The Philly Soccer Page Archives for January 2011

PSP’s Best of 2011 Awards

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Featured image: Earl Gardner

2011 was a great year for Philly soccer fans. The Philadelphia Union made it to the playoffs in just their second season. For the second year in a row, and their second year of existence, the Philadelphia Independence made it to the WPS Finals. Nearly 58,000 turned out to see the Union play Real Madrid at the Linc, where the USMNT would host Mexico only a few weeks later (even if the home support was outnumbered by the support for the visitors at both games).

Visualizing Union passing statistics

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Editor's note: The MLS partnership with Opta Sports has resulted in richer ways to understand the performance of the Philadelphia Union and its players through statistical analysis. PSP's efforts to collect and share match statistics have been enhanced by the deeper analysis offered by Ford Bohrmann.

Ream v Union named Gaffe of the Year, Henry to Arsenal, more news

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Tim Ream's giveaway to Danny Mwanga that resulted in the Roger Torres game winning goal when New York played the Union at PPL in April has been named the Gaffe of the Year by MLSsoccer.com. Yeah, it was pretty gaffable.

An AP report at ESPN begins, "Major League Soccer player Freddy Adu will train with Rayo Vallecano and may join the Spanish club.

Footy on the Telly: Dec. 30 – Jan. 3

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At the time of this writing, no programming information was available for Fox Soccer Channel for Saturday, December 31 and Sunday, January 1.

Friday, December 30
2:45pm Liverpool vs Newcastle United FSC
7:30pm Xelaju vs Comunicaciones (Copa Mesoamericana) Azteca America
9:30pm Jaguares vs Isidro Metpan (Copa Mesoamericana) Azteca America

Saturday, December 31
7:15am Leicester City vs Portsmouth FSP, foxsoccer.

Season review: Stefani Miglioranzi

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Featured image: Paul Rudderow

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

I saved Migs for my last player review of the season because really, what else is there to say?

Is Adu training in Spain “first step” to Euro return? Henry to Arsenal deal, more

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Is Freddy Adu already thinking about returning to Europe?

A report from SI titled "Adu to train with Spanish club with eye on move" says Rayo Vallecano sporting director Felipe Minambres told The Associated Press on Thursday, "This is the first step, that he comes and trains and gets to know us and the club, and we get to know him.

Adu to train in Spain, Nowak excited, more news

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Ives Galarcep reports at Fox Soccer that Freddy Adu is heading to with Spanish side Rayo Vallecano for a two-week training stint. The report notes, "Rayo Vallecano is also a club that had been in talks with Adu about signing him last summer before Adu settled on a return to MLS.

Season review: Veljko Paunovic

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Featured image: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

In an effort to prop up a struggling attack, the Union announced the signing of Serbian forward Veljko Paunovic on 13 June 2011.

Philly and the first USA international tour

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On June 9, 1916, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, "Word was received in this city yesterday that all arrangements had been completed for an All-American soccer team to tour Sweden and Norway in July. The Sweden Football Association, through its secretary, C.L. Kornerup, has cabled a guarantee of $4000 to cover the expenses of the trip.

MLS offseason news, soccer books, catchphrases

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If you didn't see the Chelsea v Fulham match yesterday, it was a 1-1 tie. Amobi Okugo sums it up well on the twitter.

The Red Bulls continue to insist they will embrace another MLS team in the Big Apple. It's going to be lonely playing in front of 1,500 people in Harrison in 2014.

Alex Morgan is one of Scott French's best stories of 2011.

Season review: Keon Daniel

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

Keon Daniel first showed up as the unknown trialist.

The Pine Barrens League, part 4: Battling doubt and the Middle East

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Editor's note: For your offseason pleasure, PSP is happy to present an eight-part fiction series entitled The Pine Barrens League. In part three, Scnauzer and company play a bunch of nasty Wall Street types. Look for each new installment on Monday mornings through the end of January.

