Down Two Men, Union Hold on for 1-0 Win on Freddy Adu Backheel Goal

Down Two Men, Union Hold on for 1-0 Win on Freddy Adu Backheel Goal

They held on by the skin of their teeth, having to play the final ten minutes or so at a two-man disadvantage due to red cards, but the Philadelphia Union found a way to pull out their first road win of the season by defeating Chivas USA 1-0 on Saturday night. 
Freddy Adu scored the lone goal, a nifty backheel after some hard work by Michael Farfan. 

Video of Adu's goal and all hell breaking loose, below. 

The lone scoring exchange of the night came late in the first half when Freddy Adu deposited some loose change right in front of the net with a nifty little backheel. Leading up to Adu, Michael Farfan flat out broke down his defender, then passed it in front of the net, where Adu found the ball at his feet after a deflection. With no other option but to go for the blind backheel, Adu flipped it in off the far post. 

Marfan's been strong with the ball lately, one of the rare bright spots offensively. 

Led by Carlos Valdes wearing Danny Califf's captain's armband, the defense helped Zac MacMath keep a clean sheet yet again, battling former Unioner Alejandro Moreno all night. Chivas made some dangerous crosses, but the Union weathered each of them. Juan Pablo Angel came on in the 63rd minute and was on the receiving end of a few services, narrowly missing on his first headed attempt. Call-up Raymon Gaddis had a second consecutive strong showing for the Union. Valdes played angrily but effectively. 

MacMath has now backstopped 332 straight shutout minutes. 

An increasingly contentious match that saw a parade of yellow cards devolved as the second half wore on. Keon Daniel was issued a red in the 75th minute, and Gabriel Farfan earned a red of his own in the 85th minute for a studs-up tackle. There was a bit of a scrum after Farfan was sent  off as you can see in the photo above. Tempers were flaring with plenty of shouting and pushing, but I don't believe any punches were thrown.

The U have their first winning streak of the season, and they finally scored from the run of play. Maybe the fireworks at the end can help to gel a team that has seen significant turnover and not a lot of success. Doop it up.

Next week's home matchup against San Jose gets a little tougher without Daniel and Garfan, both of whom have been standouts among the starting XI in the last two games. 

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Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

A couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said there was a chance he could look at Odubel Herrera in a corner outfield spot over the final weeks of the season.

Scrub that idea.

“Not this year,” Mackanin said Monday. “If we decide we're going to do that, we'll encourage him to play a corner in winter ball and then in spring training, if that's what we decide to do.

“I thought about doing that. But I don't know if we want to do that now. We’ll just let him get back on track offensively. I won't say it won't happen here or there. But we're not going to make that move right now.

“Let's try to keep his mind as uncluttered as possible right now. It looks a little cluttered.”

The Phillies have thought about moving Herrera to a corner spot because they have a top center field prospect in Roman Quinn. Also, Aaron Altherr is an excellent defender in center.

Quinn seemed to be on target for a call up after the Eastern League playoffs, but that could be in doubt now that he’s on the disabled list with a concussion.

Still, Quinn may be this club’s centerfielder of the future. And behind him is Mickey Moniak, this year’s top draft pick. He’s a ways away. But it’s worth wondering if the Phillies believe Herrera’s future is at a corner outfield spot. Or whether Herrera will be wintertime trade bait.

Mackanin was asked if he believed Herrera’s future would be in a corner spot.

“You know, I'd rather not really even comment on that,” he said. “I don't want him to think that we're not pleased with him. I just want to keep him confident the rest of the season.”

Herrera’s defense in center field has slipped this season.

“He was better last year defensively,” Mackanin said. “He's made a lot of mistakes this year. I think we've all seen that. But that doesn't mean he's not going to play center field anymore. There's another month left to see what happens.”

Herrera was the Phillies’ lone representative in the All-Star Game. He hit .294 with a .378 on-base percentage and a .427 slugging percentage before the All-Star break. Since then, however, he was hitting .252 with a .314 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage entering play Monday night.

Mychal Kendricks may be only starter to play Thursday vs. Jets

Mychal Kendricks may be only starter to play Thursday vs. Jets

Nelson Agholor, a struggling second-year receiver who may or may not be a starter, likely won't play in the Eagles' preseason finale Thursday against the Jets.

Mychal Kendricks, a fifth-year linebacker who's been a regular starter since he was a rookie, likely will.

"There's a chance," head coach Doug Pederson said Monday. "There's a chance he plays because he hasn't played all preseason, and we still want to get him those live reps and get him ready for Cleveland."

Kendricks played Saturday against Indianapolis after missing the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury suffered in training camp earlier this month. He was still in the game in the fourth quarter, when the rest of the starters had exchanged their helmets for baseball caps.

"Why? Because he hasn't played," Pederson said. "He hasn't played and we just want to see him get game and live reps. That's the bottom line."

And just to be sure, Kendricks is still a starter?

"Oh, yeah. He's another one that we'd love to see again this Thursday night in a short role," Pederson said. "But at the same time he hasn't played all preseason. Stephen Tulloch's another one that we need to see play. So there's an opportunity for these two to get some more reps on Thursday."

Tulloch makes sense. He needs all the reps he can get. And he's also a backup. He should have no problem playing Thursday.

As for Kendricks ... he was not available to the media Monday.

Cornerback Aaron Grymes waived by Eagles

Cornerback Aaron Grymes waived by Eagles

Aaron Grymes was making a serious push to be on the Eagles' 53-man roster until the cornerback's right shoulder slammed into the ground at Heinz Field after an interception.

Grymes hasn't practiced or played since and the Eagles on Monday released the 25-year-old corner with the "waived/injured" designation. 

Before coming to the Eagles this spring, Grymes spent three successful seasons in the Canadian Football League and won a Grey Cup as an All-Star for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2015.

There seems to be a decent shot that the Eagles might want to put Grymes on their practice squad.

After the Pittsburgh game, when he had the interception and suffered the injury, Grymes was asked if he would prefer to be on a practice squad or head back to Canada, where he's already a proven star.

“I’ve thought about both of them," Grymes said on Aug. 18. "Both of them are great opportunities. I know that there are teams in Canada that are willing to bring me in and let me play. But then again, you can’t really compare it with this NFL dream I’ve had forever.

"To sign to a practice squad … injuries happen every day, and I think an opportunity could be there. It will be something I sit down with my wife and talk about, sit down with my agent and talk about. We’ll just make the best decision for us from there.”