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Why Bother with the Preseason...NFC West & South Previews

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Doc & Brett discuss the lack of action in the NFL Preseason.  Joint practices have taken over as the norm...so what's the point of games?  

  • What to make of Jalen Hurts "performance" in joint practices against the Patriots & Jets
  • NFL News and Notes
  • CFB News and Notes
  • NFC West and NFC South Previews 

Coming to SportzWire Radio on September 3! 

 

 

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About The Goal Line Stand:  All Football! All the Time!

Mike, an Eagles fan, & Brett, a Giants fan, discuss the latest news & notes from the world of football! Analysis, interviews, & more! 

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Week 22 Preview: Union vs. DC United

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By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer

It’ll be a rivalry night for the Union as they travel down to the U.S. capital to take on DC United. After a draw against CF Montreal, salvaged by a Quinn Sullivan worldie, the Union will be looking for a more convincing result in their quest for a playoff spot.

The biggest problem in the Montreal game, and one that has plagued the Union this entire season, is the decision making in the final third. Far too many times have fans been able to say that the Union would’ve won had they been better about capitalizing on dangerous scoring opportunities. Jim Curtin couldn’t agree more.

“When we played Montreal that approaches a game where they want it to be slow, we still need to improve on creating chances in those games where a team sits deeper and we have to break down a block,” Curtin stated. “We have to find little ways to break teams down, but we aren’t going to all of a sudden change who we are and put 65 passes together to break a team down. We can sure up the decision making on when to shoot or when to pass. Maybe when to dribble a little more and create a better chance. We are working on all those little things.”

There will also have to be immense strategizing when it comes to putting together a lineup against D.C., seeing as the Union have a rescheduled match against the league-leading New England Revolution on September 3, which falls in the middle of an international break.

“We will be proactive to get guys minutes because you’d like to have a full 90 minutes before playing a game against a great team like New England.” Curtin said. “We will make sure that everyone is fit, but they have that 90 minutes under their belt last time against New England, but the replacement for game fitness is hard to find. Luckily we have a week to build up ahead of that game on Friday.”

This could mean that some young players will get solid looks against D.C., and that Curtin will continue experimenting with different pairings in the attack in order to maximize fitness against New England. If the team really has been committed to rectifying their offensive downfalls against Montreal, these experimental combinations could pay off against D.C.

The Union know how to push D.C.’s buttons. As their last two outings against Washington have proved, they’re comfortable maneuvering the ball out of their own half, and into Washington’s 18-yard box. The fact that Kai Wagner essentially owns the left side of every field in MLS, alongside the defensive prowess of Jose Martinez and the effortless skill in transition from Alejandro Bedoya, means that Philadelphia will enjoy most of the possession in this game. Without key figures like goalkeeper Bill Hamid, centre-back Donovan Pines, winger Paul Arriola, and forward Nigel Robertha, D.C. will struggle to break down a Union side that is all too comfortable playing together in this particular lineup.

Predicted Lineup: Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Alvas Powell, Jose Martinez, Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya, Daniel Gazdag, Kacper Przybyłko, Sergio Santos

  • Kacper Przybylko is expected to make his return to the starting lineup, which will look very similar to the one against Montreal. Although it’s likely that Curtin will be making some early second half substitutions in the interest of preserving fitness, the goal for the Union has been to start off strong. As long as they can go into halftime leading, they can hold on to three points.

Score Prediction: No MLS game is easy, but the Union never seem to have much trouble handling DC United. This lineup knows each other like the backs of their hands, and with Washington being without key starters in every area of their lineup, it’ll be even more of a cakewalk for this Union side. It shouldn’t be too much to ask to pull together a nice 2-0 win to propel them to second in the table.


Phillies Activate Eflin, Alvarado, as Hoskins Returns to the IL

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When the Phillies activated Rhys Hoskins from the injured list on Sunday they got an offensive boost.  In his two games back with the Phillies, Hoskins hit three home runs.  But defense was a challenge for Hoskins, and it was clear he could not play every day.

So on Thursday the Phillies announced they were placing Hoskins back on the 10-day injured list.

The Phillies added back to the active roster starter Zach Eflin, who will take the mound for the Phillies against the Diamondbacks Thursday evening, and lefty reliever Jose Alvarado.

The Phillies also designated for assignment the contract of pitcher Chase Anderson.  The Phillies signed Anderson to a one-year, $3 million deal this past offseason to add starting pitcher depth.  The Phillies did not get much for their investment; Anderson went 2-4 with a 6.75 earned run average.

Whether the Phillies are able to play Hoskins the rest of the stretch remains unclear.  But the Phillies will surely miss their first baseman.

UPDATE: Hoskins is done for the season, reports Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.


Flyers Sign Sean Couturier to 8-Year Extension

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Following a busy offseason to this point, the Flyers have just 10 players under contract beyond the 2021-22 season. One of the players on an expiring contract has a new deal in place though, and it is arguably the most important piece they had to sign ahead of the following season.

The Flyers have signed Sean Couturier to an eight-year contract extension worth $62 million, an average annual value of $7.75 million. The contract will take effect starting with the 2022-23 season.

Continue reading "Flyers Sign Sean Couturier to 8-Year Extension" »


Flyers Sign F Derick Brassard to 1-Year Deal

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Just when you thought Chuck Fletcher may be done with his offseason, the Flyers go out and make another addition.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Flyers announced that they had signed free-agent forward Derick Brassard to a one-year deal worth $825,000.

