Union Head West Again, Face Champs

Union Head West Again, Face Champs

The Union (1-4) travel to Utah to face defending MLS Cup
Champions Real Salt Lake (2-3-1) (4PM/6ABC). This is the second cross country
trip in as many weeks for the Union, who were completely outclassed last week
in a 3-1 loss to the Galaxy in Los Angeles. Once again the Union will be
without the services of a starter, as midfielder Stefani Miglioranizi will
serve a one game suspension for his careless straight red card against LA last
week.

Goalkeeper Chris Seitz will be facing his former team for
the first time. Prior to joining the Union he served as the back-up to RSL’s
MLS playoff hero Nick Rimando. It remains unclear whether Sebastien Le Toux
will return to the lineup following the left knee injury he suffered a couple
of weeks ago in the US Open Cup loss to New York. It was obvious just how much
they missed Le Toux against LA. They sorely missed his tireless running and
finishing ability. If Le Toux’s unable to go will young Jack McInerney, fresh
off scoring his first MLS goal last week, get the starting nod?

RSL features a handful of recognizable players. Midfielder
Kyle Beckerman is probably their most complete player. Beckerman is their
string-puller in the middle of the field. He teams up in the central midfield
with Javier Morales, who leads RSL in goals scored with three. Up top RSL
“features” Robbie Findley, who did nothing with the extended chance USMNT Bob
Bradley gave him to impress as a potential replacement for Charlie Davies.
Simply put, Findley was invisible in his time with the USMNT. Apparently his
lack of form has continued as he has yet to find the back of the net for his
club side.

What should you look for from Peter Nowak’s boys? Well, a
simple goal (again) is to finish the game with eleven men on the field.
However, until they show they can stay away from the booking s on a consistent
basis I am rolling out a new feature in these game previews. I am going to
choose one player each game who I think is going to be sent off.

This week’s player
most likely to see red: Andrew Jacobson. Congrats, Andrew.

What else will I be looking for? Well, if Le Toux is unable
to go I want to see if his replacement is able to establish something
resembling the chemistry he has with Alejandro Moreno and Fred. Those three
guys combine incredibly well and always seem to have a sense as to what the
others are going to do in terms of the runs they’ll make, or balls they’re
likely to play. Also, who steps in and plays in place of Miglioranzi? I’d like
to see Kyle Nakazawa get some playing time. He was one of the lone bright spots
against LA. More likely though we’ll see a midfield of Fred, Jacobson, Shea
Salinas, and Roger Torres. The back four should remain unchanged with Jordan
Harvey, Danny Califf, Michael Orozco, and Cristian Arrieta.

My goals for the game? Keep eleven men on the field, do a
better job defending corners, let Torres play more than 50 minutes, and
continue to see what you can get out of Jack Mac.

Final Score
Predcition: 2-1 RSL

Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

usa-temple-uconn-jalen-adams.jpg
USA Today Images

Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

BOX SCORE

Temple’s Sunday tilt with UConn at the Liacouras Center was the embodiment of a young team trying to find its way.

The Owls had a double-digit lead against one of the hottest teams in the nation, thanks in part to their young guys producing in pivotal moments in the game.

However, the inability to finish cost Temple again, as the Owls allowed Jalen Adams to convert a reverse layup with 2.9 seconds remaining in a 64-63 loss to the Huskies (see Instant Replay).

“It’s hard,” Temple Head Coach Fran Dunphy said after the loss. “We have two of these now. We have Tulsa (70-68 on Jan. 14) and Connecticut at the buzzer at home. There’s not a lot to say.

“If we all make one better decision, including me, whether it’s a defensive set, a substitution or whatever. They hold onto the ball, they get a rebound, they make a shot, whatever it happens to be. We all make one better decision and we’re coming away with two great wins in Tulsa and UConn and not sitting here after two tough losses.”

After UConn hit a three to tie the game at 60, Temple freshman Quinton Rose made a huge three-pointer of his own to put the Owls back up 63-60 with 2:32 left in the game.

With Temple (14-14, 5-10 AAC) still clinging to a three-point lead, sophomore Shizz Alston, Jr. came up with a huge offensive rebound, only to turn it over with 1:08 left on the clock. Adams came up with the steal and raced up the court, but was fouled by Rose while attempting a dunk.

Following Adams’ two makes at the free-throw line, Temple’s lead was trimmed to just 63-62. On the ensuing possession, senior Daniel Dingle was fouled by UConn guard Rodney Purvis.

Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one set at the line, which set the stage for Adams’ acrobatic shot to give the Huskies (14-12, 9-5 AAC) their seventh win in the last eight games.

“We knew they were going to come off that high ball screen with Adams,” Dunphy said. “We needed to sit down and keep him in front of us. One guy could have helped a little bit more than he did. It would have been a drive and kick for an open jumper, but it would have been better than [a layup]. The other guy just needs to sit down on that play and keep Adams in front of him, but we knew that ball screen was coming.”

“I honestly thought the ball was going to Purvis because he made the last three shots, so I did my best to deny him,” Dingle said. “[Adams] did a fantastic move.”

Things had been going Temple’s way for a majority of the night. The Owls led for the vast majority of game time thanks in part to 5 of 9 shooting from three in the first half, which gave them a 35-29 halftime lead. The lead increased to 56-46 with 8:29 left in the contest.

Dingle’s all-around play and leadership helped push Temple ahead. Freshmen Damien Moore and Alani Moore II combined for 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting.

However, the Owls went cold late. Temple made only 2 of 12 three-point shots in the second half.

UConn's day went in the opposite direction as the Huskies shot a blistering 54.2 percent in the second half and 62.5 percent from downtown. Purvis poured in 13 of his game-high 18 after intermission.

“The younger guys are doing very well,” said Dingle, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. “We’re going to learn how to win. They’re doing a great job. It just so happens that we let one get away again.”

The Owls have made close defeats a habit. Sunday marked their fifth loss this season by five points or less.

These type of losses are the reason why Temple is in the eighth spot in the American Athletic Conference. With three regular-season games left and the AAC conference tournament quickly approaching, this Temple team, which holds victories over No. 9 West Virginia and No. 17 Florida State, will need to start showing the same promise it had earlier in the season to keep alive any dreams of dancing in the NCAA Tournament.

“I definitely talk to the guys about having that sense of urgency,” Dingle said. “For me, time is running out, so that’s the sense of urgency I’ve got. We’ve got to get there as a whole. I say that in the huddle, ‘We’ve got to get there.’ I remember being a freshman to now I’m in my fifth year. Time is not waiting, so every game we’ve got to go out there and play like it’s our last.

“The sense of urgency I think is all right but it has to increase. In order for us to get an opportunity to play in the NCAA [Tournament] – that’s something I want to do and I know the team wants bad for us as a whole and definitely for the seniors. Coach talks about the sense of urgency has to pick up.”

Future Eagle (?) Latavius Murray posts workout with Carson Wentz on Instagram

Future Eagle (?) Latavius Murray posts workout with Carson Wentz on Instagram

Could the Eagles be interested in signing another top free agent running back named Murray?

No, not that guy. 

Oakland/Los Angeles/Las Vegas Raiders running back Latavius Murray.

Murray posted a picture on Instagram of the soon-to-be free agent working out with Carson Wentz with the caption "im just here to help."

"im just here to help"

A post shared by Latavius Murray (@lataviusmurray) on

It's no surprise the Eagles can stand to upgrade their running back corps this offseason — as several mock drafts have suggested. Could Murray be the answer?