Union didn't quit, flashed guts in draw with Rapids


Union didn't quit, flashed guts in draw with Rapids

Monday, June 6, 2011
Posted: 10 a.m.
By Ryan Bright
CSNPhilly.com Contributor

The Union held an opportunity on Saturday to retreat and give up against the reigning MLS champions, following a questionable second-half penalty kick.

They didnt take it.

I still believe it was a bogus PK against us, said coach Peter Nowak, whose squad tied the Colorado Rapids, 1-1. Its good to get the point. Im a little disappointed not to get three, but I think for us coming here, knowing how difficult its going to be, I think its a good motivation for next week. Were playing another MLS Cup Champion, Real Salt Lake at PPL Park on Saturday and its going to be a really tough game.

After the Rapids took the 1-0 lead in the 63rd minute on a penalty kick goal by Conor Casey at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, second-year striker Danny Mwanga fired back just three minutes later, lacing a hard and bending shot off the hand of Matt Pickens and in the net. It was his team-leading fourth goal of the season.

It was a great combination between me and Sebastien Le Toux, said Mwanga. He played me the ball and then made a really nice run behind the defense. I think they were caught in a position where they should stay with me or follow Sebastien. But they kind of chose to go with Sebastien and that gave me time to take a shot on goal.

The PK was kind of questionable but we kept our head up and we were still fighting until the end of the game. I think getting point here is good for our team.

After scoring the goal, Mwanga, who came off the bench in the 59th minute for Jack McInerney, ran immediately over to the sidelines and hugged his coach. Nowak couldnt have been happier.

I think it was a great combination in Sebastien and then Danny Mwanga hit a great shot, said Nowak. Im happy for them, because they worked very hard today. As I said, maybe a little disappointed not to get three points, but you cannot be too greedy coming here.

The goal, coming in the timely fashion that it did, was more than just an equalizer. It was a summation of the Unions mindset that they wont allow outside forces, like bad calls or fluke plays, to stunt their efforts.

Instead of falling apart when the going gets tough, the Union fight harder and that fact has shown in the standings. With 12 games played, the Union hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 6-3-3 record and have a two-game unbeaten streak on the road for the first time in team history.

Thats our team in a nutshell, said defenseman Jordan Harvey. We were playing well, I thought we were getting some chances in the start of the second half and I knew it was going to come eventually. That PK put a little stutter in our step right there, but like I said, we just kept playing and I knew we were going to get a chance. We had some chances and thats all you can really ask for coming here. Its a very difficult place to play.

While the victory had a sweet taste for the visitors, it wasnt without casualty. Coming off his two best games of the season, midfielder Justin Mapp, the reigning MLS Player of the Week, was pulled from the contest in favor of Keon Daniel in the 25th minute, for what is suspected to be a lower-body injury.

Mapp suffered a hamstring strain in early April and missed two games.
E-mail Ryan Bright at ryanbright13@gmail.com

