The Philly Soccer Page Archives for January 2010

Union look on to New England

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In the midst of the all-star break, here's a quick look ahead to what lies ahead for the Union this week, as well as what's behind them, from new PSP contributor Chris Wetherson.

After Philadelphia took a hard loss to the San Jose Earthquakes back on July 10 they have been on a bit of a roll.

Union sign JT Noone, waive Brian Perk

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The Union announced Friday that they have signed midfielder and local product JT Noone. The terms of the signing, following league policy, were undisclosed.

Noone, grew up in Harrisburg where he attended Central Dauphin High School. He played at Temple University where he was named to ESPN Magazine Men's Soccer Academic All-District 2 University Division Second Team as a sophomore.

Are the Union better than the All-Stars?

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On Wednesday night MLS All-Star team took on Manchester United. As if you already didn't know, they lost horribly 5-2.

When the Philadelphia Union took on Man U on July 21, they only lost 1-0. It took United 76 minutes to score on the Union's third string goalie.

The MLS All-Star's had L.

Union grades and more morning news

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Union

MLSsoccer.com has given mid-season grades for the Union, rightly concluding they have looked better than their record shows. Top grades (A-) to the forwards, lowest (C+) to the midfield, with two B-'s to round things out. Just to be fair, I would give the fans and the new stadium an A+. How would you grade the season so far?

Le Toux, MLS All-Stars Stymied As Man U Rolls 5-2

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Despite an admitted willingness to follow the Union's 1-0 loss to Manchester United by putting one away against them in the Allstar game, Sebastien Le Toux was grounded in the 45 first half minutes of action he saw last night.

With Juan Pablo Angel (New York Red Bulls) slotted up top as the lone striker, Le Toux was penciled in at left outside mid, paired up at central with Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake).

High School standout dream is to play for Union

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Ode Akpoji started playing soccer on his fourth birthday when he received a soccer ball as a gift. Born to Nigerian parents who were glad to see their son taking up soccer, Akpoji was soon excelling at the sport.

Akpoji now plays for his high school, Suncoast Community High School, in Florida.

Great Philly teams: United German Hungarians

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United German Hungarians (UGH) have one of the longest histories of any soccer team in Philadelphia. This weekend they celebrate their 100th anniversary by hosting the United States Adult Soccer Association's National Cup final. UGH have won the competition twice, in 1965 and 1999, having played in the final five times.

Rodriguez nets two more in win over Chicago

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Amy Rodriguez is on fire.

On Wednesday night she scored two goals and an assist in the Independence's 3–0 win over Chicago Red Stars. Rodriguez scored two goals against Sky Blue FC on Saturday, both of which were assisted by Caroline Seger. She returned the favor against Chicago by assisting Seger's goal in the 53rd minute.

Iran prez disses Octopus & more news of the morn

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Somebody else takes a picture of PSP photographer Nicolae Stoian

Congratulations to PSP photographer Nicolae Stoian! Nicolae is one of eight photographers selected by Photographers for Hope to photograph the 2010 Homeless World Cup, taking place in Rio de Janeiro in September. The project is being organized in conjunction with United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace and the Brazilian branch of the Sport for Social Change Network.

Free Bob Bradley, too…

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"Don't talk about Landon unless you want to see me throw a hissy fit!"

As I sat outside Don Garber's house waiting for the waaaaaambulance to take him away up following his sad, egomaniacal rant about Landon Donovan(one that he completely backtracked on at the MLS Allstar game last night), I realized that there is another member of the men's national team who has served his country well but should now be allowed to move on.

A look at some possible contributors to the 2014 US World Cup qualifying campaign

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Bobby Convey against Brazil

Sacha Klejstan, Justin Mapp, Bobby Convey, Jermaine Jones, and Charlie Davies all missed out on playing for the US at the 2010 World Cup earlier this summer. Each of them is talented, and some are obviously in another class. However, all of them have the talent to help the US during the next World Cup qualifying cycle.

Here’s what matters in MLS

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Memo to MLS:

We don't care about the SuperLiga.

Euro friendlies? Nice, gets you some exposure and ticket revenue, but nobody cares who wins.

Tonight's MLS all-star match is nice, but the same Man U team of backups facing the all-stars already lost to a 10-man Kansas City squad that's  one of the league's worst.

