Daily news roundups

News roundup: C.J. Sapong returns to Union camp, Jim Curtin conference call, EPL Week 26 storylines

Philadelphia Union

Head coach Jim Curtin held the first weekly conference call of the 2018 preseason Thursday afternoon. Read about it here. Listen to the call here.

Union have announced a handful of jersey number changes. Check the updated numbers here.

Philadelphia Union’s scrimmage against New York Red Bulls on Saturday, Feb. 3 has been moved from 11 a.m. to 10 a.m.

C.J. Sapong returned to Union camp after joining the USMNT for January training camp and a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Adam Najem, Auston Trusty, and Cory Burke all seem poised to make an impact in 2018 for Philadelphia.

Central midfielder Haris Medujanin rocked the captain’s armband for his native country of Bosnia and Herzegovina against Mexico Wednesday night. Read the match report here.

Do the Union need a #10? PSP’s Steve Whisler shares his opinion. Sport Talk Philly’s Chuck Booth expressed his views on a potential formation shake up without a new #10 here.

Check out a preview from Philly Sports Network’s Tim Lovenguth of the Union’s first seven games here.

Bethlehem Steel FC / USL

Steel FC revealed their new primary logo as well as a brand new secondary logo to follow suit with the Union’s new logo designs. The new gold color was added to both Bethlehem crests.

Bethlehem Steel FC announced their preseason friendlies. Take note of the location of each game. Pay particular attention to their March 4th match up against in-state rival Pittsburgh Riverhounds along the river at Power Training Complex.

Steel FC is still offering a special ticket package for fans of both Steel FC and Union soccer known as ‘Flex Vouchers.’

PSP’s Tim Jones previews the USL’s East.

Left behind in the wake of David Accam’s arrival was the signing of Cameroonian defender Olivier Mbaizo. Read more here.

Sacramento Republic FC announced former New Zealand international player Simon Elliot as their new coach. Republic FC also recently announced the hiring of new General Manager and five-time MLS Cup winner Todd Dunivant.


D.C. United announced they will play their first two home games at the Maryland Sportsplex as they await the construction/opening of Audi Field.

Venezuelan club Independiente acquired former NYRB and D.C. United forward Gonzalo Veron. You may remember Independiente recently lost their beloved Ezequiel Barco to Atlanta United FC.

Toronto FC signed Dutch international defender Gregory van der Wiel.

Here is the full 2018 MLS Preseason schedule.

Bobby Warshaw previews the Western conferences top contenders. 

Here is an ongoing list of South Americans to join the MLS in 2018. Why such a high influx of Venezuelan players?

US Soccer

An “Athlete Council” has emerged and will ask USSF Presidential Candidates questions. Learn more here.

Check out this story about USMNT player Danny Williams and his recent past.

Around the globe

Week 26 story-lines throughout the English Premier League can be found hereWeek 26 picks. And a TV and streaming schedule for EPL games this weekend.

Men in Blazers podcast is normally a good time.

Mesut Ozil signed a new deal with Arsenal.

Both West Ham and Crystal Palace are in hot water and in the middle of scandals. Both stories were reported by the Guardian.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool remained quiet as the transfer window passed. Will that ‘gamble’ pay off?

Some more transfer window grading/rating.

Andreas Pereira, Manchester United’s young Brazilian, discusses his loan opportunity and impressing Jose Mourinho.

The Canadian national team will begin a new era under the helm of John Herdman March 24 against New Zealand.

And a non-soccer bonus item

Check out this read, about the history behind Philadelphia sports fans’ inferiority complex.


  1. An exact Curtin quote from Matt De George’s excellent summary of the press conference:

    “I’m confident in the group that we have right now. I think the addition of David Accam makes us different. I think some guys have another year under their belt. Obviously the quicker you can get the entire group together is better, but we know that this isn’t our final roster quite yet. We still have some flexibility in terms of some roster spots. We still have the ability to sign a young player or two to the supplemental side of the roster. We’re not the complete group that you’re going to see quite yet on March 3. Whether it happens this window or next window, it still remains to be seen. But at the same time, we like our group that we have, the training sessions have been good. We’ll get our first test against Red Bull to see what it looks like.”

    What a bunch of crazy double talk. “I’m confident in our group, but this isn’t our final team, we might sign a young player, this isn’t the complete group for March 3rd, but maybe something will happen in the next window, you never know…we like our group.”

    What??? He talked himself into a complete circle and said everything except for “let’s see if iStar’s stock recovers and hope Jay is in a good mood’.

