Daily news roundups

News roundup: Under pressure, Steel recap, joint biddin’, more

Photo: 215pix

Philadelphia Union

What’s wrong and can the Union right the ship?

The pressure on Jim Curtin is growing. Oom-bum-bah-deh.

A new episode of The Philly Soccer Pod.

The team’s schedule for the short week and your Fact Check ahead of Friday’s nationally-televised match.

A nice story out of Union land, where a young girl with Leukemia and her family were in attendance Saturday.


Bethlehem Steel FC captain James Chambers has returned to Ireland to be with his family following the loss of his father.

A recap of Steel’s 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati.

An early preview of Harrisburg City Islanders’ home opener this week versus Steel.


Your MLS Team of the Week.

Soccer America’s weekly power rankings see the Union fall to the bottom of the league.

FiveThirtyEight’s weekly statistical forecast where the Union are somehow not on the bottom.

On the other side of the spectrum, Toronto vs. Atlanta was an instant classic.

If you’re looking for some schadenfreude, the Energy Drinks are struggling too.

Nine takeaways from Week 6.

A fun photo gallery of the past week’s snow globe game in Sandy, Utah. And, similarly, how weather can be a player’s toughest opponent in MLS.

US Soccer

As expected, the US, Mexico, and Canada announced a joint North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup. A nice look at how it happened. Relax, the hosting decision won’t be made until 2020.

Extra Time



  1. el Pachyderm says:

    funny the difference between thinking and knowing…for a few weeks we’ve talked about formation changes here and I thought they would be helpful but last night I woke up in the middle of the night… knowing if Jim Curtin inverted Ilsinho and put him on the left of a flat 4-4-2 moved Bedoya to the 8 with HM and DJ and used permutations of Simpson, Sapong and Alberg up top with Fafa Picault and Herbers as subs this team is all of a sudden completely dangerous….
    I also am certain without making this formation tweak, the manager is likely to lose standing within the organization.

    • So basically how we ended last game?

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Pretty much…but a key part of it IMO is Ilsinho being on the left because there will not be a true 10 so the most creative guy on the field needs to be able to cut in on the ball and start pulling people out of position.
        This allows KR to stay home a bit for OO and provides offensive and defensive cover on the right with Ale.
        Like this team makes an ascent up the table knowing it. All of a sudden scoring opportunities abounding solid defending knowing it.
        Like knowing it in my bones..kind of knowing.

      • Old Soccer Coach. says:

        Very interesting thought.
        Playing devil’s advocate, is Fabinho better equipped than Rosenberry to be the outside back behind Ilsinho?
        I vaguely remember that somewhere, earlier, he played on the left.

      • I feel you. Probably the best way forward is something along these lines. Honestly, at this point I feel like the team should go all in on offense. High scoring games are exciting even if we are losing and it would bring something totally different to MLS.
        Curtin has talked before about defending in a 4-2-3-1 and attacking in a 2-4-4 (basically) and we should do something like that. Put out whoever you want, I don’t care, just get those outside backs up the field all the time. Lets go down attacking.

      • They were attacking in a 2-4-4 in the first half of last year.
        It really seems like speed (or lack thereof) may be the limiting factor here. I know everyone likes to talk about Nogs leaving, but what about the Le Toux trade? He provided the speed and defensive cover necessary to implement the 2-4-4 attack on the right that IllsonJr doesn’t.

    • Adam Schorr says:

      That might be the slowest lineup in MLS. Putting Ilsinho in a lineup with no make-up speed is asking to be countered to death. Not saying there’s a good answer, but I think that lineup is playing on a knife’s edge.
      My preferred lineup is a 4-3-1-2. Sapong and Fafa up top (holdup and speed), Medunjanin behind them (I refuse to play his lack of defense deeper than that), Herbers-Jones-Bedoya in front of the back 4, and Pontius-Marquez-Onyewu-Gaddis across the back. Fabinho is just bad, and I think Pontius is legitimately our best option there. Rosenberry’s value is his offense, and if he needs to cover for Onyewu, we may as well put in the better defensive player.
      Note that I don’t think this lineup is great either, but I don’t think a great lineup exists on this roster.

      • Steven Whisler says:

        This is some Frankenstein stuff and I kiiiiiinda love it. Not sure how Herbers fits into that, but it would be super interesting to see how this lineup played.

