Extra Time: Le Toux Can't Quit Us, Union Opener, Holden Rehabs and More

Extra Time: Le Toux Can't Quit Us, Union Opener, Holden Rehabs and More

There’s a lot of ground to cover this week, so let’s get right to it.

Sebastien Le Toux talks with MLS Reserves and touches on a number of topics including his departure from Philly, the fact he’s since hired an agent, his reception in Vancouver, and his feelings on Philly and Union fans.

Speaking of the Union, we’re less than a week away from the local XI opening its third season on the road in Portland. Here’s a quick primer on the Timbers, who begin their second season in MLS.

The Union will bring its third ever homegrown player with them to Portland. Cristhian Hernandez, who scored the game-winner in a 1-0 win over Everton back in July, has signed with the club. Hernandez, who attended St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey, is a Mexican citizen, and thus will occupy an international roster spot. The 18-year old Hernandez joins Jimmy McLaughlin and Zach Pfeffer as homegrown players on the Union roster.

Here’s a really cool piece by the New York Times about chanting and singing at soccer matches in Europe.

The Champions League Round of 16 resumes with two matches this afternoon. Arsenal hosts A.C. Milan at The Emirates. The Gunners dropped the first leg at the San Siro 4-0. Zenit travels to Portugal to face Benfica. Zenit captured the first-leg with a 3-2 win in St. Petersburg. There are two games tomorrow. Apoel and Lyon (Lyon holds a 1-0 lead) and Barcelona, leading Leverkusen 3-1, return to the Camp Nou looking to close out the German club and book their ticket to the quarterfinals.

I may toss my hat in the ring for the vacant Chelsea job. Per The Guardian, the bookmakers have named Barca’s Pep Guardiola, Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez as the favorites to be the next person to be fired by Roman Abramovich. Neither Spurs boss Harry Redknapp nor Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers want the gig.

Bolton and US International midfielder Stu Holden, who has battled back from injury after injury, is rehabbing in Wilmington, Delaware. ESPN’s Leander Schaerlaeckens spent time with Disco Stu and finds him chomping at the bit to return. I think all fans of the USMNT are eager to see Holden return.

Former Union color analyst Kyle Martino has been tapped by NBC as its lead MLS analyst. He’ll join Arlo White as the lead MLS announcing duo. Martino will be stationed on the field, between the two benches, in much the same way Pierre McGuire is for the NHL on NBC.

Eagles-Steelers inactives: Mychal Kendricks active

Eagles-Steelers inactives: Mychal Kendricks active

Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who entered the weekend listed as questionable, is active for the team’s game against the Steelers on Sunday afternoon.

Kendricks suffered a broken nose and a quad contusion in last week’s game against the Bears in Chicago. After missing practice for a couple days, he returned in full on Friday and was expected to be ready to go.

In past years, Kendricks would have likely been listed as probable, but the NFL confusingly did away with its “probable” label on injury reports this season.

As for the players who aren’t playing on Sunday, there aren’t any surprises. Zach Ertz (ribs), Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) and Isaac Seumalo (pec) were all ruled out earlier in the week and are inactive.

Brent Celek will start at tight end for Ertz and Ron Brooks will start at corner for McKelvin. Expect rookie Jalen Mills to be on the field as the outside corner in the nickel package.

Joining them on the list of inactives are WR Bryce Treggs, OL Dillon Gordon, OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai and OL Josh Andrews.

If you’re wondering about Treggs, the receiver the Eagles claimed off waivers from the 49ers and last cuts, it seems like the team isn’t ready to activate him just yet. Here’s what Pederson said on Friday about Treggs and the possibility of activating him:

“Yeah, it’s tough to keep the five receivers up based on what you need, defense, special teams and all that,” Pederson said. “He’s shown flashes of his speed in practice and doing a nice job there. And with him too, much like DGB, it’s how well he can process and how well he knows the system in order for him to, one, be active and, two, get a chance to play.”

Visit TicketIQ to discover the lowest prices on Eagles tickets anywhere, zone-level ticket data and seat views from fans just like you!”

Provorov, Schenn shine in Flyers' last scrimmage before preseason

Provorov, Schenn shine in Flyers' last scrimmage before preseason

VOORHEES, N.J. – Five games.

That’s what the Flyers are facing this coming week, which is why coach Dave Hakstol had his players involved in a full scrimmage Sunday morning at Skate Zone.

“I like it better than practicing,” offered Michael Raffl. “A little more action. A little physical and it gets you in game shape. I enjoyed it.”

The Flyers have two split-squad games on Monday – one in New Jersey against the Devils and other in Brookyln against the Islanders.

The scrimmage was up-tempo. So much so, Raffl and defenseman Will O’Neill were involved in a dangerous collision in the left corner that could have been disastrous with both players getting up slowly, but uninjured, on a puck chase.

“I don’t know, I was coming in hard,” Raffl said. “At first, I thought about playing the body and then I didn’t want to. So I was mixed in-between trying to slow down and there was a lot of contact as I fell into the boards. I felt fine afterwards.”

Raffl hit his neck awkwardly and was lucky to be uninjured. O’Neill took the hit.

“I went into the wall and knew he was coming and tried to be strong on my feet,” said O’Neill, a free agent signed over the summer. “Contact play in a bad area. Tough part of the ice.”

Hakstol held his breath there.

“It could have turned out differently,” he said. “It was kinda awkward play. You’re always happy to see him pop up and come out for another shift right after that.”

Raffl’s gray team won the scrimmage, 2-1, with rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov setting up a play that resulted in Brayden Schenn’s game-winning goal from Wayne Simmonds.

“Good tempo, competitiveness … kind like the first few days where tempo and work levels were good,” Hakstol said of the scrimmage. “It tends to be a little scrambly in those first scrimmages.”

Jordan Weal centered the top line with Schenn on the left. Hakstol has Schenn on the left right now to get him used to playing there again. Once Claude Giroux returns from the World Cup of Hockey, the top line of Schenn-Giroux-Simmonds will be reunited.

“I made the play up there to Simmer and a nice pass by Provy to me and then Simmer back door to Schenn,” Weal said of the game-winning goal. “It felt good ... I’ve played just one game in nine months.

“I’m just trying to get a feel for being on the right side of pucks. It’s not going to come in the first game.”

Weal was impressed with Provorov.

“He’s a really good player,” he said. “You can see it in his skating, his passing. He’s got a lot of confidence. He tore up the WHL and that’s a great league. It’s going to be exciting to see him moving forward.”

Hakstol rated Provorov as “solid and efficient” in the scrimmage.

Loose pucks
Steve Mason worked with Carter Hart in goal … Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz worked for the black team. Mason didn’t give up a goal. “We have eight exhibitions on the schedule and I will get into three or four of those,” he said. “By the time those wrap up, I’ll be where I want to be. Right now, I am feeling great which is a good start.” … Hakstol said Mason won’t play on Monday … Rookie forward Travis Konecny sat the scrimmage out (maintenance day). He said he was given a day off, but Konecny was receiving treatment by the medical staff on Saturday. “I see the trainer every day, I’m fine,” he said. Konecny should play in one of the split-squad games on Monday … Greg Carey had the other goal for the gray squad; Nicolas Aube-Kubel had the lone goal for the black squad … The defense rotated for both teams. Provorov was with Philippe Myers much of the game … Jakub Voracek practiced on his own. He won’t see action in the first three games and neither will Shayne Gostisbehere because of the World Cup, Hakstol said ... The scrimmage consisted of  two, 25-minute periods with a running clock. Sounds like the Public League, no?