Archive | November, 2010

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Trio of Union GAs head off to Spain

Posted on 30 November 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Danny Mwanga, Jack McInerney, and Amobi Okugo left for Spain yesterday with the Generation Adidas squad to spend the next 10 days or so going toe to toe with some of the best youth talent in Spain. Okugo, specifically, will be working double duty after having played apart in the US Under-20s matches with Colombia and Mexico, two losses decided by penalty kicks.

FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman will head up the team of Generation Adidas players after a season that saw the Hoops land in the MLS Cup finals, a relatively shocking development for Dallas fans. The fixture list will consist of Real Madrid on Thursday (Dec 2), Rayo Vallecano next Tuesday (Dec 7), and Atletico Madrid next Thursday (Dec 8).

Goalkeepers – Stefan Frei (Toronto FC), Sean Johnson (Chicago)

Defenders – Jeremy Hall (Portland), Ike Opara (San Jose)

Midfielders – Corben Bone (Chicago), Danny Cruz (Houston), Dilly Duka (Columbus), Luis Gil (RSL), Baggio Husidic (Chicago), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Tony Tchani (New York)

Forwards – Juan Agudelo (New York), Tristan Bowen (Los Angeles), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Peri Marosevic (FCD), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia), Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia), Andrew Wiedeman (FC Dallas)

Some are recent graduates of the Generation Adidas program but 13 of the 15 currently under a GA contract will be making the trip. It should be nice to see Jack Mac, Okugo, and Mwanga back in action. Check out MLSSoccer.com occasionally as there should be video of the trip.

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Expansion Draft: Salinas and Moreno now ‘Caps

Posted on 24 November 2010 by Breton Bonnette

We'll always remember this...

The pick of Shea Salinas is a heartbreaker. The guy is classy, a true talent that with a better magic sponge could have been terrorizing the flanks of any MLS defense on a more consistent basis this season. With that said, he’s gone but to drive things home even more, Piotr Nowak pulled back Chris Seitz shattering any “impartial facade” he was trying to put forward. Vancouver, three picks later, went for a veteran striker that had Philly fans split 50/50. Alejandro Moreno was gritty and hard-working but, at the same time, rubbed fans the wrong way with his love of simulation. We’re not sure why Vancouver wants 2 guys that can hold-up the ball in Moreno and Chivas USA’s Alan Gordon but overall, we’re pretty happy Moreno’s selection kept Andrew Jacobson here.

Recap:  

Portland takes…

GKs – NONE
Defenders – Eric Brunner (Columbus), Anthony Wallace (Colorado), David Horst (Real Salt Lake), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Jordan Graye (DC United)
Midfielders – Adam Moffat (Columbus), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Arturo Alvarez (San Jose), Peter Lowry (Chicago)
Forwards – Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)

Vancouver takes…

GKs – Joe Cannon (San Jose)
Defenders – Nathan Sturgis (Seattle), Jonathan Leathers (Kansas City)
Midfielders – Shea Salinas (Philadelphia), John Thorrington (Chicago), Sanna Nyassi (Seattle), Atiba Harris (FC Dallas)
Forwards – Alejandro Moreno (Philadelphia), Alan Gordon (Chivas USA), O’Brian White (Toronto FC)

Let the mourning begin…Salinas was the first player to allow us an interview, excited as all hell to join from San Jose. He was married this past January and one of easiest to talk to in the locker room. Now he’s off to the West Coast again – this time a ‘little’ farther north – and ASN Philly can only wish him the best of luck.

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Expansion Draft 2010: Hoping for minimal damage

Posted on 24 November 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Guessing an expansion draft is downright impossible. Even more so when it’s two teams with bare boned rosters picking. The task of guessing what expansion squads need and what pieces they already have coming in is still ventured upon – almost begrudgingly – every year. It’s not fun looking around at which Union players many think will be selected but take comfort in knowing that very few of these consensus picks actually happen.

Let’s take a look at who – by the end of  today – will no longer be a member of the Union.

