- RT @WEXP_RADIO: The 15th Person to Retweet this wins a FREE pair of #EvilDead tickets to use at your leisure. 1 month ago
- Bring on adu I guess. Need a spark or something 8 months ago
- Quote of the night so far "Duka your family is here and they are mine" #doop #crew 8 months ago
- Enjoying this #elclassico just making tonights game better! 8 months ago
- Excited for tonight. The union walking away with 3pts 8 months ago
Monthly Archives: July 2012
July 25, 2012Posted by on
The MLS All-star Game takes place here in Philadelphia at PPL Park on Wednesday night at 7:30 against the champions of Europe Chelsea FC. The match against CFC marks the 10th consecutive year that a team of MLS players will take on a foreign club. This format is a neat take on the All-star game which traditionally is East vs. West in the rest of the major American sporting leagues. I have many qualms with the MLS setup.
Before I get into modifying and sharing my version of what the MLS All-star game could be I want to commemorate both MLS and CFC. Chelsea brought a fully stacked squad filled with their top talent. Roberto Di Matteo has an arsenal of options and from what it appears will give everyone a shot. Personally I am excited to see Chelsea’s big new signing Eden Hazard. On the other side MLS has brought the league’s best. I simply can’t find fault with this roster, very talented and dangerous. This team isn’t a squad of DP’s although the ones on the squad have earned it.
Football/Soccer is the world’s game, it is a beautiful game, and no country knows how to put on a show like America. The two should be a match made in heaven. The MLS All-star game should be a giant festival and just a crazy party. This is an opportunity to display the great starts of both the global game and the league. A chance to grow the game the game and MLS brand.
I would love to see the MLS implement a competition night a lot like NBA. The NBA has the slam dunk competition, three point competition along with other fun fan friendly activities. I know the NBA is on the decline mainly because the players lost interest. But the MLS has a chance at having a night of festive activites. Some suggestions I have are:
******I know my ideas are half baked and will never happen, but it would be fun to see stuff like this happen.
A. A 5 v 5 match: Featuring a youth player, a retired player, a female player, current player and a celebrity. The World Football Challenge brings many of the world’s best teams to the states, if they were to offer up a few players this 5 v 5 match could be an amazing hit. Just imagine a team of Javier Pastore, Freddy Adu, Will Smith, Tasha Kai and a youth player taking on Kasey Keller, Sydney Leroux, Mario Rosales, Drew Carey and a youth player. It would be a great event to say the least.
B. A freestyle contest: Everyone has seen the freestyle videos of street ballers doing absurd tricks. It would be cool see how creative MLS players can get. A trick could be anything from freestyle juggling or long distance shots off the crossbar.
C. PK contest: A contest having goalies take and save PK’s to declare who is the best PK stopper in the league. Or could bring in a few MLS goalies and they could go up against Chelsea goalies.
D: Steve Nash Celebrity Match: Every summer in Chinatown, NY, Steve Nash hosts a celebrity soccer pickup game. The game features players like Inter Milan defender Ivan Cordaba, Baron Davis even stars like Demba Ba show out. The MLS should strike a deal with Steve to make this event a part of the All Star game.
E. Supporters group games would be epic! THe MLS flys in 7 people from every supporters group in the league. They compete in a worldcup stlye tournament to decide who is the best supporters group. The games would be short and played on a smaller pitch but would be so much fun for the fans. Just a side thought it would be cool if a player representative was coach of the supporters teams. Forinstance Chris Albright would coach the Sons Of Ben team against Kris Boyd and Timbers Army.
Apart from the competition night I believe the MLS Allstar game is great, I do like the idea of playing a giant European team. I would like to see the MLS switch back to the old format in a few years as long as the league continues to grow at a steady pace. Once the league grows a little more I would love to see the MLS go back to the East v West Format.
Just for Kicks I put together a team of East v West all stars.
GK: Dan Kennedy (CHV), John Busch (SJ), Nick Rimando (RSL), DEF: Steven Beitashour (SJ), Jay Demerit (Van), Justin Marrow (SJ), Marc Busch (Sea), Sean Franklin (LA), MID: Mario Rosales (SEA), David Beckham (LA), Osvaldo Olanso (SEA), Landon Donovan (LA), Kyle Beckerman (RSL), Jamie Castrillion (COL), Camilo (Van), FW: Chris Wondolowski (SJ), Eddie Johnson (SEA), Sabiro (RSL).
