Set Pieces: Getting Your Soccer Fix

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

Some fans may find themselves lost with 10 days in
between Union matches, the longest streak since the World Cup break. Fortunately, in
addition to six MLS matches and a number of international contests, there are a
few good ways to pass the time.

On Friday night both the Widener Men’s and Women’s soccer
teams will be playing at PPL Park, just a few miles from campus. 

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Independence
will host the Washington Freedom in a first round playoff matchup at 2:30pm.
The match will be played at John A. Farrell Stadium on the campus of West
Chester University, and tickets are available at
www.independencetix.com.

On Sunday evening at 7:00pm, a screening of Pelada
will be showing at The Ibrahim Theatre at International House on Chestnut
Street. A documentary about pickup soccer shot in 25 countries around the
globe, the powerful film has sold out theatres in 12 cities and drawn rave
reviews from The New York Times, Variety and Sports Illustrated
. If you’re a
soccer fan at any level, this viewing and subsequent Q & A with
Director Ryan White are not to be missed. Union Coach John Hackworth will be in
attendance and providing an introduction. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Heading back to the Union, Soccer America
interviews Danny Mwanga, who hasn’t fully decided between the Congo and U.S.
if/when he’s called into international duty.

Despite behind held without a goal for five straight matches, Mwanga is still at the top of the list amongst rookies. Goal.com discusses his Rookie of the Year chances, along with the possibility of Le Toux being awarded with some postseason hardware.

Referring to another youngster under the Union’s umbrella, 15-year-old trialist and academy
member Zach Pfeffer, Upper Dublin High School soccer coach and Union
season-ticket holder Rick Schmidt states the obvious: He sure wouldn’t mind
having Pfeffer still featuring for his high school varsity team
.

Compared to Mwanga and Pfeffer, 24-year-old Shea
Salinas is downright old. His audience for a guest reading at the Helen Kate Furness Free Library on September 26 won’t be, however.

Neither are 1,500 children who could potentially
benefit from a brand-new field in Chester, a project that hinges on winning a
$50,000 grant. There are only four more days to contribute to the cause with 25
votes a day
(limited by IP address). Union prizes can be won on the club's Facebook and Twitter pages just for voting.

A new field wouldn't be the only improvement in Chester this year, with the addition of PPL Park and table games at a nearby casino bringing more and more people to the city.

Days of dreaming of having an MLS club are
(relatively) long-gone for Union supporters, but fans in other cities are still
forced to wait patiently
.

One existing MLS club has made it clear that a stadium of their own is the goal at some point, but how about an adjustment to the club's name and logo, asks one AOL Fanhouse writer.

Another MLS side that shares a stadium won't be moving anytime soon, but may be getting a natural grass pitch after injuries have hit hard.

Playing on natural grass for the first time this season hasn't helped Toronto FC avoid in-season drama. But was the dismissal of both head coach Preki and director of soccer Mo Johnston premature?

It's not premature to continue supporting the U.S. bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. And who can deny a voiceover from Morgan Freeman?

Long before even the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the U.S. will be heading back to South Africa for a match against Bafana Bafana as part of the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup.

While America's bid has everything FIFA looks for in a host country, and then some, Qatar has some pretty spectacular stadium designs in their corner. The tiny Middle East Nation faces plenty of challenges, though, and it's not like the U.S. lacks in the stadium department with a slew of state-of-the-art NFL facilities.

Ending with a little controversy involving New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry, Soccer By Ives asks whether the world-class striker should be suspended for injuring MVP candidate Kevin Hartman during a goal celebration. Why wasn't Henry sent off immediately? Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman blames the referee for a lack of courage.