Tag Archive | "Philadelphia Union"

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Mondragon first to exit, Le Toux to follow?

Posted on 31 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

Sebastien Le Toux ©ASN/Terry McLaughlin

Seb Le Toux ©ASN

Anyone else dizzy yet?

Yesterday, the Union released 2011 captain and MLS All-Star Faryd Mondragon in order to allow him the opportunity to close out his career with his hometown club (Deportivo Cali) in Colombia. That change in and of itself should have been enough news for the day, right?  Plus, when it’s all said and done, many feel Zac MacMath as a capable young star that should do well with the starting role. Though let’s be honest, if we hadn’t seen him in that 7 game stint last season we’d be singing a much different tune right now. Regardless, the news didn’t stop there (though nothing as been fully confirmed yet).

With Mondragon’s departure, Union fans had enough to digest before expecting to hear of either a loan or permanent transfer of goalscorer Sebastien Le Toux to Bolton of the English Premier League over the next few days. Instead, unconfirmed word came out that Le Toux actually left the trial early and as the Union front office was content to sell him, they started looking within Major League Soccer for a trade.

The suitors? The Vancouver Whitecaps according to Soccer by Ives. The price? Probably quite a bit of cash. Regardless, none of that helps the fact that the two most visible faces of the franchise could be gone within the span of two days. Le Toux is headed into the final year of his contract and at 28, he’s getting up there with age (but with his engine, who really cares?!) so in some ways, this all makes a little sense. The only problem is, he’s accounted for over half of the Union’s offensive production. The talent is surely there with guys like Danny Mwanga, McInerney, new signing Josue Martinez, and draft pick Chandler Hoffman but the shoes of a two-time MVP candidate are pretty damn hard to fill. And even if they do, this one could sting for a while.

According to Vancouver Sportsnet reporter Irfaan Gaffar (via Twitter, @IrfaanGaffar), the deal could be announced as early as today. And for those expecting a big move coming to make you feel better after this loss, don’t hold your breath. 

Without Mondragon and Le Toux, one thing is for sure, 2012 is going to be an interesting year…

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Seba set for big chance in the Premier League, training with Bolton

Posted on 18 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

It looks like Sebastien Le Toux may be on his way to join young New York defender Tim Ream and current American international Stuart Holden in a Bolton uniform. Ives Galarcep dropped the news an hour or so ago that the Frenchman may be on his way to Bolton, a team desperately in need of injections to both sides of the pitch and Le Toux certainly could help Owen Coyle’s squad.

In his two years, Le Toux has cemented his status as franchise favorite and legend racking up 25 goals and 20 assists in just two seasons. His work ethic and hustle is borderline irreplaceable. The positive?  Considering Le Toux was, for all intents and purposes, an expansion draft steal – from a business standpoint, this could make a lot of sense depending on how much the Wanderers are offering.

Seba left for England yesterday evening and joined in Bolton’s training today. Though his loss would be a signifcant blow to the Union, could a Mwanga and Josue Martinez tandem up front work out? Will Le Toux make the most out of a chance in the EPL? What would the right sum be for Le Toux’s departure?

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The Union go defensive with second round picks

Posted on 12 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

Greg Jordan (at left, taken at #32), a 6’2″ defensive midfielder out of Creighton, and Raymon Gaddis (at right, taken at #35), a right back from West Virginia, joined the Union as the 2012 MLS SuperDraft came to a relatively underwhelming close. There were no big trades aside from the Kenny Cooper dealing announced thirty minutes before the drafting began.

Regardless, Jordan – a 2nd team All-American this year – offers some size in the middle and could potentially be shifted to the back line if Nowak and Hackworth both see that fit. Raymond Gaddis, a Reading United AC player in 2010, will most likely serve as Sheanon Williams’ back-up and could potentially see some quality time if Williams makes the Olympic squad (which we fully expect). According to Joe Mauceri, noted college soccer guru, you can equate Gaddis to a “thinner Marvell Wynne”. Speedy, attack minded, but “erratic on the ball”. As for Jordan, Mauceri says he possesses impressive vision and superb tackling abilities but it’s still tough to see him fitting into an already crowded midfield with Okugo, Carroll, and the newly signed Gomez. Okugo should be making the Olympic team as well though so it may not be as crazy as we initially thought.

