Matchday 21: Shorthanded Union Host Chicago Fire

Matchday 21: Shorthanded Union Host Chicago Fire

The Union look to continue their recent good form at home as they welcome the Chicago Fire to PPL Park (7PM/Comcast SportsNet). The U, who have won four consecutive games at home, need to start stringing some wins together if they hope to make a second-half playoff push.

John Hackworth's team will be without the services of a few key players. Captain Carlos Valdes was called in by the Colombian National Team for training in advance of World Cup Qualifying. Similarly, Gabriel Gomez (Panama) and Keon Daniel (Trinidad & Tobago) were called into their respective national team camps for midweek friendlies (UPDATE: Daniel apparently has not yet left for T&T's camp as he is in the starting lineup).

Jack McInereny will be out as he serves a red card suspension for his retaliatory push of Montreal Impact player Nelson Rivas after Rivas headbutted Antoine Hoppenot. Hoppenot suffered a broken nasal bone, but should be available to play tonight. What do all of these absences mean?

Well, we will likely see the Union debut of Bakary Soumare, who should slide into Carlos Valdes' spot next to Amobi Okugo in the center of the Union backline. With Gomez unavailable you'd imagine that Michael Lahoud would get the starting nod in the midfield. Finally, without McInereny available I am guessing Hackworth will start Lionard Pajoy at one forward spot. He'll then likely choose between Josue Martinez and the now fully fit Chandler Hoffman, who has recovered from a broken toe, to play with Pajoy.

These two teams last met on March 24th at Toyota Park where the Fire walked away 1-0 winners. The Union team who lost to the Fire that day is a vastly different one than will take the field today. Peter Nowak's starting XI included Chris Albright, Porfirio Lopez, Roger Torres and Danny Mwanga, Neither Albright, Lopez or Torres has seen many minutes since then - and Mwanga was jettisoned to Portland.

Fire manager Frank Klopas has his team in fifth place in the MLS Eastern Conference - five points ahead of Montreal. Chicago is 3-5-3 away from Toyota Park with a -4 road goal differential.

Philadelphia native Dan Gargan, who played his high school ball at Chestnut Hill Academy, returns to his hometown as a regular contributor for the Fire. He's appeared in 19 games this season, starting 17 of them. He was replaced in the starting lineup last week by Gonzalo Segares, but I'd imagine Klopas would give him the nod in his return to his hometown.

Offensively Chicago is paced by Marco Pappa (6 goals) and Dominic Oduro (5 goals). Chris Rolfe, who returned to Chicago after playing in Denmark for a few years, has scored 2 goals in just 10 appearances since returning to MLS. Pavel Pardo and Logan Pause control things in the midfield for Chicago. Sean Johnson, who was just named to Jurgen Klinsmann's USMNT roster for the friendly against Mexico on Wednesday, should be between the sticks before leaving for Mexico City.

Pajoy, who has had chances to finish recently, will need to convert opportunities with McInereny out serving his suspension. The Union played well enough against Montreal last week, but just could not finish in the final third. Someone will need to shoulder the goal scoring load. If nothing else their depth will be tested tonight.

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

Patriots advance to 8th Super Bowl in Brady, Belichick era

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USA Today Images

Patriots advance to 8th Super Bowl in Brady, Belichick era

BOX SCORE

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Give `em a hand: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl.

Brady shook off a hand injury and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola with 2:48 remaining, rallying the Patriots to a 24-20 comeback victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC championship Sunday.

Brady, wearing a black bandage on his right hand after hurting it during practice earlier in the week, showed no signs of being hampered.

And, with the game — and possibly the season — on the line, the Patriots star came up big again.

"I've had a lot worse," Brady said. "I didn't know that on Wednesday. It was a crazy injury. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday was a little scary. Then I started getting some confidence and today we did just enough to win."

Brady finished 26 of 38 for 290 yards and two touchdowns for the Patriots (15-3), who'll play the winner of Sunday night's game between Minnesota and Philadelphia in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.

It's the eighth Super Bowl appearance for Brady and coach Bill Belichick, who have won five times — including last year's 34-28 overtime rally against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Jaguars (12-7) led 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, but couldn't hold against the defending champions.

Jacksonville — looking to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history -- had one more shot, but Bortles' throw on fourth-and-15 to Dede Westbrook was knocked away by Stephon Gilmore.

The Patriots then ran out the clock, with Dion Lewis' 18-yard scamper with 90 seconds remaining sealing the victory. And they did it mostly without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who left the game late in the first half and didn't return.

Brady's hand was the most-scrutinized body part in Boston since the quarterback's right ankle before the 2008 Super Bowl and Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's right ankle tendon — the bloody sock — in the 2004 playoffs.

Brady was listed as questionable after he hurt his right hand during practice earlier in the week. He was limited Wednesday, sat out Thursday and was limited again Friday because of the injury.

That caused some panic among the Patriots faithful.

Turns out, it was nothing to fret about.

Brady came out for warmups without a glove on his hand, and he came out throwing. He completed his first six passes — including a 20-yarder to Amendola on fourth-and-1 from the Jaguars 30 — for 57 yards to march the Patriots down the field. The drive stalled when Brady was sacked by Dante Fowler Jr., and New England settled for Stephen Gostkowski's 31-yard field goal.

A wide-open Marcedes Lewis gave the Jaguars a 7-3 lead 45 seconds into the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown catch from Blake Bortles, who was 5 for 5 for 66 yards on an impressive and efficient seven-play, 76-yard drive.

Leonard Fournette gave Jacksonville a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter with a 4-yard TD run, hushing the crowd at Gillette Stadium.

The Jaguars made some big mistakes that hurt them just before halftime. Bortles completed a 12-yard pass to Lewis on third-and-7 from the Patriots 44, but Jacksonville was called for delay of game -— after New England called a timeout.

That wiped out a first down, and Bortles was sacked by Adam Butler on the next play to force a punt.

With just over two minutes left before halftime, New England's offense took over and the fans chanted "Bra-dy! Bra-dy!"

And their quarterback delivered — with some help from the Jaguars on two long penalties.

On first-and-10 from the Patriots 40, Brady threw a long pass for Gronkowski, who was injured when he got popped by Barry Church just as the ball was arriving. Church was called for unnecessary roughness, putting the ball at Jacksonville's 45.

A.J. Bouye was called for pass interference on the next play on an incomplete throw for Brandin Cooks. The 32-yard penalty put the ball at the Jaguars 13. After a 12-yard catch by Cooks, James White ran it in from the 1 to make it 14-10 with 55 seconds left.

Josh Lambo gave Jacksonville a 17-10 lead 4:37 into the third quarter with a 54-yard field goal. He added a 43-yarder 8 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it a 10-point game.

But Brady & Co. were just getting started.