May 22, 2013, 7:39 AM EST
I had originally planned something for today about the Union’s 1-0 victory last weekend and HUGE game in Montreal this coming weekend. But that can wait a day or two. Today’s big Major League Soccer news is all about New York — because when are things not about New York? The league announced Tuesday that…
May 15, 2013, 3:45 PM EST
In my season preview, I said this about Zac MacMath: It’s put up or shut up time for MacMath. … MacMath is immensely talented and amazingly athletic, but from where I sit, it’s time for the 21-year-old, former first-round pick to put the team on his back and win a few games on his own…
May 11, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
Much of the fan discussion in pro sports revolves around money. Who makes the most money, who is underpaid, who is overpaid, who has a terrible contract. On WIP the other night, an entire Phillies discussion revolved around how many Phillies players were “outperforming their contract” (just one: Kyle Kendrick) and how many were “overpaid”…
May 10, 2013, 12:59 PM EST
It was beautiful. It inspired gasps. It appeared on highlight shows in Europe, where fans were exposed to the blue and gold of a team called “Philadelphia Union.” It was one goal in a meaningless friendly. And it has somehow earned Michael Farfan a nearly two-year free pass from Union fans. That YouTube video alone…
May 6, 2013, 11:18 AM EST
Adam Morgan seems to be one of the leading candidates the organization may turn to in light of Roy Halladay’s struggles. He’s got Big League stuff, but Morgan has dealt with his own struggles of late as well.
May 4, 2013, 1:58 PM EST
Much of the fan frustration in the Union so far this season — especially without Freddy Adu to kick around anymore — has been directed at midfielder Danny Cruz.
May 1, 2013, 3:43 PM EST
In a story that won’t get much attention on SportsCenter (but should), the Timbers and their fans — the Timbers Army — made an 8-year-old boy’s dream come true on Wednesday.
Apr 26, 2013, 10:40 AM EST
I’ve been playing soccer since I was a little kid, and watching it on TV for more than a decade at this point. But aside from one U.S. National Team game in 2009 at the Linc, I didn’t start watching soccer (not counting high school or college soccer) in person until the Union’s first home game — also at the Linc — in 2010.
After just a few games, I quickly learned how much there is to actually watch when you can see outside the boundaries of the TV screen.
So, on occasion here at The Level, I’ll try to showcase something that the average fan might not have noticed “Between the Lines.”
Apr 18, 2013, 4:11 PM EST
It’s no great secret that the Union – a team which sold out nearly every game at PPL Park during its first few seasons – has a few more empty seats so far this spring. So, STAR WARS THEME NIGHT!
Apr 18, 2013, 11:52 AM EST
Unlike last year’s Sixers squad, who I wrote at the and of last year “simultaneously far exceeded and fell well short of expectations,” there was nothing particularly contradictory or poetic about this year’s 76ers–they were built on a promise that was never delivered on, and fell apart from there. The team’s fate was sealed before the season even began, we just didn’t know it until 2/3 of the way through. This eulogy has been a long time coming, and will bring me neither closure nor satisfaction. This season was, with only a few minor exceptions, a complete waste of time.
Still, there were 17 players who took the court for the Liberty Ballers this season, and their efforts, whether acceptable or not, should be recognized. Here’s how this year’s Philadelphia 76ers grade out, in alphabetical order with some non-players at the bottom.
Apr 17, 2013, 5:54 PM EST
Don’t know how much drama we expected from a 19-hour-delayed bottom of the ninth inning, but this coda to last night’s scoreless, postponed Phillies-Reds game didn’t provide it. Philippe Aumont took the hill against the heart of the Reds’ order, surrendered a base hit and a walk, a runner reached on error to load the bases, and then Jay Bruce knocked him home with a single to right. Two hits, one walk, one error, zero outs, one run. The game re-started at 5:32, and by 5:42 it was over: Reds 1, Phillies 0.
Apr 17, 2013, 12:02 AM EST
There have been 51 outs, just six base-runners, and zero runs scored in tonight’s Reds-Phillies game, and it looks like it’s gonna stay that way for a while. The scoreless pitchers’ duel in Cincinnati, which began over an hour late after a rain delay, has now been postponed altogether, to be rebooted tomorrow at 5:30 PM EST. We’ll pick it up in the bottom of the ninth, with a mystery Phils pitcher (Papelbon? Aumont?) to face Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, in a baseball coda that should conjure memories of Geoff Jenkins and Pat Burrell for the Philly faithful.
