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Assessing the Departure of Jack McInerney

[Note from Vince: This is the first article from Joel Hoover who, if you're into soccer, is kind of a big deal. However, being a true Philly sports fan, he's very knowledgeable about all five of Philly's teams. He also took my lunch money once and I told my mom on him.]

WengerFriday morning in the Philadelphia sports landscape saw a surprise early-season development take place down in Chester.

The Philadelphia Union, fresh off a disappointing 1-1 draw with the Montreal Impact last weekend, traded young forward Jack McInerney to Montreal in exchange for 2012 MLS SuperDraft No. 1 pick Andrew Wenger.

McInerney was a Union original, picked seventh overall in the 2010 SuperDraft by the team prior to their inaugural season. Though he was kept in the depths of the team during Peter Nowak’s tenure as manager, it was under John Hackworth that he was finally given a chance to flourish as a regular in the starting XI. The 21-year-old made his breakthrough early in the 2013 season, scoring 10 goals in the opening 14 matches of the MLS season to earn a call-up to the United States Gold Cup team and an MLS All-Star selection. He would finish with 12 MLS goals in 2013, before tallying one in four matches this year to bring his total with the team to 25 goals in 95 matches.

Wenger comes to the Union after being the longtime attacking understudy of Montreal Impact Designated Player Marco Di Vaio. The 23-year-old scored six goals in 51 MLS appearances, but was mostly resigned to coming off the bench as a substitute. He is a native of Lancaster, PA, just an hour away from Chester, and also played for the Union’s PDL affiliate Reading United.

The departure of McInerney has been met with surprise, but as the day unfolded and details were discussed the reasoning is growing somewhat clearer.

With his Generation Adidas tag gone, McInerney was coming to the end of his contract at the end of this season. There was a team option that could have been exercised next offseason by the Union front office, but that would have been met with very high salary demands from McInerney. Given the salary cap MLS employs, and the presence of three newly-minted Designated Players on the Union’s squad, taking on a salary up around $400,000 would have been a very difficult task for the team. Plus, there has been talk for a while that McInerney and defender Amobi Okugo, the last Union original now, would not have both been able to take on a significant hike in their salaries.

With all of this in mind, Montreal may only be taking McInerney on for a one-year rental. The striker has spoken of his desire to move abroad to Europe in the past, and wouldn’t leave the possibility of it out in his initial press conference after the trade. If a move does not materialize after this season, Montreal may still be able to keep him, since DP Di Vaio is in the final year of his own contract and there is speculation that he may retire after this season. The Impact could then take on McInerney’s salary demands–which team sporting director Nick De Santis practically confirmed when he said that the team is planning to exercise the extra year on McInerney’s contract.

So what kind of player are the Union giving to Montreal? The question is actually a more difficult one to answer than a first glance would reveal, but it does play a factor into the reason they decided to do it.

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A Summer of Hope for Philadelphia

PhiladelphiaUnion_PRM_2010-9999Alright Philadelphia, we know what the summer looks like for the Phillies and their slim to non chance of playing baseball in October, it’s gonna be a long summer and season to watch this team. But I have your solution. Another team in Philadelphia plays in the Summer and they are going to be contenders this year. The Philadelphia Union, MLS team, are under way in their season and have come off strong.

Yesterday the Union notched their first victory of the season against the New England Revolution; it was also the Union’s home opener. With the victory the Union increased their point total to 4 after a disappointing draw last week in the season opener to Portland. The Union led the game against Portland the entire match and gave up the latest possible goal on a corner.

I would like to tell you the break down that happened during the sequence but the Portland TV people decided it be a good idea to go to a replay while the corner was taken. WAY TO GO PORTLAND.

Sorry had to rant there, simple stuff like that in broadcasting infuriates me. But anyway, the Union.

The Union are going to be a lot of fun to watch this year. After a disappointing season last year, concluding with missing out on the post season. The team went out and bolstered the mid field. Maurice Edu, the biggest acquisition for the team this year, headlines the new midfield and has already notched an assist.

