Daily news roundups

News roundup: Atlanta United are 2018 MLS Cup Champions

Photo credit: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

After declining Fabian Herber’s contract option, the Union have traded the rights to the German attacker to the Chicago Fire in exchange for a second round draft pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.

Watching the MLS Cup had Jonathan Tannenwald thinking about what the Union need to do to compete.

It seems likely that the rumors connecting Panamanian U20 striker Saed Díaz to Pennsylvania would have him playing for Bethlehem Steel FC next year.

Former Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath is on the move again.

Phang made an appearance at a tree lighting ceremony/toy drive hosted by Roxborough United Soccer Club.


Atlanta United has won the MLS Cup, shifting the axis of insufferability decidedly east.

Paul Tenorio on how the MLS landscape is changing.

Remember that time Garth Lagerwey talked about the Sounders not splashing cash (LINK)? Yeah well they just gave Jordan Morris a seven-figure paycheck.

Newly-launched Forward Madison FC will be the USL affiliate of less-newly-launched Minnesota United FC.

Montreal bought Maxi Urruti for TAM and a draft pick.

Copa Libertadores champion Pity Martinez will be Atlanta United’s next South American signing.

Zlatan will not be leaving the Galaxy.

US Soccer

Werder Bremen finally delivered on all those promises to play Josh Sargent with the first team. And Josh Sargent rewarded their confidence with his first touch.

Rumors continue to circulate that Zach Steffen is heading to Manchester.

The USWNT will face Sweden, Chile, and Thailand in the group stage of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.


A-League player Hakeem al-Araibi is waiting for a Thai court to rule on his extradition to Bahrain, where he claims he was previously a victim of politically-motivated torture.

The 2018 Copa Libertadores has finally come to a close, giving River Plate a title that is certain to live long in infamy.



  1. The Tannenwald article is so depressing and so true. The problem is why would Sugarman sell? The price is only going up, you don’t pull out of a guaranteed growth investment. Sucks for the rest of us though.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      such a true statement. Between the Tannenwald article and the Tenorio article we are ‘stuck in the middle with you’ as a band once opined.

    • Why are people getting upset about the Tannenwald article? Surely non of this can come as a surprise to anyone. It’s the same broken record about being a pauper. This is not new(s).

  2. “Atlanta United has won the MLS Cup, shifting the axis of insufferability decidedly east.” — Perfect summation of the weekend in MLS, Jim.

    The quotes from Sugarman in the Tannenwald piece are depressing. I worry the whole “we’re not as rich or good as anyone else” mantra is what this club’s culture is about. And that’s pretty craptastic. It’s a built in excuse all the way up to ownership. If you’re not competing, then why bother? What is the point of the Union if not to compete for silverware?

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      At this point, I would rather have Jay lie to my face and tell me that are going to compete and spend money. Every chance he gets, he reminds us that, “hey, don’t forget, I won’t be spending any real money to upgrade this team…” The continued lowering of the bar is just embarrassing at this point.
      But on the topic of spending: That contract for Morris… wow… smh… I don’t know about that.

  3. Tough draw for the USWNT with a likely match against hosts France in the Quarterfinals. 5th straight cup where the US has been in the same group as Sweden.

  4. Desh Bouksani says:

    “our competition is the world.”
    remember that when considering the number of locals occupying crucial roles in Union from bottom up.

  5. I got depressed when Arthur Blank was hitting some drum amongst the fans. Talking about an owner who gives back and appreciates the joy he is giving to these fans! Meanwhile our owner is only interested in what is in it for him; very very depressing.

  6. Maryland shut out Akron to win the NCAA crown. Philadelphia Union Academy grad Sebastian Elney capped his college career with a national championship. Was surprised to see Hackworth play for Akron. Never thought much of him but he seemed to have gotten better as he aged.

  7. Tannenwald piece makes me feel like we will never compete… but my heart wants to just enjoy this and not be too negative. Btw…glad to see Sargent getting into a good spot to follow through with the header! Great to see him having early success.

  8. John O'Donnell says:

    I find it fascinating……well not really, that fans won’t get behind a playoff team because a “Super Club” just won the championship. Yet some of those same fans want pro/rel. So basically I’m to believe that this mid-level team would be more beloved if they finished out of the playoffs (top 12) but just above the relegation line (18-19).

    Please don’t tell me about attracting more investors in a pro/rel league because the top doesn’t change that much in almost every other league.

    I think what is not being mentioned in that article is some form of training/solidarity fees are coming and the Union are building with that in mind.

    If this franchise was to be relegated….it would disappear no doubt about it in my mind.

    • John, I’ve read it several times, but I don’t know what your first paragraph means. I’m particularly unclear on that last sentence….

      As a supporter of pro/rel, but not a zealot who thinks it should happen tomorrow, I do think promotion/relegation would absolutely induce more investment in the states, simply because ownership groups could buy or invest in lower level clubs with the understanding that the sky’s the limit. Another U.S. firm is in the lead running to pour money into Newcastle United now. How many US owners are getting into the European sport?

      One could argue it’s a better investment because of the European culture, but it’s certainly risky. And MLS has shown the sport is, I believe, a growth opportunity here. but not when you must either buy franchise or be in the “minor” leagues indefinitely.

      Could the nature of that sort of open market completely jeopardize the Union? Absolutely. I wouldn’t guarantee that this fan base would follow the club down to the second tier in the U.S., but if the Union did disappear, the owners would have no one but themselves to blame.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        The reality is a new ownership group would buy the union at the lower level and they’d either remain there or build up.
        The core fans would remain the fairweathers as always would come and go.

