Category Archives: News

Dominant Performance Brings Union One Step Closer to Trophy

Jim Curtin strode into the media room for his United States Open Cup (USOC) semi-final post-game press conference, a smile upon his face.

“You guys have heard me ad nauseum about 1-0 games,” Curtin, the Philadelphia Union manager, said to reporters, “but, for whatever reason in this competition, we show true grit, determination, fight and quality in front of goal.”

Curtin’s squad head to its second straight USOC final after defeating the Chicago Fire  on a goal scored by Sebastien Le Toux. The converted winger created space for himself at the top of the box in the 74′, cutting from right to left before using his left foot to slot his shot to Sean Johnson’s left. The ball curled slightly toward the right post, striking it and beating Johnson, the Fire goalkeeper.

“He’s had a heck of a run in this competition,” Curtin said of Le Toux. “[He] came up in a big spot for us. We’ve had moments where we’ve created a ton of chances and it just won’t go in for you… and then Seba makes that play. We were in such control of the game.”

The goal came about as part of a thoroughly dominate game by the Union, as they held the Fire to just three shots, two on target, in 90 minutes of play. For their part, the Union attempted nine shots, though only three were on goal. In the end only Le Toux’s late game opportunity and finish mattered.

“Tonight it’s about the positives. It’s amazing to get back. We did it and I couldn’t be prouder of our players. To stick together as a group, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

The former Major League Soccer central defender had departed the field of play to fans singing “we want the cup,” adding to the atmosphere of the game that Curtin credited as influential to the end result.

“I’d like to thank the fans, especially in the River End,” Curtin said. “They were excellent tonight. They were very loud. You get into the 85′ minute and the guys are fatigued a bit, and you hear the ‘we want the cup’ chants and it helps push them on.”

Due to Sporting Kansas City’s 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake, which concluded an hour after the Union game, Philadelphia will host SKC on Sept. 30, TBD, at PPL Park. A seeding draw by the United States Soccer Federation determined hosting prior to the semi-final stage of the tournament.

Edu Laments Chapman’s Call, Praises Team Spirit

SANDY, UT (KR) — Maurice Edu sat with multiple teammates huddled around him, his smartphone illuminating their faces as it replayed the late penalty call that went against him. The group watched numerous times, none of which changed the general consensus of the decision.

“On the field there’s no way it could be a penalty kick,” Edu said to Kessler Reports and Chris Winkler, the Philadelphia Union press officer. “[Mulholland] cut inside, and basically I was facing [the other] direction. I turned the other way and went to body him off the ball. Michael Lahoud was right there to win the ball anyway.

What happened next would rip a win away from the Union on the road against one of Major League Soccer’s best franchises.

“[Mulholland] went down easy,” Edu said. “I don’t know in what game you’d call that a penalty kick.”

Jim Curtin, Philadelphia’s head coach, agreed with Edu during his post-game press conference. Prior to calmly meeting with the media, the typically reserved former defender demonstrated his frustration as he animatedly stormed down the hallway into the locker room.

“Last week I got a call from… PRO,” Curtin said, “that they missed a penalty kick. The ref wound up suspended and I think it might be a similar situation tonight.”

Allen Chapman, who refereed Saturday night’s Union-Real Salt Lake game remained on PRO’s schedule for the third week of MLS play.

Edu, for his part, empathized with his teammates, who he felt had done enough to come away with the win.

“It’s harsh for us,” Edu said. “We have a locker room full of guys who worked their asses off that game and put in a great shift. On another day we get three points from that game. Today we feel a little bit hard done, but all we can do is keep our heads up and focus on the next game now.”

As the team captain, Edu has a large job ahead of Friday night’s home game against FC Dallas. The midfielder has to keep the locker room atmosphere upbeat in the face of two straight games, to open the season, ending in ties due to controversial referee decisions.

Edu thinks that the first team squad has the right frame of mind heading into its next match.

“We’re a positive group,” Edu said. “We believe in our abilities as a group capable of going out there and beating any team on any given day. Today we showed that. As a team there’s only so much we can control.

We were disappointed with the goals we gave up, but in saying that, we scored three good goals and on another we win that game.”

The Union will get their third chance at their first win of the 2015 MLS season (0-0-2, two points) against FC Dallas (2-0-0, six points) look up the record at PPL Park on Friday (7 pm EDT, national broadcast on UniMas).

Exclusive: Curtin Dishes on Left Backs, Carroll’s Future, Goalkeepers and More

On signing a third goalkeeper: “I can’t go into [his name] right now. The contract is literally about to get signed. I don’t want to mess anything up at this stage.”

