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Notes from the start of Union’s preseason, league news, more

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Philadelphia Union

The Union opened preseason training at the Power Training Fields on Tuesday with a mix of returning first team players, draft picks, trialists, Bethlehem Steel players, and Academy players. And Oguchi Onyewu.

Speaking to reporters after the training session, Jim Curtin and Earnie Stewart said Onyewu, who has been without a team since leaving Charlton Athletic at the end of the 2014-15 season, was simply training with the team and was not trialing. However, Stewart said, “Never say never, but that’s really clear because that’s the way soccer is. Obviously we are looking for an experienced center back and it’s pretty easy that he fits that mold, but it needs to be possible and it needs to fit.”

New signings Giliano Wijnaldum and Jay Simpson are not yet with the team as they deal with visa issues but Curtin said he hopes they’ll be able to join the team on Thursday.

The Union have filled their seven international spots but Stewart said opening may come soon as players receive green cards. (You will recall the Brazilian report in which Ilsinho said he would soon receive a green card.) Curtin said, “[I]f there’s a good international player, he will be on our roster. That mechanism will never prevent us from maintaining a strong international player.”

Stewart said he expects the team will soon fill two positions of need, a “controlling midfielder” and an experienced center back: “It all has to fit the roster we have and the capabilities we have budget-wise. But it’s going well, I can say that. I don’t see a real long trajectory for filling those positions for us.” In case you’re wondering, Stewart said:

For me a controlling midfielder is a No. 6, a defensive midfielder in the mold of what Vincent [Nogueira] has, but also what [Brian Carroll] has. Their first thought, even when we have the ball, is defending. They’re always in the right place in the right time to receive the ball. I believe in the buildup from the back, your No. 6 is very important in that.

 The team also needs to fill the third goalkeeper position.

Speaking of goalkeepers, Stewart said of talk of offers for Andre Blake, “We haven’t had offers on the table so that makes it real easy.”

Two players that have been linked to the Union in recent days were trialing the team, Fabrice “Fafa” Picault and Adam Najem.

Curtin said of Picault, “A guy that can add pace to our wide areas, has played up top as a nine, too, but a guy that is on trial and one that again checks a lot of the boxes for something that we need.” Stewart said, “Glad we could get him in and get a free look at that because if there’s one thing that’s very important in modern-day football, it’s speed. That combined with control over the ball is not something that everyone possesses, and Fafa does.”

Reports earlier this week said the Union had acquired the Homegrown rights to Najem from NYRB but he is currently trialing with the team and has not yet been signed.

Maurice Edu continues his recovery after surgery to repair his fractured left fibula. He hopes to be able to begin running in early February.

More on the opening of preseason training at Philadelphia Union (recap, Curtin/Stewart video, highlights video), MLSsoccer.comPhilly.comDelco Times, Union TallyBrotherly Game (recap, Onyewu), and SBI.

Fans will be able to watch the team train on Friday between 10 am and 11:30 am in an open practice at the Power Training Fields.

At FourFourTwo, Jay Simpson makes a list of the most intriguing offseason signings in MLS:

The Union built a solid core over the past two seasons, but the lack of depth was on display as the team faded near the end of the season. That fade was amplified when the goals dried up, and it highlighted how dependent the Union were on one player to produce goals. It needed some reinforcements, and Simpson is an interesting choice. The 29-year-old has spent the past couple seasons in League One and League Two with Leyton Orient, and he netted 25 times last year. It’s a fantastic rate, but the question is whether goals in League Two – England’s fourth tier – will translate to goals in MLS.

Also a FourFourTwo, a review of each MLS team’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs says this about the Union:

What I like: The Union showed it was close last season before fading to the No. 6 seed. Giliano Wijnaldum, who should start at left back, strengthens the lineup, and Jay Simpson will challenge for the starting job up top.

What I don’t like: The biggest area of need still hasn’t been filled: starting center back. I’m not sold Philadelphia has what it needs at center back, but the Union seem okay giving the job to either Joshua Yaro or Auston Trusty.