The two will join the #13 draft pick, UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman as preseason training opens up in a little over two weeks.

You can follow Jordan and Gaddis on Twitter at @gnike11 and @raygaddis.

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Union draft UCLA striker Hoffman into the ranks

Posted on 12 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

They’re Mock Drafts of course but they still represent the view of relatively knowledgeable individuals, those that took the MLS Combine in first hand. With that said, the Union drafted UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman (leading goalscorer in the PAC-12) at #13 and were probably surprised to do so. There was no known reason (as of yet) to see Hoffman fall there as he was seen overall, especially after the MLS Combine, as a top 5 pick.

Hoffman was a freshman with Amobi Okugo at UCLA when Kyle Nakazawa was a senior so the Bruin influence is strong with the Union and should only get stronger. The 6’0′ striker left the Bruins as the first player since American international Joe Max-Moore to score 18 goals in a season.  As a Generations Adidas pick, the Union will not have to count his salary against the salary cap. The UCLA junior joins an impressive forward crop that consists of Le Toux, Mwanga, new signing Josue Martinez, and Jack McInerney. With the versatility of both Le Toux and McInerney, it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is on their way out as rumors about a Mwanga trade inside Major League Soccer have since been beaten back.

More to come…

You can follow Hoffman on Twitter at @chandala.

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Fun with the Mock Drafts: 2012 Aggregate MLS Mock SuperDraft

Posted on 12 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

The 2012 MLS SuperDraft is upon us and as we did last year (and the year before that), we have taken the Mock Drafts floating around the internet and aggregated them all in order to see who winds up with who. Please remember that this does not take into account team needs and obviously means nothing once a big trade for a first-round draft pick comes into play.

As for the Philadelphia Union, none of the pundits could agree on who they would take in the #13 spot. Calum Mallace, Chris Estridge, Dom Dwyer, Austin Berry, Tyler Polak and Tommy Meyer were all taken. As you can see, the only real agreement comes on the fact that the Union need defensive cover (four out of six picks were defenders).

The Mock Drafts we included were: Ives Galarcep’s, WVHooligan’s, all three MLS analysts, and lastly Steve Davis’.

1. Montreal Impact – Darren Mattocks (Akron, FWD)

Only MLS analyst Simon Borg put Mattocks out of pole position (#3) but everyone else can’t see the Impact passing on a dangerous and pacy striker.

2. Vancouver Whitecaps – Andrew Wenger (Duke, DF/MF/FWD)

Mr. Versatility was unanimous all across the board as it’s clear what Vancouver’s needs are. Expect to see Wenger making the trip out West.  

3. New England Revolution – Chandler Hoffman (UCLA, FWD)

Hoffman was as high as first taken (Borg) but Travis Clark and Ives Galarcep took him down a notch seeing him drafted at #9 and #10 respectively.

4. Toronto FC – Kelyn Rowe (UCLA, MF)

The only outlier here was Jason Saghini. He had Colorado taking Rowe at #14. Most everyone else sees the UCLA playmaker taken by Toronto or New England.

5. Chivas USA – Luis Silva (UC-Santa Barbara, MF)

According to many, Silva had one of the best Combines and rated him as going in the top six picks. Jason Saghini wasn’t impressed, however, as Silva fell to #19 and the Los Angeles Galaxy. Pretty sure the Galaxy wouldn’t mind that.

6. San Jose Earthquakes – Andrew Jean-Baptiste (UCONN, DF)

Even though this aggregated Mock Draft puts Jean-Baptiste as an Earthquake, it was clear with all the analysts that it’s Toronto FC that will be drafting him. Problem is, they couldn’t agree on whether the Reds would take him first at #4 or second at #12. All that indecision left him roughly in the middle, winding up with San Jose.

