“There’s no place like home.”
Well, if you are a Philly sports fan, this week there’s no place like the road. That is because the Sixers, Flyers, Eagles, and Union all are on the road this week. Even our Jonathan Tannenwald was on the road in Minnesota to see Delran’s own Carli Lloyd play her final game for the United States women’s national team, a 6-0 rout of South Korea, on Tuesday night.
The Sixers may only hate the road when they’re missing home, but defeat doesn’t help. They finished a two-game road trip last night with a 112-99 loss to the New York Knicks. And there are still no signs that Ben Simmons will ever be coming “home,” as David Murphy writes.
Meanwhile, the Flyers open their three-game western Canada swing tonight against the Edmonton Oilers. The game will be the first in Canada for the Flyers, and their Canadian contingent, in front of family and friends since December 2019.
The Union are also north of the border, as they visit Toronto FC tonight in a key game as they continue their late-season push to win the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. TFC is the second-worst team in MLS, but this has all the makings of a trap game, Tannenwald writes.
Home may be where the heart is, but for this week at least, it won’t be where most of Philadelphia’s sports teams reside. — Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport
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Do the Eagles have the wrong defensive coordinator or the wrong defensive players?
That is quickly becoming a recurring topic for debate around the 2-5 Birds. If you ask defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, the answer is simple:
“Do we have the right people in the building? Yeah,” Gannon said. Well, Fletcher Cox and Nick Sirianni might disagree, Jon.
Next: The Eagles will be in Detroit to take on the 0-7 Lions on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox. Join us at GameDay Central for all the action.
Off the Dribble
Products of “The Process” who become All-Stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, stand out from the rest of the 76ers’ roster. So much so that they receive praise when the Sixers win and blame when they lose. This much was true years ago, and it didn’t change when Tobias Harris joined the team. It became even more evident when Simmons and Harris struggled against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals last year. Simmons caught heat from Embiid, Doc Rivers, and the entire city. Harris received little scrutiny by comparison.
But there were some differences between the two Sixers forwards. Harris doesn’t need to be challenged to want to improve. Determination isn’t something Harris lacks, and he didn’t shy away from the moment in the postseason. He just didn’t meet it. He spoke with The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey and explained that he realized he needs to be better than he was against the Hawks. And with Simmons’ status with the team up in the air, Harris knows he’ll be depended on more than ever. Harris proved himself focused when he was the only Sixer not to embarrass himself against the Knicks in the 112-99 loss.
Next: The Sixers return to Wells Fargo Center to play the Detroit Pistons at 7 p.m. Thursday. Remember, if you’re on the road for this one, GameDay Central is as close as your phone.
On the Fly
While the Flyers may be on the road this week, it will be a homecoming of sorts for the 11 Canadians of the team.
Carter Hart, Martin Jones, and Travis Sanheim are particularly excited for the three-game trip to their “home and native land,” as all three were either born or played junior hockey in western Canada.
One Canadian who will likely miss out on at least the first game of the trip is Ryan Ellis. The defenseman missed practice on Tuesday, and according to Alain Vigneault, he remains day to day.
Next: The Flyers begin their three-game western Canada trip tonight at 10 (TNT) as Carter Hart will start in goal against his hometown Edmonton Oilers. Join us.
As befits a women’s soccer legend, Carli Lloyd was given a full-circle send-off at her final international game. The game itself was also a symbolic handoff, given that Lindsey Horan, the player who is due to receive the USWNT No. 10 shirt from Lloyd, scored the winning goal in the 6-0 victory over South Korea.
Next: Despite all the goodbyes, it’s still not the final time Lloyd will kick a soccer ball in front of fans yet. That’s because her NWSL team, Gotham FC, still has games left in the season. It may even continue to the playoffs. Check out times for these matches and other games.
Worth a look
Camden remembers a legend: Camden High retired the jersey of former basketball player Ron “Itchy” Smith on Friday. Smith, who led Camden to titles in 1959 and 1960, is considered one of South Jersey’s best ever.
Will he stay or will he go?: Penn State coach James Franklin says he is “committed” to coaching the Nittany Lions beyond this season despite high-profile openings at USC and LSU.