At CBS Philly, an interview with Fabian Herbers.

Keegan Rosenberry is No. 3 in this list of the most underrated MLS players.

Philly Sports Network’s look at the Union 2017 schedule continues with part 2.

Theme nights.

Fox Sports loves the video the Union produced to unveil their new second kit.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has an oral history of the Sons of Ben. Current SoB president Bill Gusler says, “We’ve steered off course a little bit, but when that happens you start to realize what you’re missing. We haven’t been doing what makes the Sons of Ben the Sons of Ben. Now we’re doing what we can to get back to basics.”

Philadelphia Union Academy

This:

Local

The Sentinel on Cumberland Valley alum Colton Storm being selected by Kansas City in this year’s SuperDraft.

Ocean City Nor’easters note the selection of alums Eric Klenofsky (DC United) and Logan Ketterer (Columbus Crew) in the SuperDraft.

Sydney Zandi (Penn Fusion; West Chester, Penn.) and Amirah Ali (PDA; Voorhees, N.J.) have been called up for the US U-19 WNT training camp.

At Soccer America, more on the passing of Earl Foreman.

MLS

From ESPN: “Sebastian Giovinco’s agent says he has received a ‘huge offer’ for the playmaker from a club in China, though Toronto FC has not had any contact over transfer discussions.” Andrea D’Amico says, “He received a huge offer from China. We need to analyze the situation. But it won’t be easy to make Toronto let him go…We received an important offer from China and we’ll talk to Toronto to decide, along with Sebastian, what to do.” The Toronto Star reports a team spokesperson says “nobody has contacted the club.”

Clint Dempsey has returned to full training with the Sounders six months after he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.

Official: Orlando have signed Jonathan Spector.

Official: DC United have signed Sebastien Le Toux “to a one-year contract.”

Colorado have signed 22-year-old Ghanaian midfielder Bismark “Nana” Adjei-Boateng from Manchester City “using Target Allocation Money.”

Houston have signed 37-year-old Uruguayan forward Vicente Sánchez: “Although he was born in Uruguay, Sánchez is a naturalized United States citizen and therefore does not occupy an International roster slot.”

NYRB have signed goalkeeper Rafael Diaz to an MLS contract from Red Bulls II.

NYRB also announced two more Homegrown signings, midfielder Arun Basuljevic and goalkeeper Evan Louro.

Minnesota have announced three signings: Jamaican defender Jermaine Taylor, Finnish international midfielder midfielder Rasmus Schüller, and Venezuelan midfielder Bernardo Añor.

Atlanta have signed defender Tyrone Mears: “Atlanta previously acquired Mears’ rights from Seattle in exchange for $50,000 in General Allocation Money.”

Former Union man Freddy Adu is reportedly trialing with Portland.

At SI, more on the new CONCACAF Champions League format.

Will there be a bidding war for Javier Hernandez in Los Angeles?

Charlotte Business Journal reports mixed support during a public hearing on public funding of a proposed stadium that is part of the bid to land a MLS franchise in Charlotte. More at Charlotte Observer, WBTV, and WCNC.

Can the soccer market in Southern California become over saturated?

US

At Howler, Peter Wilt pens a “Pro/Rel Manifesto”.

Elsewhere

At the Daily Mirror: “Jose Mourinho has changed Manchester United’s ball boys to speed up play when his stars are on the attack…It’s believed he wasn’t impressed with the timing or delivery of the ball back to his players – and decided to draft in Academy youngsters.”

Sausages and pretzels. Yum.

60 Comments

  1. The Edu news is concerning. The fact that he will just be starting to run in Feb means we can’t count on him to start the season 100%, let alone be “the #6” we desperately need.

    I wasn’t sure on whether we needed to splash on a 6 or sit out to wait on Edu, but at this point I’ve been pushed over the line. We need to splash on a 6, and approach this as Edu is going to work his way back to full fitness over the course of the season.

    • I think with the “controlling midfielder” terminology being a #6 that means the plan is for Edu to be the starting 8 this year. I think he’s going to be totally fine this year, maybe miss the first few weeks. Not a huge deal.