Further reactions to offseason moves, bits and bobs

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All of us at PSP hope you had a Happy Christmas and are recovering well from the excitements of the day. Here's a brief news roundup to look at in between naps and one of the Boxing Day games from England on Fox Soccer Channel.

Philadelphia Union

The Goalkeeper projects various Union starting XI's depending on different scenarios (attacking formation, defensive formation, departures for the Olympics), starting with the basic assumption that most (if not all) of the recent signings will automatically start, and looks at what this could mean to players who were on the 2011 roster.

Wenger for GA, Henry to Arsenal, France v. Beckham, more news

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MLSSoccer.com has a chat with former Reading United star Andrew Wenger, who has signed with Generation Adidas and will go into the MLS amateur draft.

Arsene Wenger really is trying to get Thierry Henry for a two-month loan. Anything Landon can do ... ?

U.S. forward Eddie Johnson has signed with Puebla in Mexico, where DaMarcus Beasley is having such a good season.

More players, more problems

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Photo: Earl Gardner

With the signing of Porfirio Lopez yesterday, the Philadelphia Union continued a busy offseason that has already addressed many glaring needs.

Since the 2011 season ended in defeat at Houston, the Union have parted ways with Justin Mapp, purchased the rights to a Costa Rican striker, a Costa Rican fullback, and a Panamanian utilityman, signed a Tanzanian winger through the re-entry draft, and added a homegrown player.

Season review: Zac MacMath

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Photo: Earl Gardner

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

When the Philadelphia Union took goalkeeper Zac MacMath as their first round pick in the 2011 MLS Superdraft, many a fan and pundit were left saying "Huh?

Nowak on signings, number of internationals. USMNT Jan. friendlies roster. More.

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File Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

Peter Nowak answered questions from reporters via tele-conference on Thursday on the club's recent signings. See our report, published on Thursday night, for an overview of what was discussed. Also, look for a second report from the press conference later this morning for more quotes and analysis, particularly in regards to how the team plan to handle the number of internationals now on the roster and the status of Keon Daniel.

Nowak discusses The Three Zs

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Peter Nowak spoke to the press today, only hours after the Union announced Costa Rican left back Porfirio Lopez as the team's fifth offseason signing.

"Porfirio [Lopez] has a great capacity going back and forth and taking pride at defending, and that's a part we take a look at very closely," Nowak said.

Season Review: Carlos Valdes

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Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

While much has been said about the arrival of Faryd Mondragon and its effect on the stability of the Union's defense, the arrival of Carlos Valdes has been just important.

More Union signings, Union youth impressing at USMNT U23 camp, more nes

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Philadelphia Union

The Union's Central American pipeline continued to flow with the announcement this morning of the signing of 26-year-old Costa Rican left back Porfirio Lopez, one day after the announcement of the signing of Panamanian midfielder Gabriel Gomez and two weeks after the signing of Costa Rican forward Josue Martinez.

Union sign Costa Rican defender Porfirio Lopez

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The Philadelphia Union announced on Thursday the signing of Costa Rican left back Porfirio Lopez.

The 26-year-old Lopez, who was on loan with Costa Rica's First Division Champion Liga Deportiva Alajuelense from Chinese Dalian Haichang.

The press release from the Union says, "Lopez will be eligible to join the Union upon receiving his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

Union acquire Gabriel Gomez

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The Philadelphia Union announced on Wednesday that they have signed Panamanian international Gabriel "Gavilan" Gomez.

The press release says "the central midfielder will be eligible to join the Union upon receiving his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate. Per MLS and Club policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Christmas soccer 1916: Bethlehem Steel in St. Louis

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By 1916, exhibition soccer games on Christmas Day were a Philadelphia tradition that dated back at least to the inaugural season of the city's first organized league, the Pennsylvania Football Union, in 1889. As was the case then, the exhibition game in 1916 took place at the grounds of one of Philadelphia's professional baseball teams, this time at the Phillies Ball Park.

Season Review: Brian Carroll

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Featured image: Paul Rudderow

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

A striker can go missing for long stretches, only to pop up and score with a single touch.

