Daily news roundups

Union sign Medunjanin, St. Pauli says Picault to join the Union, more news

Photo: Courtesy of Maccabi Tel Aviv

Philadelphia Union

The controlling midfielder position has been filled!

On Tuesday, the Union announced the signing of Bosnia and Herzegovina international midfielder Haris Medunjanin “using Targeted Allocation Money to a two year deal with an option in the third year.” More on the Medunjanin signing at PSP, Philadelphia Union (highlights, highlights), MLSsoccer.comPhilly.com, Delco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer NewsBrotherly GamePattison AveSection 215, Vavel, Philadelphia Sports Nation, ESPN, and Goal.com.

And there should be another signing announcement very soon. On Tuesday, 2. Bundesliga side St. Pauli announced Fabrice “Fafa” Picault was leaving the club to join the Union, “Subject to a medical“. You will recall Jim Curtin said after Monday’s training session, “Picault is in a good situation right now, positive.” Curtin also praised trialist Adam Nejam: “We’ll have hopefully some final news coming up hopefully in the next couple of days on those guys, but guys who seem they can really contribute.” More at Philly.com, SBI, and Once a Metro.

Yahoo Sports counts the Union among the winners of the January transfer window:

The thinking behind the Union’s appointment of Dutch-American Sporting Director Earnie Stewart early last year was obvious. He has a strong track record of unearthing bargains and the connections to mine the European player market. Stewart had already landed U.S. regular Alejandro Bedoya and acquired budding national teamers Chris Pontius and Keegan Rosenberry in 2016. So far this off-season, he has also landed former AZ players – where he worked most recently – Giliano Wijnaldum, a left back, and Haris Medunjanin, an attacking midfielder. But that isn’t all. He also bagged experienced English striker Jay Simpson, promising American forward Fafa Picault, and oft-injured, long-time national team center back Oguchi Onyewu. And he seems to have made all of those moves at little or no expense, quickly turning the Union into one of the stronger squads in Major League Soccer — or at least one of the most exciting ones.

The Union are the only MLS team included in the review.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George reviews the Union depth chart.

At Philly.com, Kevin Kinkead breaks down how the Oguchi Onyewu signing can benefit the Union. More on the Onyewu signing at Playing for 90 and Philly Sports Network.

If you’re down in Clearwater, the Union has announced the training sessions at Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex are open to the public.

As expected, Auston Trusty has officially been called up by the US U-20 MNT team for the final training camp ahead of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship tournament in Costa Rica later this month.

Roland Alberg’s agent, Justin Stone, tells sportwitness.co.uk there is European interest in signing the Dutchman: “I can confirm Rizespor interest as well as links to QPR, Reading and Darmstadt.” Whether that interest is anything of an immediate nature is not clear but it seems unlikely a European team looking for a player to make an immediate impact would spend cash on a player who hasn’t played in months. At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald writes, “I’ve heard from a well-placed source that no move is imminent,” adding, “all signs point to him wanting to stay with the team.” Alberg certainly sounded like he wanted to stay in the piece that Matthew De George recently wrote at Delco Times.

Philly Sports Network reviews how Alejandro Bedoya and Chris Pontius performed in last Sunday’s USA-Serbia friendly.

The Washington Post details how former Union man Sebastien Le toux ended up with DC United.

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel PSP and Brotherly Game.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union Academy has confirmed goalkeepers Tomas Romero and Kristopher Shakes, and midfielder Anthony Fontana, have accompanied the Union for preseason training in Clearwater. More at Brotherly Game.

Harrisburg City Islanders

Harrisburg City Islanders have announced their 2017 schedule.


Tonny Temple (Millville, Pa.) has been named to the 32-player roster for the 2017 spring semester of the US Soccer Residency Program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.