      • Concur. Edu will be ready without setback IMO by May…which is fine and acceptable.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        particularly as I read Earnie Stewarts comments I am beginning to think you may be correct bout Edu as an 8, “A”.
        .
        if you start from that basic assumption the words from Curtin about a center back and the words from Stewart that the controlling midfielder is a #6 make a great deal more sense, as do all the recent roster moves.
        .
        If your are correct, “A”, you have just uncovered another corner of the Union 2.0 philosophy, that you can change positions in the off-season.
        .
        Edu played the #6 every time for the steel on his injury rehab games last season. I did not think of change as a possibility.
        .
        Derrick Jones as understudy to Maurice Edu. That is a concept that intrigues me.

      • We’re waiting for Edu

        Ah. You’re sure it was here?

        What?

        That we were to wait.

    • Personally, I am fine with Carroll and Creavalle as backups. So if one of them has to play for a few weeks before Edu can get on the pitch for 90, that’s no big deal. In fact, assuming we get our new #6, we could start him, Bedoya, and Ilsinho in the midfield, with Herbers on the right wing. Then when Edu comes back, we have a number of options.

  2. If we sit and wait for Mo to heal well and ‘timely’ enough to be the player we need in the six position, the club will repeat their same mistake from last year, which we all saw what came about from that fiasco!!! I do not believe ES will allow that to happen. I am a huge fan of Mo, I want to see him succeed for us in big ways with great results all year long, but then again, I also want to win the powerball and become main share holder of the Union… let’s see what lessons the front office learned!! In ES we must trust… UNION UNION UNION… *****SALIVATING for 3/11/17!!!

  3. It’s nice to hear Stewart reiterate his commitment to finding a DM and CB, and to hear that, as he put it, things are going well. I expect he’ll bring in two more players in Feb.

    Giovinco sounds as good as gone to China to me. Don’t see why his agent would take that posture otherwise. And there’s no way any MLS club is going to match whatever ridiculous offer China makes. And I don’t blame Giovinco for grabbing a huge pay day before he can no longer do so. AS much as I’ll hate to see him leave the league, I won’t mind not having to face him.

    • China just instituted a few new rules to limit foreigners coming in, and to limit the way a team can fund its roster. MLS and Toronto may not have heard about it yet because of those entanglements.
      .
      But yeah, if he’s making $5M here (or whatever it is), you know they’re offering at least $10-15M there. The Funny Money propping up that league feels A LOT like the early 80’s NASL. It is completely unsustainable.
      .
      But if you’re a player, why not go grab a giant payday while you can?

      • This, I’d be less surprised if the agent is positioning for a renegotiation more than a China move.

      • This seems more likely to me. I believe that Giovinco fairly recently stated how much he liked playing in MLS and had no desire to leave when questioned about returning to Italy.

      • Air quality, human rights abuses, communism…

      • It’s amazing how they all take a backseat when someone offers you the GDP of a small country to come play for them.

      • Amazing, disappointing, depends what side of the coin you look from. Living a life of principles is not easy.

      • I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m just saying that it’s hard to turn your back on setting up the next three generations of you family for life when the opportunity presents itself.

      • I didn’t think you were Prag. I also don’t think setting up successive generations with wealth is in one’s best interest. See Trump and his spawn. Also countless great leaders whose children have spoiled or lost what they had gained.
        .
        Giovinco can and should do what’s best for him and his family. I’m just saying there are more important things than money.

      • Also, we’re in grave danger of having crappy air quality, human rights abuses, and fascism. Just sayin’.

      • Indeed, we are. The silencing of the opposition has already begun…http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-epa-climatechange-idUSKBN15906G

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Someone should remind Giovinco why Drogba left the China League prematurely. He alleged he was not actually getting the contracted money.
        .
        Chinese law has no taproot down to ancient Rome the way all the law codes of Western and Central Europe do. I know nothing of such roots into Rome via Constantinople for the Greek half of the Roman Empire and so do not comment on Eastern Europe one way or the other.
        .
        Such fundamental differences in underlying legal principles were partially at the root of imperialism in the Far East in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Japan had to create a brand new law code in the late 19th century as a precondition of removing itself from the ranks of the perceived inferior cultures.

