Philly Sports Saturday Act II: Sounders v. Union at PPL Park

Philly Sports Saturday Act II: Sounders v. Union at PPL Park

The second course of your Saturday Philadelphia sports smorgasbord takes place in Chester where the Union host Seattle (4PM/The Comcast Network). The Union (3-1), who have played four consecutive 1-0 games, look to put together their second winning streak of the young season. They sit atop the Eastern Conference table with nine points, three points clear of Toronto and New England.

Seattle (1-2-2) enters the game in a three way tie for fourth in the West. They picked up their first win of the season last week thanks to a 2-1 win over Chicago. The Sounders have scored four goals over their last two games, which is all the more impressive considering they've been playing without Fredy Montero, who's been out with a broken wrist.

Montero made the trip to Philly, but is listed as questionable. O’Brian White has helped pick up the scoring slack, recording two goals and an assist over the last two matches. Steve Zakuani has also contributed in Montero's absence, picking up a goal and an assist over the same period.

One amazing number to keep in mind about this one is 80. 80 is the combined age of starting goalkeepers Kasey Keller (41) and Faryd Mondragon (39). To put that into perspective consider that the combined age of Union players Jack McInerney (18), Roger Torres (19), Danny Mwanga (19), Amobi Okuguo (20) is just 76. Yeah, Keller and Mondragon have been around.

Speaking of Okugo, he'll likely start in the place of Brian Carrol, who, due to a hamstring injury, was forced to leave last week's win over the Red Bulls after just six minutes. Justin Mapp, who made his way back into the Union lineup last week, apparently emerged unscathed and should be fit to start.

I know Peter Nowak has no qualms about winning games 1-0, but they need to find a way to get their offense going. Once again it took introducing Roger Torres into the lineup to shake things up. Last week it was only a matter of seconds before Torres made an impact. Mwanga picked off a terrible pass from Red Bull centerback Tim Ream and sent Torres through for the decisive goal.

The contributions off the substitutes bench have been great, but Carlos Ruiz and Sebastien Le Toux need provide a threat. In their defense they've had zero support from the midfield. I cannot remember a single serve into the box from a Union midfielder. The midfield absolutely needs to do a better job of providing a link between the back four and Ruiz/Le Toux.

If only there was a creative string-pulling midfielder out there who could help jump-start the Union offense. I mean, at this stage of the season there can't be anyone who would fit that bill, right? Wait, what's that? Benny Feilhaber is now available? And the Union sits in the second allocation position? Kerith Gabriel reports that the Union have no interest in Feilhaber.

Please tell me that's just Nowak keeping things close to the vest. Benny is a perfect fit for tihs team.

Benny! Feilhaber!

Please go get him.

Seriously, go get him.

That potential acquisition will have to wait until Tuesday. For today your likely starting X1 will be Mondragon, Jordan Harvey, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams, Mapp, Okugo, Stefani Miglioranzi (who was a turnover machine last week), Keon Daniel, Le Toux, and Ruiz.

Final Score Prediction: Union make it three wins in a row with yet another 1-0 result.

The Toni Stahl Memorial Union Player Most Likely To See Red: Miglioranzi, who will be matched up with Osvaldo Alonso all day. I am a big Alonso fan, and think he'll provide a serious problem for Miglioranzi.

Bonus Reminder to Set Your DVR for El Clasico Note: Barcelona and Madrid play this afternoon in what will be their first of four games against each other over the next 18 days. They play at 4PM, so fire up your DVR.

Bonus Music Track: They're hosting Seattle. It's a bit of an obvious choice, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to include Pearl Jam covering Mother Love Bone.

 

Photo Credit: Barbara Johnston/AP

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty had four goals, Brian Flynn scored twice during a six-goal first period and the Montreal Canadiens routed the Colorado Avalanche 10-1 on Saturday night.

Flynn, Pacioretty and Artturi Lehkonen each scored against Calvin Pickard in the opening 7:12, and then Pacioretty, Paul Byron and Flynn each had a goal among the first four shots on Semyon Varlamov.