    • Pete Mazzaccaro says:

      That ‘next window’ remark is really, really, really depressing.

    • I think he’s saying go sign a number 10 already, but is hedging his bets because he’s been saying that for multiple transfer windows now.

      • So I just read the Union dot com recap of the conf call, and Curtin rattles off the depth we have at winger
        doesn’t mention Ilsinho’s name. I’m left with the conclusion Jim sees now him playing centrally.
        Given everything else that has been mentioned about ‘next window’, ‘Fontana is looking great’, etc. doesn’t lead me to believe they found anyone for #10. again.
        This will be 3 windows now w/o being able to find a #10. I didn’t start out this way, but my anti-Stewart sentiment is growing – and/or we need to start taking a closer look at Albright.

      • Oh yeah. It’s completely unacceptable to not have anyone there yet.

    • It’s complete and total coach speak, right? Cover all his bases. Prop up the current roster. Talk positive about future signings. Always room for additions. We can be patient or strike tomorrow. We’re wily and satisfied. Coach B.S., Jimmy seems to be getting that down.
      Jose would be proud honestly.

      • “We like our group especially with the addition of David Accam, but honestly, we’re always looking for ways to improve our squad.”

        You can communicate that same message that Curtin tried to convey in a more confident manner as well as by using less words. The more words that you use, the better chance that some jebroni (like me) can parse and perhaps misinterpret the overall message.

      • Yeah, but this organization doesn’t want to give you anything. It’s strikes me as Curtin trying to be coy about things. I didn’t listen to the call, so maybe I’m taking things out of context.

      • Of course he was trying to be coy about things and not give away anything…that’s the point of almost every manager’s press conference. We all get that.

        My point is that he can do it in such a better way and achieve the same result. It’s not a coincidence that every time Curtin, Stewart or Sugarman speak to the press, most of the fan base actually feels worse afterwards.

      • Sure I guess you’re right. It definitely wasn’t a great confidence building speech. Jimmy has definitely had a chip on his shoulder since last season. This seems more like a “we’re gonna show you” type of thing. I just didn’t take as much stock from it as you I guess. I already don’t expect much from the Union. I am not a believer. My opinion can’t get much lower. So everything else is superfluous until they get results or don’t.

  2. Rash Decisions Based on Fear says:

    Any person thinking the Union have a shot at being competitive this year is delusional. This roster didn’t make the playoffs last year and we have brought in 1(!) new player. Are you F**King kidding me? Meanwhile, Orlando has an entire new roster after 3 years of not making the playoffs? Where is the urgency? The accountability? This team is a farce, this coach is a farce, this organization is a farce.

    • I’m not giving them anything. The whole organization needs to start showing this build through youth speech isn’t just that. From my perspective, it looks like they are actually trying to do that this year. Playing time for young players will be there.

      • Will there be playing time for young players?
        I don’t see Jones getting on the field. Epps has a chance to get some time, but is behind Fafa it seems.
        Maybe Najem or Fontana, but really we should be getting someone in for that spot ~or they will be playing Ilsinho~. Yaro might get some time but I see Marquez in front of him.
        I don’t see much room for our homegrowns/academy kids. I see Jim playing it ‘safe’ like the end of the season last year…

      • I wrote more below, but yes, I think there has to be playing time.

  3. Minnesota United is offering a $6 million transfer for a 20 year old CAM in Colombia.


    That’s a second year team from St. Paul with more desire and cash to compete than Jay Sugarman.

  4. Pete Mazzaccaro says:

    In the meantime, this farce continues: http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/how-will-lee-nguyens-standoff-with-new-england-revolution/4zxrzyq05x9r1kt0p6vmu7jvr

    Still feel like he’s a terrific Plan B, particularly in that he gives you time and flexibility to develop Najem and Fontana for that role. Seems like the kind of player the Union would like. Why New England is sitting on him just to spite the player is ridiculous. Let him go. Get paid. Move on.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      New England is sitting on him because there are not likely many offers.
      New Endland is in the cat bird seat on this one.
      What makes Lee’s story and Cyle Larin’s story different it seems, is Larin had suitors, particularly appetizing suitors.
      Speaking of MLS…gotta love, Orlando receiving the total transfer fee for Larin.
      There is a bylaw that states, somewhere I’ve hear and read—-essentially, “MLS will do whatever it wants whenever it wants at MLS complete discretion.”
      Hard to get behind stuff like that….. to root for it, IMO.