    • Yeah. Starting quality (I wouldn’t mind DP) #6, vet CB (even if #3), backup goalie. Those are the needs. Get Najem as a homegrown would be nice and see what Fafa brings to the table. I’m sure there will be more trialists too. Shaping up to be a pretty solid roster. Much better depth than last year, assuming these pickups actually happen.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Adam Najem cannot be a homegrown signing with the Union, only with Red Bulls as he met the HG qualifications with them in their organization.
        .
        Were he to sign with the Union organization at either the USL or MLS levels he would not enjoy the MLS roster exemption quirks – vulnerability to 2018 LAFC expansion draft – that HG classification confers.
        .
        Were he to sign here, our right to sign him was traded for.

      • Everything I have read clearly states that his “Homegrown Player Rights” were traded. I’m no so sure we couldn’t get him to sign. Or maybe our deal includes us checking him out and if we want him Red Bulls sign him first and then officially trade him to us.

  4. To me sounds like the same old story with Edu will say one thing another thing will be done. And on and on until it is realized he actually won’t be making appearances for the team. Wish this whole saga was over and we just had Edu’s roster spot and the $750,000 to spend on someone else. Now it is starting running in Feb. then it will be well he isn’t fit enough to play for the Union. Oh he over did it at BSFC oh lets bring him back. Ok he’s on the 18 man roster but were not going to use him. I’m just over it. Wish the Union could’ve swapped Mix for Edu at least we would’ve got someone who could’ve been on the field.

    • Again I completely disagree. A break you can fix and let heal. A stress fracture you wait and hope it’s gone. Too much negativity for a player who only missed one year due to injury, who is always in good shape, is not old, and doesn’t have a long injury history.

    • He basically said it’s up to the doctors, i.e. it’s out of his control. I can understand the frustration with him not being on the field, but in no way would I put the blame on him. If anything it’s the Union with the lack of information about his progress or the lack there of that should shoulder blame. Do you really get the impression he’s shirking his duties?

      • I get the impression that Edu has in no way been worth his monetary value to this team and that money could be better spent elsewhere. To think that if you take his salary basically you have the ability to sign both someone like Barnetta and Nogs since they were both making around 400,000$. I just don’t think he is worth it even when playing. He is not a game changer and he does not warrant DP money. Sure in 2010-2012 when he was at the top of his game maybe but no more. To me his salary should be at most $250,000-$300,000 and I think he no longer has the skills to play midfield and he should be a CB.

      • I don’t argue with most of these things at all. In fact I also think the money could be spent better. But that’s not on Edu. It’s Ernie or Curtin that should shoulder the blame.
        .
        The only thing I do argue with is that he should be a CB. I’ve seen enough goals scored from set pieces because Edu lost his man, that I don’t need to see it again.

    • I disagree as well. Especially now: Edu is a very talented athlete, who seems to be committed to the club, and who plays the position where we have our greatest need. I think seeing what he can do when he comes back makes plenty of sense. Look how well Chris Pontius worked out. Betcha DC is mighty sorry they let him go. There’s a fair chance we would feel likewise if we let Mo go.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Give some credit to the Union’s sports science guys for Chris Pontius. They helped keep him injury free.

    • It’s hard to justify his contract $$ — and you’re right, his salary could buy two excellent players. But the guy is a baller and a leader on the team. He’s an excellent ambassador for the club, and that’s worth something. When he’s healthy he’s outstanding. I hope he gets back up to speed before the summer starts. We’re going to need him. When his deal expires, then we can renegotiate with him or thank him for his service before he goes off to play elsewhere.

    • Do you get tired Doc? Even I the Reckoner of topics to pound into a pulp — knows when to sing a new tune a bit.
      .
      Hell in the picture of Edu wearing the new uniform — the guy still has the captain’s armband on.
      .
      MLS Comeback Player of the Year. BOOK IT.