Suarez ban, Preseason package and grade the Union, more news

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Philadelphia Union

Tweet from Freddy Adu: "Happy Holidays to everyone. Love the holiday season."

In Goal.com's survey of the Eastern Conference there is this review of the the Union's 2011 season in a sentence: "Another season of incremental growth for a young squad still in need of a couple of pieces to compete for MLS Cup.

Okugo owning Olympic camp, Independence stars in India

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Women's soccer

Abby Wambach is the AP's 2011 Female Athlete of the Year. Come on, WPS. Capitalize on this!

The USWNT will face Denmark, Norway and World Champions Japan in the 2012 Algarve Cup, which runs Feb. 29-March 7 in Portugal.

THE Val Henderson has a great article up on ESPN-WÂ about Joanna Lohman and Lianne Sanderson traveling to India to start a clinic and mentoring program.

Season review: Jack McInerney

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

It was a disappointing second year for Jack McInerney.

Season review: Danny Mwanga

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

With their first three picks in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, the Union selected two strikers and a holding midfielder. All teenagers and, thus, long term projects, fans were still a bit surprised to see a veteran striker and holding middie arrive during the offseason.

The Pine Barrens League, part 3: Who can beat Wall Street?

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Editor's note: For your offseason pleasure, PSP is happy to present an eight-part fiction series entitled The Pine Barrens League. In part three, Scnauzer and company play a bunch of nasty Wall Street types. Look for each new installment on Monday mornings through the end of January.

Union 5 at US U-23 camp, French champs to play in Philly? Not so fast. More news.

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Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Freddy Adu, Zac MacMath, Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and Sheanon Williams have all reported to the U-23 Olympic qualifying camp in Florida. More on the camp here.

Covering a scrimmage on Sunday at the U-23 camp, SBI tweeted, "Worst tackle of the half was Okugo on Union teammate McInerney.

Donovan-Everton reaction, no Gomez yet, more news

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

There's only one piece of soccer news that really matters to American soccer fans today, and no, Eli, it's not that Philadelphia Union signed a deal with Rosenberg's Peanut Chews, which apparently are a source of some great conflict among the PSP staff.

Yep, it's Landon Donovan going to Everton.

Season review: Sebastien Le Toux

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

What a roller-coaster ride 2011 was for Philadelphia's favorite Frenchman.

Footy on the Telly, Dec. 16-18

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Friday, December 16
2:30pm: Bayern München vs Köln - ESPN Deportes, ESPN3

Saturday, December 17
1:30am: Newcastle Jets vs Sydney FC FSC
9:30am: Freiburg vs Borussia Dortmund GolTV
10am: Everton vs Norwich City FSC (5pm on Fox Deportes)
10am: Blackburn Rovers vs West Bromwich Albion foxsoccer.

DN says Gomez signs with Union, Donovan to Everton, CL & Europa draws

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Photo: Courtesy of FIFA

Philadelphia Union

A new article from Kerith Gabriel on Friday morning about a Gabriel Gomez to the Philadelphia Union deal is headlined "Panama's Gomez signs with Union" but the copy says "According to sources, the contract has been approved by Major League Soccer and awaits Gomez' signature before the Union can schedule an announcement, which can come as early as next week.

KYW Philly Soccer Show: McNeill on WPS reprieve; McLaughlin signing

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Photo: Michael Long

In the latest edition of the KYW Philly Soccer Show podcast, KYW's Greg Orlandini and co-hosts Eli Pearlman-Storch and Mike Servedio of the Philly Soccer Page, talk about US Soccer's sanctioning of WPS and the Philadelphia Union's signing of Jimmy McLaughlin to a Homegrown Player contract.

Season Review: Zach Pfeffer

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Photo: Earl Gardner

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

Zach Pfeffer was signed as the Union's first Homegrown player before the beginning of the 2011 season at the ripe old age of 15.

Gomez to the Union? More news.

