Union Head West Looking to Go to the Top of the Eastern Conference Table

Union Head West Looking to Go to the Top of the Eastern Conference Table

The Major League Soccer schedule makers did Peter Nowak's team no favors when they decided to send the Union cross country for a Sunday night game on the heels of a midweek match at home against D.C. United. Fresh off of their 3-2 win over D.C. on Thursday, the Union visit the Home Depot Center where they'll face Chivas USA (8PM/The Comcast Network).

These two teams last met June 25th, when the Union topped Chivas USA 3-2 at PPL Park. Each team has made a significant change to its crop of fowards since that late June game in Chester. Carlos Ruiz, who scored the second Union goal that day, is no longer with the team. Juan Pablo Angel, who was a member of the L.A. Galaxy that day, now wears the red and white striped Chivas kit.

Angel has rediscovered his form since joining the Goats. He's coming off of consecutive two-goal games. He's scored six goals in six games since being traded to Chivas in mid-August. Angel is not the only goal scorer riding a recent hot streak into this game.

Sebastien Le Toux has been nothing short of ridiculous over the last month and half, scoring nine goals over his last eight games - including two goals on Thursday against D.C. Le Toux's confidence is apparent with every touch of the ball. Combine that confidence with his off the charts work rate and you've got one of the more dangerous players in MLS right now.

Speaking of in-form players, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the recent play of Michael Farfan. Whether it's lofting long balls over the opposing back line, or burying game-winning shots from outside the box, Farfan has been fantastic. True, he did a poor job of marking United's Dwayne De Rosario on a corner kick, but Michael Farfan brings a ton to the table. He's responsible defensively, and is creative going forward.

Including tonight, the Union only have four games left in the regular season. With a win tonight the Union can take sole possession of first place in the East.

Lineup I'd Like to See Tonight: Zac MacMath, Gabriel Farfan, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams, Brian Carroll, Amobi Okugo, Roger Torres, Michael Farfan Sebastien Le Toux, Veljko Paunovic.

Final Score Prediction: This is an incredibly difficult spot for the Union. A cross-country flight following a mid-week game? The Union are just 3-6-5 on the road this season. Three points would be nice, but I see this one ending 2-2.

The Toni Stahl Memorial Player Most Likely to See Red: They've been so well behaved recently. I am not sure where to go with this one. I'll say MacMath pulls down Angel on a clear goal scoring opportunity.

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.