Union Going Going, Back Back, to Cali Cali

Union Going Going, Back Back, to Cali Cali

The Eastern Conference-leading Union (2-0)
face the LA Galaxy (1-1-1) tonight at the Home Depot Center (10:30PM/The
Comcast Network). The U enter the game with consecutive clean sheet
victories. Meanwhile, LA was throttled by Real Salt Lake, 4-1, last
week.

Galaxy captain Landon Donovan did not play in that game, as he was
away on national team duty. He'll be back in the lineup tonight
alongside David Beckham and Juan Pablo Angel. You'd be hard-pressed to
find a more dangerous group of offensive talent in MLS than the trio of
Donovan, Beckham, and Angel.

The Union will have their hands full if they hope to keep a third straight clean sheet.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena could have the luxury of penciling in two
2010 MLS Best XI players back into his lineup. Goalkeeper Donovan
Ricketts and center back Omar Gonzalez have worked their way back from
injury and may make their first appearances of the 2011 season tonight.

Peter Nowak likely will not make any changes to his lineup. Last week
we saw Nowak start the attacking trio of Carlos Ruiz, Danny Mwanga, and
Sebastien Le Toux. Ruiz and Le Toux combined for the Union's lone goal.
It's important that these three play together and develop some
chemistry.

Last week, the Union attack lacked creativity and play on the wings
early on. That all changed after Whitecaps forward Eric Hassli was sent
off following his second yellow card. Roger Torres came on and
completely changed the dynamic of the game. His quick, darting runs and
creativity provided a much-needed spark off the bench.

With Justin Mapp out again, Nowak may need Torres to reprise that
role tonight. Although I've advocated for Le Toux to play in the hole
behind Ruiz and Mwanga with Mapp out, it might make sense to play him on
the outside. His pace and willingness to go at people would be nice to
have on the flank.

It may be asking too much to have Jordan Harvey and Sheanon Williams
deal with Landon Donovan's play on the flanks and also get forward.
Galaxy midfielder Juninho has struck a couple of goals from distance
already this season. Stefani Miglioranzi and Brian Carroll will be
tasked with shutting down the diminutive Brazilian.

In all likelihood, Faryd Mondragon will see more shots tonight than
he has in the first two games. Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes will have
to be stout along the backline and continue to make the safe simple
play. Defending set pieces will be critical, as Beckham, aka Golden
Balls, still provides lethal service on dead balls.

Final Score Prediction: The Union earn an impressive road point with a 1-1 tie.

The Toni Stahl Memorial Union Player Most Likely To See Red: Sheanon Williams - his aggressive play may come back to haunt him as he tries to deal with Landon Donovan.

Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 78, Providence 68

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Instant Replay: No. 1 Villanova 78, Providence 68

BOX SCORE

Seniors Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins combined for 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and No. 1 Villanova held off Providence, 78-68, in a Big East game at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon.
 
Villanova extended a four-point halftime lead to as much as 20 points before hot-shooting Providence closed to within nine with five minutes left. Villanova then went on a 13-3 run to put the game out of reach.
 
Hart had 25 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Wildcats, and Jenkins added 19 points, four boards and four assists. Both shot over 50 percent.
 
Sophomore Mikal Bridges scored 15 points, matching his Big East career high, and also had three rebounds and three assists, and Jalen Brunson contributed 13 points to go with three rebounds and four assists.
 
Providence stayed in the game by shooting 13 for 26 from three against the No. 3 three-point shooting defense in Division 1.
 
What it means
Villanova improved to 19-1 overall and 7-1 and in first place in the Big East. The Wildcats have won five in a row since losing at Butler on Jan. 4.
 
Providence fell to 13-8 and 3-5 in the conference and 1-6 on the road. The Friars have lost six of eight since an 11-2 start.
 
Villanova is now 47-34 all-time at the Wells Fargo Center but 14-2 in its last 16 games at the South Philly arena.
 
Stat of the day
Providence shot better from three (50 percent) than two (44 percent). The Friars made 13 threes and just nine two-pointers.

Turning point
Providence trailed by just four at halftime at 35-31, but Bridges opened the second half with a steal and fast-break reverse layup and a jumper from the top of the key to start an 8-0 run that gave Villanova a 12-point lead. The Friars never got any close than eight points the rest of the game.
 
By the numbers
• Providence’s 50 percent shooting from three is the highest against ‘Nova since North Carolina shot 65 percent in the national championship game on April 4 in Houston.

• Villanova’s bench scored just two points.

• Providence’s 13 threes are the most by a Big East team against Villanova since Doug McDermott and Creighton had 21 in a 28-point win three years ago this week.

• Rodney Bullock led Providence with 17 points (3 for 5 from three), Jalen Lindsey added 14 (4 for 7 from three) and Isaiah Jackson came off the bench to score 12 (3 for 3 from three).

• Darryl Reynolds' last two double-digit rebound games have both been against Providence.
 
What's next
Villanova travels to Milwaukee for a Tuesday night game against Marquette. The Golden Eagles are 12-6 overall and 3-3 in the Big East with a game later Saturday at Creighton.
 
Villanova has won nine straight games against Marquette, since the Golden Eagles — then ranked No. 17 — came back from 18 points down to win 82-78 at the Wells Fargo Center in January 2012.