Set Pieces: Looking Towards the Future

A round-up of Union, MLS and other soccer news

According to SI.com, Sebastien Le Toux, Peter Nowak and
Danny Mwanga are all in the running for MLS year-end awards. With a hand, or
should we say foot, in 14 out of the Union’s 18 goals in league play this year,
it’s no wonder Le Toux is considered the
midseason favorite for Most Valuable
Player
according to one writer.

Mwanga and midfielder Roger Torres are both included in ESPN
Soccernet’s list of
top five young guns in MLS. The future is bright in
Philadelphia. 

Speaking of the
future, the
Union’s U-17 squad fell to Seattle on Saturday, ending their chances
of winning the SUM U-17 Cup. Tonight’s 6:00pm match against Dallas will
determine whether the “Zolitos” finish third or fourth in their group. 

For US U-17 national team coach Wilmer Cabrera, the tournament has been a perfect opportunity to do a little scouting.

With the MLS All
Star Game on Wednesday, MLSsoccer.com asks readers to
weigh in on how the squad
would fare
in the English Premier League.

The All Stars, which include Le Toux, trained together for the first time Monday.

While the All
Star Game will be another opportunity for MLS to showcase its ever-improving
quality, it’ll also
be the debut of “Chicharito” in a Red Devils kit.

The New York Times calls the growth of soccer in the U.S.
“steady"
, with the World Cup contributing to the sport’s emergence domestically.

In interview with the Houston Chronicle, MLS Commissioner
Don Garber says that the league’s goal is to
become one of the top soccer
leagues in the world
, and in order to do so must have the best
American players and some of the
best international players, 20 to 24 teams, and all of them
playing in stadiums they own and control.

Union President Tom Veit also spoke about growth, but he was
focused on the Union, saying “it’s like watching a kid grow up.” Veit also
thinks that some soccer fans in Philadelphia were converted to Union fans
during the Manchester United friendly, as evidenced by the fact that
he
witnessed some people changing sides over the course of the match
.

The700level.com takes a look at the Union's long-term strategy in their midseason overview of the club's progress.

Before the Union return to MLS action against New England on
Saturday, the club heads to Harrisburg for a friendly on Tuesday against the City
Islanders, one of two affiliate clubs. Here are
five reasons why the friendly
will be a great event
for all in attendance.

The non-call when
Mwanga’s jersey was pulled from behind against San Jose was
one topic of
conversation during
U.S. Soccer's Referee Week In Review for Week 15.

MLS has had a ton of recent success in international
friendlies, including
the Union’s cumulative 1-1 draw vs Celtic and Manchester
United
,
Kansas City’s 2-1 win over United, New York’s 2-1 win over Manchester City, San
Jose’s 0-0 draw against Tottenham, DC’s 4-0 romp of Portsmouth FC and four straight
SuperLiga wins. While the improvement of the league may fall on deaf ears
abroad,
MLS' double-win against United and City on Sunday should serve as a
wake-up call
, says Goal.com.  

In case you missed it, KYW Newsradio 1060 and Philly Soccer Page have
an
in-depth interview with Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz,
which Sakiewicz called “one of the best soccer interviews I’ve done in a long
time.” 

Looking for a good soccer movie? A number of the year’s best
are highlighted
in this preview of the Kicking and Screening festival, which
took place Sunday.

PPL Park will welcome local heroes this Saturday, followed by Delaware County residents the week after. If you live in Delaware County, $15 tickets to the match against the Eastern Conference leading Columbus Crew are on sale now.

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If you haven't signed the online petition to bring the World Cup to Philly in 2018/2022, be sure to do so now. If you already have, have at it again.