GK: Jimmy Nielsen (SKC), Tally Hall (HOU) DEF: Austin Collins (SKC), Heath Pearce (NYRB), Carlos Valdes (PHI), Chris Tierney (REV), Sheanon Williams (PHI),Andre Hainnault (HOU) MID: DeRosario (DC), Graham Zusi (SKC), Michale Farfan (PHI), Joel Lindpere (NYRB), Sanna Nyassi (MON) FW: Saer Sene (NE), Theirry Henry (NYRB), Kie Kamara (SKC), Chris Pontius (DC).
July 25, 2012Posted by on
Both the Men’s and Women’s Olympic soccer tournaments begin today, two days before the opening ceremonies. Unfortunately the US only qualified one team for this tournament, but the Women’s team will start their run at a medal today so here’s a bit of a preview of that tournament. The US Women’s team includes a few local names, including Heather O’Reilly of East Brunswick, NJ, former Independence GK Nicole Barnhart, Christie Rampone, from Monmouth University and Point Pleasant, NJ, and Villanova’s Jill Loyden, from Vineland, NJ who will be the alternate GK.
12 teams are entered in to this summers tournament, 11 made it through qualifying including 2 from every confederation and one from Oceania along with Great Britain. Unlike the men’s games is a full senior competition so there is no age limit.
The twelve teams which will be competing are Great Britain, Japan, North Korea, South Africa, Cameroon, United States, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, New Zealand, France, and Sweden.
The favorites in the tournament have to be the US and Japan. Both are currently ranked in the top 3 (second ranked Germany missed qualifying), and were the finalists in the most recent World Cup. Sweden, Brazil, France,Canada, and North Korea (along with England who is a large part of the Great Britain team) are ranked in the top 10, leaving Cameroon, South Africa, New Zealand and Colombia as the most prominent underdogs.
While many expect a rematch of the World Cup Final, between Homare Sawa led Japan and the American squad, this is a deep tournament which will surely see strong competition.
Players to watch:
Alex Morgan, USA Age 23, Breakthrough Athlete of the Year 2012 ESPY Awards
Hope Solo, USA Age 30, US Soccer Athlete of the Year 2009, Golden Glove 2011 World Cup
Abby Wambach, USA Age 32, AP Female Athlete of the Year 2011, US Soccer Athlete of the Year 2010, 2011
Homare Sawa, Japan Age 33 2012 World Player Of The Year
Marta, Brazil Age 26 2005-2010 World Player Of The Year
Cristiane, Brazil Age 27 Leading Scorer Olympics, 2004, 2008
Christine Sinclair, Canada Age 29, Canadian Player of the Year 2005-2010
Marie-Laure Delie, France Age 24, 41 Appearances 36 Goals since 2009 with France
Ellen White, Great Britain Age 23, 19 Apparences 21 Goals from 2008-2010 with Leeds Carnegie Ladies
Lotta Schelin, Sweden Age 28, Diamond Ball Winner (Swedish Female Footballer of the Year) 2011
July 25, 2012Posted by on
Amazing news for Union fans came out of the MLS headquarters yesterday as it was announced that Michael Farfan would be joining teammate Carlos Valdes and the rest of the MLS All Stars as they battle European giant Chelsea FC tonight. Despite only scoring one goal so far this season, Farfan has been a force in the midfield by pushing forward and opening up defenders to create scoring opportunities. Michael Farfan, or Marfan as he is know by the Union loyal to distinguish him from his twin brother Gabe, was added to the game day roster after Chelsea requested the number of subs allowed in the All Star game to be increased from 6 to 10. Although already being located in Philadelphia may have helped the choice to include him in the roster, this is not the only reason he was picked for the squad. In spite of him only being a second year pro, Marfan has been consistently one of the best players on the field for the Union this season especially as of late. It is extremely unlikely that Michael will get a start but with 10 subs it is very likely he will come on as a second half sub. Marfan is no beginner when it comes to scoring on experienced foreign teams. Last summer he scored the only Union goal in a 2-1 lost against Spanish side Real Madrid. Farfan’s beautiful chip shows the potential he has and backs up Ben Olsen’s and John Hackworth’s decision to bring him onto the All Star squad.