      • That would be a story I’d love to see happen.
        .
        My hope is that a year and a half of adversity has built a raging fire of “let me at ’em” dominance displayed on the pitch.

      • Would love to see him be the comeback player of the year. But since he was in a Union jersey I have never seen anything stellar from him. To me he will be another bust for the year. What was it he was ranked 48th out of 50 DP last year or something along those lines. I would like to be wrong, but everytime I turn around and say who could this team do without his is the first that comes to mind along with Creavalle. If I felt Edu added value to this team I would have no problem with the money, but while a good locker room guy is nice to have and people for the community to see helping out are good they need to provide more on the field if they are one of your highest paid players.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Glad your crystal ball is so reliable! May I please borrow it? There are some bets I’d like to make … . 😉

      • John O'Donnell Jr says:

        Stop saying I like to be wrong, have an opinion and stick to it. If you think he stinks so be it. If he proves you wrong, learn to enjoy the crow. It seems every person wants to have an out when they speak their mind.

      • Dr. Union – Not that you need me to defend your take(s) on Edu, but I agree with almost everything you’ve written about him, especially that he showed that he can be a much better CB than a defensive midfielder at this point in his career. We don’t go out for beers or anything like that, but I’ve met Mo a few times, and he is a good guy and undoubtedly a great Union ambassador. However, sports is a bottom line business, and in this situation – not nearly enough return on investment. It’s harsh and viewed as unfair by many, but I’d argue that fairness doesn’t apply at this time. If possible, it’s time to cut bait and move on.

      • would love to see that and more!!

  5. …take me with you.
    .
    1. The Peter Wilt article is so good. Curious a shout out from those who post here with a ‘yea’ for having read it or a ‘nay’ for having not.
    .
    This way I can know who knows what the hell they are talking about when droning on and on about how the current model is fine and Pro/Rel wont work yada yada yada. Ahem.. Sirs? Yes, Yes…You and You and well hell you three too.
    .
    Thanks.
    ~
    2. The FourFourTwo article about the Union is stupid in is assumptions regarding goal scoring issues and the reason for them. Shitty journalism from what I consider to be a rather strong media source. Yes CJ was culpable… but the issue is deeper than his lack of finishing. We’ve already figured that out around here though.
    ~
    3. Poor Jose. If true RE: Ball boys…sometimes I feel for him. Compassion and empathy for the obvious intellect but complete inability to ‘get it’.
    ~
    4. The Kevin Kinkhead piece on Sons of Ben is really really quality work by the author. Round of applause.
    ~
    5. So no open training at YSC like in years past?
    .
    .
    .
    Alright then.

    • Posted a link to the Wilt article in the main news post here yesterday. I thought it was about as well reasoned and rationale argument as could be made on the subject. It mirrors my own feelings on the matter: that pro/rel would offer a lot more benefits than risks and that the best way to institute it would not be some sort of top-down mandate but through an agreement by all clubs/leagues/etc involved. Hope it moves the ball forward a bit.

    • “Yes CJ was culpable… but the issue is deeper than his lack of finishing.”

      I disagree on that. CJ was routinely a step behind balls in the box. How many times did we see him late to a great Fabinho low cross?

      The issue is deeper, but not really THAT deep. The #1 was CJ and his inability to finish.

    • “yea”, I read the Peter Wilt article. While I get the argument on how it would benefit MLS owners by expanding the fan base outside of current MLS regions, he is talking about a lot of money being passed back and forth between the winners, losers and the status quo clubs with parachute payments, solidarity payments, yada yada yada. What happens when a promoted team can’t pay the hefty promotion fee, (which will almost certainly happen)? Wilt’s solution: add investors. What if they don’t exist? Who wants to take the risk of investing in a team that may not last more than one season in MLS? What if the money simply isn’t there for a team to get their facilities to MLS levels? Wilt just claims that “they would find partners to make it happen or sell outright to owners who could afford the higher level of investment”, that investors who weren’t interested would just come out of the woodwork somehow. The incentive may be there, the money may not – it’s risky to take on that kind of debt that might or might not pay off. There’s a fair amount of wishful thinking here.
      ~
      And I still don’t see why people would think that a battle of the suckiest teams to avoid relegation would be that interesting to American fans (outside of the cities involved). Using bad football from bad clubs to generate excitement for your league doesn’t make sense to me.
      ~
      It was an interesting read, with some thought put into it, but the notion that by reading this article you are somehow more educated about pro/rel is a bunch of nonsense.

