We're taking it easy this evening, enjoying the weather and a few cold ones, so I gotta keep this brief. Whether you were working in the yard or drinking at the Italian Market Festival (or something in between), there's a great sports reward on the way this evening.
The Phils aim to take their seventh straight after a big win to open the series with the Red Sox that featured a Jonathan Papelbon save to preserve a Cole Hamels win. Chooch is a herostuddragonridingMVPstar. Tonight, Joe Blanton draws Jon Lester. Lester brushed off two straight losses to throw a complete game, 6-1 win against Seattle last time out. Game time is around 7:15 on Fox. More on the matchup here.
Meanwhile, the Freddy-Adu-less Union will try to get a result down in Dallas, starting at 8:30PM on the Comcast Network. The Waldos will be short a few key players as well.
(more on the U vs Dallas, some pics from an Dallas training session, and video of something that'll get ya suspended, below)
Hopefully it doesn't look like this in Dallas tonight, though the home side will be dressed not unlike our hero here, save for red shorts rather than jeans. Kinda like if Chivas USA's stripes were horizontal...
Freddy Adu played the best soccer of his time with the Union on Sunday. Unfortunately, he didn't have a chance to finish the game, as a crappy diving call landed him is second yellow card of the game. The U were unable to hold on for three points, and tonight, they'll have to try without Adu pulling the strings.
Obviously, they'll also be without Danny Califf. I've had trouble processing the move that sent him to Chivas this past week, and more reconciling the feelings it leaves in its wake. For the purposes of tonight's thread, we'll stick to how it affects the team on the pitch.
As he did on Sunday, Sheanon Williams will play Califf's former center back slot alongside Carlos Valdes. Rookie Raymon Gaddis has been impressive, and I don't worry about him starting at the right back position. When he's made mistakes with the line high, his speed has nullified most of them, as he gets back very quickly. Gabe Farfan has been capable on the left side as well, which is far more than we can say for Porfirio Lopez, but a knee injury could keep Garfan out of the action tonight.
The Union hope a speedier back line will cause more fits on the opposing side than it allows for in front of their own goal. I hope that's the case. While they're spinning the move in favor of speed, they did lose some height, as Califf stood out among his former teammates despite himself not being much more than 6 feet tall. Williams is listed as 5'11, but I doubt that... Of course, Danny's height didn't exactly protect the Union against opposing set pieces during his time here.
A particular bright spot over the past week has been the play of Lionard Pajoy. Struggling to find the back of the net for most of the season to date, Pajoy scored in the friendly against German side Schalke, then tallied twice in the Union's 3-2 loss to New York. Paired with Danny Mwanga in an arrangement that saw two strikers forward. Both had plenty of great opportunities, though couldn't convert on most. Hopefully another game in the set will see even more success.
Without Adu, and also the excellent play of Zac MacMath, who is expected to miss the match with concussion symptoms despite playing this past Sunday after sustaining the injury in a prior match (5/8 vs Sounders). Taylor Twellman said on Twitter that MacMath took a hit in training this week, forcing him out of the action tonight.
Update: Mike Farfan will play his brother Gabe's fullback position, and Michael Lahoud will start in his first opportunity with the team since coming over as the human component of the Danny Califf haul, per Kevin Kinkead.
Dallas (3-6-3) is a team that has also had trouble scoring to date, with 11 goals in 12 games and have a -7 goal differential (the Union have 7 goals in 9 games). They'll be without attacker Brek Shea, who is suspended for three games after kicking a ball at a referee's assistant whose call he disagreed with in Dallas' 2-1 loss to Columbus last Saturday. It was as funny as it sounds...