Union beat first-place Sporting KC (yes, really) and make big statement in support of their manager

Union beat first-place Sporting KC (yes, really) and make big statement in support of their manager

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Well, no one was really expecting that one, right?

The Philadelphia Union entered Wednesday night's game on the road against the best team in the Eastern Conference without a win in their last nine games. They were also without their captain (Brian Carroll) and their star midfielder (Maurice Edu)

And they won.

Not only did the Union beat Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, on Wednesday night, they watched their 1-0 lead disappear in the second half and immediately took the lead back off the ensuing kickoff.

Unlike the coma-inducing snoozefests we've been treated to at PPL Park recently, this game had countless talking points. Chief among them was the team's celebration following Danny Cruz's second-half goal that gave the team a 1-0 lead.

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The team clearly had a plan to run all the way to the opposite sideline and wrap John Hackworth in a huge group hug, showing very visible support for a coach whose seat could not be hotter.

Other notable talking points:

  • Zac MacMath made two ENORMOUS saves in the first half to keep the Union in the match, both on Sal Zizzo. MacMath has to be the frontrunner to start the MLS All-Star Game, I'd think.
  • Andrew Wenger was stellar as the (sorta) lone forward in the 4-3-3 formation. He had a great assist on Maidana's second goal (see below), but he was great all night holding the ball up and fighting off two of the better defenders in the league, including one who is a likely starter for the United States in the World Cup. If you've doubted the trade that brought Wenger in and sent Jack McInerney to Montreal, just wait a bit longer. Wenger brings a lot of skills that McInerney lacked.

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  • Without Carroll and Edu, Amobi Okugo played in his more natural role as the center defensive midfielder. Not only was he strong all night, but Austin Berry and Sheanon Williams did a nice job in the center on the back line. We'll see if Hackworth has the cojones to leave Okugo there should Carroll be healthy on Saturday against New England (7 p.m. - Comcast Network).
  • WHO'S UP: Cristian Maidana shook off a very shaky first half to shine in the second half. Other strong performances were turned in by Ray Gaddis and -- of course -- Vincent Nogueira -- who would easily be the team MVP so far if not for MacMath.
  • WHO'S DOWN: Leo Fernandes looked lost all night, and Fabinho made a few big mistakes that nearly cost the team dearly. He also earned a yellow card, meaning he can't play Saturday against the Revs.

The most unique performance was turned in by Corben Bone, who came in for Nogueira in the 89th minute. He left the game 54 seconds later after earning a red card with a dangerous slide tackle (video below). With the result going the Union's way, it was something to laugh about, as Okugo proved after the game:

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For the first time, NBC Sports regional networks add live, local Major League Baseball streaming

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AP

For the first time, NBC Sports regional networks add live, local Major League Baseball streaming

STAMFORD, Conn. – January 19, 2017 – NBC Sports Regional Networks today announced an agreement with MLBAM to stream local market MLB games, as well as pre- and postgame shows, beginning with the 2017 regular season. This new streaming offering is available at no additional cost to authenticated pay TV subscribers of NBC Sports Group’s CSN regional sports networks (RSNs). This local initiative advances NBCUniversal’s implementation of “TV Everywhere,” which strives to make quality content available to authenticated customers both in and out of the home, and on multiple platforms.

CSN’s local streaming allows authenticated viewers in their respective markets to live stream games and related programming that is carried by their pay TV provider of the Chicago Cubs (CSN Chicago), Chicago White Sox (CSN Chicago), Philadelphia Phillies (CSN Philadelphia), Oakland Athletics (CSN California) and San Francisco Giants (CSN Bay Area). Game broadcast schedules will be announced at a later date.

“This is a home run for our local sports fans,” said David Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks, and NBC Sports Group Platform and Content Strategy. “We are constantly looking for ways to better serve our fans and provide comprehensive coverage of their favorite teams. With the addition of MLB in-market streaming rights, they don’t have to miss a pitch.”

The addition of MLB authenticated in-market streaming completes the local streaming portfolio for the NBC Sports Regional Networks, which also includes local NBA and NHL live streaming. The RSNs first introduced NBA streaming in 2014 and last fall announced the addition of NHL in-market streaming, beginning with the 2016-17 season. 

The NBC Sports Regional Networks now have partnerships for in-market streaming of the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, San Jose Sharks, San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s (CSN Bay Area/CSN California); Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox (CSN Chicago); Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals (CSN Mid-Atlantic); Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia Phillies (CSN Philadelphia); and Boston Celtics (CSN New England).

Authenticated CSN subscribers can access live MLB, NBA and NHL games, as well as other sports programming, anywhere in the United States.  During the 2017 MLB season, all in-market MLB games will be streamed on the respective local CSN regional network site on PCs as well as on the NBC Sports app—NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets and connected TVs. The NBC Sports app is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. 

Phillies games can be streamed live on CSNPhilly.com in 2017

Phillies games can be streamed live on CSNPhilly.com in 2017

Phillies fans, you will be able to watch all of your team's games on a live stream on CSNPhilly.com during the 2017 season.

The live streaming service will be available at no additional cost to authenticated CSN Philadelphia and TCN Philadelphia subscribers as part of an agreement between NBC Sports Regional Networks and Major League Baseball Advanced Media that was announced today.

Fans of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants can also stream their team's games on their local CSN websites.

The addition of Major League Baseball games completes a local streaming portfolio for NBC's Regional Sports Networks. The RSNs began streaming local NBA games in 2014 and added local NHL games this season. Authenticated subscribers have the ability to access their team's games when traveling outside of their region, provided they are within the U.S.

In addition to being able to watch a live stream of all Phillies game action, authenticated CSN subscribers will be able to watch Pregame Live and Postgame Live before and after the game.

Authenticated CSN subscribers wishing to stream their local MLB, NBA or NHL team on their desktop, mobile device, tablet or connected TV must first download the NBC Sports app. It is powered by Playmaker Media and available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.