7. DC United – Casey Townsend (Maryland, FWD)

Not bad. A local kid to his local team. Half the analysts had him here, seeing him as a potential starter in year one.

8. Portland Timbers – Sam Garza (UC-Santa Barbara, MF)

Taken as high as #6 and as low as #14, Garza was all over the map but undoubtedly a first rounder. Not sure the Timbers need him as much as they may need someone in defense (UNC centreback Hedges is a favorite).

9. Chicago Fire – Matt Hedges (UNC, DF)

Only Simon Borg puts Hedges as a second round pick but most everyone else sees the UNC big man as a Portland Timber. If he’s available at #9, however, would the Fire really let him pass?

10. Columbus Crew – Nick DeLeon (Louisville, MF)

DeLeon didn’t have the best of combines and more than one Mock Draft took that into account. The rest, however, kept him locked in top 10. Where he goes will give us good insight into how much weight the Combine actually has.

11. FC Dallas – Austin Berry (Louisville, DF)

Hyndman is stressing defense and Berry is the favorite of most of the Mock Drafts. Only Steve Davis sees him slipping to #17 where Real Salt Lake would happily snap him up.

12. Toronto FC – Callum Mallace (Marquette, MF)

Seen as high as #4 (Jason Saghini again), most Mock Drafts see the Scottish midfielder as a late first rounder but nobody is in agreement as to where he may actually end up. Mallace is a toss-up.

13. Philadelphia Union – Ethan Finlay (Creighton, MF/FWD)

Another standout at the Combine, nobody has Finlay firmly on the Union’s radar especially with Philadelphia in need of defensive cover or depth up front.  Finlay did convince everyone, however, that he is a first rounder (though Ives still needs more convincing as he fell to #23).

14. Colorado Rapids – Tyler Polak (Creighton, DF)

Polak is Generation Adidas so there’s little doubt he’ll wind up taken in the first round but nobody knows where he fits. The Union? Seattle? Chicago?

15. Seattle Sounders FC – Enzo Martinez (UNC, MF)

In the majority of the Mock Drafts, Martinez is the last GA signee to go. Seen as a playmaking project, he could do well in Seattle learning from Rosales and Zakuani. Too bad none of the analysts actually have him going there. Only one agreement on this one – Steve Davis and Jason Saghini agree he’ll end up at #10 with the Crew.

16. Sporting Kansas City – Tony Cascio (UCONN, MF)

Divided on whether or not he goes first round or second round. Two say Chicago at #9 (they need a winger), two say Colorado at #14 (injuries galore on the wing there). Two say he’s 2nd round material.

17. Real Salt Lake – Dom Dwyer (South Florida, FWD)

Another revelation of the Combine, Dwyer has speed and could complement Espindola and Saborio well in the Salt Lake. He’s almost unanimous as a late first round pick – much higher than he was rated a month or two ago. The biggest rumor comes from Ives Galarcep as he threw out there that the Union may be shopping forward Danny Mwanga

18. Houston Dynamo – Hunter Jumper (Virginia, DF)

Replacing Hunter Freeman with another Hunter? Not a bad idea – although most of the Mock Drafts see Jumper as a mid-second round pick.

19. Los Angeles Galaxy – Tommy Meyer (Indiana, DF)

If it weren’t for Jason Saghini having the Union take Meyer at #35, the Hoosier would have been taken earlier in the first round. Regardless, the Galaxy wouldn’t mind a big body (6’2″) to help with the long wait for Omar Gonzalez’s return from injury.

Follow along on Twitter at @bwbonnette as today’s draft gets underway. According to those in Kansas City, it should be an active day with trade rumors swirling around as teams continue to jockey for position.

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MLS SuperDraft for the Union: A look at just the number

Posted on 11 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

The Philadelphia Union will add another crop of young studs into the family tomorrow as the 2012 MLS SuperDraft takes place in Kansas City. With only two drafts under their belt, you’d have to say that Nowak and Hackworth have one of the best track records (though short as it is) in Major League Soccer when it comes to the SuperDraft. Six of their nine draft picks have earned significant minutes in 2010 and 2011 and look poised to make up the core for seasons to come.

