Daily news roundups

News roundup: Union seek points at home as questions swirl, USWNT beat Russia, and more

Photo: Mikey Reeves

Philadelphia Union

CJ Sapong is leading the way for the Union this season.

The Union have a problem in central midfield, but what’s the solution?

If Bedoya isn’t a number 10, why is he playing there? I think Kinkead misses the most obvious answer – Curtin feels that Bedoya is simply the best man for the job.

Jordan Wohl suggests one possible solution – a move to a 4-4-2.

A comparison of Barnetta/Nogueira’s stats to Bedoya/Medunjanin. 4 games is a small sample, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

JCEscobar opines that Curtin should be out, regardless of the results of the upcoming homestand.

The Union have a chance for some valuable points this weekend.

Chuck Booth talks to the opposition in previewing this weekend’s game.

MLSSoccer’s preview of this weekend’s game.


BSFC’s Tomas Romero became the youngest goalkeeper to start a USL game. He is age 16.

Transcript of Brendan Burke’s press conference for BSFC.

The red-hot Union Academy head to the Generation adidas Cup Premier Division.


The weekly Power Rankings roundup from RSLSoapbox.

Brek Shea’s injury hampered the Whitecaps in their CCL loss, and now they’re left hoping he’s not too badly injured.

Orlando has finally sealed a loan deal for Luis Gil.

Struggling Real Salt Lake got more bad news as Chad Barrett and David Horst are now both out after knee surgeries.

Around the globe

The USSF and USWNT ratified a new CBA.

The USWNT celebrated with a 4-0 win over Russia.

The US will reportedly make a bid to host the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico. Donald Wine II thinks that’s a terrible idea, and his argument is pretty convincing.

The USL is set to have more coverage across multiple platforms.

While the Eldense-Barca “B” game is being investigated, it has come out that Eldense resorted to a last gasp defensive strategy – asking Barca “B” to just stop scoring.

Brazil #1, USA #23, and some other changes in the newest FIFA rankings.

Highlight of the day

Brazil’s Sport Recife with not one but two highlight reel goals.


    • Sounds good.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      I don’t like this idea at all. Am I missing something. How is playing Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti more often a good thing. Do I understand then the opportunity to play a France or Sweden or or or or or or or or or will pretty much occur only once every 4 years… and then that is on the randomness of your group having a European nation in it?
      Why is South America not included in this. Hell the only real metric for evaluating improvement is playing Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Chile.
      Help me understand. Am I missing something.

  1. Matt Doyle cribbing the last two to three weeks of discussion on this page for his analyst video. Calling for a 4-4-2. A Simpson and Sapong pairing up top might be really effective. I like Alberg up there with Sapong as well. I’d keep Bedoya and Medunjanin in central midfield and if that doesn’t work defensively, rotate Medunjanin out for Jones. I feel like if I were managing this team in Football Manager, I might be shopping Bedoya around for an actual #10. He’s an excellent player that seems to do little more than offer us redundancies in positions we have filled adequately with much less expensive talent. We’re just playing a system that doesn’t fit the roster. Plain and simple.

    • pragmatist says:

      I see the argument, but I have a slight counter – why not try to move Medunjanin? I’m not a Bedoya fanboy, but there is a strong argument that he hasn’t played in his natural position since he got here. What if he played where he belongs? Would he be a difference-maker?
      Look at the USMNT. JK had guys nowhere near their best positions, and the team imploded. Arean moved guys back where they belong and success followed.
      It’s not rocket science. Maybe play guys where they belong and things get better.
      We could also package players for a true #10. Gaddis/Alberg/Herbers/player-to-be-named-later/draft picks/whatever. But we don’t need to move one of those 2 in order to bring in the 10. I’m not saying we have to keep both, necessarily, but make sure we actually know what we’re giving up before getting rid of it.

      • If it’s true, as JC said in his press conference that Medunjanin currently leads the league at chances created, I’m keeping him. To points below from El Pachy, A. and BHG, I might be trying to roll out a linuep with the same back line but start my midfield 4 (from left) Alberg – Jones – Medunjanin – Bedoya. Rotate between Simpson, Sapong and Herbers for your two striker positions.