Check out the Michael Farfans goal against Real Madrid here.
The MLS All Star game kicks off at 8:30 PM from PPL Park in Chester, PA. The game will also be broadcasted live on ESPN 2.
July 19, 2012Posted by on
It is the big one this week, Union v Red Bull at RBA. Its going to be all out war in the stands between the fans, Sons of Ben and miscellaneous Union fans will be heading up to NJ in the scores. As much as we all want it to be decided by the fans the game will ultimately be decided on the pitch. This game is no easy task but as always I am optimistic in the Union’s ability. The Red Bulls have not been playing up to par recently even though they edged out a win Wednesday against Chicago. Wednesday’s day game was a scorcher being played on one of the hottest days of the week. Overall They have not been playing well on a current W-D-L-D-W streak and the play has not been pretty. Henry has been in a slump he scored the game winning goal his play was still poor that game.
Those factors are working against the Red Bulls and are playing into the hands of the Union but that doesn’t mean the Union can slack. It is going to be a fierce game highly competitive should go down to the wire. The Union will need to be smart on and off the ball to make sure not to commit any fouls. As shown this year the Union have a weakness against set pieces, so the Union will need to mind their P’s and Q’s around the box. The Union will have their hands-full with this one. The Union have shown to be resilient and find ways to get results. Last minute goals against LA and Montreal have shown this team is tough. They are young and motivated, they are well aware they need to start racking up the points to make playoffs.
This game will be intense and the Union will have to show no fear going against a very dangerous team. The Red Bulls have Cooper, Henry and Le Toux a true three headed monster that can beat you in the air, on the ground and out work you. A lot of pressure falls on the holding midfielders, Brian Carrol is going to have have a major impact and keep the ball from getting to the back line. Carrol will be key figure for the Union and control the tempo. Traditionally the Union struggle with managing games and controlling the tempo of a game. SO they should abandon that all together. For the Union to win they need to find their comfort zone stay in it, make the smart passes, and most importantly get trigger happy around the box. Pepper the goal with shots on shots on shots.
All in all I predict a Union victory, over the Red Bulls 1-0. They will score one goal and continue to attack. They will keep up the pressure, with the defense playing sharp and communicating well the Union will find their way to victory.
July 18, 2012Posted by on
While many have been hoping that Mo Edu and Carlos Bocanegra, not to mention Alejandro Bedoya, would stop playing in the SPL as soon as possible, it has taken quite a long time and a few interesting turns to have them released (Bedoya’s still stuck there though). Edu, Bocanegra and Dorin Goian have been given the “blessing” of the Rangers Newco owners to leave the fourth division Scottish club. Each of the players are at very different points in their career and will likely have very different options available to them.
Carlos Bocanegra is largely expected to come home to MLS this summer, most likely joining former USMNT CB Jay Demerit in Vancouver.(Edit: As Pat mentioned in the comments I somehow forgot that Vancouver lost their allocation spot in the Union’s Soumare deal. Therefore it would be New England at the top of the allocation order instead of Vancouver with first dibs on him. I’d say its more likely New England trades the spot, than takes him, but of course that’s assuming Bocanegra wants to come back to MLS already anyway.) The odds of this happening seem fairly high, but maybe I’ve just heard too much of it recently. Other teams have also expressed interest in Bocanegra’s services in the defensive third. Greek club Olympiakos, which has a decent shot at Champions League has expressed interest and it has been assumed that clubs in France and England would have a look at him too. Bocanegra confirmed his interest in retunring to MLS at some vague time in the future, about a week and a half ago while playing softball in Kansas City.
Maurice Edu also has an expected club, although these rumors are a bit more recent and a bit more haughty. The latest rumors have Edu moving to Valencia C.F. where he would likely have to replace David Albelda who is a local boy and has been the captain of Valencia for nearly a decade to earn a starting spot. While it’d be great to see Edu move to one of the top mid-table teams in La Liga, if he’s rotting on the bench he may as well be better of playing in Scottish lower divisions. This transfer makes sense both for Edu, to move to a club which will likely be playing Champions League soccer, and for Valencia, who are a bit cash-strapped themselves and will likely get Edu on a free transfer. It would also mean another step forward for U.S. players in general. With Michael Bradley joining A.S. Roma, Americans are being welcomed into the more prestigious clubs. Again if neither of them starts this year neither deal even merits a mention, but if they do these could be two of the most substantial transfer in USMNT history.