Le Toux wants to score and more morning news

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All-Star Game

Le Toux is looking forward to a rematch with Man Utd, "I'm hoping to score this time against them." Do it for the Union and for Philly! The game is on ESPN2 at 8:30pm.

Here's a head-to-head look at tonight's match by position.

USSoccerPlayers.com takes a look back at the record of MLS All-Star teams against international opposition.

Philadelphia Union 1-1 Harrisburg City Islanders

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Let's start with the positives.

About 2,000 fans came out tonight to watch the Harrisburg City Islanders take on the Philadelphia Union in the first-ever installment of their annual friendly match. Of those 2,000, many were clad in Union gear, many sported scarves and jerseys, and everyone got an up-close look at their chosen team.

Union v. Islanders Friendly: Some good, some bad, one ugly

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Let's start with the positives.

About 2,000 fans came out tonight to watch the Harrisburg City Islanders take on the Philadelphia Union in the first-ever installment of their annual friendly match. Of those 2,000, many were clad in Union gear, many sported scarves and jerseys, and everyone got an up-close look at their chosen team.

A look at some US U-20 talents

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Alexander Zahavi

The US U-20 National Team is in Northern Ireland participating in the Milk Cup. Thomas Rongen is still at the helm and recently guided his team to a 1-0 victory over China. The team plays the Danish tomorrow, Wednesday at 3pm ET.

Rongen has reached out to a number of young Americans plying their trade abroad in Mexico and different countries in Europe.

USASA cup semifinals

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Schedule Friday, July 30, 2010

10am Men's Amateur Cup

Olympic Club (CA) vs Boston Olympiakos (MA)

12pm Men's Amateur Cup

Barracudas FC (TX) vs Carpathia Kickers (MI)

4pm Women's Cup

N Texas Premier (TX) vs Kentucky Wanderers (KY)

8pm Men's Open Cup

CASL Elite (NC) vs Detroit United (MI)

(on Field #3)

12:30pm Men's Over-30 Cup

Kells FC (OR) vs United SC (DC/VA)

2:30pm Men's Over-30 Cup

Kickers (FL) vs Ajax (MO)

USASA cup finals

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Schedule Sunday, August 1, 2010

8 am  Men's Over-30 Cup Championship

10 am  Women's Cup Championship

12 pm  Men's Open Cup Championship

2:00pm  Men's Amateur Cup Championship

KYW podcast: USASA cup in Philly, Union review

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USASA hall of famer Werner Kricker, Jr. joins KYW's Greg Orlandini and PSP's Dan Walsh on this week's podcast to talk about this weekend's USASA Amateur Cup finals being held at the United German Hungarian club in Oakford, Pa. The event is being held in the Philadelphia area to commemorate the 100th anniversary of UGH, a two-time U.

Cherundolo appointed captain of Hannover

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Steve Cherundolo has been appointed the new captain of Hannover 96. The Bundesliga side finished 2 points above the relegation zone last season so Stevie C has quite a task ahead of him. He has been at Hannover since 1999 and recently penned a 3-year contract extension.

Mapp, Seger, and lots of money questions

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The Union News

The big news of the day is the Union's trade for Justin Mapp. Mapp has the pedigree to slot into the distributing midfield role that can't finder an owner on the current Union squad. Many have had a cup of coffee as the more offensive central midfielder but nobody has put their stamp on it the way Miglioranzi has grabbed the reins of the defensive role.

USASA Amateur Cup finals

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Map to 4666 Bristol Road, Oakford, PAÂ 19053

SCHEDULE

Friday, July 30, 2010

10am Men's Amateur Cup

Olympic Club (CA-N) vs. Boston Olympiakos (MA)

12pm Men's Amateur Cup

Barracudas FC (TX) vs. Carpathia Kickers (MI)

4pm Women's Cup

N Texas Premier (TX-N) vs.

Philadelphia Union trade for

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Philadelphia Union acquired midfielder Justin Mapp today from the Chicago Fire in exchange for allocation money.

Mapp, 25, is a left-footed winger who has played all but three games of his professional career with the Fire since being drafted fourth overall in the MLS amateur draft. He has five caps for the U.

FC Delco falls to Crew Juniors

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The U-19 FC Delco Hammerheads fell 1–0 to Ohio's Crew Juniors in the US Youth Soccer National Championship final on Saturday night. With the win, the Crew Juniors become the first MLS youth academy team to win the James P. McGuire Cup.

