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... 

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.