Mwanga, Union Earn a Road Point in COL

Mwanga, Union Earn a Road Point in COL

We were eager to see how the Union would follow-up their best-ever scoring effort on the road in the Colorado altitude, and overall, they didn't disappoint, earning a 1-all tie against the Rapids. It would have been more encouraging to see a W and possibly another multi-goal game, but the biggest take-home from this one was the Union's composure in going hard for a goal after conceding the opening tally on a second-half PK.

Danny Califf took a penalty in the box, tugging the shoulder of Colorado's Pablo Mastroeni just hard enough to give Mastroeni cause to hit the turf and draw a call. Conor Casey took the PK and chipped it at the center of the goal as Faryd Mondragon went to his right. I didn't like Casey much before that, and I like him even less now.

But the Union weren't going to let that wilt them, and they soon answered with a gorgeous goal by Danny Mwanga from distance.

Mwanga was a sub on Saturday night, allowing for Jack McInerney to start his first ever match for the Union. Jack Mac had some fine plays in the first half, which isn't a surprise given how he's played as a sub to date. With Carlos Ruiz playing with Guatemala, the Union aren't necessarily any lighter in scoring. Mwanga came on fresh in the 58th minute and less than 10 minutes later had cause to run to embrace his coach.  [Full Highlights below]

Both goalies had impressive showings, with Rapids keeper Matt Pickens in particular having a few amazing stops. In the 17th minute, he cut off a dangerous Jack Mac attempt off a Justin Mapp header pass. Later in the half, McInerney fed a precision pass up to Le Toux, but Pickens again closed off the space in the box and snuffed it out. Full marks to the bearded Rapids keeper.

Keon Daniel missed perhaps the game's best opportunity, skying a brilliant leading feed from Gabe Farfan in close. Daniel did play well overall again though, coming on as a sub for Justin Mapp and running the field from end to end, factoring into Mwanga's set-up too.

Mapp came out with what looked like a groin injury, pulling up as he streaked up the sideline and putting his arm up to call for a sub. Mapp had been looking good in his follow-up effort after earning MLS Player of the Week honors, but the Rapids were putting a beating on him, and his night didn't last long. Hopefully the rest will get him back out there soon, because his emergence has energized the Union's midfield efforts lately.


Lots of empty seats in Colorado, which is unfortunate given that they're the reigning MLS Cup champions and the first-place club from the other conference was in town. For the good of the league, no matter who you root for, you want to see full stadiums, but it's a reminder of how good we already have it down at PPL Park.

The Union come home to host Real Salt Lake next Saturday.

Photo via the Union's Facebook gallery.

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.