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Founder, The Sports Court
The Philadelphia Union and Nashville SC battled it out in a top-of-the-table clash that will surely shape the MLS Playoff Picture.
The Union came into the game following a heart-wrenching 3-2 loss against Minnesota in which the Union controlled the majority of the game, however defensive mistakes ultimately cost them. The loss put the Union at 46 points on the season, only 3 points behind Nashville.
On the other side of the pitch, Nashville is fresh off of a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew, their fifth draw in a row, one shy of an all-time MLS record. Nashville, who have the least amount of losses in all of MLS were without their star player, Hany Mukhar, for their match against the Union. Mukhtar was forced to miss the game due to a yellow card suspension.
This game was perhaps the most meaningful game of the whole regular season for both sides. With the New England Revolution out of reach for any team in the Eastern Conference to catch up to, the second-place spot was the highest any team could get. The winner of the Union vs Nashville match was a surefire for the second place seed in the tournament.
BATTLE FOR SECOND:
The first 9 minutes and 59 seconds of the game saw little to no action other than Monteiro being knocked in the face by Daniel Rios.
Then, once the clock struck 10, a golden opportunity opened up for Kacper Pryzbbylko on a half volley six yards away from the net. Pryzbbylko mishit the ball and the shot went wide left, but it was the start of Union’s flow up top.
16 minutes in an opportunity arose for the Union, after a handball in the box off of a Montiero freekick, the Union was awarded a penalty shot that the German tank rocketed right down the middle.
Nashville suddenly had their backs turned against the wall. After all, Nashville had yet to record a win away from home when going down first.
As the first half progressed, the battle for a second-place became the war for second place. Yellow cards were flying out left and right for both sides and the game got chippy.
Nashville’s attack was not efficient enough to get by the Union defense, and the first half was filled with many failed counterattacks.
Meanwhile, their counterparts were wheeling and dealing up top, with many good opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net. However, the Union’s attacks were either saved or fizzled out by the strong back 5 of Nashville.
Any 1-0 lead going into halftime is dangerous, but it’s especially dangerous when you’re facing the king of draws and a team that will play until the final whistle.
The second half saw both teams settle into the game. Walker Zimmerman came on to start the half and his amazing vision was seen early on in the half.
Nashville seemed to have more bodies up top and their attacking play was much more fluent, however, this led to a Union counterattack in which Daniel Gazdag had an amazing opportunity but the Nashville defense managed to shut him down.
Following the failed counterattack, where Gazdag had a man wide open to the right, 18-year-old Paxten Aaronson was subbed on. Aaronson, a hometown favorite, is one of the most exciting young talents in all of MLS, with two goals on the season, Paxten has been finding his foot in the professional game and is showing how he is much more than ‘Brenden Aaronson’s little brother’.
As the half went on, the game got more and more evened out, leading to a stalemate where neither team could find the back of the net. The Union had their chances, but couldn’t capitalize.
Both sides were doing everything they could for the three points, and this led to a scrap between the two number eights, Jose Martinez and Randell Leal.
Nashville had little to no offense in the second half, the absence of Hany Mukhtar was well felt for Nashville.
The Union had a chance to put the game to rest in the 86th minute, but a bold save Joe Willis prevented the Union from scoring another.
Despite Willis’ late heroics, his team was unable to rally and fell to 3rd in the Eastern Conference after losing away at the hands of the Union.
Nashville are on shaky form now, only picking up 5 points in their last 6 fixtures. Meanwhile, the Union are catching fire at the right time.
The MLS Playoffs have always come with great excitement and games to remember, including the Union’s 4-3 win over the New York Red Bulls in an instant classic in 2019.
Philadelphia is looking to bring the city of brotherly love its first trophy since the Eagles triumph over Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2018 as Nashville will try to get back to its winning ways in their next fixture against FC Cincinnati.
image via https://cdn.vox-cdn.com
Founder, The Sports Court
Matt ‘Matty Heisman’ Corral is cooking it up for the 13th ranked Ole Miss Rebels. Corral, who is a senior from Ventura, California, has made his presence well known in the world of college football. As the season goes along, Corral impresses more and more each week, and the once question-mark of a collegiate recruit is now a Heisman candidate.
However, not many people know the true story of the Heisman frontrunner.
Born in Ventura, California, Matt Corral has had a chip on his shoulder from day one. Coming from modest beginnings, Corral left his original high school, Oaks Christian School. While in the process of leaving the school, Corral called out the school for being filled with ‘rich kids who will never have to work a day in their lives.” Before unenrolling from Oaks Christian, Corral got into a physical altercation with the son of none other than the great one himself, Wayne Gretzky.
It was heading into his senior year in which Corral left Oaks Christian. When Corral transferred before his senior year, it raised the question, “who is Matt Corral?”. After all, why would Corral transfer from a school that has pumped out D1 QBS including Jimmy Clausen. Many scouts were unsettled by this decision and assumed Corral was a negative energy for a team.
If that wasn’t enough, even more schools were worried about Corral after he was de-committed from both USC and Florida.
After leaving Oaks Christian, Corral tweeted out, “I didn’t get expelled, nor did I punch anyone. I ran into problems at a school that is biased towards money. So if you have a lot of it, you run the school. No matter what the situation is. No matter what I say, I am wrong.”
Many scouts didn’t see the full story and they thought Corral had too big of an ego to be successful, some even thinking he was a negative energy for his team. However, those within Corral’s inner circle knew that was far from the truth.
