Major League Soccer unveiled its 2012 regular season schedule on Thursday. The Union, who qualified for the playoffs in just its second season, open the season on the road in Portland in a nationally televised game (ESPN2) on March 12th.
The home opener is March 18th against the Colorado Rapids, another nationally televised game, this time on the newly launched NBC Sports. In all, 14 of the Union's 34 games will be broadcast on national television.
Nine of the 14 games to be televised nationally are home games. The network partners, wanting to broadcast games in sold out, raucous venues clearly recognized the atmosphere created by Union fans at PPL Park.
Full Schedule After the Jump...
With Montreal entering the league MLS has switched to an unbalanced schedule. The Union will no longer play each MLS team home and away. Instead, an emphasis has been placed on cultivating regional rivalries. With that in mind, the Union will face New York Red Bulls and D.C. United three times each.
Another one of the rationales behind the unbalanced schedule was to reduce travel for the teams. As a result, the Union will not play away games at Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Colorado or San Jose. On the flip side, the PPL faithful will miss out on visits by LA, Portland, Seattle and Dallas.
If you are looking to book a Union road trip, you could do a whole lot worse than Montreal on August 4th. Beyond that, heading to Seattle on May 5th would be a great trip. The environment at Sounders games is bonkers. If you're looking for something a bit closer to home, then Toronto on May 26th would be a solid choice.
T-minus 9-weeks until the season opener.
What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?
In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."
It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.
And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.
"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?
The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.
Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.
If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.
"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."
That makes one of us.
The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.
Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.
He later made the announcement on Twitter.
Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.
Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.
"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."
Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.