Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Red Bulls manager Mike Petke foreshadowed it last week on his weekly media teleconference, and the news was eventually released on late Wednesday night that midfielder Tim Cahill had been selected for Australia’s upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.
The Socceroos are in the midst of a challenging three-game schedule to qualify for the World Cup, including a crucial match against Jordan on June 11. Australia, currently in third place in their AFC qualifying group, can qualify automatically for the World Cup with a top two finish.
Cahill’s call up means that this Sunday’s game against the Columbus Crew will likely be his last before he jets off to Australia, though there is a chance that he could feature on June 1 against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Red Bull Arena.
Here are some more news and notes from around the Eastern Conference heading into MLS Week 13 action:
With all the turmoil and negative vibes following Toronto FC, they have been handed a huge boost this week. Designated player Danny Koevermans is nearly ready to come back to first team soccer, after taking part in a Reserve League game last Sunday.
The 34-year-old forward has been out since last July after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Koevermans though has been on the comeback trail all winter and spring, and played 45 minutes against the Columbus Crew reserves, leaving him to target Toronto FC’s match against the Philadelphia Union at BMO Field on June 1 for Koevermans’ season debut.
“It felt great, like a little kid again,” Koevermans told the Toronto Star after practice on Tuesday. “I’m so happy just to move around, touch some balls. It was a great feeling, although it was a bad day because we lost to Columbus. But for me personally, it was a victory after 10 months hard work.”
Though Robert Earnshaw has five goals this season, he has been held scoreless in his last four Major League Soccer matches, and the squad could use any of the scoring talent they can get on the field, to take pressure off the defense.
In other news, Bobby Convey is out of this Saturday’s match against the New England Revolution due to Achilles tendonitis.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes is looking forward to getting his regular starting eleven back on the field, and another step towards that will be the re-inclusion of right back Chance Myers.
Myers is currently recovering from a hamstring strain, but according to Vermes, he’ll be ready to go when Sporting KC host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday. Myers missed three of the team’s last four matches, and also missed two games earlier this year for a quad injury.
The 25-year-old defender has started all eight matches he has played in, and scored two goals in a 3-2 defeat to the Portland Timbers.
It’s no surprise that the Montreal Impact are competing at the top of the Eastern Conference early on this season. What has been surprising is the play of newcomer Andres Romero.
The 23-year-old Argentine was signed last February by the Impact, who were looking for a speedy and versatile winger. Romero has scored once in eight starts, but more than not has created space for guys like Felipe Martins and Marco Di Vaio to score goals.
“He has this flexibility to play on the right side, on the left side or in the middle behind the striker,” manager Marco Schällibaum said to Sportsnet.ca. “I’ve seen different videos and he can also play as a forward. He’s very versatile, so that’s nice. And he’s a good guy also.”
Romero himself admitted that he is still adjusting to the league, but said he is 70 percent adjusted to playing in Montreal.
In other news, Impact defender Maxim Tissot has suffered a broken toe, leaving him out of action for two to three weeks.
The Columbus Crew snapped a two-game losing streak last Saturday with a 1-0 victory at Toronto FC, but not all is well in Crewville. A yellow card picked up by center back Glauber means that he’ll have to sit out this Sunday’s match against the New York Red Bulls due to yellow card accumulation.
The suspension forces Crew manager Robert Warzycha to experiment in center defense, with Glauber out and Chad Marshall still injured. Wing backs Tyson Wahl and Josh Williams have been suggested for a move inside, as well as another start for backup Eric Gehrig, and a second appearance for homegrown signing Chad Barson.
“I pretty much know what I’m going to do if it works, but I have to be ready for other things because any way I’m going to shift a couple of guys, whether from left to right or from right to left,” Warzycha told the Columbus Dispatch.
According to the report, Warzycha has a starting duo in mind, but is waiting to see how the players play in training and if one or two can impress and potentially change his mind.
Left back Gonzalo Segares has played on and off for Costa Rica over the course of his career, but the 30-year-old has decided that getting a result next week in the U.S. Open Cup with the Fire is more important than playing a friendly match with his country.
“We have important games coming up, and it’s not a FIFA date, so I cannot leave my team right now,” Segares said to the Daily Herald. “We need to stay together. It’s not the right time for me to go.
“It’s an honor to be called up and to represent your country, but for me right now the priority is the Fire. It’s not a FIFA date, so it’s a tough one.”
The U.S. Open Cup could return to the Washington D.C. area in the fourth round of the competition provided that D.C. United wins it’s third round matchup against the Richmond Kickers.
U.S. Soccer announced this week the fourth round pairings, pitting the winner of the Ocean City Nor’easters vs. Philadelphia Union match to travel to either the Soccerplex in Bowie, Maryland, or Richmond City Stadium in Richmond, Virginia.
In other news, young designated player signing Rafael is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion in training last week.
The Philadelphia Union returned to a normal schedule this week with just one game to worry about on Saturday, but next Tuesday they’ll be facing the Ocean City Nor’easters in the U.S. Open Cup at PPL Park.
Ocean City was originally supposed to host but due to an administrative error before the start of the year, U.S. Soccer refused to give them a second waiver to host this match, causing the club to file a protest against the decision to move the game to Chester.
The controversy surrounds the size of the field, which the Nor’easters claim has been widened to 71 yards, three more than the U.S. Open Cup handbook’s minimum width.