MATCHDAY: It's a fine day for soccer as Union open home slate vs. New England Revolution

MATCHDAY: It's a fine day for soccer as Union open home slate vs. New England Revolution

The sun (and warmth!) are expected at PPL Park on Saturday (Steve Moore photo)

Well, after the winter we've had, I think we all deserve a beautiful Saturday.

As for Philadelphia Union fans -- who have sat through tropical storms, thunderstorm delays, bitter cold and four seasons of up-and-down-mostly-mediocre soccer -- well, they deserve this weather to fall on this day.

We told you about John Hackworth's one year to get it right.

We educated you on the revamped roster and who holds the keys to a successful season.

We told you why last week's draw wasn't so bad, and why even the biggest soccer snobs should pay attention.

Heck, we even told you what kind of beer to buy (bring me some, kthanks).

Probable Union lineup, courtesy our friend Kevin Kinkead

Now to the nuts and bolts. The Union will likely trot out the same lineup as they did last weekend in Portland (at right, courtesy Kevin Kinkead). If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I haven't heard anything about Sheanon Williams being 100% fit just yet, so expect Raymon Gaddis to start at right back once again. The bench will probably look the same, and you can even probably count on seeing the same substitutions.

You can expect the new guys -- Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana and Maurice Edu -- to get absolutely raucous welcomes from the Sons of Ben that should make your hair stand on end. The crowd will be well lubed up by 4 p.m., and ready to explode. Whether the Union can feed off that energy will be key. They need to get off on the right foot, and get a first-half lead. Otherwise, the fans will get restless and players can get tight. I don't see that happening.

I'm usually pretty conservative with my predictions, but the Union know what they have and are only going to grow. New England (with a possible lineup from our friend Kevin Kinkead) is not as bad as it appeared in last week's 4-0 drubbing to Houston. But they're set for a let-down this year after last year's surprise playoff appearance.

Prediction: Union 4, Revolution 1

Goals: McInerney (2), Maidana, Edu.

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?

In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.

Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."

It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.

And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.

"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?

The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.

Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.

If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."

That makes one of us.

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.