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 QUEST
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.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS


HOME IS WHEREVER I'M WITH THE U
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.

Radko Gudas shooting pucks, 'pretty close' to 100 percent

Radko Gudas shooting pucks, 'pretty close' to 100 percent

VOORHEES, N.J. — Radko Gudas (wrist) is closer to game action as the Flyers’ defenseman has been cleared to shoot pucks for the “past couple of days.”
 
The 26-year-old, recovering from a fractured right wrist (his shooting hand), was shooting and hitting in practice Wednesday at Flyers Skate Zone. Gudas has yet to play in a preseason game, but said he’s “pretty close” to 100 percent.
 
“I can’t say it’s really 100 percent, but it’s getting there soon,” Gudas said following practice.
 
“There’s a lot of time for me to get in top, game-like shape. There’s not a chance I would miss the start of the season.”
 
Gudas said the most important aspect of the wrist’s healing is keeping it stable by wearing a brace to limit too much moving.
 
“It’s better, I’m shooting on it in practices, feels better every day,” he said. “I’m working on a lot of it every day with the strength guys and the doctors here. We’re going day to day, I’m seeing myself sooner than later jumping on the ice.”
 
The second-year Flyer would like to play in preseason games before the start of the regular season, but also understands the importance of not rushing to avoid costing him regular-season games as a result.
 
“That’s the main part — feeling pain-free,” Gudas said. “Throughout the season, there’s not a lot of time off so we need to make sure everything is the best it can be before the season starts.
 
“Obviously it’s going to be the coaches’ decision when to put me in. I’m sure they’re talking with the staff for when would be the proper time.”
 
Gudas signed a four-year contract extension in June after playing a career-high 76 games and recording 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 2015-16.
 
After practice, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol did not have an update on Gudas or defenseman Nick Schultz, who was shaken up Tuesday night.
 
“Everybody wants to play at least a game or two before the season,” Gudas said. “I don’t think it needs to be said.
 
“He wants to have me ready and I want to be ready.”

Now 22/1 to win Super Bowl, Eagles also the NFC East favorite

Now 22/1 to win Super Bowl, Eagles also the NFC East favorite

The Eagles crushed a Super Bowl contender on Sunday at the Linc. And Vegas took notice.

According to Bovada, the Eagles' odds to win the Super Bowl went from 33/1 to 22/1. Just nine teams have shorter odds to win the Super Bowl. The Patriots are tops at 15/4, followed by the Packers (8/1) and the team the Eagles beat, the Steelers (9/1).

With the win, the Eagles also became the favorite to win the NFC East, going from 11/4 to 2/1. They're followed by the Cowboys and Giants (both at 11/5) and last year's division champs, Washington, is at 6/1.

The Eagles are also 12/1 to win the NFC.

Of course, the biggest story for the Eagles this season has been the emergence of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. He had his first 300-yard passing game Sunday and was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week. His odds to win MVP went from 50/1 to 33/1. Those are the same odds as Drew Brees and Eli Manning.

Meanwhile, former Eagles quarterback and current Minnesota Viking Sam Bradford went from 50/1 to 25/1 to win MVP.

While Wentz's MVP odds shortened, his odds to win Rookie of the Year actually got longer, going from 8/5 to 7/4. That could have something to do with the odds of Ezekiel Elliot (7/4), Dak Prescott (5/1) and Sterling Shepard (7/1) all improving.