and still, I interpreted the surrender of the 1st round draft pick as a statement of confidence in the organization’s own player development process.
        .
        Unless the NCAA makes significant changes to the parameters of its soccer program, college will dry up as a source of professional soccer players who are Americans. Internationals will still trade their soccer skills for educational opportunity, and then be candidates for fully professional soccer activity.
        .
        Developmental academies will grown and marginalize college athletics as a roster source.

      • Would think it would be in college program interest to do just that. There’s a lot of Europeans other overseas players who like the idea of coming to the states and combining the athletic training with a college education. You see that more and more often. I talked to a couple young guys who played with Philadelphia University — one was from France and is headed back to try out his luck playing professionally. If the college program was made year round, it would be much more attractive to those kids.

  2. Someone needs to explain to me why close ties between NYCFC and Man City are a bad thing. Sure. The mother club might do something like insist on hanging on to Frank Lampard too long, but the advantages surely outweigh the drawbacks. If not for City Football group ownership, no coach like Patrick Vieira sets foot on these shores. You likely would not have sold a David Villa on football in the States, either. The Guardian even suggests that the relationship puts NYC at a “competitive disadvantage.” Seriously?

    Will be interesting to see if Stewart does anything aggressive to trade into the top half of the draft.

    • I think the point is the fear that Manchester City will treat NYCFC like a farm team as opposed to a real team. I agree with Vieira but it’s likely they are just preparing him for a future at City. This view isn’t supported though with their actions thus far. Lampard clearly isn’t going back to the Premier League, and neither is Villa, and they haven’t really loaned any players to NYC to groom them for City. So at the moment I believe your view is more accurate than I think the general assumption of the relationship.

  3. It’s a kind of a shame to see the Sons of Ben flounder like they have been for a while. On the other hand I haven’t wanted anything to do with them for a while.

    • Leadership vacuum it seems…. worked so hard to get a team here, and make a movie… then it turns out oh-so many were/are just along for the thrill of something new?
      .
      One only needs to see TRE on more than a regular basis… something is off… wait… a minute…. am I circling back around to the problem again. SHIT… new leaf, folks- I’m sorry.

    • A river cruise in January … Not sure that is the most appealing time of the year for a river cruise. I’m guessing that had to be a factor. I get hit up for fundraising cruises and friggin’ hate them – once the boat leaves, you are a hostage until it docks.

      I’m not a SOB member, so I don’t know anything about any other issues.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I agree… they seem to be struggling with a lack of leadership. I still fault them for not getting more of the average fan and season ticket holder involved… especially in the stadium on game day. More of an effort should be made on game day in the stadium to raise their profile with the average fan.

  4. So a rich owner and his quarrel with the city, not the fans, takes his team and moves to LA? Do I understand this right? NFL is dead to me but I just want to understand if I understand this right- more from a civic point of view.
    .
    Were people not attending the games in San Diego?
    Was there a boycott by the consumers?
    Had interest waned?
    .
    Is precedent so ingrained for rich multi-millionaire owners (with their near BILLION dollar valued franchises) using citizen tax dollars to build stadiums, then hammering those SAME patrons with unruly ticket costs to the stadium they helped build with its $9 [email protected]#C*ng beers and $20 f#@k^ng parking that when the taxpayers and the legislators within the city limits say… “No”…. the owner just gets to pick up and move to a rival city less than three hours as the bird flies?
    .
    Help me to understand this nature of ridiculousness- this is just…… beautiful
    .
    .
    …fucked up.

    • There are die hards there, but there was also aguarantee that the city had to buy unsold tickets to ensure sell outs so there wouldn’t be blackouts. The demand was almost a $1bn from a billionaire to get a new stadium. Cali has kinda gone broke building new stadiums and a field that sees use for what, 8 reg season, 2 preseason, maybe 1-2 playoff days a year is a huge ask. So he left, will be a co-tenant with the Rams in their new place after ruining the Galaxy’s field for a few games.
      .
      Interestingly, MLS now is excited to add San Diego to their promotion-by-expansion list since they’d be the only game in town.

      • “…since they’d be the only game in town.”
        .
        Well, there’s the Padres. But you’re close enough. 🙂

      • Not the only game in town, there are supposedly plenty of Xolos fans in San Diego.

      • Right.It would be interesting to see how many would cross the border if there was an MLS team. If NYers struggle to ride a PATH train to NJ,not too far a leap to imagine Americans staying home to watch their own league instead.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        There is an entire USL team predicated on the proposition that crossing the international border will happen, Rio Grande Valley FC.
        .
        They’re closely following the example of a franchise in the NBA’s D-League, Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
        .
        Until the era of structural steel, big rivers were meaningful dividers, Caesar bridging the Rhine being the exception that proves the rule.
        .
        Today big rivers are uniting agents, not dividing ones. The international equivalent of th Census Bureau’s greater metropolitan statistical areas puts the Rio Grande Valley population on a par with the Steel’s Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton-NJ one. HA. NJ is over a bridge over a river, too.

      • Bridge with a land border crossing. At least what I’ve seen when I driven over the border you can tag an extra hour or two to clear it sometimes.Thanks for the lesson on steel making though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

%d bloggers like this: