Archive | February, 2011

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Ergotelis FC tie tells us more than you think, complete rosters and where’s Michael?

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Courtesy of Ergotelis FC's Website

Stefani Miglioranzi continued what’s fast becoming a Union trademark, finishing games – whether they’re regular season or preseason – with only 10 men on the field. Miglioranzi was ejected, the second ejection of the preseason, in the 88th minute of the friendly vs. Ergotelis FC played earlier today at the Pancretan Stadium. The Union were holding onto a 1-0 lead until the ejection of Miglioranzi led to a converted equalizer from the penalty spot.

In better news, however, new signing Carlos Ruiz found his first Union goal tapping a Justin Mapp service into the net only 27 minutes after stepping onto the field a member of the Union for his debut. Faryd Mondragon showed well in net, shutting out Ergotelis, before stepping aside for a younger line-up in the second half.

Surprisingly, we have rosters! They don’t look to be “in formation” but you can certainly see that Orozco Fiscal did not play a part in this lineup. The picture and rosters are courtesy of Ergotelis FC’s website:

First Half: Mondragon, Califf, Carroll, Harvey, Mapp, Miglioranzi, Mwanga, Nakazawa, Ruiz, Torres, Valdes.

Second Half: MacMath, Agorsor, M. Farfan, Mclnerney, Okugo, Pfeffer, Richter, G. Farfan (TRIALIST), Keon Daniel (TRIALIST), Houapeu

The picture above is clearly of the second half line-up and the Union players are as follows from the top left to the bottom right: Z. Pfeffer, Okugo, Macmath, TRIALIST (Keon Daniel), Miglioranzi, Valdes, Houapeu, McInerney, M. Farfan, Agorsor, TRIALIST (G. Farfan), Richter

What to pull from all this? That’s a formidable “starting XI” the Uion have fielded above. We also have confirmation that both Gabriel Farfan and Keon Daniel are still in camp with the squad and there’s a distinct possibility they could be sticking around. It’s also clear Michael Orozco Fiscal did not play a part in this friendly. Does that mean he is gone? No drawing concrete conclusion but it’s definitely a strong possibility.

More pictures, quotes from Piotr Nowak, Carlos Ruiz, Faryd Mondragon, and a game recap (translated) at the Ergotelis FC link above.

The Union – having flip-flopped dates – will now play third division Hersonissos FC at the same location this Wednesday, March 2.

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UPDATE: Union to head to D.C. in first Open Cup qualifying match

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Get ready for an extra road trip down I-95.

UPDATE (2/28/2011): United has won the coin toss and an away trip (most likely in mid to late April) to RFK Stadium it is. DC maintains their streak of having not had to play an away Open Cup related match in 5 years now. The rest of the Union’s Open Cup qualification schedule looks like this:

Once the Union beat DC, they advance to face New England at HOME. The winner of that moves on to the last play-in, a showdown with either Houston or Kansas City. All dates to be announced shortly.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

According to Steve Goff at the Washington Post, the Union will face D.C. United in the first round of US Open Cup qualification. United hasn’t played an Open Cup-related match on the road for almost four years so based on their past luck, one could expect an away draw for the Union. The possibility of hosting the match, however, is 50/50 as a coin toss to be held on Monday will decide the location of the game. If last year is any indication, the qualification process for Major League Soccer teams will start in late April an Nowak will look to take it seriously as he did last year. The only problem with Nowak’s approach was the fact that the Union left Harrison after last year’s qualification match vs. the New York Red Bulls with an injured Sebastien Le Toux.  

This would be one of three USOC qualifiers that the Union would have to win just to make the tournament, a tough road that will add to an already crowded fixture list with the addition of four games in the regular season. The expansion of the roster to 30 should help alleviate any congestion the USOC qualifiers cause but it will be interesting to see how Nowak approaches the Open Cup qualification process in 2011.

The Union were one and done last year after travelling up to Red Bull Arena and losing 2-1 only three days after losing to them by the same score several days before in regular season play. It was an undeniably lackluster performance that left the 50-75 Union supporters that made the trip up midweek a bit disappointed.

It would be nice for a home tie but we’ll have to wait until Monday to find out.

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Player Profile: Carlos Ruiz

Posted on 22 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Full Name: Carlos Humberto Ruíz Gutiérrez

Position: Forward

Number: #20

Born: September 15, 1979



Birthplace: Guatemala City, Guatemala

Height : 5’9″

Weight: 182

Previous Teams: FC Dallas, Los Angeles, Aris FC (Greece), Puebla (Mexico), Olimpia Asuncion FC (Paraguay)

Status: Has Green Card.

Salary: N/A

How acquired (Union): Signed on February 22, 2011 on a free transfer after being released by Aris FC.

International Career: Has 41 goals in 86 caps with the Guatemalan national team.

Stats

2011 with Philadelphia:

2009-2010 with Olimpia, Puebla, Aris FC: 20 goals in 66 appearances

2008 with Toronto FC: 5 appearances

2008 with Los Angeles: 1 goal in 10 appearances

2005-2007 with FC Dallas: 31 goals, 9 assists in 68 appearances

2002-2004 with Los Angeles: 50 goals, 8 assists in 72 appearances

Did you know?

Upon entry in Major League Soccer in 2002 with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Ruiz scored 24 goals, won the league’s MVP award, and led the Galaxy to a MLS Championship.

Holds Major League Soccer’s record for most goals scored in the postseason with 16.

After the acquisition of Carlos Ruiz before the 2005 season, FC Dallas went on to only lose two out of their first 17 games. It was also the year of the name change – the Dallas Burn became FC Dallas.

Ruiz is the leading scorer for the Guatemalan national team.

Played most recently for Aris FC in Greece – former temporary home of MLS players Juan Carlos Toja, Freddy Adu, and Eddie Johnson.

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Union fans, welcome Chooch Numero Dos to the family

Posted on 22 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Is the City of Brotherly Love ready for a second Chooch? If not, you better get ready fast as El Pescadito has signed for the Union and will be joining the Union as they head off on their second leg of preseason in Greece.  

Ruiz, a one-time MLS MVP and MLS Champion, joins the Philadelphia Union after brief stays over the last several seasons in Paraguay, Mexico, and Greece. At 31, it appears he could have several years left in his tank but we’ll only know  for sure once the season begins in earnest. He certainly hasn’t stopped scoring goals for the Guatemalan national team so let’s hope that it translates back to Major League Soccer.

Ruiz sits as the 10th highest scorer all-time in Major League Soccer with an impressive 82 goals. He possesses a reputation as a player (a la Ale Moreno) that will do anything to get a call in his direction – a flop, an embellishment, a “whiner” (just ask Ricardo Clark) – but nothing changes the fact that Ruiz scores goals. As one of the best poachers to ever come through Major League Soccer, he’s one of those guys you would rather have playing for you than against you. For those that hate the simulation part of his game (and believe me I’m still wrapping my head around all of this), expect Nowak to have him limit that as he did with Alejandro Moreno for the most part.

With that, the line-up come opening day in Houston could now look like this:

————————-Mondragon——————————

Williams——–Valdes—————Califf———–Orozco F.

——————Carroll————Miglioranzi——————

Le Toux——————————————————Mapp

——————-Mwanga———-C.Ruiz———————–

Thoughts on the above projected Starting XI? Is this the true goalscoring threat the Union has been looking for? Were there better options out there? 

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Andrew Jacobson to join Seitz in Dallas, Union get draft pick

Posted on 18 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Hoops are quickly snapping up Union players and this is one, as a Union fan, that’s tough to swallow. Jacobson featured in 25 games for the Union after being picked up in the 2009 Expansion Draft and is yet another victim of a crowded midfield. From time to time, he also appeared occasionally on the wings but with Okugo apparently having a great preseason, the acquisition of Brian Carroll, and a possible signing or two in the wings, it looks like Jacobson wasn’t in Nowak’s cards. The former Cal midfielder will join Chris Seitz and a Dallas squad that made its’ first MLS Cup appearance last season, losing to the Colorado Rapids in extra time.  In the trade, the Union have received Dallas’ 2nd round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.

Quite the roster turnover as Jacobson becomes the Union’s ninth player to be offloaded this offseason. He was also an original Union member (those taken in the 2009 Expansion Draft) as that list dwindles to four remaining – Zimmerman, Miglioranzi, Harvey, and Seb Le Toux.

Our verdict on the move? He fit the bill or at least was making progress in meeting Nowak’s expectations. A second round pick for 2013 isn’t enough for Jacobson unless you have someone waiting in the wings to be signed or are absolutely confident in those you have that the depth of the squad won’t be compromised. Jacobson seemed to be getting better as the year went on last season so, in ASN Philly’s eyes, Dallas got the best end of the deal in this one. Only time will tell however if we’re right.

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Future Focus: FC Delco and The Haverford School’s Max Kurtzman

Posted on 17 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

One of the toughest things as an athlete is to overcome the adversity of a serious injury. It tests an athlete to the core. Will you come back the same? Can you stand that long spell on the sidelines?  US youth international, FC Delco and The Haverford School star Max Kurtzman can tell you first hand what it takes. After a junior season that saw him earn national attention (Top Drawer Soccer’s #1 GK recruit in 2009 and 2010) with FC Delco and Delco Player of the Year for the Haverford School, it was only right that his senior season would be full of more accolades all across the board. Instead a patellar fracture sustained in a collision during play with the Haverford School kept Max out from late September onward. Life went on, of course, and Kurtzman’s resolve and knowledge of the game became huge assets for his high school team as he manned the sideline essentially as a player-coach.  Instead of sulking, he watched from the sideline, supported his teammates, and worked on his own rehab as the months flew by. Flash forward to February 2011 and Kurtzman has committed to the University of Pennsylvania, coached by Rudy Fuller, where he will follow in a long line of impressive goalkeepers several of which went on to careers in professional soccer. He has the resume already to make a splash in University City and once fully healthy, you can expect Kurtzman to be a stronger, more driven, and incredibly hungry player for the Quakers.

ASN Philly put the Future Focus on Max as he continues his rehab and hopes to be ready for the summer of his first year at Penn:

Q: You’ll take your talents to UPenn next year and link up with Coach Rudy Fuller. What is it about Coach Fuller, his approach, and his style of play that made you want to join Penn’s program?

A: Coach Fuller, from day one of the whole recruiting process, has been straight forward and completely honest with me; his honest approach was a major factor with my commitment as I have known where I stand with him since I have starting the recruiting process. Penn’s defense, present and future, is very solid. With that, a major factor for me is their defensive leadership and strength in the program.

Q: Coach Fuller has an impressive crop of new recruits coming in, a class boasting three US youth internationals (including yourself), have you spoken to any of your new fellow classmates? What is it that Coach Fuller expects from his freshmen?

A: I have been in recent contact with not only Agye [Botchway] and Duke [LaCroix], but also a few of the other recruits as well. Coach Fuller expects us to come in and compete as hard as we can for a spot on the field from the start, just like every other player out there.

Q: You’ll follow in the footsteps of several great UPenn goalkeepers in Matt Haefner, Danny Cepero (formerly of the Red Bulls), and Drew Healy, what would you like to accomplish in your first year in University City?

A: I still have a lot to learn about the college game; I want to look up to the three goalies ahead of me and try to gain as much knowledge from them as I am able to. Obviously, I want to compete to get on the field as best I can.

Q: Both of your parents are Wharton graduates. You will also be entering Wharton come the fall. This may be a rhetorical question but was heading to UPenn a forgone conclusion? What is it you like so much about the place?

A: UPenn has always been a part of me, as both of my parents went there, and many family friends as well. The combination of academics, athletics, and social life made my decision very easy for me; on my visits to campus, I was shown a great time by not only the soccer team, but also but other students around campus that I know from either high school, or through mutual friends.

Q: You have endured an incredibly busy last couple years, playing with FC Delco, the Haverford School, and on the youth international level – does the juggling of time ever get old and overwhelming? How supportive and influential have your parents been in all of it?

A: The juggling of soccer, my academics, and social life has never been an easy task. I have been lucky enough to have my parents and friends there by my side to help me if I needed it; my parents show endless support to me in my soccer, and also my other sports, life, and extra curricular activities.

Q: We’ve asked this before to people and never quite received the most in-depth answers but we’re still curious. What is it about FC Delco that makes it one of the country’s premier soccer clubs?

A: The coaching staff. The coaches here at Delco are not just coaches, but they really connect with the players which allows a much closer, tighter knit environment for which to play in. Also, the players here are all very close. I can honestly say that playing with some of my best friends is a lot easier than playing with people I am not as close with, which makes playing with Delco that much easier, and makes our team better.

Q: Your biggest strengths, according to former coaches, is your constant communication with your backline and overall tactical awareness of the game. Would you say they are right? What is it that you are surveying and relaying to the defenders in front of you?

A: I would have to agree with them. Being behind the backline, and entire team, I am able to see the field, and know where the players are supposed to go. If a defender steps up, it only makes sense for the others to fill in the gaps behind or next to that defender. It is also very important to me to have a good relationship with my defenders so communication with them during games is that much easier.

Q: Entering into college, what would you say are the biggest things for you to work on this offseason?

A: I would say that my biggest goal this offseason is to get back into the shape I was in before my injury. I currently weigh about 180 right now; I lost a lot of muscle in my legs from my injury, and I want to get my weight up to around 185-190.

Q: It was a disappointing end of your high school career after suffering a broken patella in a late September game, are you fully healed?

A: I am not yet fully healed; I recently had another surgery to take the pins and wires out of my knee, but I am well on my way to being stronger than I was before my injury. My doctor, Dave Rubenstein, projects that my knee and legs will be stronger than they were before the injury occurred.

Q: What did the rehab and time off from soccer do for you?

A: The time off from soccer and rehab really regenerated my passion for the game, and want to get back on the field. It has been since September 25th since I have been on the field, and it is about time that I am back out there.

Q: You have seen the rise of Zach Pfeffer as the Union’s first ever homegrown player. If offered the opportunity, would that have been an option that you entertained instead of heading to UPenn? Have you spoken with Zach at all about his experiences with the Union so far?

A: That is a very tough one. My gut reaction is to say yes, but though playing professional soccer is the ultimate goal of mine, I feel that my game is not yet ready for that level. and I still have to mature as not only a player, but also a person. Playing college soccer is very important to me because it will allow me more time to get better on the field, and also off the field. I have spoken with Zach many times about his playing with the Union; Zach is a good friend of mine, and he has only great things to say about the Union and his experiences so far.

ASN Philly spoke with Zach about Max and asked for a little scouting report: “As a goalkeeper, Max is fantastic. He’s very, very quick and agile and he also is very comfortable with the ball. He commands his area very well and is a true leader on the field. He also has a great personality which carries over to his play on the field”

Q: With that said, have you been to many Union games? What did you think of the first season?

A: I have been to quite a few Union games; I thought that the coaches and players did a great job so far, and they will only get better as the seasons come.

Quick Kicks

Courtesy: Mainline Media News

Q: Can you pinpoint a favorite soccer moment for you so far?

A: I have to say that playing against Atletico Madrid in Madrid with the U-15 National Team is my favorite soccer moment. Also, playing alongside Zinedine Zidane in the ESP All-Star Game.

Q: Who is the best player in the world right now at your position?

A: Iker Casillas.

Q: Between you and Zackary Steffen, FC Delco has become sort of a goalkeeper factory these days. What can you say about Steffen and his future potential?

A: The bottom line is ‘Steff’ is a phenomenal goalkeeper. His potential is endless; I have no doubt that he will be one of the best goalkeepers that FC Delco has ever had.

Q: Who are some of the rising stars coming out of FC Delco?

A: Zack Steffen, Colin O’Neill

Q: The best advice you have ever been given…

A: Always believe in yourself.

Thanks for the time Max and good luck with your continued rehab and we wish you nothing but the best during your stay at UPenn. We’ll be checking back in!

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Union to face Ergotelis FC during second preseason leg in Greece

Posted on 16 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

As announced a while back, the Union will head to Greece for the second leg of the 2011 preseason (February 23-March 10). They will train at Pancretan Stadium in Heraklion (capital of Crete), home of Ergotelis FC which also happens to be the former home – for a brief while – of Clint Mathis. They will play two matches (see below), one against Ergotelis – their hosts – and another against a third division side located in the area. 

The Union are 2-0-1 this offseason with one match left to go in Orlando this Saturday and a lot of work still ahead of them. A warmer climate and a gorgeous setting (take a look at the pictures below) should help the Union prepare for a season opener in Houston less than a week and half after they return.

