Daily news roundups

News roundup: Dockal for denim, Austin gets a different team, season previews, more

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Union

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Philadelphia Union

Dockal for denim: Instead of announcing the expected player signing, the Union announced… jeans.

Bethlehem Steel

A busy offseason points to a promising season for Bethlehem Steel.

Major League Soccer

The league’s editorial team released their season preview and predictions. Spoiler: MLS stat man Ben Baer does not rate the Union highly.

Predicting all 23 teams’ opening day lineups.

Which team had the best offseason?

SI was not kind to the Union in their annual critique of every MLS kit.

Speaking of weird brand partnerships, why not soccer and cereal?

The odds makers are betting on Toronto FC again.


Austin’s getting a soccer team (in USL)! #SaveTheCrew


USWNT favorite Crystal Dunn returns stateside from Chelsea by signing with North Carolina Courage.

Around the globe

Like a bad breakup, a non-league English side dumped their dual managers via email.

Eek! Neymar is hurt.


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    “bunker counter long ball….”
    I’m still spinning from this in Dan’s article yesterday.
    I’ve been teaching my kids under no circumstances should you ever, EVER….backpedal in order to create space to then kick a ball and I saw Fafa do it twice this weekend against Tampa Bay… a USL team——– (that kicked our ass and I don’t give a rip what first, second, third Union team was on the field)—-after watching everybody AGAIN turn and run towards the goal in the offensive third of the field instead of managing possession. If this occurred a few times a game, I get it- but it happens over and over and over and over…nauseating already and the season isn’t a game old.
    How this is allowed is simply beyond me. U just had possession and boot it over the midfield. U just had a numerical advantage in the deepening right channel and you gave it away.
    want to watch how the game should be played in america. how the game should be taught in america how the game could be played in america.
    checkout what Mark Lowry is doing in Jacksonville with Armada.
    this is the damn-standard.

    `oh hey… “sun is shining, the weather is warm…to the rescue. here I am. cause I want you to know-just…. where I stand”

    • This speaks to Curtin. We have never implemented a different system while he’s been coach. It doesn’t matter what players we’ve had. I think Harris, bedoya and sapong could be good in possession. Rosenberry, Elliott and even trusty look to have that skill. Problem is that’s not the tactic. It’s very obvious that the players are being told to kick and run, no one questions it. At least fafa and Accam are fast and CJ is strong so it might work sometimes. But be ready for more of kick and run.
      New systems are hard.

      • New systems are hard. Classic.

      • I thought in the Montreal game they were playing a twist on the system from the past years. Still a 4-2-3-1, but when attacking it was a 3-2-5 with the wingers cut in and the fullbacks pressing up. Allowed for numbers advantage at both ends 5 on 4 on the attack and then 3 on 2 if they booted to the pressure.

        This is what they talked about last off-season, but maybe this year they can execute it.

        When they have to bunker and boot it, then we have the speed now to do it.

        I would be curious to read what was discussed with media at the philosophy meeting.

    • I didn’t see the match this weekend, but there are instances where it’s acceptable to backpedal in order to kick the ball. When the space behind you is the only way to escape pressure in order to either dribble or make a safe/high-percentage pass. I understand the point that you are trying to make about hoofing it forward and totally agree with you on that. Just wanted to clarify.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        with respect if you have to backpedal to kick the ball then you can just as easily turn with the ball and play negative. the space is there with or without the ball.

      • “Before I receive the ball, I quickly look to see which players I can give it to. Always be aware of who is around you: if you feel them closing down, take a touch to move the ball away from them. Try and put yourself in space to get the pass: the more space you have, the more time you have to think. And when you get the ball, don’t move it towards the opponent. That said, sometimes I’m happy to run at a player and just hold the ball in front of him. That way I’ve moved the team forward.”

        Andres Iniesta in a 4-4-2 article entitled “How to boss midfield”

      • FWIW – We’re both advocating the same thing. Keep possession. Sometimes it makes sense to turn your body and shield the ball while you play it backward. Sometimes, it makes more sense to backpedal to give yourself space while continuing to face forward and evaluate what your next move should be with the ball.

    • Just because we have fast wingers does not mean it’s going to be bunker and counter long ball. I think they are going to play longs balls some, but with Elliot and Medunajin hitting them I’m ok with that. The midfield and OB (assuming Rosenberry starts) should be able to keep possession if the other teams defense stays deep respecting our speed.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        No argument…Until proven otherwise however …long ball to me begins with the goalkeeper.

