Phils Host Sox, Union in Dallas to Battle the Waldos

Phils Host Sox, Union in Dallas to Battle the Waldos

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... 

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles (5-7) come into Sunday's game against the Redskins (6-5-1) on a three-game losing streak.

The Redskins exposed the Eagles' defense the last time these two teams met almost two months ago on Oct. 16.

Here are our (cough) expert predictions for this Week 14 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (4-8)
After losing three straight games, I couldn't pick the Eagles against just about any team in the NFL. Maybe Cleveland. Maybe Chicago. 

But against Washington? Nah. Can't do it. 

Sure, I know Washington comes into the Linc on a two-game losing streak, and they're clearly not a top team in the NFC. It just doesn't matter. Kirk Cousins is a decent quarterback and Washington clearly has enough weapons to shred the Eagles like they did for 493 yards in the first meeting. 

For the Eagles' offense, Carson Wentz hasn't looked good in a long time and this week he enters with a few of his skill position players banged up. 

This looks like another loss to me. 

Washington 26, Eagles 20

Derrick Gunn (5-7)
The Eagles are an embarrassed, desperate team, and a win over the Redskins could lift the weight of what has been a downward spiral. Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews returned to practice this week, but can they jolt this offense back to life? Carson Wentz has played like a rookie the last three games, and the once stout defense has crumbled.

So here come the Redskins, losers of two in a row but still very much in the playoff conversation. The Redskins' defense is beat up and could be missing several key players, but unfortunately for the Eagles, Washington's offensive weapons are relatively healthy, except for tight end Jordan Reed, who's listed as questionable with an AC joint sprain. Matt Jones and Robert Kelley pack a punch out of the backfield. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been in a zone. Over their last six games, Cousins has averaged 352.6 passing yards, plus he's thrown 12 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. 

The Eagles remember what Washington did to them back in Week 6, but I feel their revenge motives will fall short.

Redskins 27, Eagles 17

Ray Didinger (5-7) 
With all the talk this week about effort and players dogging it, I fully expect the Eagles to come out focused and fired up at home Sunday. Here's the problem: I just don't know if they are good enough to win the game. Motivation is one thing, but talent is another and right now, the Eagles are lacking in that area.
 
The players have been called out by their coach, by the media and by the fans so if they have any pride at all they will come out and play hard against the Redskins but I look at the matchup of this Eagles' secondary against the Washington receivers — especially a hot DeSean Jackson (25.3 yards per catch the last three games) — and I don't see a happy result.
 
Redskins 24, Eagles 17

Corey Seidman (5-7)
Close game, better performance from Carson Wentz and an awakening in the run game, but not enough defensive talent to shut down what Washington will try to do deep with DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder, over the middle with Jordan Reed and short with Pierre Garcon.

Redskins 31, Eagles 27

Andy Schwartz (5-7)
It's simply come to this. I can't pick the Eagles to win a game the rest of the season until they do.

I want to think the offense will benefit from the return of Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews. And I want to think the defense will play with desperation and break out of its "slump" and make some big plays.

But I won't believe it until I see it.

Redskins 24, Eagles 16

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere took a shot off his right hand in the second period Saturday and has a bone bruise. 
 
The Flyers will watch it because sometimes the swelling prevents wearing a glove comfortably the next day.
 
Ghost, who has five points – all assists – over his past six games, was hit with a puck in the second period of a 4-2 win over the Stars. He went to the bench and tried to shake it off, but left for the dressing room shortly after a Flyers power play began in the period’s final three minutes.
 
He participated for part of the power play, then left the ice and did not return until the start of the third period.
 
“It was good by then,” he said. “Obviously, it hurt a bit.”
 
The Flyers play in Detroit on Sunday night. 
 
Ghost has 16 points (four goals) in 29 games this season. X-rays were negative, he said, adding he was not worried about the hand, which was badly swollen after the game.