Union v. United - Who U Got?

Union v. United - Who U Got?

To say that things are tight in the MLS Eastern Conference would be an understatement. Only six points separate first place Kansas City and sixth place D.C. United. The Union, who sit in fourth place in the conference, four points off the top of the table, host D.C. United tonight at PPL Park (8PM/ESPN2) in a game with major playoff implications.

Both teams are coming off of impressive results. The Union picked up a crucial road point in Kansas City on Friday. D.C. smoked Real Salt Lake 4-1 at home. United is 2-2-1 over its last five, while the Union are 1-1-3 over that same stretch. The Union only have four games left after tonight. They need to start picking up three points at a time if they hope to make the playoffs.

Freddy Adu, who missed the Kansas City game due to an ankle injury, should hopefully be fit enough to face his former team for the first time. Adu joined D.C. as a 14 year old, the first overall pick in the 2004 MLS Super Draft.

United is now coached by Adu's former teammate, local boy Ben Olsen, who played his club ball for local powerhouse FC Delco.

The game will feature two of the hottest players in MLS. Sebastien Le Toux has scored seven goals in his last seven games. United's Dwayne De Rosario, who came to D.C. in a trade from New York, is coming off of a hat trick against Real Salt Lake. He's played so well that he's garnering MLS MVP consideration despite not joining United until mid-season.

In addition to Le Toux and De Rosario the game will showcase two of the league's best young playmaking midfielders. Both Roger Torres and Andy Najar possess the unique ability to pick out and complete passes in tight spaces and tough angles. They bring a ton of creativity to the game.

The Union will again be without Faryd Mondragon, who continues to recover from a broken finger. Sheannon Williams will also likely be out again (UPDATE: Williams is starting). Michael Farfan filled in for Williams in Kansas City and was responsible for setting up Le Toux's tying goal.

Lineup I'd Like to See Tonight: Zac MacMath, Michael Farfan, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabe Farfan, Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Roger Torres, Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga.

Final Score Prediction: The Union have finally gotten back to what made them successful in the early going - defense. They need to keep things locked down in the back in support of the young MacMath. The home crowd pushes the Union to a 2-1 win.

The Toni Stahl Memorial Player Most Likely to See Red: Assuming he gets the starting nod, I'll go with Okugo. He'll be matched up with D-Ro, which could be a nightmare.

Photo from @UWISHUNU

Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers some day

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Forget Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau wants to play for Flyers some day

Forget about Cherry Hill's Bobby Ryan. (Forget about Millville too — sorry, Mike Trout.)

Another South Jersey star athlete has his eyes on playing for a Philadelphia franchise some day.

Yes, we're talking about Carneys Point, New Jersey's very own, Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames.

On a radio hit Friday with 94WIP's "Morning Show," Gaudreau expressed his interest in one day putting on the orange and black.

“It would be sweet to play [in Philadelphia] some day,” Gaudreau said. “You never know in sports, but it’s a lot of support back here in South Jersey and the Philly area.

“I’ve got a ton of family here, all my friends. All my friends come back here, all my good friends and kids that I’ve played with my whole life are from South Jersey.”

The problem is, "Johnny Hockey" has five years left on his six-year, $40.5 million contract extension he signed with Calgary signed before last season. 

In the final year of his contract, 2021-22, Gaudreau has a modified no-trade clause … and yep, the Flyers are reportedly on that list too.

Gaudreau, who turns 24 on Aug. 13, scored 18 goals and 61 points in 72 games last season with the Flames. The 5-foot-9, 157-pound Gaudreau has 73 goals and 204 points in 232 career games in Calgary.

The former Hobey Baker Award winner will be turning 29 when he's able to reach unrestricted free agency.

Could he be what Jeff Carter was to the Kings in 2012 to the Flyers in 2022?

Only time will tell.

H/t to Sportsnet.

MLB Notes: Mariners send top prospect Tyler O'Neill to Cardinals

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MLB Notes: Mariners send top prospect Tyler O'Neill to Cardinals

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners have acquired young left-hander Marco Gonzales from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for top outfield prospect Tyler O'Neill.

The clubs pulled off the surprising deal Friday, the second move to add pitching help in as many days for the Mariners. Seattle acquired veteran reliever David Phelps from Miami on Thursday.

This time, Seattle added a young starter who will have a number of seasons of club control but paid a hefty price.

O'Neill was considered one of the top prospects in Seattle's farm system and had been on a tear of late at Triple-A Tacoma. The 22-year-old O'Neill had 19 home runs in 93 games at Triple-A.

Gonzales, 25, is still working his way back from missing all the 2016 season due to elbow surgery. He pitched in one major league game this season for the Cardinals.

Cubs: 3B Bryant sidelined by sprained finger
CHICAGO -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is out of the starting lineup after he sprained his left little finger on a headfirst slide.

Bryant got hurt in the first inning of Chicago's 8-2 victory at Atlanta on Wednesday. X-rays were negative, and he is considered day to day.

The 25-year-old Bryant is hitting .275 with 19 homers and 40 RBIs in 88 games. He won the NL MVP award last year, helping the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908.

Javier Baez got the start at third for Chicago's series opener against St. Louis on Friday at Wrigley Field.

Athletics: Carter signed to minor league deal, Montas, Olson promoted
NEW YORK -- The Oakland Athletics have signed free agent slugger Chris Carter to a minor league deal and promoted right-hander Frankie Montas and first baseman/outfielder Matt Olson to the majors.

The A's made the moves before playing the New York Mets on Friday night.

Carter was recently cut by the New York Yankees after hitting .201 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs. He tied for the NL lead with 41 homers for Milwaukee last year but struggled as a first baseman and designated hitter for the Yankees.

Carter was assigned to Triple-A Nashville. He played for Oakland in 2010-12 and hit 19 home runs.

Montas was 1-1 with a 6.91 ERA in 21 relief appearances for Oakland before being sent down on June 11.

Olson is joining Oakland for the fifth time this season. He hit .184 with four homers and nine RBIs in his previous four stints.

Cardinals: OF Grichuk, LHP Duke activated from DL
CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Cardinals have activated outfielder Randal Grichuk and reliever Zach Duke from the disabled list and recalled catching prospect Carson Kelly from Triple-A Memphis.

St. Louis also acquired minor league outfielder Tyler O'Neill in a trade with Seattle for left-hander Marco Gonzales, and designated catcher Eric Fryer for assignment before Friday's game against the Chicago Cubs. Right-hander Sam Tuivailala and outfielder Magneuris Sierra were optioned to the minors after Thursday's 3-2 loss to the New York Mets.

Grichuk was sidelined by a lower back injury. He made a rehab appearance with Double-A Springfield on Wednesday and went 1 for 4 with a three-run homer.

The 34-year-old Duke is coming back from Tommy John surgery last October. He went 2-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 81 games last season for St. Louis and the Chicago White Sox.