Daily news roundups

News roundup: Unfortunate 45, Picault possibilities, local club news, more

Photo by Paul Rudderow

The Philadelphia Union

PSP posted the entire transcript of Jim Curtin’s mid-week press conference. Curtin talked about the first half against Orlando, “for the first time a 45 minutes we were disappointed with as a team, to a man, not the way we wanted to start the game, we were a little sloppy.”

Speaking on getting Fafa Picault (who provides a unique element for the Union) into the game, Curtin said, “When he gets into the game now, he’s lively. He almost runs all over the field to try to make a play, which you like from any attacking player: He wants to make an impact.”

In response to a question about how Orlando’s pressure disrupted the Union’s ability to build by limiting time for Medunjanin and Rosenberry, Curtin waxed tactical:

. . . it’s almost like they play a 4-2-4 in terms of how they press . . . can you have the composure to beat that initial pressure, whether that’s Barnes flying at Keegan, can he be a little deceptive and take a step around him, can he connect a pass in to Haris? . . .

The tape’s out there, they know we’re going to want to get [Medjunanin] on the ball. What that can do, though, is open up space for Jones, open up more space for Bedoya . . . we have to have more ways to beat them than just one person. Sometimes it’s 15 minutes of Haris dropping deep. As teams adjust and press him, we need to find Derrick Jones in the hole.

In a lighter vein, some Union players share their soccer heroes from their youth.


Ukrainian Nationals earned admittance to the National Premier League “because it demonstrated strength tactically and technically at all age-groups.”

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Hall of Fame announces its 2017 inductees and awards.

Some local tryout opportunities for the young: Lighthouse is holding tryouts and Palumbo also has opportunities to make a club.

The Philly Fever is going to have open training dates to finalize the roster.

If you outgrew a club, you may be interested in a soccer opportunity for those of us for whom beer is a major food group. The Shane Kelly Soccer Golf Outing is a way to commemorate a loved member of Philly’s soccer community and contribute to its future.

Around the Globe

England feels not to bad about losing 0-1 to Germany at Dortmund.

Canada will feel mostly good about not losing to Scotland.

US Soccer

The big news is that tomorrow the USMNT tries to right a ship that has floundered to zero points, negative 5 goal differential, and the bottom of the hexagonal after two games. Kickoff is at 10:50 p.m. so you can watch after your partner goes to sleep.

Some prognostication about the line up is due. The question marks currently seem to be right back, Bradley’s center mid partner, and which Seattle striker will make the best pairing with Altidore.


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    “A little sloppy”
    “A little sloppy?”
    Huh? “What happened is it getting hooter in here. Hotter”- that comment by the manager made me black out like Clark W Griswold in the department store of Christmas Vacation.
    Thought experiment my PSP friends…Imagine for a moment the dynamism of Ilsinho on the right with the ability to cut in, attack 1v1 and get the defense to bend and move uncomfortably and Fafa picault on the left providing technical quality and an ability to kill teams with his speed and Jay Simpson seemingly strong play and movement and likely finishing ability. Are we as concerned with Bedoya in the 10 being creative enough?
    Let me ask you a question too while at it. If you won games 3-2 and lost games 4-2… would any of you care at all if that netted in a 3-6th place finish which to be fair is the likely ceiling the current iteration of starting lineup MAY aspire too?
    All due respect to Chris Pontius and Fabian Herbers. Good workhorse players. It’s not a workhorse league anymore.

    • I’d argue that you still need workhorses, but the question needs to be “where do you get your creativity?” We can’t have a front 4 that consists entirely of workhorses like we had last week, unless Haris is completely unhampered to pull the strings from behind them. In defense of Bedoya, some MLS teams are moving their creativity to the wings, Montreal being notable with Piatti. They played with Patrice Bernier in the traditional #10 spot last week and still did remarkably well. Nobody is calling him a creative genius.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        This moving creativity to the wings is exactly the point I’ve been making for a month. 100%.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Worth mentioning that throughout preseason until the turf at BC Place, Ilsinho looked to be the starter at RFM.

