Jack McInerney called up to US national team for first time and can't even legally have a drink to celebrate

Jack McInerney called up to US national team for first time and can't even legally have a drink to celebrate

This is a really big deal.

Jack McInerney, the Philadelphia Union’s 20-year-old rising star, was named to the Gold Cup roster today, becoming the first Philadelphia Union player to be called up to the US senior national team for a competitive tournament.

Quick reminder: a little more than 12 months ago, he didn’t even feature on the Union’s 18-man roster (more due to former manager Peter Nowak’s reluctance to play him than his own talent).

Now, he’s poised to be on the same team as Landon Donovan, perhaps the greatest American soccer player ever and a growing fan of McInerney’s.

One more reminder: McInerney is not even of legal drinking age yet.

Again, this is a really big deal. And it’s rare.

The other night, I did some research and discovered there have been very few younger American players ever called up to the Gold Cup. Here is the list since 2000: Juan Agudelo (2011), Freddy Adu (2009), Michael Bradley (2007), Santino Quaranta (2005), Bobby Convey (2003), DaMarcus Beasley (2002) and Landon Donovan (2002)

You might recognize some of those names.

Does this mean McInerney is on the fast track to the World Cup? Not necessarily. And US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is already trying to manage the expectations around him.

But no matter if the 20-year-old striker features or not during the July tournament, just making the squad is a serious accomplishment for him – and for the Union.

And we should probably expect a stirring send-off for him when he plays his final game Saturday at PPL Park vs. FC Dallas (5:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports) before leaving to do what no other Union player has ever done before him.

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com, CSNPhilly.com and The 700 Level. Email him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.

Matt Rhule thanks Temple, Philadelphia in full page ad in Inquirer

Matt Rhule thanks Temple, Philadelphia in full page ad in Inquirer

On Tuesday, the Matt Rhule era at Temple ended.

Rhule bolted North Broad Street for Baylor University, from the lowly American Athletic Conference to the Big 12, a natural progression in college football.

And, in a classy move, Rhule took out a full page ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer thanking Philadelphia and Temple.

The full text of the ad.

On behalf of Julie and our children, I want to express our sincere gratitude to Temple University. The passion and pursuit of excellence at Temple allowed for our student-athletes to achieve success on the football field and to develop as young men off of the field. Temple and Philly will always be a part of us and we will be cheering on the Owls from afar.

As for Temple — to quote a common phrase Rhule used while at Temple — what's next?

We don't know yet, but we'll find out in the coming weeks.

Led by interim head coach Ed Foley, No. 24 Temple will face Wake Forrest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland.

Best of NHL: Last-place Islanders take down rival Rangers

Best of NHL: Last-place Islanders take down rival Rangers

NEW YORK -- Andrew Ladd scored in the second period and Jaroslav Halak stopped 36 shots to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the crosstown-rival Rangers on Tuesday night.

John Tavares, Jason Chimera and Scott Mayfield also scored at the Barclays Center to help the last-place Islanders improve to 4-0-1 in their last five games.

Jimmy Vesey and Marc Staal scored for the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 28 saves. The Rangers have alternated wins and losses in regulation in their last eight games.

Halak beat Lundqvist for the ninth time in their last 10 matchups. Halak had won eight straight -- including the last five after joining the Islanders before the 2014-15 season -- before Lundqvist ended the streak in the Rangers' 5-3 win in the season opener Oct. 13 at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist is now 1-6-1 in his last eight against the Islanders (see full recap).

Schwartz lifts Blues over Canadiens in OT
ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz got his second goal of the game in overtime, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Paul Stastny also scored for St. Louis, which has won four of five. The Blues rallied from a 2-0 deficit and have a point in their last 13 home games.

Tomas Plekanec and Paul Byron scored for Montreal, which completed a five-game trip 2-3.

Goalie Jake Allen made 28 saves to improve to 13-3-3.

Schwartz lifted a backhander past goalie Al Montoya with 1:22 left in overtime.

Stastny and Schwartz scored in a 2:51 span in the third period to tie it at 2 (see full recap).

Blackhawks blank Coyotes to snap modest skid
CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa had two goals, Scott Darling made 22 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0 on Tuesday night to snap a two-game slide.

Artem Anisimov and Dennis Rasmussen also scored to help Chicago maintain a three-point lead over St. Louis in the Central Division.

Darling made a handful of tough stops but wasn't heavily tested in his first shutout this season and third of his career. He started his third straight game in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, who had an appendectomy in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Hossa scored his team-leading 13th and 14th goals in his 27th game -- surpassing his total of 13 last season in 64 contests (see full recap).