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Philadelphia Union

Kerith Gabriel reports that the Philadelphia Union will announce a "blockbuster deal" with Panamanian international Gabriel Gomez. Gabriel says that Gomez is the "the same box-to-box defender/midfielder that was a beast in Panama's 2-0 win over the United States in the group stage of this summer's Gold Cup.

Evolution of a kit: Bethlehem Steel FC

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The recent release of the designs for the new Philadelphia Union home and away kits got me thinking about the evolution of the kit designs of other teams in Philadelphia soccer history. Today, the regular release of new jerseys is an important part of the marketing of a professional team, not to mention a lucrative source of revenue.

Season Review: Kyle Nakazawa

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Featured image: Nicolae Stoian

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

At the end of the 2010 season, the jury was still out on Kyle Nakazawa.

Union reviews & goals, PDA top rankings, WPS update, USSF deficit, more news

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

The "2011 in Review" articles for the Philadelphia Union are now up on the MLS website. One provides decent insight, the other, not so much. In the Q & A cobbled together from the last press conference of the season, in addition to relating that Freddy Adu was at "60 percent" for much of the end of the season due to a back injury and the need for defensive additions and competition within the various positions on the field, Peter Nowak discusses the mindset the team needs to win a championship:

"I told you guys at the press conferences we've had all year long that we believe in what we're building, we believe what is the culture around the team.

McLaughlin signing, WPS survives, combine invitees

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Philadelphia Union

The big news of the day is that Jimmy McLaughlin is the Philadelphia Union's second homegrown signing. Ed has all the details here. McLaughlin said he has spoken to Zach Pfeffer about turning pro. ""It's a business and you're playing for a spot every day.

Season review: Gabriel Farfan

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

Gabriel Farfan was the "get one (almost) free" part that came after "buy one," and he turned out to be quite a steal for Philadelphia Union.

Union sign McLaughlin to Home Grown deal

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Photo: Earl Gardner

The Union announced on Monday the signing of 18-year-old Jimmy McLaughlin to a Home Grown Player contract.

McLaughlin, a graduate of Great Valley High in Malvern, played club soccer for FC Delco before playing this fall as a freshman at Colgate. McLaughlin started every game in hi s freshman year and was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year.

The Pine Barrens League, part 2: The first game

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Editor's note: For your offseason pleasure, PSP is happy to present an eight-part fiction series entitled The Pine Barrens League. In part two, Schnauzer and his new team play their first game. Look for each new installment on Monday mornings through the end of January.

We didn't get picked up by van, as promised, but by a U-Haul truck.

Season review: Sheanon Williams

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Featured image: Earl Gardner

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

Some players get passed over because teams don't think they have the size or the speed to make it at the next level.

UNC NCAA champs, Re-Entry Draft pt. 2, Indies sign Chalupny, more news

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Featured image courtesy of UNC/Jeffrey A. Camarati

NCAA College Cup

University of North Carolina defeated UNC Charlotte 1–0 on Sunday to win the College Cup. Ben Spea's goal was a cracker.

Soccer America's Paul Gardner has an interesting take on the final.

Philadelphia Union

UNC's win prompted a funny Twitter exchange that began with a tweet from UNC product Sheanon Williams:

Williams: "Want to congratulate @UNCmenssoccer.

Reading alums for Hermann Trophy, more news

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The Hermann Trophy finalists were announced Friday, and two of the three finalists are Reading United AC alumni: forwards Andrew Wenger of Duke and Billy Schuler of North Carolina. Both are juniors who grew up in Pennsylvania.

All told, six Reading United alumni were named All-American, with goalkeeper Brian Holt of Creighton and defender Matt Hedges of North Carolina joining Wenger and Schuler on the first team.

Footy on the Telly, Dec. 9-12

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Friday, December 9
Hertha Berlin v Schalke 2:30pm ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com
NCAA men's College Cup semifinal, Charlotte-Creighton 6pm ESPNU, ESPN3.com
NCAA men's College Cup semifinal, UCLA-North Carolina 8:30pm ESPNU, ESPN3.com
Wellington v Perth 11pm Fox Soccer Channel

Saturday, December 10
Southampton v Blackpool 7:30am Fox Soccer Plus, foxsoccer.