Opening play was free flowing. In the 12th minute, a long throw in front of goal skipped just out of the reach of FC Delco's Matthew Sanner.

Le Toux a midseason MVP(?) & other news

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A lot has been happening around the soccer world lately, from David Beckham trade rumors to Landon Donovan starring in a Mexican commercial (and its funny too!) So let's start off this edition of the Roundup with the Union.

Union

It was a quiet weekend for the Union with the All-Star game just around the corner and their next game on Saturday, July 31.

Union look on to New England

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In the midst of the all-star break, here's a quick look ahead to what lies ahead for the Union this week, as well as what's behind them, from new PSP contributor Chris Wetherson.

After Philadelphia took a hard loss to the San Jose Earthquakes back on July 10 they have been on a bit of a roll.

Seeing red over not seeing yellow and green

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One may have been shocked by the predominantly red clad crowd that came out for Wednesday's match at the Linc between our hometown Philadelphia Union and Manchester United. Even the supporter's section had too much red in it, with one Sons of Ben member wondering where the SoB leadership was.

What's more surprising, however, relates to what you didn't see: the yellow and green scarves that have come, for United supporters, to signify the anti-Glazer movement.

Independence wallop Sky Blue

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As temperatures reached nearly 100° in the Philadelphia area on Saturday, even the announcers of the WPS match between the Philadelphia Independence and New Jersey's Sky Blue FC were shiny with sweat during the pregame introductions.

The Independence made things even hotter for the visitors with a 4–1 win.

FC Delco falls to Crew Juniors

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The U-19 FC Delco Hammerheads fell 1–0 to Ohio's Crew Juniors in the US Youth Soccer National Championship final on Saturday night. With the win, the Crew Juniors become the first MLS youth academy team to win the James P. McGuire Cup.

Opening play was free flowing. In the 12th minute, a long throw in front of goal skipped just out of the reach of FC Delco's Matthew Sanner.

The devil and the Union-Man U divide

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Usually when I see Satan, it's an alcohol-induced hallucination. And the Lord of the Flies, shapeshifter that he is, doesn't always come in his true form. At times he's been my girlfriend, my girlfriend's best friend's ass, or simply that voice that keeps me from writing or encourages me to grab another Spaten Optimator (but let's make it clear that God/L Ron/Buddha are responsible for gifting us with beer).

Isles out of Open Cup, Ready for Battery, Union

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The Harrisburg City Islanders checked out of the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday after a 2-0 defeat to D.C. United. This is the second consecutive year that the Islanders reached the quarterfinal of America's oldest soccer tournament and two years in a row the Islanders have been ousted by D.

FC Delco in National Championship Final & more news

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Union/Local

FC Delco Hammerheads will play Ohio's Crew Juniors today in the last game before the U-19 2010 US Youth Soccer National Championship on Saturday. The Hammerheads have won both of their previous two matches in the Championship while Crew Juniors have won one and tied one. Regardless of the outcome of today's match, because the third place team has only one point, both the Hammerheads and the Crew will appear in the Final.

Eduardo Coudet signs with the Union

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Philadelphia Union made it official today and signed Argentinian midfielder Eduardo Coudet.

The 35-year-old journeyman with the shock white/blonde hair will become eligible to play in the Union's next regular season match on July 31 against New England. He has played in two international friendlies so far, impressing in both.

Defending the Dutch

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In the wake of the World Cup Final rightfully won by a terrific Spanish side, there has been much criticism of the physical nature of the match and the tactics of the Dutch side.  Clearly the intent of their defensive midfielders and center backs was to try to bully the smooth, quick attacks of the Spanish offense.

Union v United wrap

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Matching up against perennial powerhouse Manchester United, the Union showed considerable strength and tactical prowess in their second international friendly. As with Celtic, one can temper their excitement over the fact that any team out for a preseason trot is always going to be at a marked disadvantage.

No shame in that at all & more morning news

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Union

One all-too-familiar crappy back pass is all it takes. Here's a look at what is being said about the Union's honorable and gritty 1–0 loss to Manchester United on Wednesday night from MLSSoocer, ComcastSportsNet, FoxNews, USA Today, the Trentonian, the AP, the Guardian,

The Inquirer takes a closer look and learns that Ferguson was impressed with our Andrew Jacobson, who he described as "a bit of a bugger there in the second half.

