August 16, 2014 |
With their third game in seven days, the Union are banking on the adrenaline that has come from playing their best soccer of the season. So they hope to compensate for some tired legs when they visit the Houston Dynamo in Friday's Major League Soccer Eastern Conference game. The Union (6-8-9, 27 points) are tied for the fifth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Houston (6-12-4, 22 points) is just five points behind the Union with a game in hand. And the Dynamo will be more rested, although they did have to travel to Seattle on Sunday for a 2-0 loss to the Sounders.
August 7, 2014 |
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Union's present and future are in the spotlight this week as part of Major League Soccer's all-star festivities. The present is midfielder Maurice Edu. He's one of 23 all-stars who will face German superpower Bayern Munich Wednesday night in MLS's midsummer classic at Providence Park. Edu was a late addition to the squad as an injury replacement, but his name recognition and versatility on defense made him a natural fit. "It's definitely an honor, and one that I'm very appreciative of," Edu said.
August 2, 2014 |
Amid the starting of a new era in goal with the signing of two-time Algerian World Cup keeper Rais Mbolhi, the Union resume their push for the playoffs Friday with a crucial Major League Soccer match at Sporting Kansas City. Mbolhi, who signed Wednesday, won't make the trip. Interim manager Jim Curtin said Zac MacMath would be the starter. Once considered well out of the postseason running, the Union (5-8-8, 23 points) are just three points out of the fifth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
July 25, 2014 |
LAST SATURDAY, the youngest member of the Union returned from a 9-day hiatus in Southern California, where he helped the United States U-20 men's national team claim an international tournament. Two days later, Major League Soccer announced Zach Pfeffer had been added to the 20-man roster for the league's inaugural Homegrown Game, an Aug. 4 match in Portland, Ore., played as part of All-Star weekend. Not a bad stretch for the 19-year-old midfielder from Dresher, a mere 13 months removed from Upper Dublin High School graduation.
July 24, 2014 |
Union midfielder Zach Pfeffer was named on Tueday to the roster for the inaugural Major League Soccer futures all-star game. The MLS Homegrown Game will be played Aug. 4 at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. "I'm very excited and honored to be selected as part of the Chipotle Homegrown team and excited to represent the Union as well as the other great homegrown players around the league," Pfeffer said in a news release. Pfeffer, from Dresher, is one of 20 players on the team, which will play the Portland Timbers U-23s before the Aug. 6 MLS All-Star Game.
July 14, 2014 |
THERE IS no question that soccer (futbol) fever has swept America in the last month. We all saw thousands of people gathered at outdoor venues to watch the gallant effort of the U.S. men's national team in the World Cup. The outpouring of public enthusiasm was contagious and drew in people who had no concept of the difference between a midfielder and a striker. This incredible enthusiasm was also reflected in TV ratings. Twenty-four million people watched the U.S. team's thrilling match against Portugal, which ended in an agonizing tie, and 24.5 million watched the U.S. team get eliminated by Belgium in the Round of 16. These rating surpassed the average for the 2013 World Series telecast (14.9 million average viewers)
July 2, 2014 |
Asking whether the United States is now a "soccer nation," which has become a timely if peculiar fascination during the excitement of the World Cup, is like asking if the U.S. is a "broccoli nation. " Soccer is consumed here regularly; fervidly by some, occasionally by others, and not at all by those who simply don't care for it. For the most part in this country - with the notable exception of the NFL - that's no different than any other sport. The United States has many basketball fans and hockey fans, but none of them feel it necessary to hear that this is a "basketball nation" or "hockey nation.
June 24, 2014 |
Their pain poured for blocks down Broad Street. Their elation echoed north toward City Hall. As the United States men's soccer team battled Portugal to a 2-2 draw at the World Cup in Brazil on Sunday, Philadelphia soccer enthusiasts proved that at least for one night, on one Center City block, they could rival the world's most fervent sports fans. Neither rain nor a sluggish start for the Americans dampened the enthusiasm of the hundreds crowded in front of a big screen set up at the intersection 15th and Locust Streets, outside Fadó Irish Pub. Draped in red, white, and blue, they cheered, groaned, and drank in equal measure.
June 17, 2014 |
There was a time - a brief and crucial time - when the big decisions involving soccer in this country were made in a Bucks County office complex. On the list of important figures in U.S. soccer history, there's a place at the head table for a housing developer from Horsham, a former midfielder for the United German-Hungarians in Bucks County, who went on to run the U.S. Soccer Federation and head the effort that brought the 1994 World Cup to this country. Given how soccer is run at its highest levels - then and now - Werner Fricker may even deserve credit for getting voted out of office four years before that '94 World Cup took place.
June 10, 2014 |
NO MATTER the circumstances of the season to date, the match last Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps was always going to be an important one. The result would have 3 weeks to either offer good vibes or fester while Major League Soccer broke for this year's FIFA World Cup. That notion certainly wasn't lost on the Union, which has experienced a struggle-filled first portion of the season. And minutes after the final whistle blew at PPL Park late Saturday, the mood in the Philadelphia locker room was, for the most part, upbeat entering a weeklong respite from the pitch.