December 1, 2011 |
PERHAPS A BIT harsh for those involved to admit, but see Major League Soccer's upcoming re-entry draft as fall cleaning for the seller - and a garage sale for the buyer. Sometimes you find a gem in the process, but mostly you're just buying someone else's unwanted clutter. Yesterday, MLS released its master list ahead of Monday's first stage of the two-tiered draft that happens via teleconference with collective technical staff members among the league's 19 franchises. The second and final stage is set for Dec. 12. How the draft works, essentially, is that clubs can draft players off the list but must exercise the option or extend what's called a "bona fide offer" to the selected player.
October 31, 2011 |
Too bad for the Union this isn't a two-game, aggregate-possession series with the Houston Dynamo in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference semifinals. No, it's aggregate goal, which means the Union will start the second game down a goal after suffering a 2-1 loss to the Dynamo in the first leg of this series on Sunday at PPL Park in Chester. The series resumes, and concludes, Thursday in Houston. The Union did everything but get the equalizer, which has been a recurring story in the two-year history of the franchise.
October 26, 2011 |
Faryd Mondragon admitted that while he was sidelined for seven games, the inactivity was tough to take. The Union captain had suffered a broken finger in a 2-1 Major League Soccer loss Sept. 3 at Real Salt Lake. In his place, rookie Zac MacMath more than held the fort, going 3-0-4 and showing why the Union chose him as the No. 5 overall selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. Still, the 40-year-old Mondragon provides a veteran's presence that is even more valued in the playoffs, when defenses tighten and goals seem to be more difficult to come by. Mondragon promises to be a huge presence as the Union begin the first of their two-game aggregate-goal semifinal series with the Houston Dynamo on Sunday at PPL Park.
October 25, 2011 |
To put in perspective how long this Major League Soccer season has been, the Union opened the regular season on March 19 while the Phillies were in Clearwater, Fla., for spring training. The Phillies' season has ended and the Union's postseason is just beginning. After earning a bye for the MLS Cup wild-card round, the Union will open the first of a two-game Eastern Conference semifinal aggregate-goal series with the Houston Dynamo on Sunday at PPL Park in Chester. Game time will either be 4 or 5 p.m., an MLS official said Monday.
October 16, 2011 |
The Union admitted that it wasn't the ideal way to move into the postseason, but getting there was always the first goal. And if it took a tie against the team that entered the day having allowed the most goals in Major League Soccer, so be it. In their second season, the Union will be making their first MLS Cup playoffs appearance, following Saturday's 1-1 draw with Toronto before a record crowd of 19,178 at PPL Park in Chester. The tie secured one of the league's 10 playoff berths.
October 14, 2011 |
There have been very few occasions in which Faryd Mondragon cracks a smile. After a big win. Check. While watching his young son, Paolo, rip it up during a soccer camp at YSC Sports, check. And yesterday, when it was made official that the 40-year-old stalwart goalkeeper finally had the green light to return to action when the Union looks to lock up a playoff spot at home against Toronto tomorrow. Check. Barring a change of heart from the technical staff, Mondragon will return to the Union's starting lineup following a 5-week layoff after fracturing his right ring finger in early September.
September 23, 2011
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER Union (9-7-12, 39 points) at Sporting Kansas City (10-9-10, 40 points) Friday, 8:30 p.m. at Livestrong Sporting Park. TV: Fox Soccer Channel. Most recent MLS game: The Union beat the Columbus Crew, 1-0, on Saturday at PPL Park in Chester. Kansas City is coming off Saturday's 1-0 loss at Real Salt Lake. Outlook: If either team wins, it would move into first place in the Eastern Conference, currently occupied by Columbus with 41 points.
September 19, 2011 |
GIVEN THE LINEUPS Peter Nowak has fielded in the past, it's evident he is an agent of change. But never take the Union boss for a gambler. Against first-place Columbus and out for its first win in 2 months, Saturday night's Union lineup consisted of its 16-year-old homegrown midfielder Zach Pfeffer, who earned his first MLS start, Morgan Langley, called up late last week from USL Pro affiliate Harrisburg as a late substitute, with no true defender in reserve, relying heavily on the customary back four of Gabriel Farfan, Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes and Danny Califf, who assumed the captaincy in place of injured goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon.
September 10, 2011 |
Despite another game of dominating possession the Union couldn't snap their winless streak that now stands at eight games. Dominating everywhere but the scoreboard, the Union played the expansion Portland Timbers to a scoreless draw on Saturday before a sellout crowd of 18,504 at PPL Park. The Union (8-7-12, 36 points) are now 0-3-5 in their last eight games. Portland stands at 9-12-6 for 33 points. The Union came closest to scoring in the 88th minute when Kyle Nakazawa one-timed a Justin Mapp cross and hit the crossbar from 16 yards out. "I thought it was in," said Nakazawa, who replaced Veljko Paunovic in the 77th minute.