Daily news roundups

News roundup: Italy misses World Cup, Sapong shines in friendly

Philadelphia Union

C.J. Sapong started in the USMNT’s draw against Portugal, and surprise! He did well. More on the game below.


NCAA announced its tournament bracket. Of note, Wake Forest is seeded number 1 overall.


PSP encourages you to add your name to this letter to be sent to MLS commissioner Don Garber. Save the Crew.

MLS made some off-season announcements including roster deadlines and draft dates.

Former French-international Joel Bats looks to be joining Montreal Impact as goalkeeping coach.


USMNT drew against Portugal in their friendly, 1-1 . Some takeaways from the match.

Landon Donovan will not be running for president of U.S. Soccer, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be involved.

The same Court of Appeals that handled “deflate=gate” and is handling Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s case will help decide the future of NASL.

Around the globe

For the first time since 1958, global powerhouse Italy have failed to qualify for the World Cup. Needing a win, Italy only managed to draw Sweden. Much blame is being heaped on manager Gian Piero Ventura for his refusal to play Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne among other things. Some of the greatest players in Italy’s history will announce their retirement from international play as a result.

The Republic of Ireland will also miss the World Cup. Denmark, on the other hand, have made it in.

According to witnesses, Fox Sports bribed FIFA for broadcast rights.

After years of fans calling for his sacking, Arsène Wenger might finally… coach the English national team.

Gigi Buffon may have played his last World Cup for Italy, but Egypt have a 44-year-old keeper making his World Cup debut.


  1. As bad as the situation might be to have caused it, seeing C.J. in a national team jersey was awesome. Yes, he has all the same faults and won’t ever be the scoring threat we all want. But man it was beautiful to see actual fouls being called when he went down. He bruised and battered Portugal’s defense, caused Pepe to leave (yeah C.J. stepped on his foot by accident), and I loved every second of it. He will never be considered a contributor to the “beautiful game”, but he sure exceeds at the the rough and tumble one, and I couldn’t give two shits if the soccer purists will bitch like stuck pigs because it was so ugly. Good on you C.J., hope you get more chances. It was a nice reprieve from seeing Jozy bitch and moan.
    P.S. signed the petition. #SavetheCrew

    • The four-four-two article points out how CJ is exactly the type of player that is useful in CONCACAF qualifying. He may not be the guy you need in the WC against more finesse teams, but having a guy like him banging and running up top is what gets the job done in CONCACAF.
      It was a failure to recognize our opponents that kept us out of this WC. (Well, it was one of many, many reasons.)
      CJ won’t be leading the top line at Barcelona anytime soon, but he has a use in this program. Good on ya, CJ.
      Petition signed. #SaveTheCrew

  2. Doesn’t James owe Sapong an apology for his constant criticism of him?

    Signed the petition as well.

  3. Sign the petition.

    In other local news, I think the Harrisburg City Islanders are preparing a rebranding launch today per some vague twitter chatter.

    • Yes, it looks that way. We got a notice about a pending big USL announcement there.

      • Hope it’s more than a make-over, HCI haven’t been able to cope with the upward trajectory of USL (sound familiar???). New ownership seems to be taking things to the next level though.

        Saw Bob Lilley is now with Pittsburgh (apparently because the current guy didn’t have a high enough coaching license?). Do we know where Burke stands in this arrangement with BSFC?

    • Much needed. They have the worst logo in professional sports. I have to admit I like it, but mostly for ironic reasons.

    • I hope hope they change their low lever family friendly seafood restaurant logo

  4. From the NYTimes article: Analysts noted that the Italian talent pool, once an ocean, had shrunk to a puddle because of competition from other sports. Maurizio Crosetti, a sportswriter for La Repubblica, said that the soccer disaster mirrored a crisis in Italian society. “This shows us anthropologically, culturally, how we have become, how we have been reduced,” he wrote.

    Funny how ridiculously similar that sounds to what has/is happening here.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      In my opinion, I imagine there are mutiple arguable reasons for Italian issues and I am not acting as a reductionist— but the coach was a significant factor in this failed campaign for multiple reasons, much like in the US.
      As a starting point, the fact Insigne didnt play us as poor as Carlos Tevez not because by the starting striker for two of Argentinians most important games the last 6 years. Coaching and communication.