    • I would very much be on board with games like you describe – 3-2, 4-2, etc. Those are entertaining games, and if that nets a finish somewhere in the 3-6 range, then I’m all in.
      I think Earnie missed a “moneyball” opportunity over the winter to trade Pontius, to be honest. His value might never be as high as it was coming off the season he had a year ago. Not only isn’t he going to reproduce the results he had last year, I don’t expect him to even reach double-digits in goals. At the time, we didn’t have Fafa signed or even have Epps drafted. There would’ve been a lot of outcry – maybe even from me, honestly – about trading him away. But three games in, that looks like it would’ve been a smart move.

      • The Pontius thing is a great point that didn’t even cross my mind. Would have been that peak moneyball idea of cashing out when value highest.

      • It didn’t occur to me, either, until reading Pachy’s post and Gonzhao’s reply, to be honest.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        The poise to put it under the bar and inside the posts is a rare, subtle, fleeting quality.
        Earnie is under some pressure to put a winner on the field.
        The reason finishers get the money they get is because they are rare.

    • The second question gets an easy answer from me — no. I’ll take the wins. They make dealing with tactical shortcomings a lot easier.

      On Fafa, I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of him to say for sure he’d be an improvement over Pontius on any category other than speed. Perhaps that’s all you need. I do expect to see Ilsinho in the next starting XI. I hope that brings some real improvement to this attack when we face DC, a team that’s going to be very eager to earn some points at home after back to back losses so far.

    • You can’t see the lines, can you Russ?

      “Are we as concerned with Bedoya in the 10 being creative enough?”
      What if you swap Ilson and Ale? The Nats push Bedoya wide, in the words of Jimmy Rollins, why not us? Because of Jimmy’s belief the best offense is a meh defense? Ilson wants to cut in, Bedoya drifts wide, just start them there.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      But if Ilsinho and Fafa start… then that’s different… and this is explicitly not allowed

  2. agreed – like to see Fafa get a chance to start.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    In other news, curious if anybody was aware that Atlanta set and MLS record this past weekend.
    Anybody care to guess…as today seems to be a day for me asking questions of the The Chorus?
    Maybe a world class coach matters a bit more than we think in the equation.

    • Most goals scored in first 3 MLS games?

      • John O'Donnell Jr says:

        Was that helped by the fact that they played an expansion team and the last place team from a year ago to start? Correct me if I’m wrong but the pink cows came back on the road to beat them 2-1.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        this friend speaks my mind.

    • pragmatist says:

      While I defend giving Curtin a chance (time is running out on that chance, however), I’ve been beating the drum on the coaching front for a long time. Go ahead and spend millions on Schweinsteiger, but I’d rather spend $5M/year on a world class manager.
      Personally, I’d love to see Harry Redknapp managing in MLS, but I just find him massively entertaining.
      Would Mark Hughes make a difference? Tony Pulis? Martin O’Neill? Go ahead and dip into Spain, Italy, or Germany. I’m just pulling relatively affordable names out of a hat.
      That will be the next leap for MLS – when we are capable of attracting managers that otherwise would have signed in Europe. We’re getting some players, we need to move on to the managers now.

    • “Maybe a world class coach matters a bit more than we think in the equation”
      If you take “maybe” out of the sentence that’s basically where we are.

    • Most passes in a single game. And the word you’re looking for is not “set”, but “obliterated”.

