Apr 5, 2015; Kansas City, KS, USA; Confetti falls as Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi (92) reacts after allowing the game winning goal to Sporting KC forward Krisztian Nemeth (not pictured) during the second half at Sporting Park. Sporting KC defeats Philadelphia Union 3-2
The Union signed M’Bolhi to a three-year deal. Now, having played just nine games for the Union, M’Bolhi has been benched. Coach Jim Curtin wouldn’t say if M’Bolhi would ever return to the club, but it didn’t sound like it from his comments at the press conference today. John McCarthy will be the Union’s new starter in net. Read more »
Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field will host the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final this year, according to a report from Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald. The Gold Cup is the biennial North American soccer championship. (CONCACAF stands for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, if you’re wondering.)
The Gold Cup Final will take place on July 26th, with the tournament’s third place game happening the day before at PPL Park in Chester, the home of the Union.
The greatest soccer star of all time is coming to Philadelphia next month.
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced Pele will attend the group’s annual convention in Philadelphia next month.
The NSCAA says Pele will be at several events at the convention, the world’s largest annual gathering of soccer coaches. He’ll also be shilling for G-Form, a Providence-based sports gear company that recently started selling shin guards.
The above tweet is not a typo. The Philadelphia Union are in the championship! “Already?” you might be asking. “It’s only August! Doesn’t the soccer season run into the fall?” Yes, it does. And the Union still sit in fifth place MLS’ Eastern Conference. But the team is also in the championship!
For the uninitiated, let’s explain: After the the game ended 1-1 in regulation and extra time, the Union defeated FC Dallas, 4-3, in a penalty shootout in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup. C’mon! Even if you’re not that interested in soccer, as a Philadelphian you should always get excited for wins over teams from Dallas.
So, yeah, the U.S. Open Cup. Soccer is weird: Domestic soccer leagues run concurrently with a completely separate cup competition, which in the U.S. is a straight knockout competition. Yes, if you’re a soccer fan you get to look at brackets all year! It’s fun. Winning the U.S. Open Cup wouldn’t be as prestigious as qualifying for the playoffs and winning the MLS Cup, but it counts as an all-important “domestic trophy” nonetheless. (Yes, another cool thing about soccer is there are several chances to win championships in a season.)
That was a fun month, wasn’t it? Whether you enjoy soccer or not, the World Cup is a great every-four-years excuse to leave work early and maybe pay attention to a game featuring players you probably haven’t heard of. And though the U.S. went out in the Round of 16, all in all it was a fun month of occasional day-drinking and semi-occasional goal-scoring.
I’m still watching the World Cup because I want to see Germany’s colossal back line pummel Brazilian strikers. I still tune in because I want to watch a disciplined Dutch team try to keep up with the creativity of Argentina. I’m still watching because I cannot wait to see who steps onto the pitch in Rio this Sunday to take home the title.
Like me, a record-breaking number of Americans have continued to watch matches after our team’s tragic loss — but look closely and you can call the bluff. Moments after our loss, I could hear American fans saying, “Does this mean I can stop pretending to care about soccer?”
USA midfielder Kyle Beckerman following the game against Portugal during the 2014 World Cup at Arena Amazonia. Photo | Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
I’m a big soccer fan. I was a big soccer fan even before this World Cup. I love watching soccer on TV. (I know — weird, right?) I get into arguments with my husband over Michael Bradley. I think Kyle Beckerman is the hottest thing since sliced bread.
Perhaps we’ve been beaten down by too many bad Philadelphia Union seasons — after so much hope and excitement before the team was actually formed! — but it doesn’t appear that Philly’s paying too much attention to the World Cup.
In the team’s World Cup opener yesterday, the United States scored just 34 seconds into the match, then essentially stood around and watched for 80 minutes or so as Ghana controlled possession.
But Clint Dempsey’s first-minute goal held up for a while, despite recording 21 shots (though only 8 were on goal). But Andre Ayew — from what I know from soccer, Ghanians have great names — poked one past Tim Howard in the 82nd minute.
Statistically speaking, if you live in America you are probably not a dedicated fan of soccer, aka “footy” or “The Beautiful Game,” as your one friend who studied abroad in London for a semester and came back wearing scarves all the time calls it. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s coming, to a Laundromat, elevator, coffee line or bar stool near you — the Dreaded Soccer Conversation (DSC).
A recurring challenge for casual observers, getting caught in a DSC is a near-sure thing. The major distinction here is that while boorish soccer haters welcome the chance to blather on about how prissy and phony they think the game is (“They don’t even have touchdowns, bro!”), noobs just want to get through it without looking like idiots. With the 2014 World Cup fully upon us, there’s simply no time to master the nuances of the sport and its culture beyond the most rudimentary observations (“They can’t use their hands, that’s crazy!”). That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to faking your way through a DSC as painlessly as possible.