    • Italy had plenty of talent to beat Sweden. They just didn’t have the coach.

  5. Best candidate for USSF president right now for me is Kyle Martino. Heard him do a long interview on ESPN FC. He hits all the right notes.

    Really happy for CJ. Glad he played well. That lineup last night would have done much better against T&T. On a side note what on earth was Fox thinking putting Arena on that broadcast? And what on earth was Arena doing accepting the invitation? Mind boggling stuff.

    Finally, interesting report I read a few days ago suggested US is talking to Northern Ireland’s Michael O’Neill about taking the US job. Nearly everyone whose opinion I respect on football has heaped a lot of praise on O’Neill’s work with NI. To be quite honest, I’d like to see a manger of his stature in the technical area for the Union.

    • Also, signed the petition.

    • Martino always hints at doing the right thing, but at time I have a bad feeling he could be what Obama was for progressives, in that he will say all the right things while not acting on them.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I liked what I heard too. I believe it was Tannewald who had a nice long Q & A with him on philly.com. Really interesting and detailed. He also seems extremely committed and in it for the right reasons… knowing he doesn’t have all the answers but has no problem hiring good people.

  6. I hope people on this site will show CJ some more love. He damn well deserves it.

    • He did great; showed to me how poor his teammates at the Union were… With the right support he is awesome.

    • CJ got a lot of flattering words from Brian Strauss on SI’s player performance piece. Suspects he earned more time in January. I’d post the link, but last time I tried that, my comment got held up in moderation for half a day. (For which I don’t fault PSP at all… can’t be too careful)

      • my comment with link is currently also being held up by the moderators… Seems many times we post a link it is being held up/

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I too think CJ doesn’t get enough respect, but genuine question – does he play as much as he did yesterday, if Josh Sargent isn’t hurt? I’m glad CJ got his shot and he did well, but if Josh is healthy I don’t think we have as much love for CJ

      • Not sure OMWP. I don’t, honestly, know enough about Sargent’s game, but CJ definitely fit the bill for what Sarachan wanted to do: Play the lone forward and give Portugal’s centerbacks a physical game. and with all due respect to Sargent, he doesn’t have a pro club game under his belt as far as I know. CJ’s been to the wars.

  7. Fantastic interview here with Todd Beane who once played at Dartmouth, married Cruyff’s daughter, and cofounded the TOVO Academy & Training:
    More about the TOVO Academy here: http://tovoacademy.com/

  8. Italy’s failure to qualify was much different than the US’s and demonstrates the randomness of UEFA’s qualifying system.
    Thanks to the randomness of FIFA rankings, Italy ended up in a group with Spain with only one automatic qualifier. Spain secured that so Italy was stuck in a 2 game set against a not inconsequential Sweden side (who survived a group with France and the Netherlands). We all know that anything can happen in a short series and this time it did.
    That’s one thing I like about CONCACAF’s qualifying in that they put all of the final teams in one group to fight it out. You don’t have to rely on the randomness of the draw as to whether you get in a group with Spain/Germany as the top seed or one with Romania/Wales. The US just wasn’t good enough over the course of a year whereas Italy wasn’t good enough over the course of a week.
    Like so many others, I signed the petition.

  9. When’s the petition to move the Union to Philly? *puts on flame suit*

  10. John P O'Donnell Jr. says:

    One thing I noticed yesterday was when the speed of the game increased, CJ looked better as it seems he thinks less. Also when he holds the ball players get in position for passes or made runs into space. Hopefully Jim and Ernie saw how speed around him helps his game. Oh and that ref blowing the whistle was refreshing.

    • Good point. This past season and now this game have given me enough to think that upgrading our st spot should not be the priority this year. We really should focus on the ACM and a winger.
      Also CJ totally deserves to be on the national team, even if just as a backup. The dude has ability to do many things that other players in the pool won’t do. Which isn’t always pretty but sometimes necessary. Plus he always gives his all and runs forever which can be sorely lacking from some of our national team players…

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