To bring things back into perspective Edu also has sparked interest from Turkey, Bursaspor and Trazbonspor have both expressed interest. Even if not Valencia, and not Champions League quality, the Turkish league is substantially ahead of the SPL. While Bocanegra could potentially bring fans out in MLS and Edu could have a great Champions League run with Valencia, pretty much wherever they end up is better than them playing another season in Scotland.
July 18, 2012Posted by on
Apparently even for a rivalry game where the Sons of Ben are buying busloads of tickets, Red Bull still has big promotions. According to their website and mailing list, the first 5,000 fans 16 and under will receive free flat-brim Red Bull hats. Again caps, not cups. If you do bring kids they’ll be able to shoot on the Red Bull net after the game, like everyone else*.
The Son’s of Ben bus-trip closed Monday, but there may or may not still be seats available in the section. If not I’m sure all kinds of seats are still available for the rest of the stadium saturday. Bring your kids and whoever else you want, I’d assume that half of their fans left RBA for Hofstra already, so there will definitely be room.
Saturday July 21, 2:30 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
*Ryan Meara is tied for third in MLS in shots against.
July 18, 2012Posted by on
Last week our writer Pat posted a list of 15 reasons why you should have been at the US Open Cup semi final. We decided that we will try to post a similar list once a week on a variety of MLS or soccer related subjects. Today we will look at why the Philadelphia Union, and MLS as a whole, deserve more media coverage then they are receiving.
1. The Union recently look good
Over the past few weeks Union fans have been enjoying some of the most exciting soccer we have seen from the team since their creation. We are scoring goals, playing incredible defense, and using an entertaining style of soccer. If non-soccer fans are going to watch a match, this is the type of team they should take a look at. Unfortunately, Union games are only broadcast on the Comcast Network with a minimum amount of advertising. The games that do make it onto channels like ESPN 2 or NBC may hit more viewers but still are not marketed well. When was the last time you saw a commercial for a soccer game on a major network that was not shown during another soccer game? Exactly.
2. Other Philadelphia teams either look bad or are out of season.
The Eagles are in pre-season, the Sixers and Flyers are also in their off season, and the Phillies are in last place of the NL East with a 40-51 record. Being a Philadelphia sports fan is a bit of a drag right now. Many people in the city are looking for a team that has been performing well and strives under pressure; the perfect fit for the Union. Sport’s news has also been slow and will probably continue to be until the Olympics start, so why not fill some of that gap with a local team?
3. There is an audience for soccer in Philadelphia
PPL Park holds a little over eighteen thousand fans and the Union have consistently sold out the stadium for league games. When the Union played Spanish giants Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field last season the total attendance was over 57 thousand. Over 30 thousand fans came out to see the US Men’s National Team play Mexico last year also. These numbers all prove that soccer does have an audience in the Philadelphia area. Of course teams like the Phillies and Eagles have a stronger hold on the sports fans of the city but these numbers are not low enough to 100% cut soccer out of the media spot light.
4. Philly is already a sports town
As mentioned multiple times above, Philadelphia is a huge sports town. The city tends to soak in any major sporting event that comes to it. If more marketing and advertising were done in the area, there is no doubt in my mind that the number of Union and soccer fans will grow. Thankfully the city is seeing its fair share of large teams coming in, with the next being the return of Real Madrid as they play Scottish Premier league champions Celtic. These games with well known foreign teams are probably the best advertisement the Union can get until they are shown more through television ads.
5. The Union and fans can basically market themselves
Anytime I bring a soccer virgin to a Philadelphia Union game they always leave telling me the same thing: “the atmosphere was amazing.” Yes, the River End is full of passionate and loud fans but so is most of the stadium. Being part of this “third team” in the stands whose only purpose is to yell at players and question the referee’s decisions is quite the experience for most non-soccer fans. It makes you want to go to as many games as you can and to support this club. The team also wants you to pay attention to them. They are a third year team full of young but talented players. This underdog of a team basically is a movie script. All you would need to do for commercials is show the passion of the SoBs and the youth of the team and BAM, commercial. Then you would need to air it once in awhile. I know the Union have some commercials like this already but how often do you see them used?