Philadelphia Union’s Preseason Game Calendar in Crete:

Date                Opponent                               Venue                                     Time                         

2/28/11            Hersonisos F.C.                       Pancretan Stadium                  TBD
3/2/11              Ergotelis F.C.                         Pancretan Stadium                  TBD

As seen from this quick post almost seven months ago to Hellenic News of America, the Union, Ergotelis FC, and Nikos Papadopoulos of Colonial Marble & Granite (sponsors of the trip), could host a “return leg” happen in the States sometime this season.

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Revs go deep on defense

Posted on 16 February 2011 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution have signed 22 year old Argentine defender Franco Coria, according to The Boston Globe.

Coria, a center back who joins the Revs on a loan deal from Chacarita Juniors of the Primera B Nacional league, Argentina’s second division, will add much needed depth to a depleted back line that surrendered a league high 50 goals last season.

With the additions of Coria, MLS veteran Ryan Cochrane, and rookie A.J. Soares, central defense appears to have been the position that Steve Nicol has primarily focused on strengthening this off-season; a position that due to successive injuries over the 2010 campaign, Nicol was forced into starting various midfielders at center back.

While Coria will more than likely see most of his playing time in a central position, he could also provide cover for Kevin Alston at right back. The Revolution have also secured French international Didier Domi and re-signed 2nd year Revs man Seth Sinovic to shore up the left side of defense.

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Player Profile: Chris Agorsor

Posted on 15 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Position: Forward

College: University of Virginia

Birthdate: January 9, 1990

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 145

Hometown: Severn, MD

Acquired: Acquired via lottery by the Philadelphia Union on February 14, 2011.

College Stats

2008-2009 with University of Virgina: 20 games, 6 goals, 2 assists

Has appeared several times for various US Youth National Teams.

Did you know?

After leaving the University of Virginia after his sophomore year, Agorsor had a two-week training stint with Manchester United that earned him rave reviews but no contract offer.

In spite of Baltimore’s proximity to Washington DC, Agorsor has never heard from or thought about playing for DC United.

Agorsor says he has never heard from D.C. United throughout the years, nor was he interested in playing for them. He says the rivalry between his youth soccer club, the Baltimore Bays, and D.C. United’s academy was a heated one in the youth ranks.According to Agorsor, Baltimore “is a lot more similar to Philly than to DC … and Philadelphia was the closest I could be to playing in Baltimore.” – From PhiladelphiaUnion.com

Known for his speed, agility, and confidence at taking men on at the dribble.

See all Player Profiles and Former Player Profiles HERE.

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Trialist Agorsor acquired by Union via lottery

Posted on 15 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Courtesy: PhiladelphiaUnion.com

The Union beat both expansion squads, Portland and Vancouver, to former Gatorade High School Player of the Year (2007-2008) Chris Agorsor. The one time Virginia Cavalier just recently turned 21 and as a belated birthday present, signed with the Union as he looks to put back on track a career that was briefly derailed by injuries. First, a horrific tackle vs. Central Connecticut State left him with damaged cruciate ligaments and an extended stay on the sideline.

A quote from the Potomoc Soccer Wire gives us brief insight into what he went through his freshman year at Virginia:

“That was the first serious, serious injury I had, which almost took me out of the game completely,” explained Agorsor in an exclusive interview with Potomac Soccer Wire on Friday. “Just to be playing now after that injury, for me it’s a real blessing because I know I was this close to not being able to play ever again. The first words that came out of the doctor’s mouth about my condition was, ‘Do we amputate at the knee? So for me to be here running and playing, let alone getting ready to sign with MLS – everything else is a plus.”

He came back, ahead of schedule, for his sophomore season only to be oft-injured yet again and sidelined as the Cavs worked their way to an impressive College Cup victory. When healthy, he’s immensely talented – pacy, skilled – as was praised during training stints abroad after leaving Virginia to pursue a professional contract. Regardless, Agorsor has a limited body of work to pull from. That small sample is impressive, however, but will he be able to take the physical nature of Major League Soccer? The forward is fully healthy again and had been showing well in the Union’s camp at the YSC so he’s taking the first step. A quote from a recent interview with his hometown Baltimore Sun:

“I’m a big believer that if I take care of what I need to take care of — which first and foremost is playing and doing well — that National Team and my future goals, which are distant ones that I don’t think about all the time. But if I play well and showcase my game, then who knows what can happen.”

So will he take the opportunity handed to him by Nowak and Hackworth and run with it?

Something tells us he will…

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