Pacioretty completed his hat trick in the second period and added another in the third to give the captain seven goals in his last four games.

Alexander Radulov and Jeff Petry also scored for Montreal, which has shown no drop-off without injured scoring leader and first-line center Alex Galchenyuk. Montreal outshot the Avs 36-16 (see full recap).

Malkin, Crosby lead Penguins past Lightning 4-3
TAMPA, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby had another eventful night.

The Penguins star returned after passing concussion protocol following a first-period hit to get his 20th goal, and that stoked Pittsburgh's rally for its latest victory.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored their second goals on third-period power plays, helping the Penguins come back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday.

Crosby was shaken up by Luke Witkowski's check with eight minutes to go in the first but returned for the start of the second period (see full recap).

Late barrage helps Blue Jackets beat Islanders 6-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 6-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

Josh Anderson, Brandon Saad and Lukas Sedlak also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.

Josh Bailey and John Tavares scored for New York, which had earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves until he was pulled after the Blue Jackets scored four consecutive goals in the third period.

Anderson put Columbus ahead 3-2 at 2:19 when he picked off a defensive pass and banged it in from the slot seconds after coming onto the ice for his shift (see full recap).

Matthews, Hyman score in 2nd, Maple Leafs beat Bruins 4-1
BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs found a way to overcome a poor opening period.

Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, Frederik Andersen made 32 saves and the Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday night.

"The last three games the first period kind of did us in," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't start on time. We were able to hold on. It still wasn't the first period we wanted, but we didn't give up the goals and we were able to execute a little bit."

After managing only two shots on goal in the first, Toronto was happy to get to the dressing room with the game scoreless (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol and Tony Allen scored 19 points each and the Memphis Grizzlies rolled over the Golden State Warriors 110-89 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 30 points in the second half - the biggest advantage by any Warriors opponent this season. Seven Memphis players finished in double figures.

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 21 points, while Stephen Curry added 17 points and Ian Clark finished with 10 points. Curry and backcourt starter Klay Thompson (eight points) were a combined 8 of 28 from the field, including 3 of 14 outside the arc.

Memphis built a double-digit lead early, led 61-38 at halftime and kept building in the third quarter (see full recap).

Butler, Wade lead Bulls to 105-100 win over Heat
CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade added 28 against his former team and the Chicago Bulls held off the struggling Miami Heat 105-100 on Saturday night.

Butler scored Chicago's final 10 points to help the Bulls come out on top after Miami pulled within one.

Wade keyed a big third-quarter run in his second game against the Heat, and the Bulls hung on after handing San Antonio its first road loss two nights earlier.

Goran Dragic led Miami with 21 points and 11 assists. An energetic Hassan Whiteside added 20 points after being benched for part of Friday's blowout loss in Cleveland. Tyler Johnson scored 15, but the Heat dropped their fifth straight (see full recap).

LeBron scores 44, reaches assist mark as Cavs down Hornets
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 17 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and reached another career milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 116-105 over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

James did it all, adding 10 assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. He took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 straight during one stretch to help the Cavs hold on.

As the final seconds ticked off, James stood at midcourt and spun the ball on his index finger as the crowd roared.

James, who moved into ninth place on the career scoring list Friday, recorded his 7,000th assist in the first half, becoming the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach the plateau. James is the only player with 27,000 points and 7,000 assists (see full recap).

George has 37 points to lead Pacers over Blazers 118-111
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George scored a season-high 37 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-111 on Saturday night.

George made five 3-pointers, and Thaddeus Young hit six 3s while getting 24 points and nine rebounds. Myles Turner added 14 points for the Pacers, who had lost five straight regular season games to Portland.

C.J. McCollum made a career-high seven 3-pointers and had a season-best 34 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard had 33 points behind five 3s.

George scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. He was fouled on the go-ahead basket with 4:36 remaining and completed the three-point play to give the Pacers a 108-105 lead (see full recap).