Here’s a quick look at the history of the draft picks that the Union currently hold for the 2012 SuperDraft: #13, #32, and #35…

The #13 Spot

Best Picks: Stefan Frei (GK – Toronto FC), Pablo Mastroeni (DF/MF – Miami)

Frei has done enough over the years to earn much warranted interest from abroad. Started for the Reds right off the bat in 2009, earning praise even with a suspect defense in front of him. Milos Kocic and rumors that Frei is looking elsewhere could see the Swiss keeper moving onward. The past two season, however, have shown that he is one of the better goalkeepers in the league and one to watch out for in the future wherever he ends up.

Mastroeni needs no introduction. Taken by Miami in 1998, he has registered over 300 appearances in Major League Soccer with the Fusion and the Colorado Rapids. Though he’s 35 years old, Mastroeni was a main force in the Rapids winning an MLS Cup in 2010. His hard-nosed tackling and work rate earned him 65 caps for the US Men’s National Team (2 Gold Cup Championships, 2 World Cup rosters).

Decent Picks: Arturo Alvarez (MF – San Jose), Josh Gardner (MF – Los Angeles), Jed Zayner (Columbus), Rodrigo Faria (Metrostars), Seth George (FW – Los Angeles),

Faria was a flash in the pan, winning Rookie of the Year honors for the Metrostars in 2001. Scored eight goals in his rookie campaign and 12 in his sophomore before the Metrostars’ move for coach Bob Bradley sent him to Chicago. Rarely heard from after that with Chicago and San Jose. Arturo Alvarez, now with Chivas USA after the 2011 Re-Entry Draft, can play the role of catalyst with great technical skills but still operates on an inconsistent basis. He has played well enough in MLS, however, to earn a role with the El Salvadorian national team. Gardner was a stud in the USL after a failed stint with Los Angeles. His time in USL pushed him back onto a Major League Soccer team with the Crew where he enjoyed a breakout year. He wasn’t protected and will start the 2012 season with the expansion Montreal Impact. Jed Zayner has an MLS Cup to his name and has played the role of stop-gap starter well. He is now a free agent.

Remains to be Seen: Corben Bone (MF – Chicago), Corey Hertzog (FW – Red Bull New York)

Drafted to 2010, Bone has come by 15 appearances for the Fire but has yet to really crack their starting XI. Hertzog sits behind Luke Rodgers and Thierry Henry on the depth chart in New York – he’ll have late appearances and the occasional Open Cup to prove his worth.

Duds: John Michael Hayden (Houston), Jamie Watson (RSL), Rob Valentino (New England), Neibles (Los Angeles), Smith (Columbus), Brownell (San Jose)

Given his youth national team pedigree, Watson underperformed in Major League Soccer but still was appreciated for his tenacity and work rate. He has found a home in USL-Pro with Orlando City. Still managed over 35 caps with Real Salt Lake in their early years.   

The #32 Spot

Best Pick: Luke Sassano (MF/DF- Red Bull New York)

Now with Kansas City, Sassano played an important role at one time for the Red Bulls helping them out in 2008 with his versatility (fullback, defensive midfielder). He found his way to Kansas City via the first ever Re-Entry Draft (through Los Angeles) but has yet to break into the first team there  (though he did register his first MLS goal in 2011).

Decent Picks: Quincy Amarikwa (FW – San Jose), Jay Needham (DF – DC United)

Decent picks meaning they picked mid-level quality but other teams were the ones who eventually discovered it. Amarikwa now comes off the bench in Colorado. Needham was the 2007 USL-1 Rookie of the Year for Puerto Rico before heading to Norway to feature for Alta no less than 50 times.