Continue reading "Flyers Sign F Derick Brassard to 1-Year Deal" »


Wentz's Return is HUGE for the Birds (Draft)! NFL Preseason Week 2 Recap & AFC East Preview

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Doc & Brett breakdown week 2 of the NFL Preseason and preview the AFC East

  • Carson Wentz is back for the Colts and that's HUGE for the Eagles
  • Trey Lance impressing in the Bay Area
  • News and notes from around the league
  • AFC East Preview

Coming to SportzWire Radio on September 3

 

Supported by:  Michael's Glass Co, serving the Philadelphia tri-state area since 1978! | DePaul's Table, a Modern Italian Steakhouse in the heart of Ardmore! Serving dinner daily from 5 PM - 9:30 PM, Happy Hour 4:30 - 6:30 Monday through Friday

About The Goal Line Stand:  All Football! All the Time!

Mike, an Eagles fan, & Brett, a Giants fan, discuss the latest news & notes from the world of football! Analysis, interviews, & more! 

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Freddy Galvis, Sam Coonrod Return to Phillies

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The Phillies traded for their former infielder Freddy Galvis way back on July 30.  More than three weeks later, the Phillies will finally see the benefit on their active roster.  Tuesday afternoon, the Phillies announced that they have activated both Galvis and reliever Sam Coonrod from the 10-day injured list.

To make room on the active roster, the Phillies made two corresponding moves.  Enyel De Los Santos was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  Jorge Bonifacio, who made one start in center field for the Phillies, was designated for assignment.  The move gives the Phillies a spot on the 40-man roster, for now; Adam Haseley will soon need to be activated from the COVID-19 injurd list.

Galvis was not in the lineup for the Phillies on Tuesday evening.  Galvis suffered a right quad strain in June as a member of the Balimore Orioles.  Galvis was batting .249 for the Orioles, with nine home runs and 26 runs batted in.

Coonrod was placed on the injured list in June after experimenting with a new slider pitch.  He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in July, but suffered a setback.  Coonrod is 1-2 with a 4.18 earned run average in 27 games with the Phillies in 2021.


Phillies Shake Up Front Office in Player Development Areas

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When Dave Dombrowski took the helm of the Phillies on December 11, 2020, one might have expected some changes.  However, Dombrowski largely left the organization untouched.  That is, until today.

The Phillies announced a series of major changes to the front office staff.  A summary is as follows:

  • Scott Proefrock is out as assistant general manager
  • Brian Minniti is out as assistant general manager
  • Josh Bonifay is out as director of player development

Jorge Velandia, who has served the Phillies in many roles and carries an assistant general manager title, has been tabbed to lead player development, with assistance from Dana Parks, currently assistant director of player development.

Brian Barber remains in his role as director of scouting but will now report directly to Dombrowski.  Sal Agostinelli remains in his role as director of international scouting, but will report to Velandia.

Bonifay had joined the Phillies just in 2019.  So there was a small sample size of his work to this point.  It could be that Dombrowski wishes to put someone in that position he is more familiar with.

Minitti's role as assistant general manager included overseeing player development, a role he had held since 2016.

Proefrock was one of the longer-tenured Phillies executives, joining the Phillies in November 2008 as Ruben Amaro, Jr. was taking over the general manager role from Pat Gillick.


Phillies, NL East: 2021’s New National Predictions

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Many Philadelphia Phillies fans view September depending on recent games. And if the team wins or loses multiple contests, they will either anticipate October baseball, hope for more victories, or express defeatist sentiments; but ups and downs are the stretch-drive norm. Reality can be illusive!                     

 

The Ride Continues:

Despite eight consecutive triumphs, the Phillies aren’t a 90-win franchise. And their recent 4-8 mark doesn’t make them an also-ran either. No, 12-8 is .600 ball, and they played 14-10 (15-10 is .600) through July 30 to force the execs to add at the trading deadline with .583 ball.    

IN OTHER WORDS:

“Losing streaks are funny. If you lose at the beginning, you got off to a bad start. If you lose in the middle of the season, you're in a slump. If you lose at the end, you're choking” - Gene Mauch

In fact, hot or cold streaks have some predictability because good or bad does come to an end. And the other ballgames are .500: win two, lose two. Moreover, everybody has one thing only a few can control: confidence in themselves (players) or their club (fans).      

When regulars have it, they can produce above their talent level during a “time bubble” leading to a string of victories for the active 26. But a couple bad games are the opening for doubts to grow into prolonged slumps or losing streaks for the franchise. Ergo, sunshine or rain.               

For MLB supporters, most “believe” the triumphant times won’t end, and --when they do-- they can have a range of emotions from disappointment to extreme anger. And then they question the organization and the players, who can’t control their own self-doubt. Translation: Only success can eliminate negative thoughts.    

Continue reading "Phillies, NL East: 2021’s New National Predictions" »


Flyers Deal with Sanheim Should Close Offseason

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Over the weekend, the last piece of business for the Flyers this offseason came complete. Maybe.

With five days remaining until a scheduled arbitration date, the last remaining arbitration-eligible player in the league without a contract, the Flyers and defenseman Travis Sanheim reached agreement on a two-year deal with an AAV of $4.675 million on Saturday afternoon.

Continue reading "Flyers Deal with Sanheim Should Close Offseason" »