What major scouts and recruiters failed to realize is the fact that Corral is himself. Corral doesn’t go around acting to be somebody he’s not, Corral is authentic both on and off the field.
Matt Corral was put into a situation he was uncomfortable in. A situation in which he had trouble fitting in. Despite all of this, Corral became the only freshman to start in Oaks Christian history before taking his talents to Long Beach Polytechnic High School, where he finished off his high school career before heading to the muddy waters of Mississippi where he’d take his talents to Ole Miss.
Ole Miss University is a school drenched in college football history. Both Archie and Eli Manning roamed the halls and graced the field of Ole Miss. Archie and Eli are legends that were nearly impossible to come close to the status of, however, no challenge is too big for Matt Corral.
Corral redshirted his freshman year as Jordan Ta'amu was a lock for the starting spot for Ole Miss.
Corral’s redshirt freshman year proved to be a step in the right direction, with the kids from Ventura throwing for 1,362 yards and 6 touchdowns, totaling 4 starts and 10 appearances. However, it was Corral’s redshirt sophomore season where he broke out, tossing for 3,337 yards and completing 70.9% of his passes. Corral also set a single-game record for passing yards in school history, slinging for 513 against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
All good seasons for a young quarterback comes alongside with a miserable game that you can’t seem to escape. No matter what you do you can’t stop throwing to the other team. Unfortunately, for Corral, that game came against SEC rivals, the Arkansas Razorbacks.
On October 17, 2020, Ole Miss fell at the hands of Arkansas, 33-21. Corral threw for 2 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in his worst performance of the season. Nearly half of his interceptions in the 2020 season came from the Arkansas game alone.
Corral, who had an amazing season, was still upset about that one game against Arkansas and was set to make sure he got his revenge the next time he took the field against them.
If you didn’t know Matt ‘Matty Heisman’ Corral before, you should know. Matty Heisman is a winner, a competitor, a fighter.
Sure enough, Corral got his rematch scheduled on October 9, 2021, less than a year after throwing for six interceptions against the Razorbacks.
This time around, Corral was the player of the game in the game of the year in which Ole Miss held on to 52-51. Corral showed off his impressive arm strength and tossed for 287 yards and 2 touchdowns, also accounting for two touchdowns with his legs.
Nobody except Matty Heisman himself would have predicted that him and the now 13 ranked Ole Miss Rebels could’ve had. Corral has thrown for 1,497 yards, thrown for 12 TDS, ran for 8, and has the second-best QBR in the nation with 89.9.
Matt Corral, who was once labeled too big of an ego to have success at the college level is now the king of all the rebels and has led Ole Miss to a season for the ages.
Chris’ take: Matt Corral is one of the most intriguing prospects I’ve seen in ages. He’s got the juice on his arm, the natural, organic juice, that Justin Herbert and Pat Mahomes have. It’s something you can’t teach, you just have. His ability to throw a ball at such a high speed is a talent needed to be elite at the NFL level. Corral’s mentality is also elite. If he continues playing the way he’s been playing, Corral should be the Heisman and a first-round pick. The question is, what team needs a QB? The first three I think of are the Steelers, Colts, and believe it or not, but the Washington Football Team. I love Taylor Heinicke and Ryan Fitzpatrick, but I think Corral would be a better option.
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Founder, The Sports Court
It was at 9:23 PM on a warm Saturday night at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky, a young man by the name of Will Levis, already a popular figure amongst Kentuckians introduced himself to the world.
The senior transfer from Penn State arrived at Kentucky with high expectations. But not even Will could’ve guessed the success that he and the University of Kentucky football program would have.
Five games into his tenure in Lexington, Will has gone undefeated and just knocked off #10, the Florida Gators, in perhaps the biggest, and most influential win to ever take place at the historic Kroger Field. Following the game, fans rushed the field and the bright lights of Kroger Field shined down on Will Levis.
In a span of five years, Will went from a random kid from Connecticut to a Penn State quarterback - where he served as a backup in his three years there, to a Kentucky icon.
Now 5-0, Kentucky finally has a legitimate win to put on its resume, and it’s hard to argue against Kentucky not being put in the AP Top 25 in the upcoming rankings.
Kentucky, who were down 10-7, blocked a field goal a little over halfway through the third quarter. Trevin Wallace, the Kentucky player who caught the blocked field goal in the air, took it back to the house and propelled the big play propelled the Wildcats to a 13-7 lead (missed extra point).
Then, late in the fourth, Kentucky was up 20-13 and forced four stops within ten yards from the goal line to prevent Florida from getting a touchdown to tie the game at the very end.
Levis, who only passed for 87 yards, cemented his place as a Kentucky legend with the win.
Kentucky was been longing to have a relevant football program for years. Opposite from the basketball court, the gridiron hasn’t been a successful place for the Wildcats. Kentucky has been oftentimes mediocre at best.
However, Bob Stoops’ younger brother, Mark, who is the head coach of Kentucky, hit the jackpot in the transfer portal.
Now, the transfer from Penn is a campus legend following a win for the record books against number 10, Florida, and the University of Kentucky has something it hasn’t had in years, an elite football team.
Kentucky will face two more tough tests in the next two weeks, facing both LSU and number 2, Georgia. Levis, Stoops, and the team will hope to continue their run of form and find a way to get by two elite SEC teams.
Photo via https://www.kentucky.com/latest-news/9bf04r/picture254718547/alternates/FREE_1140/LEX_211002_UKFBall_MM_31354.JPG
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All Editorials written by Chris Dailey