May 2, 2015 |
In a Major League Soccer season when little has gone right for the 1-5-3 Union, coach Jim Curtin pulled no punches this week when discussing the team's deficiencies. First and foremost, this is a team that does not challenge defenses enough and also makes too many errant passes. "Possession-wise we've been a disaster this year," Curtin said. "Confidence goes the longest way. " This is not a confident team. "When you have confident players, they want the ball in tight spots, and right now we would rather shy away from moving an extra yard or two to keep possession," Curtin said.
April 3, 2015 |
MAYBE THERE is something bad in the water that Philadelphia Union players drink during training sessions. This season was supposed to be different. Manager Jim Curtin, instead of diving in headfirst at midseason as he did when he got the job on an interim basis last year, has had a full offseason to plan and prepare for the task. Collaborating with technical director Chris Albright and assistant coach Mike Sorber, Curtin has brought in his own players and put together the roster he wanted.
March 31, 2015
TORONTO FC has been one of the worst clubs in Major League Soccer. In an effort to improve, the Reds have spent millions of dollars to improve the talent on the roster, which now boasts U.S. national-team stars Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. Last night, Toronto FC lost at Real Salt Lake, 2-1, sans Altidore and Bradley, who are with the national team in Europe for an international friendly against Switzerland tomorrow. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Orlando City defender Brek Shea and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes missed matches with their MLS teams for the same reason.
March 5, 2015 |
AFTER TWO preseason training stints in Florida, the Union is back in town and preparing for Saturday's season opener against the Colorado Rapids at PPL Park (4 p.m., 6ABC). There's just one small problem: The game might not happen. Major League Soccer and the players union are locked in contentious negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement. With the first game leaguewide of 2015 set for Friday night - Chicago at Los Angeles (10 p.m., UniMás) - time is running out to get a deal done.
February 26, 2015 |
WHAT HAPPENS if a professional sports league goes on strike and hardly anyone cares? Major League Soccer might soon find out. On March 6, MLS is scheduled to kick off its 20th season when the reigning champion Los Angeles Galaxy plays the Chicago Fire. With 20 teams - including expansion franchises in New York City and Orlando, Fla. - a 34-game schedule and long-desired international respect as a quality league, MLS is about as healthy as it has ever been. Last May, MLS along with United States Soccer, signed a landmark 8-year, $720 million television and media rights deal with ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision Deportes to broadcast games from this year through 2022.
February 13, 2015 |
A DECADE ago, new Union defender Steven Vítoria left his native Toronto to join the youth academy of Portuguese powerhouse FC Porto. Back then, Major League Soccer didn't have any teams in Canada, and the nation's soccer infrastructure was limited. So it made more sense for him to move abroad at age 18 in order to realize his dreams of playing professional soccer. Vítoria's parents had immigrated from the Azores to Toronto before he was born, which made Portugal a natural cultural fit. And being invited to join a big club was too good an opportunity to pass up. But Vítoria never quite settled at Porto, in part because he was loaned out a few times to other Portuguese clubs.
February 4, 2015 |
IT IS HERE - the calm after the storm, the teapot without a tempest. Sunday's Super Bowl was one of the more exciting ever, with New England beating Seattle, 28-24. Still, just moments after Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made the worst decision in Super Bowl history, the thought that crossed my mind was - OK, what now? The NFL is done. The Sixers and Flyers are both having seasons that yield little optimism. The Phillies are still 2 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Clearwater, and frankly, considering the last-place projections for them, who much cares?
December 10, 2014 |
IN A BUSY day as far as roster moves go, the Union parted ways with its lone 2010 original and also added a forward. The club yesterday traded midfielder Amobi Okugo to Orlando City SC for an undisclosed amount of allocation money and the expansion team's 2016 second-round draft pick. It also acquired C.J. Sapong, Major League Soccer's 2011 rookie of the year, from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for Philadelphia's best pick in next month's MLS SuperDraft. Sapong, who formerly played for Reading United, a Union developmental affiliate, will be 26 come the season.
December 9, 2014 |
Getting that first win of the season last week, after 17 losses, certainly was a point of pride for the beleaguered 76ers. But what about Sixers point guard Michael Carter Williams? What did it mean to him? Not the 6-foot-6 MCW. The 10-inch plush version that retails for $19.99. At the Plymouth Meeting office of Bleacher Creatures, the doll made in Williams' likeness was a point of interest the morning after Wednesday's game. "Does two dolls make a run?" joked Matthew Hoffman, president and founder of the nine-employee company that opened in February 2011.
November 16, 2014 |
The cornerstone of the Union's strategy, owner Jay Sugarman said, is to internally develop their talent instead of buying it on the market. That strategy was strengthened Friday as the team announced the hiring of Rene Meulensteen as a consultant. Meulensteen, 50, will advise the Union on all soccer operations. The Dutchman spent 12 years with Manchester United and was most recently the manager of English club Fulham. He spent five years as an academy coach for United and will bring his experience with player development to the Union.