      • The incentive to invest is that, with the possibility of promotion, 2nd and 3rd division clubs would skyrocket in value. For someone interested in sinking money in North American soccer, an NASL club or USL club can have literally any future you can imagine. At present, best things a USL or NASL club can really accomplish is win the Open Cup or win the Don Garber lottery and get MLS Expansion. OIt also allows clubs with bigger aspirations to start off small, in USL, say, and build organically. See if you can fill a 5,000-seat venue, then go for 10,000, etc. Grow your player budget and keep trying to compete your way up the ladder.

        That’s how I understand Wilt’s argument. The trick is to mitigate the risk of relegation.

        Also, I don’t think the assertion is that the battle of the suckiest teams in a relegation scrum is inherently interesting, but it’s much more interesting than the same contest without consequence.

      • Your last paragraph is THE slam dunk… people argue and chose to ignore the little issue of meaningless games still occurring that people could give a shit about… this adds drama… in real time. It adds drama in the markets involved and it adds drama and thereby interest to the sport as a whole.
        .
        I could care less about Sporting KC… but if after 20 years their right to stay up was on the line in a one off game bet your ass I’d watch it. Then I’d watch the utter despondence or elation associated with the outcome of the adventure.
        .
        .
        More eyes.
        .

      • John O'Donnell Jr says:

        I wouldn’t care if KC stays up or down to tell you the truth. I be more interested in a 12th place team winning a championship than thinking being in MLS is some kind of reward at 16. But hey, that’s just me.

      • John O'Donnell Jr says:

        Yet the mid table teams at sixth to twelfth with no real worries, those games would be boring at the end of the season. So it’s just a trade off without playoffs.

      • Who said anything about replacing playoffs? You can have both.

      • If you aren’t somehow more educated about pro/rel after reading the article then I’d say its fair to say you weren’t paying attention and maybe need to reread.
        .
        Peter Wilt is and has been at every level of professional soccer in the USA..every level. That alone demands a reader to pay attention and to learn something about a holistically written article on the subject. To make an inane statement is rather dissuading in its own right thereby putting the commentary you suggest squarely in the corner of ‘pay no attention to’.
        .
        He highlights pros and cons throughout the entire thesis.
        .
        Just because a team would be promoted doesn’t not in fact necessitate they would have to be promoted. The team could choose whether to accept the added responsibility. .
        .
        RE: investors… US Soccer businessmen/investors literally liter the ENTER european landscape for some of the biggest clubs in the world, more and more smaller millionaires are taking ownership of 3rd and 4th tier teams abroad and you’re telling me we may have an investment issue. For real?
        .
        .
        …….The issue is the dead end. The ceiling. has been for 150 years. Still is. His article speaks to a middle ground to bring the league in line with the rest of the world without completely going ape shit bonkers.
        .

      • Pro/Rel and why we think matters. We think that it will light a fire under teams to perform. But what do we mean by this? We usually mean that team owners/managers will have to show some ambition and $ to stay in the game. But what ,at the end of the day, does it mean to the players? Most players in the top leagues are mercenaries, love of club extends only as far as the paycheck goes. Better players have trade clauses in their contracts in the case of relegation,so while it is a disruption, it may not be the end of their gravy train.

        We bash MLS because team owners don’t have any incentive to really get a good product on the field. But what about the players on that field, where is their incentive to really try day in and day out?