      • John O'Donnell says:

        I’ll totally disagree this fan base would follow them down when they are already losing fans because they don’t think they can win a championship. Imagine Bethlehem Steel will draw close to the Union in attendance this year if that’s true.

        Comparing American investors in Europe to D1 soccer in America is irrelevant.
        Being promoted to EPL nets the team 214 million. Being promoted in MLS cost 150 million plus a stadium and training stadium plan with additional investment. Avoiding relegation the first year makes that 364 million….more than any MLS team is worth.

        What is the sky is the limit in America? People invest to make a profit. America’s sky isn’t they same as Europe’s sky as when you get there it’s a bill for the trouble and not a winning lottery ticket with prize money. Right now America needs big time money with the long view which so far is more than 24 years worth off investment to get this far.

        Right now I look at pro/rel like the friend in the group who gets on the bar tab and leaves before the check comes.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        John the costs are so high because of scarcity.
        an open market forces those costs to operate down..there isn’t a $150,000,000 buy in in an open market.

      • Hi John, fyi the pattern of attendance for the MLS wholly owned affiliates, like Bethlehem, is that when they are competing for ticket money in the same market as the owning parent club, attendance is abysmal.
        A website called soccer stadium digest tracks reported USL attendance and is the source for the data I generalize above.
        The pattern I cite has held since mid-summer 2016, and it explains why the Union have taken all the steps they have to make attending Steel games next season economically painless for fans.
        NYRB2 have been the most successful MLS2 team in the eastern conference. They have been consistently abysmal in attendance, the average is below 1,000 every season.
        Los Dos in LA is similar.
        Few will come watch the Steel next year, and the organization knows it.
        I would hazard the guess that they are losing one mid-level DP’s salary every year on their player development projects. Every year.

      • The skies above the US may not be as blue and laden with riches as they are in Europe, but I think we can all agree the sport here has to be about growth. If we don’t believe the sport has room to grow, than we can agree to disagree right now without discussing pro/rel.

        There’s no doubt that relegation would pose a serious jeopardy to many clubs, but we still have division 2 clubs in this country outdrawing some division 1 clubs. And pro/rel would undoubtedly provide a lot more interest for lower level clubs.

        Part of my own personal problem with the Union is ennui. They seem to be a team mired in a purgatory of their own mediocrity. It’s getting really dull*. I honestly think a relegation battle and, if demoted, a fight back up into division 1 are preferable prospects to what we have now.

        *I am optimistic Tanner is going to move us inthe right direction and may, dare I say it, improve us.

    • As a Union follower, I’d want pro/rel to hopefully force Sugarman to spend more in order to compete. If he didn’t and the team went down and disappeared, then absolutely wonderful! Someone with hopefully more ambition would take Sugarman’s place, either under the Union badge or another. I don’t understand what you are trying to grasp at John. You seem to see the disappearance of the Union (more importantly Sugarman) as a bad thing. I certainly do not. Do you imagine we as residents of this area should have some sort of allegiance to a club owned by a New York businessman that can’t spend enough money in order to compete in MLS? Does the club have some great history I’m missing? Or is it just the inept brand we have been stuck with for almost ten years now? We are allied to the team only because they are here. The Sons of Ben was a nice story but with it came Scrooge as the owner.
      I think you look at pro/rel in the wrong way, or at least under value it’s possibilities. Pro/rel could save us from this purgatory we are in. If pro/rel started tomorrow and a new owner came in at a lower level, somewhere in the region, promising to spend in hopes of getting promotion with plans to eventually reach MLS, I’d much rather support them then spend one more minute on the Union. I don’t think I’d be the only one either. If your worry is for the owners somehow, I assure you it’s misplaced. Why should I or anyone worry if a millionaire falters?
      I just can’t understand where you are coming from. Where does your allegiance lie? Certainly it’s not with the fans, that is clear.

  9. John O'Donnell says:

    Yes you’re right. What was I thinking? Hopefully it starts soon.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Typical response, John and unsatisfying.
      You espouse, and make valuable points, but when challenged curl up… and condescend.
      It is exactly what’s wrong with society today. People are unable to engage in meaningful conversation.

  10. With the topic up again I’ll take a sec to relay some info and a question. A few years ago AFC Bournemouth was promoted for the first time in club history. Just a few years before…they were passing buckets through the crowd for donations to keep the lights on. Would that happen in the States? I think not. Bournemouth has a 100 year history with its fans. Most of the world’s top leagues have a similar longevity of football history. How many of us would put money into a bucket to keep the lights on at Tallen stadium.
    I’m all for pro/rel but I like the support for most lower league teams would be minimal. The history is just not there…along with the culture. I may be way off with my assessment but I don’t think so.

    • But because of Pro/Rel, the club attracted new owners, including a buy in from a Russian businessman in 2011, that helped them climb to the Premier League. Would Maxim Denim have spent nearly a million pounds in a closed league?

      I know it’s tough to compare the cultures. And I agree that this country has a completely different relationship with sports teams, where we are used to franchises that don’t have 100-year-old+ community histories. But that doesn’t mean a more open market wouldn’t work.

      • I think it could work. Just the time frame for it becoming reality seems a long way off. And I agree that the open pyramid would surely attract more money.

  11. Anyone see that Zack Steffen was the bell ringer for the Sixers last night?

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