Philadelphia Union 0-1 Manchester United

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Philadelphia Union held Manchester United even for 75 minutes before Gabriel Obertan scored in the 76th minute to give the Red Devils a 1-0 victory Wednesday  night.

Tonight's friendly at Lincoln Financial Field saw the hometown Union surprise Man U by playing an aggressive match throughout, and the first half was a back-and-forth endeavor that saw both teams miss good chances.

KYW-PSP podcast: Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz sits in

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Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz joined PSP's Dan Walsh and KYW's Greg Orlandini for a wide-ranging interview Tuesday night. In this week's podcast, he addresses a whole bunch of things, including:

  • Anonymous reports that the Union won't sign a designated player;
  • Prospective plans for expanding PPL Park and building a training facility;
  • The club's financial situation;
  • J.

Union v Man U pre-match news & more

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Union v Manchester United

Can you believe it, the Union and Manchester United will have different approaches to this evening's friendly?

In more plainly obvious news, the Inquirer says that tonight's match is one more way for Man Utd to extend its world wide reach. In response to the familiar, for American soccer fans, description of the club as the New York Yankees of soccer, The article includes this awesome quote in response from a sports marketer Simon Wardle: "Manchester United is what the Yankees wish they were.

Free Landon Donovan!

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Landon Donovan needs to go back to England, and MLS needs to let him.

I was going to write a column about this until I realized I already wrote one eight months ago. Amazingly, it all remains relevant today, so I'm reposting it below. All that's changed is that Donovan proved what was predicted.

Philly and the international friendly

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As has been previously described in the PSP, the friendly has been an important opportunity for the transmission of new football tactics. It's also a great way for clubs and federations to make some money. From the fan's perspective, the friendly is often a rare opportunity to see top flight international soccer and also serves as an important community builder, whether those communities are ethnic groups that identify with particular international clubs or the soccer community as a whole.

Ralston retires, no DP for Union

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MLS career assists leader Steve Ralston is retiring. So frame your Steve Ralston jersey, I guess?

Eric Altshule argues that grit is the distinguishing trait of the US National team, and that it will serve us as well as skill and ability serve the rest of the world's teams. Hm.

It appears the Union won't be dipping into the designated player market any time soon, so Union Jack better start learning that attacking center mid position.

Independence loses, US Wins

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When the Philadelphia Independence traveled to the West Coast to face FC Gold Pride on Saturday, they did so without the services of Amy Rodriguez, Lori Lindsey and Heather Mitts. Sara Larsson and Caroline Seger, both of whom play for Sweden, who faced the US on Sunday, had been released back to the Independence.

Le Toux an all-star, Chicago inks a DP, other news

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Union/Independence/Local

The Independence lost 2-0 this weekend, dropping them further behind the first place Gold Pride.

Philadelphia Union's Sebastien Le Toux will be an addition to the MLS all-star team, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. Â (The info is buried at the bottom of a feature on Danny Mwanga.

When tempers flare at PPL Park

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Yeah, it was hot at Saturday's victory over Toronto—someone told me after the match that it was 102° inside the stadium.

Still, I didn't think I'd have to break up a fight between Union fans and what appeared to be Toronto supporters. Sure enough, I did.

The atmosphere heated up in Section 117 after Toronto's Dan Gargan, who hails from Philadelphia and graduated from Chestnut Hill Academy, put a throw-in in front of goal that was all-too-easily headed past Chris Seitz by Chad Barrett to erase the Union's 1–0 lead in the 81st minute.

Photos: Union-Toronto game

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National anthem.


Head Coach Peter Nowak directs from the bench.


Sébastien Le Toux fights for the ball.


Danny Califf tackles Dwayne De Rosario.


Amobi Okugo breaks through.


Danny Califf almost scores the goal.


Amobi Okugo #14 and Nick LaBrocca #21


The Sons of Ben in their "River End" section.

Post-game: Union 2-1 Toronto

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Click here to view the embedded video.

Toronto FC came in to Chester on an eight-game unbeaten streak. They can go home without it.

Philadelphia Union knocked off Toronto  2-1 on Saturday thanks to a stoppage time penalty kick scored by Sebastien Le Toux.