Apr 15, 2013, 6:46 PM EST
How did we let ourselves get caught by the Portland Trailblazers? Even though they couldn’t out-tank anyone in their own conference, it seemed like a sure thing that the Sixers would at least finish behind three lottery teams out West, but nooooooo–the stupid Blazers had to go on a Hail Mary of an 11-game losing streak, which coupled with the Sixers last two wins (not-super-impressive victories over the Wizards and Cavaliers) means that Portland and Philly are now dead even at 33-49, with the Blazers still playing two more games against good teams and the Sixers getting a potential freebie tonight against the Pistons, which might very well secure them the #12 pick in the draft this summer.
Apr 13, 2013, 12:13 PM EST
In this town, we have had plenty of anticipated returns, when our one-time heroes come back to our fair city in another team’s jersey.
The days leading up to these reunions are built up with questions from fans, local media members and national media-types (all of whom are predicting boos and batteries).
Will they cheer? Will they boo? Usually, one or two writers will climb onto their nearest high horse to tell you what you should do when he comes out of the tunnel.
Mar 30, 2013, 1:04 PM EST
Major League Soccer is trying its best to reduce the power of some of its greatest rivalries. How? By having the teams play more often. Bear with me here.
Mar 26, 2013, 11:25 AM EST
Long ago, I stopped trying to be “that guy” who insists everyone should love soccer.
Sure, I welcome newbies to watch a game or come to PPL Park, and I’ll happily preach the virtues of the sport I love. But I don’t get angry at the soccer “haters” anymore. There are plenty of us who love soccer, and there are many who don’t. To each his or her own.
But, for the next few hundred words, I will beg you to carve out time in front of the TV tonight (Flyers-Rangers will be over in plenty of time).
Mar 19, 2013, 7:23 PM EST
I had a feeling when I wrote this last week, begging to see Amobi Okugo in the midfield and Bakary Soumare get ANY playing time as a center back, it would fall on deaf ears. Not sure John Hackworth is an avid 700Level reader (he should be).
Well, as it turns out, the idea is nearly dead anyway.
Mar 16, 2013, 1:24 PM EST
What is the main job of a coach or manager?
After the obvious answer of “winning,” the right answer is some variation of “getting the best out of his players.”
In soccer, that means getting your best players on the field for the maximum amount of time in a formation that suits them.
Mar 15, 2013, 11:42 AM EST
Any coach or manager not looking to get fired would be as hands-off as possible with a player on a hot streak (or in nerdy British soccer terms: a “rich vein of form”).
I’m here to argue the exact opposite.
Mar 9, 2013, 10:05 AM EST
The Union’s newest striker spent most of last week’s home opener trying to stay warm on the bench at PPL Park. When he came on in the 84th minute, the Union were already down two goals and the home crowd was cold and restless. So Conor Casey threw his weight around a bit. The 31-year-old…
Mar 5, 2013, 10:58 AM EST
Plenty of media outlets and Union blogs will offer their take on games this season immediately after the final whistle. With that in mind – as well as a job that leaves me working nights and a 15-month-old baby at home who makes it hard to do anything not on his schedule – we’re trying something a…
Mar 2, 2013, 12:05 PM EST
More than any team in this town, aside from probably the Eagles, Union games have become an all-out event for most fans. There is very little “going to the game.” By that I mean the guy who says, “Eh, I’m going to the game,” then heads out the door, parks his car and finds his…
Mar 1, 2013, 8:32 AM EST
Apparently it’s become a thing to download your Twitter archive, just to see how stupid you sounded when you first created your account. My first few tweets were boring replies to the likes of Grant Wahl and Bill Simmons. My first “real” tweet was, not surprisingly, Union-related. March 25, 2010: @smoore1117: Counting down to @Union2010 season…
Feb 26, 2013, 11:40 AM EST
Clearly, I am a soccer fan. I played the sport (I still pretend to, on occasion), coached and refereed for a few youth teams and watched enough games on TV to have odd cravings for Singha Lager and Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer – popular sideline advertisers in English stadiums. I love soccer and I want…
Jan 21, 2013, 3:01 AM EST
If you followed me on Twitter last season, or sat anywhere within earshot at PPL Park, you know I somehow found myself in a unique role among Philadelphia Union fans: the unofficial president of the Freddy Adu Defenders Club.
As much as I defended Adu, and as talented as he might be, it’s time for the Union to move on from Nowak’s experiments. And none of those was as risky as signing Freddy Adu.
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