As expected, 12 cities formally submitted bids for the (at present) four remaining MLS expansion franchises. MLSsoccer.com has a chronological round up of the bids. More from Fox Sports, and the AP. In related news, here’s a headline from ESPN: “Proposed San Diego MLS franchise hopes to coexist with Liga MX’s Tijuana.”

Official: Soldier Field in Chicago will be the site of the 2017 MLS All-Star Game. Former Union man Veljko Paunovic will coach the MLS team “against an international opponent that will be announced at a later date.”

The Galaxy have signed 27-year-old French midfielder Romain Alessandrini “as a Designated Player.”

Toronto have signed French-DR Congolese defender Chris Mavinga

NYRB have signed 18-year-old Cameroonian center back Hassan Ndam.

Vancouver have transfered 20-year-old Homegrown midfielder Kianz Froese to 2. Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf: “As part of the transfer, Whitecaps FC will receive a match played bonus and percentage of any future transfer fees.”

Portland have announced defender Gbenga Arokoyo will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon and will miss the entire 2017 season.

MLS comes in at No. 10 in a list of the biggest spenders during the January transfer window at €26.12 million. The Premier League tops the list at €257.05 million, with the Chinese Super League second at €218.79 million.


Looks like the NWSL will announce a new broadcast deal with A+E Networks on Thursday.


Headline from Reuters: “Trump policies cloud potential U.S. World Cup bid”.

Headline from the AP: “North America ponders FIFA World Cup bid in the Trump era”.

US Soccer has been successful in denying the attempt by San Diego State University to trademark “I Believe The We Will Win.”


ESPN reports, “The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will discuss allowing individual FAs the freedom to make significant changes to rules at lower levels of the game, including the potential introduction of sin bins in place of yellow cards and extra substitutions.” The IFAB will meet in London on March 3. More at Reuters.


  1. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Said it before, will say it again. Hate the idea of a sin bin or penalty box.

    • I do feel like the rules can be a bit harsh. But this isn’t the solution. Maybe there should be an option for the ref to have a choice after the second yellow of making it a red (and keep all the same rules as now) or making it an “orange” where the player still has to leave the game but the team can sub someone on for him (if there are subs remaining) if the 2 yellows the player collected were dangerous enough to warrant such a harsh penalty.

    • I tend to agree. That said, if it’s easier to “experiment” at lower levels, in theory it helps to determine if a proposed rule is good, bad, or ugly. So I’m certainly in favor of what IFAB is considering in that regard.

      • Personally I think that the yellow and red cards are all fine. However I do believe there should be extra substitution policies in place for head injuries. Cause if there is a concussion you should use a sub however I do not think it should affect the 3 sub policy. Yes I get this could be problematic with people faking head injuries, but I think it a safer policy then the player trying to fight through a head injury just cause there are no subs or he doesn’t want to hurt the team by leaving them with one less sub.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        The whole issue of concussion is one very large elephant in the room.

    • They could just do away with the red card ejection altogether. If a player commits 2 yellow card-worthy fouls – and that should be verified by replay, especially the 2nd – then they are ejected from the game, but a manager may bring on another player in their place so long as they have another substitution available. My issue isn’t with the idea of punishing bad fouls, it’s the subjectiveness of the cards. So if they can confirm the fouls are ejection-worthy ok, but otherwise a ref can drastically alter a game by kicking someone out when it looked worse than it really was.

      Case(y)-in-point: the foul on Conor last year which even Keegan didn’t agree with. Clearly wasn’t red-worthy, but Casey was off maybe 3 minutes after subbing on.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        My judgment at the time live was that he was carded on reputation.
        On replay viewed after I got home, there was a Casey elbow thrown towards the head.

  2. Earnie had nothing to do with Pontius and Rosenberry

    • Yahoo Sports….enough said?

    • Nothing? I’m not sure that’s true.

    • The Sporting Director and head coach never talked about how much time to play KR or what the expectation could or should be?
      Come on.

      • With bringing him here. the article was about acquisitions.
        Their play made discussion more or less moot.

