Greg Carroccio/Sideline Photos

Set Pieces: Number One, Number One!

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 6th 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.