Let’s Talk Soccer

VANCOUVER: Shea Salinas, M/D, Philadelphia. (40k) Been impressed each time I’ve seen him. Dirt cheap too. Philly protects Andrew Jacobson after.

Salinas is a popular pick amongst the pontificators. Philly loses another however…in the last round.

PORTLAND: Brad Knighton, GK, Philadelphia. (40k) Younger option than Gruenebaum and I’ve enjoyed his play in New England and Philly. Competes with Steve Cronin in Portland. Philadelphia is done.

Fox Soccer/Soccer by Ives

9. PORTLAND TIMBERS – BRAD KNIGHTON (Philadelphia Union)

The Timbers go considerably younger in goal than Vancouver, grabbing the impressive and undervalued Knighton to battle Steve Cronin for the starting job. Knighton beat out Chris Seitz in Philadelphia before being inexplicably left unprotected.

Ives doesn’t agree with Nowak’s “if one GK is left unprotected then both should be” approach and we lose Knighton first.

16. VANCOUVER WHITE CAPS – ANDREW JACOBSON (Philadelphia Union)

Vancouver general manager Tom Soehn was head coach at D.C. United when Jacobson returned to MLS from France and will pounce on a solid and reasonably-priced defensive midfield option.

WV Hooligan

11. Portland Timbers – Andrew Jacobson (Philadelphia):

Me: Getting some speed in the midfield would be good for Spencer, I’ve always thought Jacobson could be developed into a very good player when given the proper time.

So, as of right now, it’s Jacobson and Knighton getting plucked by “the majority”. Surprisingly, we don’t lose another in WV Hooligan’s Mock Draft. We’ll take it.

Canadian Soccer News

No explanations here but a couple surprises in Duane Rollins’ take…

PORTLAND: 5. Alejandro Moreno (Phi)

VANCOUVER: 20. Chris Seitz (Phi)

Moreno and Seitz? Would anyone have a real problem with this? Moreno still has a role to play on this team but with the beating he takes every year, I can’t imagine he’ll be having many full 34-game seasons with the Union.

MLS Soccer

12) Vancouver choose Shea Salinas, M/D, Philadelphia Union Salinas is young, cheap, fast and full of running. He hasn’t quite found a permanent home on the field yet, but is capable of giving quality minutes at right back and right midfield. Youth, flexibility and affordability make him the right pick for Vancouver.

Believe it or not, I thought the selection of Salinas would be more of slam dunk than it seems to be with those trying to get in the heads of Spencer and Teitur. And once again, pleasantly surprised with no second pick from the Union.

Goal.com

3. Brad Knighton, GK, Philadelphia – A better option between the sticks than either Cronin or Nolly. After his performances in Philadelphia, he probably deserves an unfettered shot at a number one shirt somewhere in the league.

As it all is undoubtedly a crap shoot, Knighton and Salinas look to be the two most likely to be selected. If you remember last year at all, however, the consensus picks are normally way off. In our collective Mock Draft for the Union’s expansion draft last year (a round-up of 9 of the blogosphere’s mock drafts), only ONE (Andrew Jacobson) was selected.

Get ready for a bit of a surprise today.

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Nowak continues building and “the List”

Posted on 22 November 2010 by Breton Bonnette

The Shavar Thomas cast-off keeps looking better and is still paying dividends 6 months later. Piotr Nowak – a couple minutes prior to the release of the Protected Lists for the 2010 Expansion Draft – made a move that could spell the end for one of the several defensive midfielders the Union have on their roster.

Columbus Crew stalwart Brian Carroll joins the Union in exchange for the Union’s 28th pick in 2011’s SuperDraft, the pick received for Shavar Thomas.  With a deep draft expected, the 28th pick could yield something for the Crew but at 29, and a former USMNT international, it’s quite possible the Union have walked away with a vital piece in Carroll to a future winner.