Related: Justin Mapp Is Your MLS Player of the Week MLS Standings

Justin Verlander powers his way through Phillies' weak lineup


Justin Verlander powers his way through Phillies' weak lineup


DETROIT – Back on March 26, the Detroit Tigers made the trip to Clearwater to play the Phillies during the final week of the Grapefruit League schedule.
Justin Verlander was the Tigers’ starting pitcher that day at Bright House Field. The Phillies ended up losing that game by a run when their bullpen came undone in the late innings. But earlier in the game, the Phils had pretty good success against Verlander. They knocked him around for three runs in five innings. They had seven hits against him, four for extra bases.
Two months later, the Phillies came face to face with Verlander again on a warm Tuesday night in Detroit.
This time, the Phils had no chance.
They were manhandled by the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner in suffering a 3-1 loss to the Tigers (see Instant Replay).
“Verlander pitched well,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He had a good fastball and we weren’t catching up to it.”
Yes, Verlander had good fastball and he knew it. Sixty-five of his 108 pitches were fastballs. He averaged 94 mph with the pitch and topped out at 97. That’s how hard his final pitch of night was. He blew it by the Phillies’ best hitter, Odubel Herrera, for his 10th strikeout of the night.
In all, Verlander pitched eight shutout innings and gave up just three hits against one of baseball’s worst offenses; the Phils entered the game averaging just 3.24 runs per game.
The loss was the Phillies’ fourth in the last five games and it dropped them to 25-21. They have opened this challenging road trip, which finishes with three against the Chicago Cubs, owners of the best record in the game, with two straight losses heading into Wednesday’s series finale against the Tigers. Aaron Nola will get the ball against Anibal Sanchez.
Can Nola be a stopper? The Phillies could really use a victory. To get it, they will need some offense. They got just about none until Verlander left the game Tuesday night.
“We just couldn’t get enough going,” Mackanin said. “Verlander really relied on his fastball and we couldn’t capitalize.”
Jeremy Hellickson pitched well for the third straight time for the Phillies. (He has allowed just five earned runs over 20 innings in his last three starts. He has walked just three batters and struck out 20 over that span.) But with no run support, Hellickson couldn’t afford to make any mistakes and he needed excellent defensive support – which he did not get.
Hellickson served up a down-the-middle fastball to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and Cabrera swatted it for an RBI double. He has four RBIs in the first two games against the Phillies.
In the third inning, Hellickson struck Cabrera out on a nasty changeup for the third out. The pitch was so good that Cabrera flashed Hellickson a thumbs-up before spiking his helmet to the ground.
Hellickson’s changeup has been very good lately.
“I really feel comfortable with it right now and I’m throwing it for a lot of strikes,” he said.
In a close game with not much offense going against Verlander, Hellickson needed strong defense behind him. He did not get it from third baseman Maikel Franco in the fifth inning. With a runner on first and no outs, J.D. Martinez hit a bounding ball to Franco’s right. Franco tried to backhand the ball with a quick snap of his glove. Fielded cleanly, Franco probably could have started a double play. Instead, the ball got by him, was generously scored a double and led to a run. The Tigers scored twice in the inning to take a 3-1 lead.
“Yes, it’s makeable,” Mackanin said of the ball that got by Franco. “He got to a certain spot and then he stopped and tried to snag it instead of taking one more step toward it. I don’t think he could have gotten in front of the ball but he could have gone through it instead of stopping and trying to snag it. I thought he could have done that.
“It’s a potential double-play ball. He needed to take one more step instead of reaching for it.”
Tommy Joseph had the best at-bats against Verlander. He lined out twice to the pull side and had a base hit in the seventh. In the ninth, the Phillies rallied for a couple of hits against Francisco Rodriguez. Joseph scorched a liner to left for a sacrifice fly and the Phillies’ only run.
“He hit the ball on the nose four times, really good at bats,” Mackanin said of Joseph. “If that ball he hits in the ninth inning finds a gap, we have the tying run at second.”
Joseph has seven hits in his first 23 at-bats and has made some hard outs. He will start at first base again Wednesday and also on Friday as the Cubs will start lefty Jon Lester. After that, he could get starts against right-handers because he’s simply out-hitting Ryan Howard, who went 1 for 4 and saw his average climb to .159.
Before the game, Mackanin said Joseph could take playing time away from Howard if he continues to hit.

Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

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Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.

Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.

Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.

Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.

The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.

Josh Hart returning to Villanova for senior season


Josh Hart returning to Villanova for senior season

Villanova’s chances at repeating as national champions just got much better.

Josh Hart is returning for his senior season.

The Wildcats’ leading scorer from last season’s title-winning team tweeted this Tuesday night:

Shortly after, Villanova officially announced the news.

Hart was in the midst of going through the NBA draft process, attending the combine in Chicago and working out for teams. By not hiring an agent, he was able to test the waters without jeopardizing his final year of college eligibility. Hart had until Wednesday to make a decision, which is coming back to the defending champs.

“I enjoyed the process and learned a lot,” Hart said in a statement released by the school. “It was definitely worthwhile. I look forward to graduating next year and coming back to play with my teammates.”

As a junior, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field. He put up 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists in Villanova’s 95-51 Final Four win over Oklahoma, before following it up with 12 points and eight rebounds in the national title game in which the Wildcats thrillingly won at the buzzer, 77-74, on a Kris Jenkins three-pointer.

Hart and Jenkins, the team’s two leading scorers, return along with key pieces Jalen Brunson (9.6 ppg), Phil Booth (7.0 ppg), Mikal Bridges (6.4 ppg) and Darryl Reynolds (4.5 rpg).

“Josh Hart did a great job in this process,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “I’m really proud of the way that he showed himself. I am really happy for him that he is returning to play with his classmates and that he will graduate on time.”