Duds: JT Murray (SKC), Davis (RSL), Schmid (Houston), K.Arena (Metros), Sutton (Columbus), Klaas (San Jose), Lee (Colorado), Peart (Kansas City), Meyer (Colorado), Sanchez (Kansas City)

The #35 Spot

Best Picks: Nick Rimando (GK – Miami), Nick LaBrocca (MF – Colorado), Gonzalo Segares (DF – Chicago)

Pretty solid picks for the #35 spot. Rimando won over the starting spot in Miami before the franchise folded. He landed in DC and then with Real Salt Lake in their expansion year. The rest is history – 2 MLS Cups, national team call-ups, Rimando is seen as one of the best goalkeepers in Major League Soccer. LaBrocca (Rutgers) didn’t have his breakout year with the Rapids, though he featured over 60 times in their set-up. It wasn’t until 2011 that LaBrocca put things together ending the season an All-Star and notching 8 goals for the campaign. Segares, despite a brief test of the European waters in Cyprus, is Chicago through and through. He has been their rock at left back for some time and has earned 19 caps for the Costa Rican national team.

Could’ve Been the Best Pick: Rob Friend (FW – Chicago)

Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga goal scorer that went to UC-Santa Barbara. The Fire drafted him in the fourth round in 2003 only to see him opt to play in Norway. It turned out to be the best thing for him as Friend grew to become one of the best strikers in Norway (playing for Moss then Molde). His play landed him a role in the Eredivisie with Michael Bradley’s former club Heerenveen before the 6’5″ Canadian giant found a permanent home in Germany with (yet another Michael Bradley club) Borussia Monchengladbach. He finished runner-up on the scoring charts in the 2.Bundesliga as Gladbach were promoted to the Bundesliga. Scored 10 goals in the top flight before returning to the 2.Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt (Rico Clark’s squad).

Duds: Stafford (KCW), Lapira (Toronto FC), Tangney (Chivas USA), Campbell (FCD), Christensen (Chivas USA), Nusum (Columbus), Brown (New England), Richards (Colorado), Lewis (Dallas), Brown (Colorado)

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The Philadelphia Union’s 2012 road to the Playoffs unveiled

Posted on 05 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

Bring on 2012! See the Union’s schedule below or head here.

A couple notes:

The Union will feature on national television 14 times, ending the season on NBC proper at PPL Park as they host the New York Red Bulls.

Some former players will come on back to Philly. Justin Mapp and Montreal will visit July 14th. Shea Salinas and San Jose, April 28th.

The Union will get a double glimpse of Houston’s new home – BBVA Compass Stadium – on June 30th.

It’s a little odd that we get the upper hand in rivalries – New York, DC United, and New England will visit PPL Park twice and only away once. That could be why we have a challenging away line-up vs. most Western Conference squads: Los Angeles, Portland, FC Dallas, Seattle. Surprisingly, the scheduling committee decided to not allow the defending champion Galaxy into the Northeast Corridor this year – no games at all at New England, New York, Philadelphia, or DC. Don’t really get that though that should mean that Los Angeles will have a brutal time in the Northeast come 2013.

The last week of the season should be interesting to say the least. Three games in a week – two away vs. Houston and Kansas City respectively and then back home to take on New York. Hmm.

Big gap from May 26th to June 16th. Insert international friendly here?

This will be the longest season yet for the Union. Starting March 12th and hopefully ending December 1st (MLS Cup). That’s 265 days of Union! More if you count preseason. It’s startling and awesome all rolled into one.

Which dates are you circling? Planning any road trips?

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Freddy Adu is the next Zolo to train in Europe

Posted on 28 December 2011 by Breton Bonnette

20111228-095127.jpg

Following Zac MacMath (Everton FC), Zach Pfeffer (1899 Hoffenheim), Amobi Okugo (SC Freiburg), Freddy Adu heads to Spain today to start a two week stint with a former club of Kasey Keller’s – Rayo Vallecano based in the capital of Madrid. Newly promoted to La Liga and sitting near the relegation zone, Rayo has been a long time admirer of Adu so this amounts to something in between a training stint and an audition for Adu.