6. No one knows who we are
You ask any Philadelphian to name some players on the Philadelphia Union and you will get one of two responses: either “The Philadelphia who?” or “Freddy Adu”. There is no connection between the Union and Philadelphians mostly because no one knows who is on the team. Even if you are not a football fan you knew who Donavon McNabb was. The signing of Freddy Adu was great if just to give the team a face that people recognize. Now that the team has a player that most people have at least heard of we can start getting him out there more. Get him interviews on TV, then start bringing in a few other players with him. Eventually, and slowly, the city will start recognizing the faces of the team.
7. Watch the future of American soccer grow up
Last summer we learned that the only time America cares about soccer is during the World Cup. What many people in Philadelphia don’t know is that there are many players on the Union that have a legitimate chance of playing for the US Men’s National Team either this World Cup cycle or early next cycle. Talented players like Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Freddy Adu, Michael Farfan, Jack McInerney, and Zac MacMath all have shot to be called into the men’s camp. Of course not all of them will be chosen but wouldn’t it be cool to say you were a fan of them before they became national sensations?
8. You still have time to be a fan and not a bandwagoner
Since this team is only three years old the fan base is still growing. If you start following the Union now you will not be thought of as jumping on the bandwagon because you will be one of the originals. Add the fact that the Union started off shaky at the beginning of the season and there is no way you can be called a front runner. Being able to market the team to the population by saying they can be part of the beginning is not something many franchises get the opportunity to do.
9. Union fans are awesome
As passionate as the Union fans are, they are also genuinely good people. There is a sense of community among fans, particularly the Bens, that you do not get with many other teams. I have met numerous awesome people by just going to a few tailgates, walking around the parking lots before games, or talking on Twitter. The Sons of Ben give back to the community by holding charity events or doing public works. The SoBs will be joining the Philadelphia Union Foundation with building a playground in Chester that was partly designed by Chester kids.
July 16, 2012Posted by on
Friday night marks the kickoff of the Mexican liga MX. Although the Liga MX may not be the most popular league to the average American soccer fan, but it is certainly worth paying attention to. I am going to provide to you a Gringo’s guide to Liga MX that will include; reasons why you should watch, what teams to follow , and notable opening weekend games.
The Mexican league is a great league that is often underrated and overlooked. It offers up a high quality play that talented players. A lot like the MLS the league is very unpredictable and it is a toss up every year. Often the winner of the Apertura (first championship) is not the winner of the Clausura (second championship).
Why you should watch:
1. No Thy Enemy: Mexico is The US’s biggest rival it can not hurt to understand the league and understand the players. This is not just an international affair, MLS clubs battle Liga MX clubs in Champions league. I have gained a lot of respect for El Tri since I started following F.M.F.
2. Attractive Style of Play: Expect an opened, free flowing style with box to box end to end action. The game is very easy on the eyes.The passion runs deep with the players and it shows on the pitch. The theatrics of the coaches helps create a great show. Next time your watching Club America watch Miguel Herra, he is always good for a laugh or two.
3. Its Always on: Liga MX is covered by more then a handful of Spanish speaking TV stations. Telemundo, Galavision, Univision, Telefutura and Azteca America just to name a few. Every weekend you will be hit with a bevy of games. If you happen to be bored and looking for some footy Liga MX will be on.
4. The Colorful Announcers: Mexican League Announcers are some of the more colorful and vibrant ones in the business. Andres Cantor and Pablo Ramirez both offer up unique and entertaining styles of commentary. You may not understand the language but you can understand the passion.
5. Americans in Mexico: One of the biggest if not the biggest factors is the American connection. A handful of young American’s working their way up the youth systems in Mexico. Plus you get to see players like Demarcus Beasley and Joe Corona. Not to mention Herculez Gomez who is currently the hottest American striker.
Teams with Americans on them:
Tijuana Xolos: Greg Garza, Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo.
Santos Laguna: Herculez Gomez.
Santos Laguna: Michael Orozco Fiscal.
Pachuca: Paco Torres
Jaguares de Chiapas: Dereck Mckuper, and Adrian Ruelas.
Chivas: Ponce (Okay so he isnst American but he was born the USA.