After the Portland match, the mid field was the talk of the city. The mid field squad was dominating on all aspects of the field. Creating counter-attacks off the defense and being able to sustain the offensive pressure.

This is the Union’s 5th year in the MLS and this will be their most competitive season to date. If the sellout crowd at PPL Park made any statement yesterday, it’s that the city of Philadelphia is ready for the Union to make a statement.

Flyers Holding Steady

In a season where the Flyers looked at times dead in the water to potential Cup contenders, it’s been an up and down season for the Fly Guys to say the least.

But recent form shows that the team is finally starting to piece together a nice pace of play and holding steady in the ultra tight Metropolitan division. The Flyers entered the Olympic break with a 4 game win streak including wins over the Sharks and Kings.mason

Coming out of the break they put on a clunker and got demolished by the Sharks 7-3. But they didn’t panic, didn’t make a drastic trade or fire their coach. No, they continued to grind won their next 3 and have a 4 game point streak after another 3rd period comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs came up just short in overtime last Saturday.

Being one of the hottest teams right now in the NHL at 7-2-1 certainty helps the Flyers stay in contention for the playoffs. This years competition might be one of the closest in recent memory and with a new playoff format that is exactly what the NHL wanted. In the Metro division alone the point differential between the second place Rangers and sixth place Devils is a mere 5 points. 5!

The recent play by the Flyers has shown me one key factor compared to their play in the beginning of the season under Berube; the concept of team defense. Since the first game out of the break, the Flyers have not given up more than 4 goals in each game. Steve Mason has really started to find a groove in his play as well and is continuing to get better as the defensive play in front of him improves as well.

Along with defensive play, the special teams play has held steady as one of the better units in the league. The Flyers are 11th and 10th on the power play and penalty kill, respectively. So even with the occasional dumb penalty the team commits, the team as a whole in confident in their own abilities to keep themselves in the game throughout.

Of all their progress they’ve had, one still huge blemish remains. Their abysmally slow starts in the first period. The start of a game won’t win you the game necessarily but a slow start, like the one we saw against Toronto, will certainly help you lose the game. If the Flyers hadn’t given up those 2 goals against the Leafs Saturday in the first 1:30 of the game, they most likely would have won that game. But following what Mason did following that loss, just skate off the ice and move on to the next matchup.

This season has certainly been a roller coaster ride, But get ready Flyers fans because were climbing to our highest point at this stage in the season Flyers fans. Are we in for another regular season finish like the one in 2010? Just looking at the current Metro standings will point to yes. Will the Flyers continue to climb the roller coaster or drop to the end?

The Price is Right for Giroux and the Flyers

In the summer of 2011, I had a pretty good gig. I’d intern a few days every week, and the others I’d wake up at 2, have some cereal, and watch the Price is Right and Fresh Prince reruns on DVR until I could go play open hockey.

Basically, living the life.

I’m pretty sure I was halfway through a bowl of Cocoa Rice Krispies when I found out the Flyers traded Jeff Carter. I don’t think I made any progress on finishing it by the time I found out Mike Richards was gone, too.

When Paul Holmgren reinvented the Flyers, I spent the rest of that night sorting through questions.

My biggest inquiry was “How the hell is this team was going to score enough goals to matter without two of its most important offensive players?”

I don’t really think I was alone in asking that, either.

Less than a year later, I was toting Claude Giroux as an MVP candidate and the Flyers had no problems with their attack. Yesterday’s news officially gives closure to the Richards and Carter trades.

Now the 25-year-old Giroux is going to be a Flyer for a long time (don’t worry, he was smart enough to include a no-movement clause).

The deal is good for a well-deserved eight years and $66.2 million ($8.275 million cap hit).

I guess the reason I described it as well deserved is because of how much he did over the last two seasons in addition to the numbers.