Cristian Arrieta and Jack McInerney set up the climactic play, with Arrieta sending in a curling cross from the right side.

Preview: Toronto FC at Philadelphia Union

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Game time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

TV: 6abc, MyNetwork TV

A much-improved Toronto FC pays a visit to PPL Park this Saturday to face Philadelphia Union, marking the second time the Union have played a team twice this year. The two played in Toronto on April 15, when the Union lost 2-1 in a game they easily could have won.

Spot “the drunken idiot” and more morning news

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Union/Independence/Local

Three people are facing charges following the flare incident at Wednesday night's victory over Celtic. Two of the three, all of whom are from New York, were charged with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct and were released on $50,000 bail. The third, described by Union president Tom Veit as "the drunken idiot," spent the night in jail to sober up.

Union-Celtic: The ultimate WTF game

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You know those pseudo-intellectual, semi-respectable, journalistic (and probably pretentious!) types of posts I often write here about the Union, their tactics and the future?

Yeah, well, this isn't one of them.

This is a look back at a night that was basically my ultimate WTF game, for so many reasons.

Breaking down the Union win over Celtic

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Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Union's play last night, and there were several, was the play of the defensive backs and the outside midfielders. Cristian Arrieta looked masterful throughout, denying many a Celtic rush, while Michael Orozco Fiscal was equally impressive on the other side of the field.

Union v Celtic in pictures

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Leaving the player's tunnel Coach Nowak The captains exchange pennants Le Toux on the ball Le Toux chases down Celtic captain Scott Brown Stefani Miglioranzi helps Brown to the pitch What's this ball doing in the back of the net? Le Toux takes a crack from the wing Torres goes airborne with a Celtic free kick Celtic gets divey around the new guy, Eduardo Coudet With Torres down, Coudet talks tactics with Danny Mwanga 20 is out—Nowak checks on Torres Amobi Okugo moving through traffic Union Jack turns a move Celtic start to threaten Okugo works his mark Some Celtic supporters try to create some excitement of their own.

Welcome to the new guy! And more morning news

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The Daily News has some background on that new guy with the bleached-blond hair who started in the midfield and assisted Le Toux in the game winning goal, Eduardo Coudet. He's 35, he's from Argentina, and you can expect the announcement of his signing any second.

More on Coudet, who won three titles with River Plate, from the Union website.

Celtic meet and greet Tuesday at Fado

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With eager anticipation, the many green-and-white-clad fans packing the bar waited. And waited. And waited.

It was well past the stated 7:30pm arrival time of their Celtic heroes, yet no one seemed too perturbed. Certainly not enough to prevent them from continuing to run their tab as they speculated on who would show.

Who are ya? World Cup final edition

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Locust from 15th to 16th St. on Sunday June 11th.

Four years ago, all you could do was bemoan the lack of outdoor viewing opportunities as you continuously saw clips of thousands of fans huddled together in outdoor fan parks in Germany, let alone in Times Square and Boston's Government Center.

Rodriguez scores in USA draw with Sweden

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Tuesday night's friendly between the US and Sweden at Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska, featured three Philadelphia Independence players. Amy Rodriguez and Lori Lindsey both started for the US and Caroline Seger captained the Sweden team.

WPS Player of the Month Rodriguez has been on fire for the Independence and she scored her eighth international goal one minute before halftime to put the US up 1–0.

World Cup pool winner: come get your prize!

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As some of you know, we had a World Cup picks pool. Also, as some of you know, we have a winner. His name is William, aka Own Goal. He picked games and scores with such lights-out accuracy that, when his superhuman ability to predict games finally stumbled with his Netherlands, he still won the competition, despite that pick being worth the most points.

World Cup ratings, US Rankings, Fulham and more

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Post-World Cup

Viewership of the World Cup Final was up 41% compared to the last World Cup with some 15.5 million watching on ABC and 8.8 million watching on Univision, that 24.3 million making the final more watched than the any game of the last World Series, the Stanley Cup, and the NBA Finals, not to mention the last Daytona 500.

A Call for Reinforcements

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July 15th marks the opening of the international transfer window into MLS and fans of the league are getting excited. Managers are bringing in reinforcements, notably current or former national team players from France, Montenegro, Venezuela, and Spain, and we hope the Union will be right there introducing our own new players.