        I watch a lot of EPL and listen to the Guardian Football Weekly podcast pretty religiously, and every week there’s discussion of major formation adjustments by Pep, Potch, Conte, etc. These guys, among the best managers in the world, are constantly adjusting formations and tactics to fit their squad and their opponents. I’d really like to see Curtin do the same. It’s hard to imagine things getting worse at this point. I might not harp on this point so much if not for the fact that the whole team seems to agree they don’t have a #10 but they’re going to play that way regardless…. Does that make any sense?

      • I agree, and honestly it’s not even like formations are that different, unless you switch to like a 3 man backline. It’s more just telling a few players to play a little different each game.

      • pragmatist says:

        I like the midfield lineup you suggested, with the possible exception of Alberg. His lack of defensive intuition scares me. I think he’d be better off splitting time up top with Simpson.
        On the left could be a number of players: Picault, Pontius (as much as people are tiring of him), maybe Jones could succeed out there, Herbers, Najem?
        There are options better suited than Alberg on the left.
        The rest is true. There absolutely should be formation flexibility. But there’s danger in over-experimenting, as well. Poch may have cost Spurs a few points in the winter with bad experiments. But I would rather drop points through experimentation (within limits) than drop points through stubbornness and and rigidity.

      • Yeah, EPL managers aren’t without their faults, like the current trend of thinking anybody can play fullback….

        On Alberg, I want that guy out there to score goals. And, again, maybe his best position is in a two forward pairing with CJ or Simpson. It’s just that no one has demonstrated a nose for goal on this team like he has. And I’m not talking just about the Penalties. He had some really nice strikes when he appeared last season.

      • pragmatist says:

        I agree about Alberg. I like him in the 2-striker set. Just don’t give him defensive duties, or ask him to track back. Just let him make something happen and rip a few rockets 3-5 times each game.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      If they move to a 4-4-2 Jones is odd man out. What a conundrum IMO.
      I want development of younger players. I’ve been hoping for a better coaching candidate for a year so am unconvinced I actually hope for this to turn around. I do not want the team to fail but am curious if this is the ballast point. Ugh.
      Just (begin) (to) Play Well. FFS.

      • Why is Jones the odd man out. I think Jones, Medunjanin, and Bedoya should all be starting in the midfield no matter what. Honestly to me Ilsinho or Pontius are on the bench depending on how it’s setup.

      • pragmatist says:

        Move Bedoya to the right, and you can keep all 3 in the midfield. Just fill in the left.

  2. azogD'filer says:

    Bedoya is not a 10. Fact.

    I thin Jim will be on the hot seat very soon if things don’t change

  3. pragmatist says:

    That Barnetta/Nogs comparison is fascinating. I think the first thing it highlights is that we simply don’t have a large enough sample size to determine the long-term success. But the takeaway is that we need Bedoya, or someone, to be more aggressive in the final third.
    Unfortunately, this is not a new problem for the Union, or most teams in MLS. But if we can convince Bedoya and/or HM to keep the ball at their feet and attack, or find someone who will, instead of lobbing in crosses, we should see an uptick in production. Hopefully…

  4. I know we throw out the 4-4-2 all the time but, the personnel on this team seems to fit a 4-3-3 better. You could pull Bedoya back, so that he is not so much a creator as a box to box player, alongside Jones, with Med sitting behind both of them, creating and cleaning up whatever gets through. The U also have a plethora of Wingers who seem to me like they would fit better further up the field with less defensive responsibilities. Then further up the field you could have any combination of Sapong, Simpson, Illson, Herbers, Pontius, Alberg, Fafa, Najem. It would allow all of them to be in more dangerous positions with less defensive responsibility. Just a thought on a different take on a formation change.

    • Agreed. I have been bringing up a possible switch to a 4-3-3 since the offseason.
      Not only does it fit the roster in my opinion, but it would likely be the most seamless tweak since Earnie has experience building a team based on the formation and it is very closely related to the 4-2-3-1 that Curtin has used since he got the job.

  5. Top Drawer put out a ranking of each MLS team’s academy. Union came in #8.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Good article although I think the writer gave too much credit to Stewart as all of those signings were with the club well before Earnie showed up. They just signed pro contracts while he was here.

  6. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    Four games into the season and I wish they would just fire Curtin so we can get a fresh new candidate to complain about and call for their firing. “\_(`~`)_/”

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