      • Was it not Stewart who made the deal to trade for the extra first round pick to make sure Rosenberry was acquired 3rd? That’s my recollection.

    • Stewart was announced in late Oct. before both of those pick ups and but wasn’t on the payroll until the first week of Dec.
      It’s pretty laughable to think Earnie had ZERO input regarding addition of Pontius (added early Dec.) or the draft just because he hadn’t drawn a check yet.

      • Curtin had said Pontius was on their radar for a while. Lets not give Earnie superpowers now that he is currently in favor.

      • If want to believe “had nothing to do”, with over a month between Stewart’s announcement and the Pontius announcement…Uh, ok.
        Being involved wouldn’t require “superpowers”, but it would exhibit a pretty sharp sense of business and commitment to his new organization.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Curtain and Albright had to sell the idea to the new decision-maker, just as the new decision-maker had to sell the owner on making Bedoya a DP.
        We have no idea what cut-off is below which Mr. sugarman has no involvement.
        It is clear with hindsight that confidence in that aspect of Sakiewicz’s judgment was eroded after five years.

  3. Everything I have read makes it seem like the signings of Medunjanin and Picault were both done without transfer fees.
    “Maccabi Tel Aviv FC granted Haris Medunjanin permission to leave the club and join an MLS club”
    “Fafa Picault’s contract has been mutually terminated”
    Earnie is a shrewd, shrewd operator.

  4. Kevin Kinkead posted on twitter some video of Medunjanin and shows how similar a game to Nogs he plays. I have to say I agree. His style should fit in great with this team.

  5. Am I the only one that wants an International vs American all-star game? If we want to talk about how much American soccer is (or isn’t) developing, put American MLS players up against their international counterparts. They’re all mid-season, it puts bragging rights on the line and I think MLS has moved past the point where they need elite international clubs to sell the product. Attendance is getting higher every year for league games. That type of game might not sell Soldier Field out, but if the Fire’s stadium wasn’t in the middle of nowhere they could play the game there.

    • If I’m in an MLS boardroom, I think I’d see the all-star game as pretty much a commercial for the league. In the sense, nothing puts buts in seats or prompts folks to tune in like the big foreign clubs. Also, a lot (most?) of your league’s big stars are foreign. And your foreign players are still, on the whole, superior. Look at last year’s MLS best XI. Only two are domestic players:
      And Klestjan probably would have lost that position if Lodeiro played a whole season.

      I think if anything, the gap in talent has only been growing because the league is attracting better players.

    • It will sell out once they announce Barca as the opponent.

  6. This whole Sacremento thing is not at all good:

    If MLS brass has any sense, they won’t let Nagle undercut the successful Republic club. It would be an outrage. It’s ridiculous to divide up the city’s footy fan base over this kind of crap, too.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Agreed this is not good. Deadspin has an article too – http://deadspin.com/sacramentos-mls-bid-possibly-derailed-by-last-second-ow-1791856813
      I hope MLS goes with the grass roots and rewards Republic for building it right. With MLS though, too often it is about money. Feel bad for the fans

    • I Am Citizen Insane says:

      11 teams vying for 4 spots and one of the teams doing it best has the hairs under their arms crossed to get ‘chosen’ by The Cartel.
      So truly demoralizing. Any wonder why it is so hard for so many to take this MLS stuff seriously beyond anything more than rooting for the local team.
      Detest it.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Yep. Another article on it with a little more info… http://deadspin.com/sacramentos-mls-expansion-bid-is-a-fiasco-1791879864

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Root for your local team, then. It’s a lot of fun to try to decipher the moves and guess.
        I’m old, so the sport in this country in 25 years has less interest to me, since at best I will be drooling in a corner of some warehouse for old humans past their sell date.
        What we have now is an improvement on, “Gentlemen, this is a soccer ball.” That was the condition of most of the country back in the 50s.
        A ways to go? Certainly. But we have come a ways too.

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