Soccer Night in Chester as Union Open PPL Park

Soccer Night in Chester as Union Open PPL Park

The Union welcome the Seattle Sounders this evening (5PM/ESPN2) for the first ever game at brand spanking new PPL Park. After playing their first two home dates at the Linc the Union finally move into their new home along the Chester waterfront. All the momentum the Union have built over the opening few months of the season culminates this evening as the Union take on a Sounders team which has fallen on tough times since topping our local XI 2-0 in the Union's first ever game back in March,

Last we saw the Union play a league match prior to the World Cup break they dropped an ugly one 2-0 at Kansas City. Since then they played a friendly against affiliate club Reading United AC, which the Union won 2-0. Hopefully head coach Peter Nowak has spent the break hammering home the importance of keeping eleven men on the field and avoiding the types of defensive breakdowns which have undercut otherwise solid performances thus far.

Nowak has been mixing and matching his lineups over the last few matches. Early season revelation Roger Torres has seen his minutes go down significantly as Nowak has introduced Shea Salinas and Kyle Nakazawa into the midfield. Also, the emergence number one overall pick Danny Mwanga has relegated youngster Jack McInerney to the bench.

Much like how the success of the USMNT hinged on the performance of three or four key contributors (Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and Tim Howard), the Union rely on the creativity and production of Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno, and Fred. When those three are clicking the Union play well.

The Union are going to need to keep tight tabs on the speedy Steve Zakuani, who gave the Union back four fits the last time these two teams played. Freddy Montero also wreaked havoc against the Union in March. The task of containing these two will be made all the more difficult as Michael Orozco will miss the game due to suspension for the red card he picked up against Kansas City. In Freddie Ljundberg and Kasey Keller the Sounders also feature two players with vast international experience.

This match presents a great opportunity for the Union to gauge just how much progress they've made since that opening night loss in Seattle. After notching a win and a tie in their two games at the Linc the Union hope to keep their home record unblemished. Regardless, it's a historic night for soccer in the Delaware Valley.

Union Player Most Likely to See Red: Cristian Arrieta, who will have to deal with Zakuani all night.

Final Score Prediction: The Union win it 2-1 as they feed off the energy of the fans in the first ever game at PPL Park

Photo: Getty Images

Malcolm Jenkins is prepared for both a zombie apocalypse or Donald Trump as president

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Malcolm Jenkins is prepared for both a zombie apocalypse or Donald Trump as president

A zombie apocalypse or Donald Trump becoming the President of the United States of America are both nightmare scenarios for many people. But Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is prepared in the case of either.

At least that's what he says.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a bye this week, so Jenkins found the time to post the below video to Twitter, teaching us a little bit about his quirks.

"Something you might not know about me is that I'm a half-hearted doomsday prepper. For the last two or three years I've been silently preparing myself for a zombie apocalypse... or Donald Trump becoming President, whichever comes first. Communications, food, protection, everything, I've been stockpiling. I took a zombie survival course a couple of years ago," Jenkins said.

"Hopefully I won't have to use my skills."

 

Tonight's lineup: Tommy Joseph's last start of the year?

Tonight's lineup: Tommy Joseph's last start of the year?

Tommy Joseph, who has been missing from the lineup lately, starts at first base and bats fourth tonight.

Joseph will most likely be making his final start of the season with Ryan Howard expected to start the final games of the season. Joseph is batting just .235 against the Braves this season, but does have two home runs. The rookie first baseman has 21 home runs and 15 doubles in 104 games during his first season in the majors. 

Howard will be playing what are almost definitely his final games in a Phillies uniform this weekend vs. the Mets.

Maikel Franco bats fifth and plays third base. Franco, who has been hot lately, has three home runs and is batting .320 over his last 25 at-bats. He will look to continue his success against the Braves, as five of his 25 home runs this season have come against them.

Cameron Rupp gets a day off behind the plate and will be replaced by veteran catcher A.J. Ellis. Ellis has exceeded expectations in a short sample since coming over in the Carlos Ruiz trade last month. Ellis is 8 for 28 with a home run and nine RBIs in 10 games with the Phils. He's batting .285, which is astronomically better than his paltry .194 mark with the Dodgers. 

Part of the reason for Ellis' start could be his history against Braves starter Josh Collmenter. He is 4 for 11 with two home runs and four walks against the former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher.

Here is tonight's lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Maikel Franco, 3B
6. Cody Asche, LF
7. A.J. Ellis, C
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P

And for the Braves:

1. Mallex Smith, CF
2. Dansby Swanson, SS
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Matt Kemp, LF
5. Nick Markakis, RF
6. Anthony Recker, C
7. Jace Peterson, 2B
8. Rio Ruiz, 3B
9. Josh Collmenter, P