Colorado Rapids v Philadelphia Union

Remember all that promising, original Philly Union talent?


So many of us were impressed with Philadelphia back in 2010. Not so much with the quality of the product; Peter Nowak’s first version finished 8-15-7, next to last in the East.  It was plenty respectable for an expansion outfit, but nobody was hollering “Bring on Barca!”

It wasn’t the performance per se, but the promise of better ahead. Right from first kick, Nowak took a long-term approach, building mainly around two kinds of players: “young” and “absurdly young.”

Danny Mwanga, of course, was among the unripe, lot-to-learn set. He was just 18 when the Union made him its top overall pick in the 2010 draft. Mwanga, goalkeeper Chris Seitz, center back Michael Orozco, attacker Roger Torres (pictured) and others were on the south side of 23 – some of them very “south,” like Jack McInerney, who was just 17 then.

It really was a talented, youthful bunch, augmented by a few highly experienced older hands (who, all things considered, often looked like place holders until Nowak could court more young talent to mold.)

Check out the lineup (and subs) from Philadelphia’s debut MLS match in 2010 (a 2-0 loss at Seattle and then-named Qwest Field):

Chris Seitz, Jordan Harvey, Danny Califf, Michael Orozco, Toni Stahl, David Myrie (Jack McInerney 78),Andrew Jacobson, Danny Mwanga (Stefani Miglioranzi 46), Roger Torres (Amobi Okugo 71), Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno.

Of the 14 names you see, only three now remain on the job at PPL Park.  Torres, now 20 years old, is most prominent, although he’s been injured since April.

Okugo, a member of the U.S. under-23 side earlier this year, remains a Union man, although one rarely deployed in 2012. Same for McInerney; those two have combined for just one start this year and only 253 total minutes.

Everyone else – gone like last week’s fish special.

As Richard Farley told you earlier, today’s trade that sent Mwanga to Portland surely needed to happen. Something needed to happen; the Oregon State man was stuck, and expensively so. You couldn’t even say he had plateaued; more accurate to say he was going the wrong direction.

So the bigger question here is this: Is Nowak the right man to nurture young talent?

He has an MLS Cup title (in 2004 with D.C. United), so he can clearly coach. But, again, can he tutor and teach and bring young men along?

Because clubs that grab up a bushel of young players is great and all – so long teams have the tools to bring them along. Otherwise, what’s the point?

PST’s writers predict the USA vs. Mexico score

United States v Mexico - International Friendly
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This is it. Don’t get scared now.

On Saturday the U.S. national team take on Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, as the bitter rivals square off to decide who will be going to the 2017 Confederations Cup.

[ FULL PREVIEW: USA vs. Mexico ]

The time for talking is over. Whoever wins the one-off game in California will be heading to Russia a year before the 2018 World Cup to represent the CONCACAF region.

Click on the link above for a comprehensive preview of everything you need to know heading into Saturday’s massive game, while below all five of our writers predict the score and how the game will pan out.

[ MORE: Bedoya out for USA ]

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

Joe Prince-Wright

USA 2-2 Mexico (USA win on penalty kicks)

For some reason, I think this is going to PKs. Expect a fast, frenetic opening and if the U.S. can keep things level at the break then I think they have a great chance. I see a dramatic evening playing out in this dramatic rivalry. U.S. win. just.

Nicholas Mendola

USA 3-2 Mexico

After the game, one in which Fabian Johnson serves the game winner to Clint Dempsey, Klinsmann runs shirtless across the field with “Benny who?” painted on his chest. On the back, he’s painted, “I’m kidding, America. Benny is a wonderful midfielder and a blessing to our shores.”

Kyle Bonn

USA 0-2 Mexico

The U.S. limped its way through the Gold Cup and still doesn’t have any idea what its best 11 is. Mexico takes this one despite turmoil at the top. (Also the team I pick usually doesn’t win, so I’m all in with the reverse jinx)

Andy Edwards

USA 1-2 Mexico

Too much possession conceded to Mexico, too much pressure on the USMNT defense… just like the Gold Cup, except against even better opposition.

Kyle Lynch

USA 1-2 Mexico

The United States takes an early lead, but Mexico fights back and wins it all in Jurgen Klinsmann’s final game as USMNT manager.

Blatter, Platini both officially appeal FIFA suspension

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 25:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini look on during the Team Seminar ahead of the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Corinthia Hotel on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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Suspended FIFA executives Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have both officially appealed their 90-day bans through various means in attempts to clear their names.

The pair have been forced to temporarily vacate their office due to an investigation by Swiss authorities into corruption charges based on a “disloyal payment” of around $2 million from Blatter to Platini in 2011.

Blatter’s appeal was lodged within FIFA on Friday, with the president’s lawyer confirming he has “requested additional proceedings before the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee and filed an appeal with the Appeal Committee.”

Blatter’s American lawyer Richard Cullen said he is “very hopeful” the suspension will be lifted on appeal, while his lawyer team back on Thursday argued in a statement that the FIFA Ethics Committee “based its decision [to suspend Blatter] on a misunderstanding of the actions of the attorney general in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the president.”

The New York Times obtained a copy of the appeal, in which Blatter’s lawyers demand to see the case file which the Ethics Committee reviewed upon its decision to suspend the 79-year-old. It also asks that he receive a full opportunity to argue his innocence in front of the committee; previously, he was only afforded a short interview with Swiss investigators.

Meanwhile, Platini’s appeal came through Saturday morning and is filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. His case has received official, legal backing from the French FA as his home nominating association for the upcoming presidential election. Using the French FA’s support, Platini can bypass the FIFA appeals system which he individually must exhaust before moving to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CONMEBOL has also publicly supported Platini, issuing a statement that says it “does not agree” with the decision to suspend him, calling it “untimely and disproportionate” while stating, “The presumption of innocence is a fundamental right that has to be considered. Mr. Platini has not been found guilty of any charge, therefore the provisional ban jeopardizes the integrity of the electoral process to the FIFA presidency, of which Mr. Platini is a candidate.”

Platini has not been replaced at his UEFA presidential post, with no interim leader named. “This is because the UEFA executive committee is aware that the UEFA president will immediately take all necessary steps to appeal the decision of the FIFA ethics committee to clear his name,” UEFA said in a statement. They confirmed he will not continue his duties while under punishment.

The FIFA Executive Committee has announced it will hold an emergency meeting on October 20 to discuss the situation. Among the topics that will be considered will be a decision on whether to postpone the February 26 presidential election.