Set Pieces: Number One, Number One!

Philadelphia atop the WC Bid City Leaderboard and other news

Philadelphia soccer fans sure know how
to stuff the ballots. After recently winning a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh grant from
a month-long contest to help build a youth field in Chester, the latest World
Cup Bid City Leaderboard came out Wednesday
with Philadelphia in first place. The top
spot had been occupied by Houston since July 21, but with 64 days left there’s
a new sheriff in town. And the voting isn’t all that close either, with Philly
almost 8,000 votes ahead of second place. As recently as August 24, Philadelphia
was in 6
th place nearly 23,000 votes behind first place. Incredible.
Keep signing that petition!

On the Union front, 20-year-old
starting fullback Sheanon Williams isn’t taking credit for the club’s improved
defensive form of late.

For his efforts against Chivas USA,
Williams was named to the Goal.com Best XI for Week 26.

On the Goal.com Best XI bench was Brad
Knighton, who has also played inspiring soccer between the pipes as
Philadelphia’s new starter. It may have something to do with marking 8/8/2010
as a match to remember
(or forget). Knighton is also enjoying the golf scene in the
Philadelphia area, as he explains in the article.

The Philadelphia Daily News states the
obvious: Wednesday’s match vs Colorado is a must-win if the Union hope to cling
to any postseason chances.

While Peter Nowak’s side can’t
afford to look ahead past their next match, they may catch a break with Pat Onstad
in doubt for Saturday’s contest
at PPL Park.

For one final look at the Union’s
convincing 3-0 win over Chivas USA, The Goalkeeper gathers player ratings from
fans
.

While many are saying that the article
is a few weeks late given the improvements relating to certain controversial
chants, the Philadelphia Inquirer reviews the first season at PPL Park.

Two Union youngsters made
MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24
, a list of the top players in MLS under the age of
24 (obviously). Philadelphia is tied for the most on the list with three
overall. Probably doesn’t take a brain surgeon to guess the third ... only
question is how high.

The presumed third member was a recent guest on KYW’s Philly Soccer Show podcast.

To round out Union news, one blogger
goes as far as to call Sebastien Le Toux “the best player in the league.”

Elsewhere, AOL Fanhouse thinks head
coach Hans Backe may have more to do with the Red Bulls’ turnaround than
another famous Frenchman.

After simulating the signing of a
check to make his wishes for a raise known publically, one writer has another
idea: send Dwayne De Rosario packing.

David Beckham will be keeping his
bags unpacked in America, telling FIFA.com that he isn’t planning on going on loan to
Europe this offseason. In the same interview, he also says that MLS has the
potential to become one of the top leagues in the world
.

The MLS Insider Blog discusses
controversial comments made by former U.S. international Eric Wynalda, who
recently said that there are only four or five qualified American coaches.
Fightin’ words, indeed. 

FIFA is cracking down on transfers,
putting in place a new online monitoring system for the international transfer
market.

While the Philadelphia Independence lost in the WPS Finals, there was some positive news relating to the women's top flight in America. After losing the Los Angeles Sol, the league will be back to eight teams in 2011. According to SI.com, it's a risk worth taking.

Lastly, Real Salt Lake continued their
fine run of form in CONCACAF Champions League action, advancing to the knockout
phase
with a 1-1 draw at BMO Field.