Eagles Miss Black and Golden Opportunity in Pittsburgh

Eagles Miss Black and Golden Opportunity in Pittsburgh

For the fourth time in five games, Michael Vick led the offense on a long scoring drive to put the Eagles ahead in the fourth quarter. For the first time this season, it was not enough to get the job done.

In their longest drive of 2012, the Eagles finally reached paydirt on play number 17, capping an eight-plus minute drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek for their first lead of the afternoon. They left the Steelers far too much time to work though, and Pittsburgh used all of their six-and-a-half minutes to methodically march down the field, then kick a 34-yard field goal to deliver a 16-14 victory as the clock expired.

While the end result was different from previous weeks, the loss serves as a reminder of how difficult it can be to win in the NFL. We should look back on those earlier one- and two-point wins with a new appreciation, as games often will come to one play.

For that reason, it will be equally difficult not to look back on Pittsburgh as a missed opportunity for Philadelphia. Vick's two lost fumbles, and in particular the one right before he could cross the goal line, were enough to tilt the scales in the opponent's favor. Instead of going in for the decisive score on that final possession, as it very well could have been, the Eagles were only able to shut a door while leaving a window open.

That was enough for the Steelers, who pounded the rock into Philly territory to set up the three-point try. Juan Castillo's defense struggled to shut down the rushing attack all day, surrendering 131 yards for a 4.4 average on the ground. Rashard Mendenhall looked 100% in his return from an ACL, gaining 81 by himself and a touchdown.

Ultimately they couldn't get off the field in the end, but otherwise it was a solid defensive effort to hold Pittsburgh to 16 points. The inability of the offense to light the scoreboard continued to be the top story, and the lack of ball protection finally proved costly in a tight game, dropping the Birds' record to 3-2 on the year. More to come ahead.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

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Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

This is starting to become a trend. One Temple hopes to continue to prove wrong.

For the third straight year, Temple was chosen to finish sixth in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll. The poll, which was released on Monday, is voted on by the conference's head coaches.

Also selected to finish sixth last season, the Owls posted a 21-12 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the AAC to reach the NCAA Tournament. In 2014-15, TU tied for third in the AAC with a 13-5 record and was one of the last teams left out of the Big Dance.

Cincinnati was tabbed to win the American title in the poll, just ahead of UConn.

Temple, who returns three starters from last season's team, opens the 2016-17 campaign against city rival La Salle at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 11.