KYW-PSP podcast: Shea Salinas sounds off

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Philadelphia Union winger Shea Salinas talked Monday night with PSP's Dan Walsh and KYW Newsradio's Greg Orlandini about the Union, his position switches, Clint Dempsey, his infamous Craig's List ad, and his love of the movie Top Gun. Listen in for that and more talk about the Union and their potential signings during the summer transfer window.

Streaking Islanders

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The unlucky bounces, close calls, and heartbreakers have eased up on the Islanders for the time-being the Islanders have enjoyed a few weeks in the sun. After posting 1 win in their first 11 season games, the Islanders have won their last 3 USL-2 contests over Charlotte once and Real Maryland twice.

Postgame: Union 1 – 2 San Jose

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The Union dropped their first home game on Sautrday with a disappointing 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes. After dominating most of the match and certainly all of the second half, one San Jose counterattack stole the points in the 90th minute. Fred scored the lone goal for the Union after a flick from Danny Mwanga put him through on goal in the 14th minute.

Nowak’s tactics: Genius or madness?

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Nearly halfway through the MLS season, Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak is still tinkering.

Nowak has deployed 10 different lineups in 12 regular season games. All three lines – defenders, midfielders, forwards – have changed. He only repeated lineups after the Union's first two wins and then tweaked them again after they failed to produce consecutive victories.

My South Africa Story

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My two week journey to South Africa commenced with a baptism by fire on the streets of Johannesburg or Jo'burg as residents like to call it. It wasn't the driving on the "wrong" side of the road that made my first few hours in Africa so treacherous, but rather the sheer insanity with which Jo'burgers took to the task.

World Cup contoversy: parakeet picks Dutch

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With his spotless record of picking winners at the 2010 World Cup, Paul the Octopus may have grabbed the headlines when he tipped Spain to win Sunday's final.

But a lifeline came out of Singapore for fans of Holland on Friday when Mani the Parakeet picked the Netherlands to top Spain.

Mani the Parakeet has been telling fortunes with his owner, 80 year-old M.

Thus spake Paul the Octopus

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World Cup

Paul the Octopus, who has a 100% record so far for the 2010 World Cup, has picked Spain to win the Final. (You can see the video below. Don't look into his eyes)

The Golden Ball nominees have been announced: Diego Forlan (URU), Asamoah Gyan (GHA), Andres Iniesta (ESP), Lionel Messi (ARG), Mesut Oezil (GER), Arjen Robben (NED), Bastian Schweinsteiger (GER), Wesley Sneijder (NED), David Villa (ESP), Xavi (ESP).

The Human Perspective at the World Cup

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Given the empathy-laden lens through which South African author Ivan Vladislavic presents his home city to us in the walking tour that is Portrait With Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked (see my City Paper review here) , he seemed a perfect fit to help widen the perspective on the 2010 World Cup.

Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. San Jose Earthquakes

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Game time: Saturday, 6 p.m.

TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Philadelphia Union kick off a four-game home stretch on Saturday as Philly native Bobby Convey and the San Jose Earthquakes come to town.

San Jose (5-4-4) has been playing solid soccer thanks to Convey's return to form and the emergence of forward Chris Wondolowski and rookie center back Ike Opara.

Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. San Jose Earthquakes

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Game time: Saturday, 6 p.m.

TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Philadelphia Union kick off a four-game home stretch on Saturday as Philly native Bobby Convey and the San Jose Earthquakes come to town.

San Jose (5-4-4) has been playing solid soccer thanks to Convey's return to form and the emergence of forward Chris Wondolowski and rookie center back Ike Opara.

Spain to the Final!

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Spain has advanced to the World Cup final, as their smooth operating neutralized the fire of the most incredibly dynamic German team in recent memory.

The disparity in playing style could not have been greater. The Germans were typically eager, ruthless, disciplined, and pants-poopingly threatening.

A Few Things that Could Be Improved at PPL Park…

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I will tell you that I had a blast at the first game at PPL Park. The sight lines were great. The stadium was beautiful. The beer and the water were cold (if overpriced). The fans were unbelievable (everyone from the families to the SoB). And the Union played some inspired, attractive soccer and fully deserved the win.