And now to the list…

The Protected

1.         Califf, Danny  (DF)
2.         Carroll, Brian (MF)
3.         Gonzalez, Juan Diego (DF)
4.         Harvey, Jordan (DF)
5.         Le Toux, Sebastien (FW)
6.         Mapp, Justin (MF)
7.         Nakazawa, Kyle (MF)
8.         Orozco Fiscal, Michael (DF)
9.         Stahl, Toni (MF)
10.       Torres, Roger (MF)
11.       Williams, Sheanon (DF)

The Unprotected

1.         Arrieta, Cristian (DF)
2.         Coudet, Eduardo (MF)
3.         Fred (MF)
4.         Jacobson, Andrew (MF)
5.         Knighton, Brad (GK)
6.         Miglioranzi, Stefani (MF)
7.         Moreno, Alejandro (FW)
8.         Noone, J.T. (DF)
9.         Salinas, Shea (MF)
10.       Seitz, Chris (GK)
11.       Zimmerman, Nick (FW)

Generation adidas Players (exempt from selection):

1.         McInerney, Jack (FW)
2.         Mwanga, Danny (FW)
3.         Okugo, Amobi (MF)

Initial reactions??

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Player Profile: Brian Carroll

Posted on 22 November 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Position: Midfielder

Number: 0

Born: July 20, 1981

Birthplace: Springfield, Virginia

College: Wake Forest

Height : 5’10”

Weight: 155

Previous Teams: DC United, Columbus Crew

Salary: $140,569 (2010)

International Career: 8 caps with the US Men’s National Team

How acquired (Union): Acquired on November 22, 2010 from the Columbus Crew for a 2nd round draft pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft as well as allocation money.

Selected in the 2nd round, 11th pick, of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft by D.C. United.

Stats

2011 with Philadelphia: 

2008-2010 with Columbus: 84 games, 83 starts, 2 goals, 3 assists, MLS Cup champion in 2008

2003-2007 with DC United: 121 games, 106 starts, 2 goals, 11 assists, MLS Cup champion in 2004

Did you know?

Piotr Nowak has a long, prior history with Brian Carroll having introduced him to D.C. United’s starting lineup after he took over in the 2004 season. United ended up winning the MLS Cup Championship that year.

Has two brothers, Jeff and Pat, who both spent time with D.C. United.

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Football Manager 2011: Who’s playing with the Union?

Posted on 18 November 2010 by Breton Bonnette

We’re almost two weeks removed from the release of the first issue of Football Manager that includes your own Philadelphia Union and the FM time drain has already begun. ASN Philly is interested in hearing what it’s like playing with your Union on Football Manager 2011.

Have you kept the vultures away from Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney (both of which were hunted by Sevilla and Anderlecht respectively the minute my game started)?

Did you resolve the Brad Knighton/Chris Seitz issue by bringing in a veteran goalkeeper to get things done? Was Seitz or Knighton the first to go?

Any luck in recreating the – at times – incredibly attractive short-passing game of Nowak? Or did you create a whole, bold new tactic that rattled Major League Soccer defenses?

What did the 2011 season wind up like? (How does Mapp with a solid 12 assists sound? Or Le Toux and Mwanga at 16 and 11 goals respectively?)

There’s little doubt that this is the most extensive version of the game yet with a revamped player interaction system, an improved Major League Soccer set-up, and many other little bells and whistles but the real fun of it all is having the option to grab the reins of a club we spent the last year playing armchair GM with.

ASN Philly will be ramping up the coverage again over the next couple weeks as the offseason starts to heat up.

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Then and now

Posted on 14 November 2010 by pshea

The Mile High Stadium locker room in 1997 was a lot bigger than the changing room at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, so it accommodated many more people.

With friends, wives, reporters, and girlfriends joining the champagne showers at Mile High, team owner Philip Frederick Anschutz made an announcement. The room fell silent. He was buying airline tickets for all wives, girlfriends, and media.

Without skipping a beat following the gasps and the announcement, goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann asked, “Can you make sure my wife and my girlfriend don’t sit next to each other?”

Today’s team didn’t have as much space and champagne on Saturday, but the vibe was equally ecstatic. If anything, the 2010 team has a little higher voltage. The 1997 roster brimmed with confidence, but today’s version seems more capable, perhaps because they don’t have a Cinderella storyline.