On acquiring a left back: “We’re still open. We have three guys who are out there who we’re targeting to bring in. I spoke already about Otis Earle, a very good player we were really high on. The price to move up become too steep. There are a couple of kids, two of them are internationals. One is an American kid who we’re looking at right now to bring in to compete at the left back spot. You’ll see some faces in the preseason that come in to really compete at that spot. They’ll be guys that’re younger, up-and-coming players. We’re not in a position cap wise to spend a ton of money at the left back spot, but it’s one that we still value as very important.”

On center backs: “Don’t forget about Richie Marquez. He had a really good year at Harrisburg. A guy with some size. We’re a small backline, to be honest. Richie gives you a guy who’s a legit 6-foot, 3-inches and can win balls in the air. I’m very happy with how Ethan White progressed and finished the year. Mo [Edu] has obviously proven that he can shut down that $8 million striker and that he’s athletic enough to do that and lead our backline. He’s also good on the ball. The experience of Valdes, coming off of the World Cup and kinda getting some rest off of a grind, we expect him to come back better than ever.

On getting another striker and what about Sapong: “CJ can come in and be a no. 9, a guy who you can get crosses to and he’s proven he can score a lot of goals up there by himself. He gives you the flexibility, he can play on the left, he can play wide right. He can play and move in any of those front three spots, which I really like. Is there a situation where we could play with two forwards this year? Yeah, that’s a possibility I’m exploring where CJ could be partnered with a guy we’d bring in. You can’t have enough forwards. Everybody is looking for a goal scorer. We’re still actively pursuing the striker position. We rate CJ very high and I told CJ at the draft that I need double digit goals this year and he’s on board with that. I think he’s a guy who can do that.”

On Le Toux tactically: “I like Sebastien when he plays in that wide right spot, he’s kind of a second forward. We kinda unleashed him at the end of the year and let him run off of the front guy. Seba’s crossing is something that is very valuable. I think he’s underrated in our system. He gets to the end line a lot. He gets a lot of service. To have a bigger guy like a CJ is important for me. He can play as a second forward too, though. We’ll experiment in the preseason and see what formation suits our personnel the best.”

On Danny Cruz: “Danny’s still a guy who’s a pain in the butt to play against. No one in our league likes to play against him. His work ethic is great. He’s great in training every day. He pushes things a lot. He’s the most competitive guy we have. With Danny it’s always can he slow down and make that final pass, that final shot. He works on it every day after training. We’re expecting a good year out of Danny. Heading into the preseason, I have competition at every spot now and that’s something we’re trying to cultivate.”

On holding midfielders: “We have Brian and Lahoud there right now. Brian’s obviously been a starter his entire career and has served the club great. I think he has a couple more years left, but in a lesser role. I’ve talked about that with Brian openly and candidly. I’m excited he’s coming back. He’s important to our locker room and to closing out games. We’re trying to improve on that. We’re also looking to bring in a holding midfielder as well. Mo is a guy who can do that job. I’ve mentioned that I prefer him at center back, however.”

On Gaddis/Williams: “It’s competition. It’s good and healthy for guys. It’s a situation where we might have them compete for the spot. It might end up that the best group to put out there is Sheanon is on the right and Ray is on the left. There’s always teams asking, but we’re really high on both of those guys.”

On intra-league loans: “We have an unlimited number of them. MacMath’s loan isn’t our only one. You can do whatever you want.”

On Andre Blake: “The thinking with Andre is that he needs to get games. Rais is our no. 1. With the partnership with Harrisburg growing and improving, and them training with us or after us every day. We’ll be able to keep really close tabs. We want Andre to train everyday with us. We want him to compete at a pro level, a good level and where there are consequences. Our thinking right now is possibly Harrisburg is that spot for him to get games.”

On the possible international absences of both M’Bolhi and Blake: “We’re looking to bring in another goalkeeper. I’m sure the fans will have a field day with it [laughter]. We obviously are exploring how to take care of that situation. That’s the problem with having two high quality goalkeepers. They could both away on international duty and you need someone to be there.”

Official: Union Sign Argentine Midfielder Cristian “Chaco” Maidana

The Philadelphia Union captured their second signing of the offseason, as Cristian Maidana was officially acquired by the club today.

Maidana, 26, will be able to join up with the Union once his P-1 Visa is received. Philadelphia already possesses his International Transfer Certificate.

Though terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Union or MLS because of long standing policies, Kessler Reports has learned that Maidana signed for two years with an option for a third season.

The source could not reveal the salary terms prior to the publishing of this article. Philadelphia stated in the team’s press release that Maidana would be a Designated Player.