        An idea I heard former USMNT players discuss around CBA time was instituting a bonus pool for players similar to what is done in European teams. Players get a bonus for making the game day 18, another if they play on game day, and another if they actually win. What does that do? Rookies making $50-60K a year are going to bust hump to make the roster. To hell with patiently bidding their time behind more senior guys. The USMNT players to a man said that even the highest paid guys on the team bust hump for the bonuses because they could live on those and bank their salary.
        What do we, the fans, get? We get teams that are hungry to win “EVERY GAME”. We get a team that is bit sharper, with young guys really pushing and the older guys pushing back.

        While I have a hard time seeing the pathway to Pro/Rel in the US, I can see this being implemented and working under the current MLS setup and raising everyone’s game.

      • Players are going to behave how they behave. Looke at Payet with West Ham. Other guys bust their balls for crappy teams. None of it really has anything to do with incentives for clubs to perform or face relegation / or conversely to reap the rewards of investment and planning that is promotion.

      • Because the ROI on taking AFC Bournemouth to the EPL is infinitely greater than getting the Carolina RailHawks into MLS, and will be for the foreseeable future.

      • Just to comment on T-Bone’s second point: I didn’t know what the heck I was watching the first time I tripped across a couple of bad teams battling to avoid relegation in Premier League a few seasons ago. I didn’t understand the “relegation” thing I kept hearing about on the broadcast.
        .
        Once I understood what was a stake and how hard those teams were playing (poorly or not, they were playing HARD to WIN), I was deeply hooked.
        .
        I’ll watch a bad team fighting a relegation drop ANYTIME over a team in any U.S. sports team “tanking” for last place and a draft pick. Fans who actually cheer for a team to “win” a draft pick are the worst kind of Kool-Aid drinking, commercial zombie, lemmings.
        .
        I really do think if more US sports fans (in general) understood that part of the soccer system, there would be quite a bit more interest. Everyone likes an underdog fighting to get a leg up or stay alive. You could almost institute it in baseball today!
        .
        Heck, for a sport that gets a ding here in the US because it’s the sport of a “socialist” world, I think it’s quite amusing that the four major “real” sports in this country are about as socialist as you can get.
        .
        All that having been said, I think it would be a benefit to everyone if it wasn’t totally “dog-eat-dog”. There is something to be said for revenue sharing in order to maintain a sense of competative balance. It’s not great when you’ve got Globetrotters/Washington Generals all the time.

      • Best comment over the last few weeks, DaveR. I’ve never thought of the four major American sports in that way.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Friday morning, Reckoner, Friday morning!
      .
      10-11:30 outside at the Power Training Complex next to the stadium.
      .
      Union Fan Services said the parking will be free in response to a question sent electronically.

    • Read it. Nothing really new as most of it already floated out there one point or another on various soccer forums.
      Interesting is his second paragraph illustrating someone’s point that nasl collapse would be argued either way in pro.rel debate.
      But really lack of audience limits any serious second league in America. Half of usl teams are farms like Steel.
      My 12 year old pointed it out two years ago….the top woman’s college soccer team in the country played at a barely filled 5000 seat stadium less than 1,000 yards from 100,000 seat stadium that regularly sold out for a football team that was mediocre at best that season.
      In England all you have to do to start a team is get a pick up game started in a local pub parking lot and instant sponsorship. Move past a few other teams and you get a Middle Eastern sheikh or Asian banker putting their name on your jerseys. USA much tougher to start and sustain a pro soccer team without same demand.
      UnionGoal

      • Excellent.
        .
        And the lack of upward mobility then has nothing to do with the ‘Asian Banker or Sheikh’ choosing not to get involved with US Soccer.
        .
        Curious. Who owns Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Bournemouth, Sunderland, Fulham, Roma…
        .
        Shall I continue?

  6. Not great news about Edu. We met him during an event at the stadium last season. He was very open about the injury and it’s open ended time frame. I hope he is healed and back at it soon. Never want to see someone miss out due to injury!

  7. Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

    Freddy Adu has had more comebacks than Freddy Krueger.

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