      • Yeah I agree. Will take a few games to show how they want to play. But Blake does need to stop booting it up to nobody so much.

    • You should’ve posted that comment under MY post then. 😉

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Did this morning. Missed PSP yesterday. Massage. Ice Bath. Sprained finger or something.
        I aim to support fiscally this year too. Missed that last season. Sorry.
        I stand by the Lowry comment though….. and would pay in indentured servitude for that philosophy in this city.

      • Will check out Lowry. Thanks El P.
        I still think you are overly harsh with Blake. Could be coach encourages that or at doesn’t discourage. Blake dies the job better than anyone where it counts…saving shots. Must be hard with the defense last year and Year before…might be another reason he boots instead of rolling ball to his defense—lack of confidence in them.

  2. Get fired up, here’s a tweet on Tuesday before opening day. https://twitter.com/philaunion/status/968493503272583168

    • Is that Talen Energy Stadium or The Gap?

    • Hey if Levi (or another of their brands) will be on the front of the Jersey when Bimbo expires, then many will consider that a win.

      • Agreed.
        Deal ends 2019…not sure if that means spring or fall.
        Still Bimbo money and $20 beers at talen_ppl kept team afloat past few years. Akin to bimbos and booze keeping AC afloat in the 1920s…at least as I recall from boardwalk empire.

  3. Dan C( formerly of 103) says:

    I was very, very pessimistic going into this season. Unsure if I could even continue to support this team. A sense of dread and abject depression had warped not only my view of the team, but everything. The coaching, the sons of Ben, the parking situation, the glob of TAM and GAM sitting on the shelf. But when all looked lost, when it was perhaps the bleakest it has been in Chester since the U were born unto that field once called PPL, the FO went a head and signed a digital marketing contract with LEVIS!!!!!!
    Hot Damn do those young hipster-lite FO folk look darn right fashionable! I mean who would have thought to pair distressed Levi’s and a U monogrammed sweater. I don’t wanna speak for everyone else, but this kind of stone washes away all of the problems over the last 8 years! Denim till I die!!!!!!!

    • el Pachyderm says:

      listen…it is no easy task to hoist a Suncoast Invitational trophy, be a three time defending “Play Nice Award Winner” and have to carry the burden of a once, “Best Dressed Front Office.”
      “if I bear burdens
      they begin to be remembered as gifts,
      goods, baskets of bread that hurts
      my shoulders-
      but closes me in fragrance.
      I can eat as I go.”

    • Denim till I die LOL! man, this is good stuff. cheers!

    • Not sure about the terms of this deal, but if Levi’s gave them a chunk of cash which the Union rolled into improving the squad in exchange for photo-shoots like this, then I have no problem with the arrangement – such is the reality of sponsorships in professional sports. However, if all the Union got out of this is a pair of free jeans for all their employees, then this was a total waste of time. Given the FO’s track record (applesauce, anyone?), I suspect the latter is closer to the mark than the former.

  4. 538 has Union projected 13th in the league …. just good enough for a 7th place finish. Think that’s consistent with what readers thought in yesterday’s poll. … Have to admit, this is the first time in a while that I’m not terribly eager for this season to begin. I hope this team proves me wrong.

    • I’m conflicted honestly. The Union do so many things I can’t stand, but may finally be giving youth a shot. Depending on the moment I may feel great or dreadful about what’s to come.

      • I agree. They have brought in 2 really good players to fill huge starting holes (who knows about Dockal in MLS but he seems decent enough) and replaced most of the overpriced mid-level backups with young academy/draft guys. It’s a conflicting spot.

      • I agree. They cleared out the deadwood. Brought in difference makers at Wing and #10.

        And it really feels like there are youth players to be optimistic about. Not 1 as in the past but atleast 4 on the two deep.

  5. Soccer America gives no respect to the Union. In their article listing the projected starting lineups, they mention that only 3 teams are starting a majority of USMNT eligible players. They mention two of the three…Anyone want to guess the third?

  6. I agree with the jersey critique. In a vacuum the jersey might be good – I admit it looks way better in person than in picture – but the gold stripe was great branding for a team that has failed in every other facet its operation. It has little to no bearing on my actual support of the team, but I think it looks bland on tv. Just my opinion, I know there are others who feel differently.

  7. Joel Pterosaur says:

    In other news…WELP, can’t say the writing hasn’t been on the wall for years now: http://www.nasl.com/news/2018/02/27/north-american-soccer-league-announces-cancellation-of-2018-season

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