Happy Monday, people.
You know who this is a great Monday for?
Your Philadelphia Union; who departed this afternoon for the mild temperatures and lush green fields of the Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex in Deltona, Fla. where the club will spend the next 20 days in preparation for March 2 First Kick.
Only 26 days and a few hours remain until the Union kicks off against Sporting Kansas City.
Today 34 players boarded a flight to the Sunshine State. Following Saturday’s final practice at the NovaCare Complex, the technical staff made cuts and released six players.
Goalkeepers Diego Restrepo and Tunde Obungiyi, defenders Mark Linnville and Uriah Bentick and midfielders Charles Renken and Nicolas Medina were all left off the Florida manifest. Of the supplemental draft picks, only defender Eric Schoenle and midfielder Leo Fernandes made the cut. Binghamton forward Jake Keegan selected during the MLS Supplemental Draft has yet to join the team, as he is currently in Israel competing in the Maccabi Games.
Speaking of Renken, we told you in the weekend edition of “The Daily Doop” that as a result of coming up short in a crossbar challenge competition during Friday’s AM session, he was due for some “friendly freshman initiation.” With Renken out, CC runner-up Damani Richards took the fall and boarded the bus to the airport dressed well, umm…
We’ll let goalkeeper Zac MacMath show you, who posted via his Twitter account:
Crossbar challenge loser Damani Richards... Looking colorful today! instagr.am/p/VUbVruIedm/— Zac MacMath (@ZacMacMath) February 4, 2013
The treat for the Union is not just temperate climates, but a chance to play some opposition besides each other at the end of this week, opening the preseason schedule against Orlando City FC on Saturday (6 p.m.) The match against the USL Pro club arrives as Match No. 1 in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic and you can watch that one as it streams live on philadelphiaunion.com/live and via the MLSSocccer.com/live platform.
Union defender Jeff Parke is arriving into camp at the perfect time as the Abington and Downingtown native spent the bulk of January in Carson, Calif. training with the U.S. men’s national team. Parke was not added to U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster for Wednesday’s Hexagonal against Honduras in San Pedro Sula (4 p.m., beIN Sport).
With U.S. duty wrapped for now, Parke’s assimilation into Union should be seamless according to Hackworth.
“We have a lot of time to do that and hopefully for Jeff he is making the most of his opportunity,” Hackworth said after a recent training session. “I don’t think we’ll have to worry about him being ready when he gets here, we’ll just have to use his time very economically and wisely to make sure he fits in with the rest of the players.”
Kudos to the guys at local clothing and lifestyle company "Live Breathe Futbol," who were profiled in today's Inquirer. Great company with a pair of guys in Ebun Olaloye and Domenick Cucinotta who really live the beautiful game. Besides, any owner that spray paints his logo on each delivery box is one that deserves a mention. Great stuff, guys. Long time coming...Best of luck and success going forward.
FC Dallas was extremely active today.
A week after sending midfielder Brek Shea to the EPL’s Stoke City, head coach Schellas Hyndman bulked up his offense acquiring giant forwards Kenny Cooper from New York and Eric Hassli from Toronto. The deal came in exchange for the ever elusive allocation money or as Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz eloquently described during Sebastien Le Toux’ re-introductory press conference:
Catch you tomorrow…
Contact Union writer Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org