Greg Seltzer reported it early at NoShortCorners.com and then Ives Galarcep picked it up and made it official near the end of the day yesterday. Freddy leaves today and barring considerable interest, he will be back before preseason starts in January. The most that will come out of this, though some fans have expressed interest in him being sold, is a spot on the manager’s transfer shortlist (like the interest expressed after Okugo’s training stint in Germany).

For more Union and MLS news, follow us on Twitter (@centerholdsit) and Facebook by friending ASN Philly.

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Union add another Tico, left back Porfirio Lopez

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Porfirio Lopez

The signings are happening fast and furiously as the Union wrapped up an early Christmas present, 26-year old Costa Rican left back Porfirio Lopez.

Lopez arrives after finishing up a whirlwind year that saw Alajuelense crowned the Verano and Invierno Champions of Costa Rica. Before his success with Alajuelense, however, he had a quick stint abroad with Chinese club Dalian Haichang – scoring two goals in ten matches before returning on loan to Los Rojinegros. Very little is known about the player, considering he wasn’t on anybody’s radar but one can bet he’s that attacking left back Nowak has been looking for.

Piotr Nowak has called for press conference at 4:00pm today to discuss the recent flurry of signings. One thing is for sure – this signing just adds to the whole “too many internationals” problem.

Anyone dizzy yet?

 

 

Name:                  Porfirio Lopez
Position:               Left back
Height:                 5-11
Weight:                 172
Born:                    September 10, 1985
Birthplace:            San Jose, Costa Rica
Hometown:           San Jose, Costa Rica
Citizenship:           Costa Rica
Last Club:             La Liga Alajuelense, on loan from Dalian Haichang
Pronunciation:      LO-pehz

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Union sign Gabriel ‘Gavilan’ Gomez

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Breton Bonnette

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Union front office continues to impress in the offseason as they retool the roster heading into the 2012 Major League Soccer season.

Though Gomez looks to be a journeyman with his impressive travel log (stints in Cyprus, Mexico), he has put in some good time at pretty decent-sized clubs like Belenenses in Portugal (over 70 appearances) and Colombian stalwart Independiente Santa Fe. A central midfielder, Gomez should be a major upgrade over Miglioranzi (though he may still re-sign) and fit in nicely with Brian Carroll and Amobi Okugo.

US Men’s Soccer fans will probably not recognize Gomez for anything other than his 2011 Gold Cup run, namely his penalty kick conversion that wound up being the eventual gamewinner in the biggest upset of that tournament. In fact, Gomez’s international appearances have been much more impressive than his club career so far. The Panama City native has racked up over 70 appearances for Los Canaleros and scored 8 goals – 5 of which came in 2011. He has size, durability, and the natural fitness to run a game for 90 plus minutes.

The signing of Gomez, however, leaves the Union with some moves to make in the coming months with 10 international players on the books (the team is allowed 8). Gomez joins after the recent signings of Costa Rican striker Josue Martinez and the Union’s 2nd Homegrown Player Jimmy McLaughlin.

Challenge to our readers – can anyone find proof that Freddy Adu (with Belenenses on loan in 2009) and Gabriel Gomez played together at some point? We have no doubt they trained together but in the three games Adu played, we don’t know if Gomez played as well.

Name:                         Gabriel Gomez
Position:                     Midfielder
Height:                        6-0
Born:                           May 29, 1984
Birthplace:                 Panama City, Panama
Hometown:               Panama City, Panama
Citizenship:               Panama
Last Club:                  La Equidad
Pronunciation:          GO-mehz

IN: Nizar Khalfan (11/23: waiver draft/Vancouver); F Josué Martínez (12/7: transfer, Deportivo Saprissa); M Jimmy McLaughlin (12/12: Home Grown) M Gabriel Gómez (12/21: Indios); OUT: D Juan Diego Gonzalez (11/23: waived); G Thorne Holder (11/23: waived); M Justin Mapp (11/23: expansion draft); G Chase Harrison (12/12: option declined); M Stefani Miglioranzi (12/12: option declined) 

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