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Breaking down the play that kept Union in playoff hunt -- no, not the Kleberson goal

Breaking down the play that kept Union in playoff hunt -- no, not the Kleberson goal

Lost in the Kleberson-induced euphoria of last week's win over Toronto FC was a play less than 10 minutes earlier. A play that could be the defining moment of the Union's season, should they find a spot in the playoffs.

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With nine Union players pushed forward for a Sebastien Le Toux corner kick in the 87th minute of a 0-0 game, the ball was quickly cleared to midfield by Toronto. Union fullback Ray Gaddis tried to control the ball and head it to a teammate, but a tough first touch, and no Union players within 30 yards, left him all alone trying to defend a 3-man Toronto rush.

Gaddis' first touch is what ultimately caused the problem, but the second-year player -- who struggled with defensive positioning earlier this season -- immediately backed up and surveyed his options.

If you watch it again, Gaddis no sooner begins backpedaling when he perfectly reads the eyes of Alvaro Rey, realizing Rey is going to slide an early pass forward to Robert Earnshaw. If Gaddis stays with Rey for one more stride, there's no way he keeps up with Earnshaw seconds later.

Ray Gaddis reads the pass perfectly from Alvaro Rey.

Before Rey delivers the pass, Gaddis is already turned around and sprinting full speed to get alongside Earnshaw -- Toronto's leading scorer.

From there, Gaddis not only uses his blazing speed to stay with Earnshaw, he also perfectly positions himself on Earnshaw's inside shoulder. This forces Earnshaw just a little bit wider, but it also discourages him from trying to slide the ball back to Rey. As Earnshaw approaches the penalty area, Gaddis even slows down, begging Earnshaw to go wider and be selfish. When you're the only defender back, you have to pick your poison, and in this case, Gaddis (rightfully) decides he's better off turning it into a 1-on-1 than allowing Rey to rejoin the play.

Gaddis prevents a pass back and forces Earnshaw wide.

Once inside the area, Gaddis is careful not to dive in for the ball, and he also takes away half the goal for Earnshaw to shoot at. This allows goalie Zac MacMath to take a step toward Earnshaw, and forces the Toronto forward to hesitate for an instant. It is then that Gaddis picks his spot and pokes the ball away.

Gaddis finishes the play perfectly, poking the ball away.

To top it all off, Gaddis even keeps the ball in play and regains possession instead of kicking it out of play. Which leads almost immediately to a Union free kick at the other end.

Gaddis will have another big challenge Saturday night, despite D.C. United's horrendous record. The Union will be without starting right back Sheanon Williams (yellow card accumulation) and his most likely replacement, Fabinho (red card vs. Toronto). So don't be surprised to see seldom-used players like Chris Albright or Matt Kassel playing center back (with Amobi Okogu on the right), or even someone like Le Toux or Michael Lahoud starting at right back.

The Union absolutely, positively, no questions asked, need a win against lowly D.C. (7 p.m. - Comcast Network). If that happens, and the Union do make the playoffs, remember Ray Gaddis' heroics last Saturday night.

PREDICTION SURE TO BE WRONG

The Union have struggled to score in open play lately. And even usually stubborn manager John Hackworth (the longest-tenured coach in Philly sports) might have to put Kleberson in the starting lineup to avoid an absolutely all-out fan mutiny. Whether that leads to more attacking play, we shall see.

Ironically, I think Saturday's game will come down to something the Union haven't seen all season: a penalty kick. Games at RFK are often wild and out of control, and I have a feeling the Union will draw their FIRST PENALTY of the entire season, then tack on another one late to secure the win.

UNION 2, D.C. UNITED 0

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Warriors spurn White House; Knicks agree to trade Carmelo Anthony to Thunder

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Warriors spurn White House; Knicks agree to trade Carmelo Anthony to Thunder

SOMERSET, N.J. -- The Golden State Warriors say they will not go to the White House when they visit Washington early next year, announcing the decision hours after President Donald Trump tweeted he was withdrawing the invitation.

Warriors star Stephen Curry had said he was not interested in the traditional event American championship teams usually have with the president. That raised Trump's ire, with the president citing what he called Curry's hesitation to accept.

The Warriors say they're "disappointed that we did not have an opportunity during this process to share our views or have open dialogue on issues impacting our communities that we felt would be important to raise."

Knicks agree to trade Carmelo Anthony to Thunder
NEW YORK - Carmelo Anthony won't be at Knicks training camp after all. He'll be in Oklahoma City, joining Russell Westbrook and Paul George in a loaded lineup.

The Knicks agreed to trade Anthony to the Thunder on Saturday, saving themselves a potentially awkward reunion next week with the player they'd been trying to deal since last season.

New York will get Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick, a person with knowledge of the deal said. The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced.

The Knicks had said just a day earlier that they expected Anthony to be there when they reported for camp Monday. But it was clear they didn't want him anymore and he no longer wanted to be in New York, where he arrived with so much hype that was never fulfilled in February 2011.

He rarely had a championship core around him in New York but jumps right into one in Oklahoma City along with Westbrook, the NBA MVP, and fellow All-Star George, who was acquired from Indiana this summer.

Anthony will see his old teammates soon: The Knicks open the regular season at Oklahoma City on Oct. 19.

Anthony agreed to waive his no-trade clause to complete the deal, which was first reported by The Vertical.

Phil Jackson spent the latter part of his time in New York making it clear he wanted to move Anthony. But a deal was difficult because the 33-year-old forward has two years and about $54 million left on his contract, along with the ability to decline any trade.

He had long maintained that he wanted to stay in New York, but the constant losing and a chance to play with a talented lineup convinced him it was finally time to go.

After making the postseason each of his first 10 seasons, he has been on the sidelines the last four years and said at the end of last season his priority was a chance to win. He wouldn't have that in New York, where the Knicks are emphasizing youth and have little proven talent with which to surround Anthony.

But he is close with Westbrook and George and should fit in nicely. He can possibly settle into the spot-up shooter role he's played in the Olympics, where he's won a record three gold medals and is the career scoring leader for the U.S. men.

The trade ends an unfulfilling 6 1/2-year run in New York for Anthony, where he could never shake his reputation of an elite scorer who can't carry a team to a ring. The Knicks made the playoffs his first three seasons and reached the second round in 2013, when Anthony led the league with 28.7 points per game. But after that they never seriously proved they could do anything consistently beyond make headlines.

And Anthony was right in the middle of that, with constant trade speculation after Jackson's criticism of Anthony's game. Jackson and the Knicks parted ways in June and though the Knicks kept looking, team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry told Anthony they wouldn't accept a trade that would hinder their plans to rebuild through youth.

It didn't help that Anthony had told the Knicks he would accept trades only to Houston and Cleveland, but a deal was finally found when he agreed to add Oklahoma City to his list of destinations.

Anthony moved into the top 25 on the NBA's career scoring list last season, and maybe the Thunder can help him reach elusive team success.

Jackson noted that the Knicks hadn't been able to win with Anthony, though one division title and three playoff berths give Anthony the best resume of anyone who played for the team in the 21st century.

He had higher aspirations when he pushed Denver to trade him to New York in 2010, a deal that finally went through in February 2011. But the Knicks gave up much of their young talent and future assets to get him, hindering their ability to fortify the team around their leading scorer in recent years.

Anthony averaged 22.4 points last season and made his 10th All-Star Game, though that was the second straight season he finished well off his career average of 24.8 per game.