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News roundup

Pareja leaves Dallas, Curtin stays in Philly, McKennie OK, & More

Thanksgiving week has been busy for American soccer as the U.S. national team and the U.S. U-20 team is in action. But here is a look at some of the other important news items today. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
November 20, 2018
7:00 AM
THIS PAST WEEK there has been a wave of big news in MLS regarding coaching situations as one position remains filled and a big one opens. Also from Europe, there is news on the injury front as well as some other tidbits.

Pareja leaves FC Dallas

Oscar Pareja and FC Dallas mutually agreed to part ways in what is a major story in MLS. Pareja has been with Dallas for so many levels of his career. He was a legendary player, then the academy director, and recently the head coach.

While significant it appeared as if Dallas had probably stagnated under Pareja in recent years. Whenever Mauro Diaz wasn’t with the team, it did not look like a competitor for MLS Cup. Many of the players from its strong academy were not getting enough first team minutes.

FC Dallas needs a new coach committed to playing and developing its young players. With its own USL team getting ready to begin operation, there needs to be a firm commitment from the next manager to get these young players on the field.

There are the potential MLS coaching veterans like Caleb Porter and Jason Kreis. Kreis would have an emotional appeal of being a beloved former player of the club. But neither have shown a strong interest of playing young players.

Two names to keep an eye on in this process is current academy director Luchi Gonzaelz who knows the club’s youth players better than anyone and U.S. U-20 national team head coach Tab Ramos who has successfully worked with the next generation of American players. Neither have coached at the adult level but still have a strong case for the job.

Philadelphia keeps Curtin

The Philadelphia Union announced midweek that it reached a new deal with head coach Jim Curtin. There had been some speculation that the club would decide to bring in a new head coach.

Some Philadelphia fans are disappointed and wanted to see a new direction. While they are correct that Philadelphia has been a disappointing team, Curtin deserves a new deal. It’s the club’s ownership and front office that deserve the scorn of Union fans.

Coming into this season, Philadelphia was not expected make the playoffs. For that to happen, it seemed like everything would have to break the Union’s way. But a lot of things didn’t go the Union’s way and it still made the playoffs.

If you were to go back in time to January and say that the Union would make the playoffs, it would have been surprising. If you were to go back in time and say the Union would make the playoffs with David Accam and CJ Sapong combining for just five goals in the regular season, no major offseason acquisitions and regularly starting two teenage American central defenders with no pro experience before the year – no one would have believed it.

So Curtin got the most out of what he could with this team. Philadelphia fans are understandably angry as it continues to have zero playoff wins in its history. But in the end, a coach can only get the most out of what he has.

The real problems are deeper than Curtin. It’s hard to envision a different coach doing more with the talent at hand.

McKennie’s injury is minor

Weston McKennie left the U.S. national team camp with an injured left hamstring tendon. Fortunately, upon his return to Schalke, scans revealed no major damage and that he would only miss a few days of training.

McKennie, 20, has seven national team caps going back to his debut in November 2017 when he scored in a 1-1 away draw to Portugal.

USMNT to host Costa Rica

The United States national team will host Costa Rica on February 2 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose to open its 2019 schedule.

Presumably this will be the first game under its new head coach.

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