Set Pieces: Evaluating the Partnership

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

It’s been a productive partnership between Philadelphia Union and the USL-2 Harrisburg City Islanders, with plenty of player movement in each direction to keep both clubs happy. One potential future benefit for the Union? Finding a place for a large crop of incoming 2011 MLS SuperDraft selections to develop

The USL-2 will cease to exist in its current format in 2011, with the First and Second Divisions merging into a single property Wednesday.

Sebastien Le Toux and
Danny Mwanga
 have combined for 17 goals and 14 assists this season, leading the MLS Insider blog to speculate that they could capture some post-season hardware.

He’s skilled on the ball, a playmaker with vision and creativity. The future is bright for 19-year-old Roger Torres. But where does the on-loan youngster fit into the Union’s midfield plansThe Goalkeeper takes a look.

One Sons of Ben member shares his account of converting a 'football' fan into a 'futbol' fan

As if PPL Park hasn't been busy enough with Union matches, some local universities will also be taking the pitch in the coming weeks. 

Speaking of college soccer, here are the NSCAA/Adidas national rankings after the first full week of men's collegiate action.

One player who won't be featuring at PPL Park is Chicago Fire defender Gonzalo Segares, who will be suspended for Saturday's showdown.

Average MLS attendance is higher through 178 matches than in any of the previous four seasons. Who will be especially happy about rising attendance numbers? MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who was a guest on Extra Time Radio Tuesday.

There has been plenty of buzz about a new stadium for
Chivas USA
, but the club has stated that that while there are long-term plans to have a stadium of their own, they're currently happy playing in one of the best facilities in the country. San Jose, on the other hand, selected an architect for their proposed new stadium.

New
World Cup qualifying rules mean the
United States and
Mexico rivalry

may never be the same.

Speaking of the U.S., a group of 15 soccer experts broke down their performance in the World Cup as part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Technical Report.

FIFA officials are
stateside
,
evaluating the U.S. World Cup bid over a four day, five city tour, with a trip to the White House in the mix. Why isn't Philadelphia included? Might have something to do with the fact that the region recently hosted the send-off match before the 2010 World Cup and is about to host two upcoming U.S. National Team friendlies, not to mention the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal doubleheader just over a year ago. Representatives of the Philadelphia bid, including Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz, did meet with the FIFA delegation on Monday, however.

One writer wonders why FIFA still needs to be convinced that there is passion for "The Beautiful Game" in America.

USA
centerback 
Jay Demerit may have
found a suitor

in the Bundesliga.

Yura Movsisyan’s U.S. National Team hopes? Officially gone. The former Real Salt Lake striker was a major contributor in European qualifiers, as were a number of MLSers in CONCACAF action on Tuesday.