      • Adam Schorr says:

        We’re playing somebody less than stellar or out of position no matter what. In this lineup, you can put Fabinho or Rosenberry on to the back line and move Pontius up to the Herbers slot if you like that better.

      • If we are going crazy go with a 3-5-2. Everyone fits except maybe the CBs, at least until Yaro is back.

    • I like this lineup. This team seems to scream “we need to play the Leicester City 2016 playbook.” Not saying they’d match that kind of quality, or that they have their own Kante, but just that sort of game plan. Sit back defend but have two guys whop can run and counter. Whatever. This team needs a new look.

  2. Old Soccer Coach. says:

    I am uncertain why people imply that Fafa Picault has exceptional speed.
    In his late game cameos, I have not seen it.
    I am suspicious of a guy who has failed to have a decisive impact in NASL and Bundesliga 2.
    As for early introductory front office and technical staff praise, consider the context and add salt liberally please. I suspect Lord Voldemort got good press when he was signed. So did Nick Sakiewicz and Peter Nowak.
    I thought the best decision the club made last weekend – and I thought this before the Steel won – was to keep Charlie Davies, Ken Tribbett, Brian Carroll, and Fafa Picault in Philly on Sunday.
    They went with a young lineup at Lehigh. Cory Burke was the graybeard at 25, Gigi Wijnaldum was next at 24, and Hugh Roberts was with him at 24 on the bench. The center backs were both 18. I think I remember that Santi Moar may be 23, but don’t write it down.

    • Adam Schorr says:

      Exceptional speed? Maybe not. Can he beat most of the rest of the roster in a footrace? We’re a slooooooooooow team.

      • Pathetically slow. Although I remember this site bashing Curtin a few summers ago when he said we had to get bigger and faster.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      I’ve seen Fafa first steps speed up close. It’s beyond anything remotely close on that team….maybe maybe warren creavalle can match him.
      As far as top end…my guess is it’s breathtaking as one Academy coach has said.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      I think that most people here haven’t seen Picault play more than five competitive matches in total so not sure how people are coming to so many conclusions about him.

  3. Old Soccer Coach. says:

    Good Washington Post article about the World Cup bid through the link.
    Very interesting, very good point from the Mexican head man that many US cities have huge Mexican ancestry populations that will be well served by the likely soccer venues in the US, LA, Dallas, Houston.
    Do keep in mind that some of our huge football stadia are too short and too narrow for proper soccer pitches, Nippert Stadium in Cincy and Goodman at Lehigh are both ten yards short, if memory serves.
    The stickiest wicket is the tradition of automatic qualification for the host. On the surface of it Canada does not cut it. So that memorandum of understanding must have something in it to make the Canadian national team stronger. They could commit to some variation of what Bora M. Put together in 1994, or they could create a Canadian league.
    They will need to build into their schedule travel rest cushions, the way that some MLS teams do.
    Given the pace of media evolution, they will have to build new media infrastructure, but no new Stadiums needed would save billions, unless a new league in Canada wanted better stadia.
    And waiting for Canada’s summer means Mexico’s heat will be intense unless they play at altitude, but that’s something of an issue in itself.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Keep in mind its three automatic qualifications too…which i guess if 200 countries are invited by then – it won’t matter anyway.

  4. I know I’m a few days late on this, but I really enjoyed the article posted last week on statistics, and lack of statistics, in soccer.
    I also posted this in one of Chris’ SEBA posts (which are also great!) but I think it would be interesting to track a +/- for each player. I’m thinking this could be a crude way to statistically evaluate relative player effectiveness/value.

    • Adam Schorr says:

      Thanks JB!
      Putting +/- together is extremely tricky – it would basically need to be manually kept. I will see if I can figure out an efficient way to do it for this year, but it will be literally months before we have enough data to draw even the weakest of conclusions.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        Just use the game summary. It lists the starting lineup and then events with the minute they occur. Subs and goals will have the minute the event happened so it shouldn’t be too bad, of course, im not doing it!

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    I am not nearly as smart as the folks above… so my two cents is: TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Different formations… different players… whatever. Show me you are trying and I will give you a chance. Friday is absolutely massive and 3 points is a must. Show me this season isn’t over before May 1.

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