      • Pete Mazzaccaro says:

        I’m sure he has suitors. Not Besiktas-level clubs, but Philadelphia isn’t the only team that could use a proven creative midfielder. I get that NE has the power here, but it seems like watching a pile of money burn just because you can. He’s not going to play for you again. At least get some value and move on.

        MLS transfer rules are a joke. It’s time for this single-entity, league holds all player contracts stuff has to stop. How other owners can be fine with MLS just breaking its own rules whenever it suits them is beyond me.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I don’t know… send Najem and bunch of Garber bucks to NE for Nguyen. My god… just make an offer. It’s not that tough

      • New England is the worst run team in the league by miles. Their owner couldn’t care less about soccer. I’d take Nguyen as a plan A. Yes he is on the older side but the dude is a stud in MLS and fits exactly what we need. NE owes us anyway after that farce of a trade for Davies.

      • Nguyen is a 31 yr old playmaker who is on a $500k contract which expires at the end of 2018.

        Larin is 22 year striker, a full international and on an expired contract.

        Not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

        Plus, there are a lot of teams that are interested in Nguyen. He and his reps know this, that’s why he’s sitting out and getting fined. He wants to get a new deal at a higher salary which from a market perspective, he deserves.

        If you want to take a shot at MLS, it should be over the fact that they lost at least a few million dollars on the Larin transfer. He should have been sold earlier in ’17 and for a ton more money.

      • Pachy – I just read the Tenorio article on the Larin transfer. Wow, MLS really outdid themselves in making things up as they go along. Incredible.

      • John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

        I don’t think the Revs are in the cat bird seat like you think. They can’t sell him overseas without him agreeing. The longer he sits and other teams sign more players, the more his trade value goes down. If the Union sign someone at the number ten or the kids light it up in pre-season games giving them confidence, they lose a potential trade partner. Also I would think there is a point in the season where he could just show up to get paid but still miss a portion of the season. Lastly as we get closer to the season, he would take time to integrate into the team, so maybe some teams might just see what players might become available in the summer transfer window.

  5. Here’s the problem, not that Curtin never plays any kids. He doesn’t CHANGE, unless forced to. Elliott would have never even seen the field if It weren’t for injury. The trusty/najem/jones impact is a novel idea, but they simply won’t see the field. MAYBE Najem will. Medunjanin and Bedoya won’t sit. Curtin won’t flip the triangle to add Jones. Marquez, Yaro and Elliott are all ahead of Trusty. Curtin doesn’t change things up for rest or to see what works. They’ll play in friendlies and for the Steel, that’s it. This team will start the same way it finished, except with Accam for Pontius. The only question is whether Rosenberty starts over Gaddis.
    I’m sorry if that seems negative, but I’m not quite understanding why everyone seems to think the team and coach will all of a sudden change this year magically.

    • No way! Curtin’s 5th season will be different! They’re wearing hoops now!

    • I think they have to be different. I think Curtin has to play the younger players. There are more of them in backup positions. Plus you know some starter is going to get hurt. Now I’m not saying all the homegrown signings will play a ton. Probably late game subs, Open Cup starts and BSFC loans. But they will be given opportunities and if they show well, will play. Stewart has set it up this way for Curtin. They aren’t blind to the fan base. This is more than likely part of the “5 year plan”. This is how I’m reading the situation. I’m not saying the will be able too achieve any great or satisfyingly enough success, but this is the way I think things are “progressing”.

  6. Your blurb is incorrect – the 03/17 DCU match is at Maryland SoccerPlex, but the 04/14 Match is at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD

  7. santo bevacqua says:

    Union is playing to the false narrative we like the group we have meaning the status quo, ….Lets make it simple mr Curtin and mr Stewart what will provide more playing time to develop the youth. Having a new proven 10 or try different players and rotations to find something that may not be there. Sense tells me that you must sign a ten to possibly make playoff leading to the rationale that if you will make the playoffs then you can develop and use the youth. not rocket sciense.stop this BS

    cc mr sugarman

  8. I swear that there are paid pro-sugarman trolls on this comment board. Look at some of the nonsense and realize it is just deflecting from the real issue… lack of investment.

    • Real issue not lack of investment. It’s the coaching. Everyone there left except head coach. New assistant coach and New gk coach. Next…
      Hey I like the ginger draper personally as much as next guy but new inspiration needed.
      Curtin has bright future…just time to consider if union head coach best future for him and everyone else involved. However it was pointed out at least two new players have another Curtin as their agent. Benefit or cloud cover?

      • Why do you think we’re stuck with a coach learning on the job? OWNERSHIP. Cheap coaching staff, no scouts, only LEAGUE MONEY spent. OWNERSHIP!

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