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Eagles make all the (boring) right moves on Day 1 of Free Agency

Newly-signed Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher celebrates an interception (September 29, 2012 – Source: David Welker/Getty Images North America)

Though some fans might be angry that the Eagles didn’t use all their cap space to add an “impact player,” the truth is there are very few players who will turn out to be worth the monster contracts they signed yesterday. While other teams were clamoring for “top talent,” the Eagles put together 5 signings that, while unsexy, will serve as a solid foundation for the new look of Chip Kelly’s team. Here’s the skinny on your newest Eagles.

Patrick Chung

Pos: Safety
Age: 25
Ht: 5’11″
Wt: 205
Last Team: NE

Chung reunites with his former college coach after four decent but uninspiring seasons with the Patriots. While the Pats secondary has been one of the worst in the league since Chung was drafted in 2009, ranking 8th worst in touchdowns allowed and dead last in yards allowed, Chung rated pretty well on an individual level. He is a very consistent tackler. According to ProFootballFocus, in 40 game appearances since 2010 (including playoffs), Chung recorded 161 solo tackles and only missed 16Chung can cover a bit too, allowing just a 56.4 passer rating against last season. The big knock on Chung is health. He’s missed 14 regular season games over the last three years due to various ailments, and this undoubtedly reduced his price tag. Chung won’t do much to make the highlight reel, but he’s a good overall player and should immediately supplant Nate Allen or Kurt Coleman in a starting role.  Read the rest of this entry

Gagne Style

Simon GagneSimon came home.

The Flyers announced today that they have traded a conditional draft pick for winger Simon Gagne, who returns to the team after stints with the Lightning and defending-champion L.A. Kings.

Although fans are sure to embrace Gagne immediately upon his return, it’s left to be determined how he will affect the makeup of the team. The seven-time 20+ goal scorer is averaging a career low 13:46 of ice time per game this season, 1:46 of which was with a man advantage. According to behindthenet.ca, Gagne has also been sheltered by match-ups this season. His shifts have started in the offensive zone 62% of the time at even strength, often against one of the opponent’s weaker lines. On the season he’s tallied 0 goals and 5 assists in 11 appearances.  Read the rest of this entry

Around the Cooler 02/10/13 – Discussion: Will the NFL exist in 30 years?

Here’s what we’re talking about: 

Bernard Pollard inadvertently creating the “Tom Brady rule” in 2008.

Ravens safety Bernard Pollard: “Thirty years from now, I don’t think it will be in existence. I could be wrong. It’s just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going — where [NFL rules makers] want to lighten up, and they’re throwing flags and everything else — there’s going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it… Guys are getting fined, and they’re talking about, ‘Let’s take away the strike zone’ and ‘Take the pads off’ or ‘Take the helmets off.’ It’s going to be a thing where fans aren’t going to want to watch it anymore.” (ESPN)

Play: 


Right Click for Download: Around the Cooler 02/10/13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

The Wooder Cooler Weekly Podcast – 02/02/13

Here’s what we’re talking about:
The Har-bowl! The Superbaugh! (0:00)
What’s wrong with the Flyers? (18:00)
Jrue Holiday is an All Star! (33:00)

Play: 


Right Click for Download: The Wooder Cooler Weekly Podcast 02/02/13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

The Wooder Cooler Weekly Podcast – 01/23/13

The Wooder CoolerHere’s what we’re talking about:
Flyers 0-2 start (0:00)
Sixers: Jrue and Thad make ESPN’s “25 under 25″ list, Bynum notes (18:00)
News and tidbits from the Eagles and Phillies (40:00)

Play: 


Right Click for Download: The Wooder Cooler Weekly Podcast 1/23/13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

The Wooder Cooler Weekly Podcast – 01/18/13

Here’s what we’re talking about:
Chip Kelly and the future of the Eagles (0:00)
“4th and 26″ (30:00)
Flyers talk about the upcoming season and the defense (33:00)
Sixers and Bynum update (41:00)

Play: 


Right Click for Download: The Wooder Cooler Weekly Podcast 1/18/13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

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