  4. Am I the only one who sees the headline “Unfortunate 45” and wonders what about Trump could be soccer-related?

  5. FYI picault is not good. He had one good year in the NASL which is a terrible league (Minnoesta United and players like Restepo who was a best XI player in NASL prove that). Couldn’t have success in the 2. Bundesliga. I know we like speed but I’d rather have ayuk out there at least he has potential. But of course I prefer Pontius even though soccer purists are calling for his head because they don’t like the way he plays. 18 goals created last year. Valeri had 21 goals created. Its honestly criminal the way he’s being talked about here. I’d rather have a guy that can disappear for stretches but still create a goal once every other game than someone that creates havoc with speed but nothing, to show for it. But hey I guess winning games isn’t important.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      I respect this comment and have no ill will towards Chris Pontius. It will be interesting to see if he can repeat last season even a little.
      My overall point tends to be with a workhorse Bedoya, as the manager even describes him in the 10… how are we supposed to compete with Fabian Herbers and Chris Pontius on the field together. We will see if Ilsinho is the starter in two weeks but I have a funny feeling he isn’t going to be.
      I also feel, when you are chasing a goal in an away game, subbing on Fafa Picault in the 85th minute is actually insulting… which, as I recall he played a glorious side volley flat ball into Bedoya back post which I’ve NEVER seen any Union player accomplish in that advanced a position save maybe Roger Torres. To date I have missed less than 5 Union games or <0.5 games a season… so my sample size is pretty strong.
      So while you may think Fafa Picault is not that good simply because of his journeyman status (and maybe Roger Torres too who is STILL my favorite Union player next to My Dearly Departed)… I've seen him practice a couple times, I saw that ball on Saturday and I see what one academy coach described as Breathtaking Speed on a team totally devoid of even marginal speed in the starting lineup.
      These argument do not disparage Chris Pontius in the least.
      Now Fabian Herbers…that's a different story altogether. He is without question a bench player plain and simple.

      • I am a Pontius fan. I think he would look more the part of the No.10 was actually, well, a No.10. It also doesn’t help his case that his opposite winger is a worse(younger/rising) version of himself.
        The following section has a point, be patient and see how it connects to the point about Pontius.
        If we take Curtin’s words over the last few interviews to heart we have 2 things that we need to do a better job of: 1) finding Bedoya more in the midfield and 2)finding Jone’s feet to distribute more often when Medunjanin is marked up (even extra deep). So i have a few of questions that i’m not quite sure if they are related: Is Jones good enough to be a secondary distributor? If not, could Bedoya be better suited to be a secondary option? Would Dropping Bedoya kill 2 birds? Moving Bedoya would allow for more creativity, Ilsinho? Alberg? Fafa? I would argue that change would that allow Ponitus to flourish more. Think who he played with last year: A defensive Mid, a workhorse, actual creativity…

      • I can deal with Fabian Herbers being benched in favor of illsinho. I’m also in favor of Picault coming in earlier than the 80th plus minute. I simply can’t get behind throwing him under the bus after 3 games. It frustrates me. I think the team is in need of his ball creativity

    • A comment in another thread laments that Pontius wasn’t traded at peak value if Moneyball is the game in town.
      Made me wonder: no buyer (lots of his type around the league), no seller (the holes: top 9s, 10s, LBs are in demand) – or JC lobbied for him?
      If it was the last, Chris can’t repeat as Comeback POY, and it might come back to bite the manager in those snug gameday trousers.

  6. Many times JC has observed that you are what your record says. 6 matches in April & May for him to get the most from this group and 2 wins minimum. Ilson Jr starts if fit. If goals don’t come, sub Fafa for Pontius early.
    Will Jay be ready for DC?
    And what about Roland? Big Ern ‘s first European signing. Can’t crack Jim’s XI, but still here. Something’s gotta give there.

    • I want to touch on that last piece: Alberg. Part of me thinks he is here for a possible trade. It seems like Alberg/Gaddis/Creavalle could be a big chunk to send somewhere. With the maybe the exception of Gaddis we have immediate/better options either at Steel or on the roster.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        As you think about the Steel remember that USL is not MLS in pace of physicality and pace of mentality.
        To someone asking about Jones above, he has never shown much offensive distribution beyond short passes. He is finding Medunjanin a lot with short balls. I wish he had Yaro available as a distributing option. Rosenberry has been taken away by the teams we have played so far.

      • yeah I think now it is evident how helpful Yaro’s distribution was.

    • On Simpson, I believe Curtin mentioned at his presser that he was practicing fully again. So he should be good to go for DC.

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