Psychic-speculation-preview-study-poll-swap stuff

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So, Paul the Octopus got it right in predicting Spain's victory over Germany. But can his psychic powers match those of an anonymous Philadelphia street vendor? Last summer, PSP photographer Nicolae Stoian bought a Spain t-shirt on some Center City street. The vendor threw in another shirt for free.

Germany to Octopus: Say it isn’t so!

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The nation of Germany is in shock as Paul, the "oracle octopus," has picked Spain to win over Germany in today's World Cup semifinal. Thus far Paul has accurately predicted the results of all five of Germany's World Cup matches, including the loss to Serbia. Including Euro 2008, the cephalopod has a record of 9-1, his only previous prediction gone bad being that Germany would beat Spain in the Euro 2008 final.

KYW-PSP podcast: Chris Seitz sits in

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Listen to the latest soccer podcast by KYW editor Greg Orlandini and PSP editor Dan Walsh, as they interview Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz and chat up the World Cup and Philadelphia Union. The show was recorded Monday night.

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Blue sweaters, Kuyt love, PPL FAQs: Read the roundup!

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From the FAQ section of PPL's website:

How can you need a rate increase when PPL is spending millions to purchase

naming rights for a soccer stadium?

PPL Electric Utilities and its customers aren't paying a penny for stadium naming rights.

Independence lose at home to Boston

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Like the Union against Chivas the night before, the Independence leapt to an early lead over the Boston Breakers. Amy Rodriguez put the Independence on the board in the 17th minute after nearly scoring twice in the first ten minutes of play. Receiving a pass from Lianne Sanderson in the box, Rodriguez faked a defender and then sent the ball into the upper left corner of the goal past Boston keeper Alyssa Naeher.

Union draw Chivas, Califf wants more

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The Philadelphia Union earned a point at Chivas USA Saturday night, pulling into a 3-way tie for last place (or a 3-way tie for 6th place, depending on your perspective). While the Union will be happy to grab a needed point on the road, the team has to be disappointed not to win after they started strong and saw number one pick Danny Mwanga continue his emergence with a icy cold finish in the 21st minute.

Nowak’s tactics: Genius or madness?

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Nearly halfway through the MLS season, Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak is still tinkering.

Nowak has deployed 10 different lineups in 12 regular season games. All three lines – defenders, midfielders, forwards – have changed. He only repeated lineups after the Union's first two wins and then tweaked them again after they failed to produce consecutive victories.

Orange crush and more news

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The Dutch knockout World Cup favorites Brazil.

The Daily News looks at Union keeper Chris Seitz. I never doubted him.

Australia, considered the main rival of the US to host the 2022 World Cup, is being investigated by FIFA for ethics violations.

From the Department of If You Don't StopNot Playing We Will Suspend You, FIFA have ordered Nigeria to end its two year ban on its national team playing internationally.

Spain Squeezes By

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The most daunting question about Spain, as they prepare to face Germany, was put on display by Paraguay as the resolute South Americans effectively stonewalled La Furia Roja for most of 90 minutes. Switzerland, Paraguay, and to an extent Portugal have all raised the same specter: that discipline in strategy may well be the key to unraveling the skillful and improvisational passing orgy of the World Cup favorites.

Shavar Thomas: Gone in 35 minutes

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We may never know why Shavar Thomas went from a supposedly solid defender for Chivas USA to an apparent invalid for Philadelphia Union.

Thomas never got back on the field after his disastrous 35-minute stint in Toronto on April 15. Now, he's off to Kansas City in a trade that makes him the second former Union player, following Dave Myrie, both a testament to this apparent Peter Nowak creed:

Don't play horribly in your first game for the Union, or you may never play for them again.

Daily round-up: Bring back the World Cup!

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The Harrisburg City Islanders will meet DC United in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup after DC dispatched USL-2 team Richmond Kickers last night. Seattle also advances by dropping Portland on PKs, despite a goal from Portland's Bright Dike.

In today's "Adams who have cooler jobs than me" story, an Adam is living inside a giant Jabulani ball for the entire World Cup.

Preview: Philadelphia Union at Chivas USA

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Game time: Saturday, 10:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Philadelphia Union travels to Los Angeles to play Chivas USA in a Saturday night battle between last place teams potentially heading in different directions.

The Union (3-7-1) come in off a big win at their new stadium to remain unbeaten in three home games interspersed in a long road trip to start the year.