Dallas Sucks - Futbol Edition

Dallas Sucks - Futbol Edition

I don’t know about you, but I am
absolutely sick and tired of all the closet Dallas cock-A-roach fans calling
local sports talk radio yammering on and on about Jeff Cunningham, Heath
Pearce, and Dax McCarty. I’ve had enough of walking down Broad Street and having
to see Dallas jerseys with Ferreira emblazoned on the back. Even Patton Oswalt
agrees that Dallas sucks.

Ok, that may not yet be the case
with our respective soccer teams, but I’d feel that way if it was. Our civic
hatred for all things Dallas moves to the futbol pitch late this afternoon as
FC Dallas comes to the Linc to face the Union (4PM/Live Well HD/Telefutura).
This is the Union’s first home game since the home opener on April 10th,
which was highlighted by Sebastien LeToux’s hat trick in a 3-2 win over D.C.

Since we last saw our local XI on
home turf they’ve dropped five consecutive games. Some of those losses have
been competitive, others not so much (giving up three goals in consecutive
games the last two weeks to LA and Real Salt Lake).

Not coincidentally the recent spell
of bad form has come about since LeToux was injured in the US Open Cup loss at
New York. In his absence they’ve had trouble generating and finishing chances.
The chemistry between Fred, Alejandro Moreno, and LeToux has been missed. The good
news is that LeToux is expected to play this afternoon. They’ll also have
Stefani Miglioranzi back from his red card suspension. Beyond that I think it
is safe to say that Peter Nowak will trot out his default starting lineup
(Seitz, Harvey, Orozco, Califf, Arrieta, Torres, Miglioranzi, Jacobson, Fred,
Moreno, and the listed as probable LeToux).

Dallas comes into the game having
more often than not kissed their sister (2-1-4), which I suppose should not be
surprising considering they’re from Dallas. However, they’ve also been stingy
recently – recording consecutive clean sheets. They feature Dax McCarty, who
despite looking like a brat from an 80’s movie, is one of my favorite players
developed by the US Soccer youth program. He’s played on the USMNT alongside
Heath Pearce, who is helps anchor the Dallas defense. Be wary of Pearce getting
forward and whipping crosses into the box. His service has been excellent in
recent call-ups to the USMNT. Also, David Ferreira should present a challenge
for Jacobson and Miglioranzi in the center of the pitch.

I think consecutive west coast
trips took their toll on the Union. Returning to Philly and actually playing a
home game should energize the team. If LeToux does make it back I think he
provides the spark they’ve been missing. Oh, I almost forgot to include the “Union
player most like to be shown a red card” feature. So, here you go….

This week’s player most likely to see red: Cristian Arrieta, who
was atrocious last week.

Final Score Prediction: Union get back on the good side 2-0

Ex-Penn State TE Brent Wilkerson gets probation for indecent assault

USA Today Images

Ex-Penn State TE Brent Wilkerson gets probation for indecent assault

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — A former Penn State football player will serve five years' probation and register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to indecent assault.

Twenty-two-year-old Brent Wilkerson was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty in connection with a February outing to several bars with a young woman and others.

Police say Wilkerson was drunk but the woman was sober when he insisted on making sure she got home safe.

The woman tells police Wilkerson pushed her upstairs to her bedroom where he fell asleep. The woman says she went to bed later and woke up to find Wilkerson kissing and fondling her and fondling himself. He later apologized in a text message.

Wilkerson was kicked off the team in March. Court records say he lives in Clinton, Maryland.

Union-Toronto FC 5 things: Embracing the playoff underdog role

Union-Toronto FC 5 things: Embracing the playoff underdog role

Union vs. Toronto FC
7:30 p.m. on ESPN2

Riding a seven-game winless run entering their first playoff match since 2011, the No. 6 Union (11-14-9) will attempt to hit the reset button and unseat the third-ranked and heavily favored Toronto FC (14-9-11) on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., ESPN2) at BMO Field.

Here are five things to know:

1. Playing underdog
The struggling Union are happily accepting the role as underdogs against MLS Cup-hungry Toronto FC.

"It's a difficult task but it’s not impossible,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. "Not many people are giving us a chance. We've been a good team when we're considered the underdog and my guys have responded well in that situation. This is no different."