Although they were seeded low this year, Colorado’s overall record showed success against every team in the league at some point during the season. Within the parity bounds of MLS, they seemed capable of becoming champions all year long, except for the palindrome-like turnabout in their 11th game: 6-3-1 to 1-3-6. Then, following a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Crew on August 21, the Rapids went on a 5-2-3 tear into the playoffs.

Enos Stanley “Stan” Kroenke had an international flight to catch on Sunday and did not attend the game on Saturday night.

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Rapids reach MLS Cup Final

Posted on 14 November 2010 by pshea

With a combination of gritty defense and relentless attacking, the Colorado Rapids notched a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night to reach the MLS Cup Final in Toronto next week.

Central defender Drew Moor cleared the ball with his head 17 times during the game for Colorado, and he launched a diving header on goal in the 70th minute. San Jose midfielder Geovanni cleared Moor’s shot off the line to prevent a final nail in his team’s coffin.

Ultimately, Kosuke Kimura’s inswinging cross in the 42nd minute was the game-winner for Colorado. San Jose defender Tim Ward won a race to the ball deep in the corner and knocked it out for a throw-in. Kimura joined Pablo Mastroeni and Wells Thompson to work the ball on the ground amid tight pressure, and Kimura curled a cross into the goalmouth. Omar Cummings streaked to the ball first and froze goalkeeper Jon Busch. What do you call it? A missed flick? A dummy?

“We call that the two-for-one,” San Jose coach Frank Yallop said after the game. “If you whip it in and people are running across, it leaves you flat-footed. It’s a good ball in a dangerous area.”

Call it a goal. Call it a ticket to the MLS Cup Final. The 17,779 fans roared their approval and maintained their heated enthusiasm until the final whistle.

Highlights

The Earthquakes started immediately with hard challenges and aggressive attacking. Ward worked his way up the left wing in the fifth minute, and Geovanni forced Matt Pickens to make the first save of the game. Although this turned out to be the only shot on goal for the visitors all night, San Jose stayed competitive until the very end.

“We had a good 20-25 minutes in the second half,” Yallop recounted, noting a boost when he inserted Arturo Alvarez for Chris Leitch in the 57th minute. “It’s not the personnel coming off. It’s who comes on. Our boys played well. They never buckled, never got down on each other.”

The after-shocks from the first shot of the game transitioned to Colorado. Cummings raced up the middle of the field with the ball in the seventh minute and fired a worm-burner from 25 yards out. Busch collected his first of five saves for the night.

Scott Sealy read an outlet pass from Pickens in the 12th minute and lofted the ball over the bar as the Colorado ‘keeper retreated.

Brian Mullan weighted a near-perfect through-ball to Cummings in the 22nd minute, but Busch left his line in time and blocked the shot at the top of the penalty box.

Conor Casey overcame multiple defenders and sent three shots wide left in the first 30 minutes of play. Casey sent his fourth shot wide left as well, another header in the 78th minute. For the night, Casey ran hard with and without the ball, forcing the visitors to contend with his challenges instead of creating attacks of their own.

Marvell Wynne had a seven-minute stretch in the first half when he was in the defensive spotlight, clearing balls with his head and feet in dangerous situations. Head coach Gary Smith has settled on a starting back line with Wynne and Moor in the middle, Kimura on the right, and Anthony Wallace on the left.

When asked how they would defend against Dallas or the gaLAxy, Wynne said, “We’ll do what we always do. It’s seems to be working. Why change it?”

In recent games, Smith has inserted central defender Julien Baudet for the closing minutes.

“You know they’re going to drop in long balls,” Wynne said. “So it’s smart to bring in a big guy like Julien.”

“He’s a great communicator,” Moor said of Baudet. “At the end of the game, a lot of guys are tired. If you bring in a guy like him, he talks constantly and keeps the intensity up. It’s been nice the last couple games.”

Replacing Jamie Smith on the flank, Thompson delivered corner kicks for Colorado, stayed back on defense when Kimura overlapped, and created danger with the ball.

When asked about his preparation for the game, Thompson said, “As a player, you have to be mentally ready. I didn’t know until about an hour before game time.” Smith left practice early on Friday, and after the Scottish midfielder conducted a brief test before kickoff, Thompson received his assignment.