Season review: Danny Califf

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

After an uneven 2010 season, Danny Califf was a player reborn in the Union's second season.

Nowak on offseason signings, Martinez. More news.

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File Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

In Thursday's press conference, Peter Nowak reiterated a theme that he has stressed since the end of the season: he is looking to create competition among positions within the squad. "The more guys we have in [camp] being involved with the team and the team-mentality is better and will help us to have better results.

Pennsylvania Open Final this Sunday, Dec 11

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In the Championship Match of the Pennsylvania Open Cup, to be contested this Sunday, December 11, 2011, 2:00pm, West Chester United will host Salone FC. The Cup winner will represent Eastern Pennsylvania in regional play this spring for a berth in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The match will be contested on the turf field next to the Chester County Government Services Center, 601 Westtown Road, West Chester PA.

Union introduce Josue Martinez

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Peter Nowak and the Philadelphia Union introduced their first summer signing today. Josue Martinez is a 21-year old Costa Rican international who fits the Nowak mold as someone who can slot in at multiple positions. ""He's a very humble guy. He has a different qualities with his speed, and can play as a central striker or on the wing," Nowak said.

KYW Philly Soccer Show: Martinez signing & WPS fight for survival

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A new signing and a league in trouble in this week's KYW Philly Soccer Show.

KYW's Greg Orlandini and Philly Soccer Page's Eli Pearlman-Storch are joined by fellow Philly Soccer Page writer Mike Servedio as we look at the Union's new forward and the possible decertification of the WPS.

Season Review: Justin Mapp

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Photo: Earl Gardner

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

Justin Mapp heads to Montreal after an inconsistent one-and-a-half year stint in Philadelphia.

More on Martinez, Union GAs in Holland, WPS waits, FBI investigates, CL upsets, more news

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Philadelphia Union

Here's the skinny on new signing Josue Martinez from Kenneth Hernandez, soccer writer for Costa Rican daily Al Dia:

  • "Martínez is a player for the future. He's still young and he has a lot to give. But he's just 21 and he needs to establish himself as a forward who responds with goals.

Union acquire Josue Martinez

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The Philadelphia Union announced on Wednesday that they have acquired 21-year-old Costa Rican international striker Josue Martinez from Club Deportivo Saprissa.

According to the announcement, "The forward will be available upon receipt of his P-1Visa and International Transfer Certificate. Per MLS and Club policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Hackworth on Union plans, GAs at Ajax, Olympic qualifiers, more news

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Philadelphia Union

John Hackworth explains what the Union is looking for going into the 2012 season. "When you're retooling, you have to make sure you're managing the roster and the salary cap. We're not necessarily trying to get younger; we're trying to get better. And we're going to look at every avenue do that.

Season review: Jordan Harvey

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Photo:Â Daniel Gajdamowicz

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

Jordan Harvey is a Union original. Acquired from Colorado in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft, Harvey featured in 46 of the Union's 47 matches before being dealt to the Vancouver Whitecaps for allocation money on July 7, 2011.

Union 2011 season opener announced

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The Philadelphia Union announced on Tuesday that the 2012 season opener will take place against Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field on Monday, March 12.

Kickoff will be at 9:30pm EST and the match will be nationally broadcast on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.

The Union recently announced that the home opener will take place on Sunday, March 18.

Season Review: Faryd Mondragon

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

Faryd Mondragon looked like the answer in 2011.

Sweet graphs, Shalrie’s contract, new MLS ball, more

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There are many cool things in the world, but I think it's safe to say that none are as cool as this graph of the Philadelphia Union's pass attempts and accuracy that the Tumblr blog Propagandarama put together from the stats PSP's Ed Farnsworth compiled. For those who like to analyze trends in graphs, here is some more info.

The Pine Barrens League

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Editor's note: For your offseason pleasure, PSP is happy to present the first episode of an eight-part fiction series entitled The Pine Barrens League.