To fully embrace that underdog role, and in an attempt to wash away the stink of how they ended the regular season, the Union are treating Wednesday as a hard reset. For them, the playoffs will be a fresh chance to prove themselves.

“It’s a new season now,” said Union center back Ken Tribbett, who helped his club draw Toronto FC at BMO Field on Sept. 24. “In the playoffs, anything can happen. We go up to Toronto and it’ll be a good test. We have to stay sharp for 90 minutes and hopefully we can come back here with a win.”

And there is a reason to be slightly optimistic about the Union’s chance. Despite a 1-0-1 record against the Canadian side this season, the Union, who lost 3-1 in the first match, played much better on Sept. 24 at BMO Field. They clogged the midfield and ground the Sebastian Giovinco-less club into a 1-1 draw.

“It’s encouraging that we have gone there recently and played well,” Curtin said. “I think we have a group that has a belief, and one that is pissed a bit about how things have ended. They are motivated.”

2. Leaning on experience
While the 2016 Union will ultimately be known for their reliance on youth — a group that included Keegan Rosenberry, who has played every minute this season, Fabian Herbers, Josh Yaro and Ken Tribbett — it’s the veterans that will lead them on Wednesday.

“This is a pressure game for everybody,” Curtin said. “We have a good balance of guys who have played in big spots, like (Chris) Pontius, Tranquillo (Barnetta), (Alejandro) Bedoya. (C.J.) Sapong has played in big games, you can go through the list.”

Yet despite Curtin’s need for his veterans to lead, his reliance on youth means the younger players need to be reliable. The manager admitted that pressure can change how people play, and he is making sure the Union youth movement remains steady on Wednesday.

“We have young guys, there’s no question about it,” Curtin said. “These guys will play in their first playoff game and a lot of the guys on our roster have never been in a playoff game. You hope they rise to the occasion and I’m confident they will.”

3. Pressure on Toronto
Making their second-ever postseason appearance, high-priced Toronto FC has its sights set on bigger things than the Union in the play-in playoff round. That’s why Curtin believes the pressure is squarely on his opposition.

“I’d say the pressure is on them, they are the home team,” the manager said. “My guys should be loose, they have nothing to lose. It’s fair to say, they are the home team and they want to make a deep playoff run. We want to make some noise.”

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney knows his team will be excited, so he’s trying to instill a high intensity but controlled start for his club.

“We expect a little of the unexpected at the start,” he said. “The game settles down eventually, but at the start, there’s a lot of emotion into it and you want to play with the right kind of caution but the right kind of intensity to put the opposing team on their back foot.

“The guys are ready to go, ready to go after Philadelphia.”

4. Keep an eye on
Jozy Altidore: It would be easy to go with Giovinco here, but Altidore has a recent history of crushing the Union. He has two goals in his last three games against the Union and buried 10 in 23 games this season.

“Jozy is a guy who can stretch the field and is dangerous,” Curtin said. “He’s not a guy you can shut down, it’s not possible. He’ll have his moments, you just have to make those looks as predictable for (goalkeeper Andre Blake) as you can. You hope he’s a little off on the night.”

Tranquillo Barnetta: Without added inspiration, the Union offensive catalyst has been one of the club’s best players all season. On Wednesday, Curtin expects a little extra from Barnetta, who is not returning to the Union in 2017.

“I’ve talked a ton about how special he is, he’s been a great attribute for the Union and a guy we want to prolong the season for,” Curtin said. “He’s played in the big spots, the big games and there’s something extra there for him.” 

5. This and that
• On the injury front, Union center back Yaro sprained his MCL while returning from a concussion. “It’s a two-week injury,” Curtin said, “so it will be unfortunate he won’t be part of the Toronto game.”

Warren Creavalle is also fighting injury. The defensive midfielder left Sunday’s match with a rib injury but could be available for Wednesday. “It’s painful for him,” Curtin said. “He’s a tough kid and he wants to be a part of this game.”

• The Union and Toronto FC are deadlocked all time, with a 6-6-5 record against each other. 

• The Union are 2-4-3 at BMO Field.

• Both clubs enter Wednesday limping. Since August 27 (the Union’s last win), Toronto FC is 2-1-4, while the Union are 0-5-2.