Portlandia: Union Need the Three Points at Home Against the Timbers

Portlandia: Union Need the Three Points at Home Against the Timbers

The Union, looking to snap a seven game winless streak, host the
expansion Portland Timbers at PPL Park tonight (7:30PM/The Comcast
Network).

The Union look to build on the moment of their
thrilling 4-4 tie against New England on Wednesday night. After falling
behind 4-1 the U rallied to earn a much needed point. Sebastien Le Toux
notched a brace en route to leading the Union back from the dead. A home
loss to the Eastern Conference cellar dwelling Revolution would have
been devastating.

Can they build on the momentum they created
Wednesday night? If so, they'll need to rediscover how to defend
set-pieces. The back four has been exposed in consecutive weeks on
dead-ball situations. Zack MacMath, who looked shellshocked in the first
half against New England, needs all of the defensive help he can get.
Leaving opponents open for free headers and not marking guys on the far
post is unacceptable. This is particularly true with a rookie netminder. 

On the flip-side, the offensive explosion was
encouraging. Freddy Adu opened his Union account thanks to a nice feed
from Danny Mwanga. it'd be phenomenal if those two guys could develop
some sort of chemistry. Along with Roger Torres they are two of the more
creative Union players.

Coming off of the midweek game this is a tough task
If the Union hope to snap the winless streak they'll need to tighten
things up in the back. Conceding four goals again is not an option. 

Lineup I'd like to see tonight: MacMath, Sheanon
Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabe Farfan, Freddy Adu, Brian
Carroll, Roger Torres, Justin Mapp, Sebastien Le Toux, Veljko Paunovic
Final Score Prediction: The Union carry the momentum from Wednesday and earn the three points with a 2-1 win.
The Toni Stahl Memorial Player Most Likely To See Red: Why not go with MacMath for a takedown in the box?

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

Tonight's lineup: Cody Asche starts in place of injured Roman Quinn

With Roman Quinn's season over with an oblique strain, Freddy Galvis moves up to second in the Phillies' lineup Wednesday night against the Braves.

Quinn's showing in the majors this month was a microcosm of his pro career to this point — he showed his speed with four steals and several infield hits, posted a .373 OBP in 69 plate appearances, but suffered another injury. Health has always been his roadblock.

With Quinn out, Cody Asche gets a start in left field against Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who he's homered off of. The presence of Quinn and Aaron Altherr has limited Asche's playing time — he's started only three games since coming back from Triple A on Sept. 10.

Asche bats seventh, a spot ahead of Aaron Altherr, who is 7 for 52 (.135) in his last 18 games and has four extra-base hits in his last 133 plate appearances.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Adam Morgan, P

Matt Kemp, who sat last night, returns to the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Dansby Swanson, SS
7. Mallex Smith, RF
8. Daniel Castro, 2B
9. Mike Foltynewicz, P