The midfielder last played for Argentinos Juniors before his contract with the club ran out this month. He has also played previously for Spartak Moscow, Atlante, Rangers (Chile) and Recreativo (Spain).

Kessler Reports will have a profile of Maidana up tonight.

Source: Union Close To Signing Cristian Maidana

By Amarhgil, Wikipedia
By Amarhgil, Wikipedia

As originally reported by Philly Soccer Page yesterday, the Philadelphia Union were pursuing Cristian Maidana, an Argentine midfielder.

Kessler Reports has learned that the talks between Maidana’s camp and the Union are in advanced stages. A source, who asked to remain anonymous because of the ongoing negotiations, told Kessler Reports that the progress has been positive and “both sides expect a deal to be signed.”

Maidana recently left Argentinos Juniors after the player and club mutually agreed to end his contract.

Here’s what Philly Soccer Page had to say about Maidana:

Maidana is a left-footed winger who has played professionally in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Russia, garnering a $3.5 million transfer fee for a move to Spartak Moscow in 2008. He spent three years on the books in Moscow, some of which was on loan with other clubs, before returning to the Americas on a full contract in 2011. Maidana spent the 2012-13 season with Atlante in Mexico and joined Argentinos Juniors for the 2013 Apertura season. Transfermarkt lists his market value as 750,000 euros, or approximately $1.02 million.

Carlos Valdes Countdown: New Year Passes Without New News*

*Read on for an explanation of why that’s not technically true.

The New Year came and went without any development in the Carlos Valdes transfer saga. The lack of movement on a loan or permanent transfer out of MLS means that the former Philadelphia Union captain has officially returned to the club’s roster.

Hold onto those happy thoughts, Union fans.

Valdes’ time with the Union most likely ended upon his initial loan to Santa Fe, despite that temporary transfer’s completion when the clock struck midnight on 2013.

Head coach John Hackworth has even publicly admitted that the Union won’t ever see Valdes play again for the team, leaving little to read between the lines on the matter in November:

“The reality is this is a good situation for Carlos right now,” Hackworth told MLSsoccer.com. “He needs to continue to be in that situation going into the World Cup because we’re in a good marketplace for him right now. I would think at some point he’s either going to get bought or we’re going to extend that loan through the World Cup.”

Valdes’ agent confirmed as much in a recent interview that clearly showed off the players’ wishes for 2014:

“If you ask me, ‘Is the player going to play in MLS?’ I can tell you with 101 percent certainty that in the first half of 2014, Valdes will not play in MLS,” Valdes’ agent, Ricardo Pachón, told FutbolMLS.com.

The center back’s push to be a part of Colombia’s World Cup squad in Brazil has led him to follow Jose Pekerman’s, the manager of the country’s international team, directive to seek playing time back home.

The best case scenario for both sides is a six month loan with an option to buy for a team, unless the Union want to bank on Valdes not only successfully making the 23-man roster, but also impressing in Brazil.

Philadelphia holds the second and sixth picks overall in the first round of this year’s MLS SuperDraft, which is laden with center back talent.

Freddy Adu, Former Union Bust, To Train In Arizona While Pondering Future

By 2O
Photo By 2O, Wikipedia

Without a club for the umpteenth time in his life, Freddy Adu will head to Arizona to train while pondering his soccer future.

Adu’s choice for his near future was revealed in an article by the Seattle Times earlier this week. The paper’s main soccer reporter, Joshua Meyers, interviewed Trevor Moawad, formerly of IMG and now Vice President of pro and elite sports for Athletes’ Performance in Arizona.

Moawad discussed Eddie Johnson with Meyers, but also disclosed that Adu would probably begin to train at Athlete’s Performance, soon.

“Freddy (Adu) is obviously one of them. With Freddy, it’s a tougher stretch for him right now. He’s out of contract and trying to figure out what he’s going to do next. I think he’ll probably come out to Arizona and train, unless he can get signed somewhere. Obviously the transfer window will not matter for Freddy because he’s not with a team, so he can sign whenever if someone will give him a shot.”

The former American international, now 24-years-old, was released by Bahia prior to the end of their 2013 regular season in Brazil after failing to make a push for a role on the club. Adu managed only four appearances with Bahia before his November removal from the team’s books.

“He does not play because there are others who are superior,” said Bahia director of football Anderson Barros. “He is very dedicated. I have nothing bad to say about him off the field. I have talked with him, and Adu understands the situation. He is very professional.”

The dismissal from Bahia was Adu’s ninth departure from a team in his 10-year career.