It has happened bro, I'm in trouble again. I can't help it. I feel like a fucking drug addict.

A few days ago, I was about to go outside to rake when I saw a huge cloud of leaves blowing into my yard.

Season reviews: Amobi Okugo

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player. Over the next several weeks PSP continues with a review of the 2011 season.

In the Philadelphia Union's signature win of 2011, a 1-0 home victory over the New York Red Bulls, praise was deservedly lavished on the two second half substitutes who combined for the winning tally.

US tops Brazil, more on headers & the brain, WPS deadline, Socrates RIP

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Photo: Courtesy US Soccer

Philly Soccer Page

Today marks the return of one series and the start of another. First, fresh on the heels of our series of raves, we begin our series of season reviews of every Philadelphia Union player who saw more than ten minutes of action in 2011 (sorry Morgan!

College Cup updates, Anelka knows his future, more

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The Goalkeeper claims he hears rumors that Villanova is bidding to host the 2013 College Cup in PPL Park.

Opta congratulates the Union on leading the league in goals from outside the box in 2011.

An updated list of players available for the re-entry draft. Union two are still the same.

Footy on the Telly, Dec. 2-5

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Friday, Dec. 2
Euro 2012 draw 12pm ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com
Caen v Marseille 2pm foxsoccer.tv
Leverkusen v Hoffenheim 2:30pm ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com
Genoa v AC Milan 2:30pm Fox Soccer, ESPN3.com, foxsoccer.tv
Crystal Palace v Derby 2:30pm Fox Soccer Plus, foxsoccer.

The Union’s 2011 passing game, by the numbers

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Featured image: Paul Rudderow

When I was gathering the season stats for all of the Philadelphia Union players to share with the PSP writers for our forthcoming 2011 season review series I realized no passing stats were available, either for the club or for individual players. Actually, that's not precisely true; you can find passing percentages for the team on a game-by-game basis by clicking on the Stat tab for each game's MatchCenter page at MLSsoccer.

Raves: Roger Torres

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Photo: Earl Gardner

Raving about Roger Torres is as natural as dooping for Union fans. Ever since he made his first chicken-armed run onto the pitch, the teenager has been an electric presence.

But it is one thing to create electricity and quite another to control it.

Blossoming

In 2011, Roger Torres grew from a player with skill into a skilled playmaker.

Saprissa prez confirms Union’s Martinez interest,TT praises Philly fans, more news

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Photo of Taylor Twellman at Union's 2011 home opener by Earl Gardner.

Philadelphia Union

Deportivo Saprissa president Juan Carlos Rojas has confirmed in an interview with a Costa Rican radio station that the Union has been in contact with the club about Josue Martinez, saying "I would not go into much detail but there has been interest from Philadelphia [in Martinez].

Raves: Sheanon Williams

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(Photo: Paul Rudderow)

Editor's note: At the end of the 2010 season, we posted a series of "Raves" about our favorite Philadelphia players. They need not be the team's best players, but they're guys and gals we like. Over the next two weeks, we continue the series again with some of the PSP writers' and contributors' favorite players of 2011.

KYW Philly Soccer Show: John Hackworth

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The Philadelphia Union have made their first off-season moves, and the latest installment of the KYW Philly Soccer Show has Union assistant coach John Hackworth on the pod to talk about it.

In part one, Coach Hackworth joins KYW‘s Greg Orlandini and Philly Soccer Page writer Eli Pearlman-Storch to discuss losing veteran midfielder Justin Mapp to Montreal Impact in the Expansion Draft and other possible moves in the offseason.

RE Draft signings “unlikely,” Kepa Blanco & Josue Martinez linked to Union, more

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Philadelphia Union

With yesterday's announcement that the Union had declined the option to re-sign Stefani Miglioranzi and Chase Harrison, the eyes of many Philly soccer followers turned to the other castoffs throughout the league and the possibility that the Union might find a worthy signing in Monday's Re-Entry Draft.