Union's Rosenberry, Pontius, Bedoya invited to USMNT January camp

Union's Rosenberry, Pontius, Bedoya invited to USMNT January camp

Union regulars Alejandro Bedoya, Keegan Rosenberry and Chris Pontius will join 29 other MLS players at the U.S. Men’s National Team’s annual camp on Jan. 10 in Carson, Calif.

“We’re excited for all three of them,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “It’s a great accomplishment. We expect good things from all of them going into 2017.”

The least surprising name to join the camp for the Union is Bedoya, who has earned 53 caps over seven years with the USMNT. The national team starter was signed by the Union from FC Nantes in France during the second half of the 2016 season.

“He’s the seasoned U.S. National Team mainstay,” said Curtin, who mentioned how Bedoya’s experience will rub off on Rosenberry. “He’s called in every time they play a game, and Keegan is getting his first taste of it.”

Rosenberry, 23, takes another step in his skyrocketing career with the invite. After being selected third overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, Rosenberry, a right back, played every minute of the Union’s regular season, scoring two goals with two assists.

“Keegan’s big ambition was to be part of the national team,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said. “He was thinking in terms of years and years and it took one year.”

While a USMNT call-up is new for Rosenberry and old hat for Bedoya, it’s a pleasant surprise for eight-year MLS veteran Pontius. The 29-year-old attacking player trained with the national team from 2009 through 2011 but has yet to make a full cap. He’s coming off a career-best season — 12 goals and six assists in 33 games. 

“He’s rejuvenated his career and gotten back in the national team,” Curtin said. “One of his goals when he sat down with Earnie and I was an X-amount of goals and an X-amount of assists and to get back into the U.S. National Team. To his credit, he accomplished that.”

The camp, which features all MLS players, was put together in part by new USMNT manager and former LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, who also ran the program from 1998 to 2006. Unlike his predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann, who favored European-focused players, Arena was expected to lean more towards high-caliber MLS players, putting Rosenberry and Pontius on the list.

The camp will serve as a large part of Arena’s preparation for spring World Cup qualifiers.

“They can be there to support each other,” Curtin said. “January camp is a long one. The one thing I learned from that is players come back from the national team and it raises the level of training sessions. Those guys are always flying when they come back in.”

More disappointment in cards for Union in shutout loss at FC Dallas

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More disappointment in cards for Union in shutout loss at FC Dallas


FRISCO, Texas — Mauro Diaz and Maximiliano Urruti scored and FC Dallas remained one of the two unbeaten teams in MLS with a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.

Diaz opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the 64th minute. Dallas' Matt Hedges drew the penalty, trying to connect with Diaz's corner and getting pulled down from behind by defender Auston Trusty at the top of the 6-yard box.

FC Dallas (3-0-3) made it 2-0 in the 74th minute when Roland Lamah played a through ball up the left side to Urruti, who slipped around goalkeeper Andre Blake with his first touch and slotted home the finish from a narrow angle.

The Union extended their winless streak to five and dropped to 1-3-2.

Union dealing with all sorts of frustration after another home loss

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Union dealing with all sorts of frustration after another home loss


CHESTER, Pa. — With four of their first five matches at home, the Union had an opportunity to get their season off to a positive start. But with a 1-2-2 record, capped off by a 2-0 loss to Orlando City on Friday night at Talen Energy Stadium, the Union are wondering what went wrong (see observations).

“I didn’t get the job done,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “I take responsibility for the group. I know we have a really strong team. We’ve played good soccer at home, we just need to bury those chances.”

The poor results haven’t come from a lack of effort. The Union have outshot opponents, 87-48, this season, and are currently fifth in MLS in possession at 54.3 percent. But like Curtin said, it’s been about the finish. They’ve been outscored, 6-3, this season and are averaging just over a half goal per game.    

“The ball is not bouncing our way right now, it’s not going in the net,” Curtin said. “And with that, confidence drops. I understand the frustration from the fans. The players are frustrated, I’m frustrated and it’s difficult. We need to stick together in the hardest moments.“

According to midfielder Haris Medunjanin, the Union are pressing too hard to score. He said on Friday after the loss that the team was off in every facet, and that the lack of offense isn’t bad luck, but a patience issue.

“We need to keep the ball more,” he said of the midfielders. “We want to attack every attack and that’s not possible. You can’t attack every attack. That was our problem today. We were not patient, we attacked too quick. I think we need to learn from that and play as a team.” 

His frustration was palpable. 

“It’s about scoring goals,” he said. “If you have just one chance and you score a goal and it’s 1-0, it’s enough. It’s about winning games. It’s not about how many chances you create, it’s about scoring goals.”

Between David Accam, Borek Dockal, Fafa Picault and C.J. Sapong, the Union should have enough firepower to find the net. And though it’s not connecting right now, Curtin is confident his team will find that scoring groove. It just has to relax.

“We have quality attackers and they all want to contribute and help,” Curtin said. “Maybe sometimes they press and try to do too much. We have to find the balance. When our team is at its best, it’s Haris and (Alejandro) Bedoya controlling the tempo of the game. Right now, it isn’t clicking. At the same time, I know we have the possibility to break out.”