“Omar opens it up down wide,” Thompson explained. “And Kosuke does his thing. So I stayed back a bit too.”

Rather than race down the wing with the ball, Thompson tends to swerve inside. “I grew up playing center mid,” the midfielder said, “so I tend to drift in and slash.”

Captain Mastroeni drifted and slashed his fair share, forcing saves from Busch in the 63rd and 73rd minutes. Tactically, Mastroeni has made a conscious effort to push forward more in recent games, while maintaining his trademark presence with Jeff Larentowicz as defensive midfielders.

But according to Moor, the captain brings much more than tactics and skill.

“Pablo has been the heart of the team this year,” Moor explained. “He’s been on a mission, and everyone has followed him.”

Looking ahead

“Both teams are tough,” Moor explained. “Dallas plays fast, and LA is very dangerous. They play finesse and can catch you sleeping.”

Mastroeni will be wide awake. According to Colorado’s leader, “We’ve played well against the best teams in the league. So regardless of who we play, it’s going to be a great game.”

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RSL faces tough challenge against FC Dallas

Posted on 05 November 2010 by kali

With Real Salt Lake’s season on the line and one of the team’s key attacking players unavailable for Saturday’s Western Conference semifinal match against FC Dallas (8 pm MT, Fox Soccer Channel), coach Jason Kreis might have some cause to be worried.

Or maybe not.  “I think that our team is at their absolute best when their backs are firmly against the wall,” Kreis said earlier this week.  “Now, that’s exactly where we are.”

RSL’s unbeaten streak at Rio Tinto Stadium, which dates back to May 2009, has been well-documented, giving Kreis cause to be even more confident, but Dallas will present a stern challenge to Real as it seeks to advance in the MLS playoffs.  That challenge will be made tougher due to the absence of attacking midfielder Javier Morales, who is suspended for Saturday’s match after being sent off in RSL’s 2-1 loss in Dallas last weekend, particularly as Real will need to win the match outright in order to advance.

Although Morales’ seven goals and nine assists this season have been invaluable to Real’s success, winning without him isn’t exactly unprecedented.  The Argentine playmaker left last year’s MLS Cup final early through injury, a match which RSL eventually went on to win in penalty kicks; the team also earned some key results earlier in the 2010 regular season while Morales was out with a hamstring injury.

However, Will Johnson has recovered sufficiently from an injury sustained in training last week and is expected to start.  While Johnson hasn’t had the attacking production of Morales this season, his work rate and defensive capabilities will be key for RSL’s possession in the midfield. Nelson Gonzalez could be an option off the bench if an offensive spark is needed late in the match, as the young midfielder has also been on the mend and may be available on Saturday.

With Alvaro Saborio fighting to recover from a knee injury and Paulo Junior nursing a groin strain, Fabian Espindola and Robbie Findley will be the likely starters up front, while Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Andy Williams, and Ned Grabavoy are expected to start in the midfield.  2010 MLS Defender of the Year Jamison Olave, fellow DOTY nominee Nat Borchers, and Goalkeeper of the Year nominee Nick Rimando will spearhead the RSL defense, with Chris Wingert and Robbie Russell the likely starters on the flanks.

However, Dallas has some injury and suspension woes of its own to deal with.  Milton Rodriguez and Heath Pearce did not travel with the team to Salt Lake City, while Atiba Harris is suspended after being sent off last weekend as well.  Former academy player Ruben Luna, whose goalscoring abilities attracted attention during the Hoops’ preseason training, is set to travel in Rodriguez’s place.

Regardless of who Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman puts on the pitch, RSL must overcome the one-goal deficit from last week’s match in order to keep its title defense alive.

“We’re not going change how we do things or what we do,” Kreis said. “We’re still a very possession-oriented team, we’re still a very dynamic team that’s going to demand a lot of movement in our midfield. And the guys that step in to do the job, we have no doubts that they can do it.”

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PHOTO GALLERY: RAPIDS 1, CREW 0

Posted on 02 November 2010 by mmurphy

no images were found

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