Atlante: Sonny Guadarrama
Opening Weekend Games to watch:
Tijuana v Puebla: One of the first games to watch has an interesting USMNT twist. Former USMNT start DeMarcus Beasley going against up and coming star Joe Corona. The Xolos are entering their second season in the top flight and going against Puebla who have become a staple in FMF/Liga MX. Expect some creative midfield work with an uptempo pace.
Atlas v UNAM: I am a big UNAM fan so naturally I have to put them in. Pumas will be taking on Atlas and I know not many people see this as a big match considering the mid table finishes last year by both teams. Pumas has some explosive like Martin Bravo and some young and exciting players like Javier Cortes and Eduardo Herrera.
Santos v San Luis: Santos look to keep the trophies coming as they kick off the season against San Luis who finished 16th last season. This game is great opportunity to watch Gomez apply his trade against a team that let in the second most in the Clausura. Sit back and watch Herculez and the Saints go to work.
All in all I am just a gringo who loves USMNT and the Philadelphia Union. Prior to the Union in my down time I experimented with other teams and leagues. During my experimentation phase I found out that, Liga MX is great league, and highly underrated. After weeks of watching Pumas I found myself ordering a cheap jersey religiously watching every game that was on TV. The language barrier is a bit cumbersome but makes it fun. If anything start watching for the Americans and you will eventually learn to love the league.
July 16, 2012Posted by on
On July 25th thousands of MLS fans will file into PPL park to watch as the MLS All Stars take on Chelsea FC. For Union fans, it was questionable if they would be able to watch one of their own play against the London giant but this question was answered on Sunday as the Commissioner’s two picks for the All Star team were release. Don Garber choose two defenders: Ramiro Corrales of the San Jose Earthquakes and our very own Carlos Valdes.
Valdes is coming of an amazing game against the Montreal Impact where he not only put in a stellar defensive performance but also went on to score the winning goal in extra time off a Sheanon Williams long throw. As of now it is still unknown if the Philadelphia Union captain will be starting as he will have to beat out other talented defenders like New York’s Heath Pearce and Whitecap’s Jay DeMerit.
I believe there is a good possibility of Valdes getting on the starting eleven for the MLS All Stars. He is a talented center back with the ability to communicate well and also hold good positions. He has been extremely consistent all season and has come up huge when called upon by the Union. If put on the pitch, Carlos Valdez will be tested against players like Fernando Torres and newly signed Eden Hazard.
July 15, 2012Posted by on
This morning Associazione Sportiva Roma (A.S Roma) announced the signing of USMNT player Michael Bradley from Chievo Verona. Roma dealt €3.75M to Chievo to obtain the services of the American star. Bradley, who is 24 years old, has signed a contract extension which will keep him with the Giallorossi until 2016. After weeks of flirtation and courtship this transfer has finally come through. Bradley has been rumored to move to a bigger club since the season ended. Bradley had a phenomenal season in Verona, making 34 appearances and was arguably the team’s most effective player. He showed a superb ability to manage a game, control the tempo and jump-start the attack. Bradley had been scouted by many teams throughout Europe.
Bradley has done much traveling since he left the New York Metrostars in ’06. He transferred from MLS to the Netherlands playing for SC Heerenveen. Shortly after the transfer, Bradley began making USMNT appearances under his father. After two years in the Netherlands he made the switch to Germany playing for Borussia Monchengladbach. During his stay at Gladbach, Bradley became a fixture for the national team. After an unsuccessful loan spell in the EPL with Aston Villa, Bradley moved to Chievo Verona.
A.S. Roma finished 7th in the Serie A and are looking to make a run at the top four this year. This is a significant step up for Bradley whose Flying Donkey’s finished 10th in the same league. Lots of departures from the Serie A may make Roma’s goals more achievable. With AC Milan, Lazio, Napoli, all losing big name players and Inter getting older, Roma’s chances are greatly improved.
Roma have recently gained a very strong American presence. With American owners an American star, Roma are clearly America’s team in Italy. USMNT fans will be able to see Bradley when Roma starts their preseason American tour. Roma take on Polish side Zaglebie Lubin in Chicago on July 22, then Liverpool in Boston on the 25th and El Salvador at Red Bull Arena on July 27.