12

Josef Martinez thanks Atlanta United teammate Miguel Almiron for making him a champion

MLS Cup Most Valuable Player Josef Martinez was in a thankful mood following his team’s 2-0 triumph over the Portland Timbers on Saturday night, shouting out everybody from coach Tata Martino to teammate Miguel Almiron.

The Venezuelan forward didn’t go as far as to call out every one of the record 73,019 who attended the championship match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, cheap official nike nfl jerseys although for portions of his post-match news conference it felt as though he was headed that way.

“It’s been a special week for me,” Martinez said through an interpreter. “Before the game, I had a moment with Miguel, and I just thanked him for all of the help that he’s given me over these two seasons. I told him that he was going to make me a champion today, because I had never been a champion before, so I want to thank him for that.12

“I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody: the coaching staff, the players, the fans, the city. I know it’s been a long time since they had a championship, and I think they deserved it.”

The title was Atlanta’s first in a major professional sport since the Braves won the World Series in 1995, and won in large part thanks to Martinez’s contributions.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Martinez, who was also named the league’s overall MVP earlier this week having netted 31 regular-season goals, opened the scoring in the 39th minute and played a key role in the second, too. He won the foul that resulted in the free kick that he then headed into Franco Escobar’s path to double the lead, sending the home crowd into further hysterics.

“I was feeling a lot of pressure for this game,” Martinez said. “Neighbors were putting flags all around my house, and pushing notes under my door. I had a lot of pressure to deal with. But I just wanted to say thank you again to everyone, to the fans, who deserve it, and to be able to do it in this building.”

11

Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara asks club to consider trading him

According to Vermes, Opara told him that the player’s preference is to finish his career in Kansas City, but that he’d like to make more money, and if any trade offers came in for him from other teams, to consider them.

“These are the kind of conversations that go on all the time at the end of the year,” Vermes said via telephone. “Everybody wants more money. That’s not abnormal.“cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Opara, 29, signed a contract extension with Kansas City just prior to the 2018 season, and it is set to run through 2019 with a club option for 2020. Vermes noted that Opara could have let his contract run out after the current season and chose not to.

According to salary information provided by the MLS Players Association, the deal paid Opara $342,916.63 in guaranteed compensation in 2018. But SKC signed defender Andreu Fontas just before the close of the summer transfer window in a deal that according to the MLSPA pays him just under $1 million a year.11

Despite that disparity in salary, Opara maintained his partnership with Matt Besler in the center of the SKC defense for the rest of 2018. Fontas made just two appearances and one start after joining Kansas City in August.

Vermes pointed out that SKC isn’t averse to making bold moves, including the trading of Dom Dwyer in July of 2017 for what was then a then-record haul of $1.6 million in allocation money. But after a season that saw SKC finish atop the Western Conference during the regular season, Vermes indicated that he feels his roster is strong.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“I can’t tell you that people aren’t coming to me,” said Vermes. “If a deal makes sense, I’ll consider it. If it doesn’t, I’m good with where we’re at. The [salary] cap is great. We have money and we have players. I’m not really concerned.”

Opara was drafted third overall in the 2010 SuperDraft by the San Jose Earthquakes, but injuries stunted his growth as a player and he was traded to Sporting Kansas City prior to the 2013 campaign. Opara finally shook off the injury bug in 2016, and has made at least 25 appearances in each of the past three seasons. His MLS career has seen him make 157 league and playoff appearances, scoring 15 goals and adding five assists.

12

Paul Goldschmidt focused on Cardinals, not 2020 free agency

Now that he is with the St. Louis Cardinals, Paul Goldschmidt is not thinking beyond the 2019 season.

The six-time All-Star was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks this week and will earn $14.5 million in the final season of a seven-year deal that will pay $46 million, including a $1 million assignment bonus for the trade. If he doesn’t sign a new contract, he would be among the top free agents next offseason.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Try not to have any distractions, so anything like that won’t be on my mind,” Goldschmidt said at his introductory news conference Friday. “I think the biggest thing is I’m excited to be here, excited to be part of this team and organization and just focused on getting ready for spring training and opening day and the season and trying to help us win.”

St. Louis has a history of acquiring sluggers such as Mark McGwire and Matt Holliday and signing them to long-term contracts.

“It’s always hard to pencil out these types of deals when you only have one year of control,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “… I’ve always sort of been one of those types of people who thinks about the bigger picture. This was a different type of deal for us. It was clearly about trying to position the 2019 team to be more competitive.”12

St. Louis sent pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, minor league infielder Andy Young and a 2019 draft pick to Arizona on Wednesday for Goldschmidt.

“The Cardinals have had some impressive first basemen over the years,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said, citing Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Bill White, Orlando Cepeda, McGwire, Keith Hernandez, Albert Pujols and Matt Carpenter.

“Paul is a perfect fit for our club,” DeWitt added. “Last year, we won 88 games. Had a wonderful second half — struggled in the first half and were so close to the playoffs. We felt like an additional impact player could put us over the top.”

St. Louis has missed the playoffs in three straight years for the first time since 1997-99.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“We couldn’t find anything negative on him. Nothing,” Mozeliak said of Goldschmidt. “He loves baseball. Loves to play the game, plays it right. And when you think about the St. Louis Cardinals, he just sounds like the perfect fit.”

11

Nationals owner: Maxed out offer for Bryce Harper, ‘don’t expect him to come back’

Nationals owner Mark Lerner says he doesn’t expect Bryce Harper to return to Washington after telling the superstar outfielder that the team maxed out its offer at the end of the regular season.

Multiple reports said Harper, the 2015 National League MVP, rejected a 10-year contract worth approximately $300 million in September.

Lerner didn’t discuss the exact offer that was given to Harper, but he said the Nationals couldn’t comfortably offer more and field a competitive team around the six-time All-Star.

“When we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, ‘This is the best we can do.’ We went right to the finish line very quickly,” Lerner told 106.7 The Fan. “And we said, ‘If this is of interest to you, please come back to us, and we’ll see whether we can finish it up.’ But we just couldn’t afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that.”

Even if Harper, 26, were willing to accept the previous Nationals offer, Lerner said he wasn’t sure the team could now make it work.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

The Nationals officially signed left-hander Patrick Corbin on Friday to a heavily back-loaded six-year deal worth $140 million. At a news conference introducing Corbin on Friday, general manager Mike Rizzo said the deal wasn’t relevant to what might happen with Harper.11

“I think they’re independent of each other. I really do,” Rizzo said. “We’ve gone about this business of creating a roster for 2019, and at the end of the day, we’ll figure out whether that includes Harp or not.

“We thought it was good business — we had to fix the things we needed to fix. Harp is a big part of our family and we’d love to have him back.”

No timeline has been given for when Harper is expected to sign with a team. Harper is expected to receive the largest contract in free agency this year, and Boras is known for extending talks with his free agents past the holiday break.

Without Harper, the Nationals would have Adam Eaton, Juan Soto, Michael Taylor and Victor Robles in their outfield.

“We feel very strongly we’re in good shape,” Lerner said. “It’ll be a young, pretty incredible outfield defensively, and certainly with the bat, it’s going to be special.“cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

And now the Nationals have Corbin joining a star-studded rotation with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

Corbin gets a $2.5 million signing bonus payable next Oct. 31 and salaries of $12.5 million next season, $19 million in 2020, $24 million in 2021, $23 million in 2022, $24 million in 2023 and $35 million in 2024 — when he turns 35. The final year’s salary includes $10 million that will be deferred without interest and payable on Jan. 15, 2026.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving says he’s fine after tweaking shoulder

Irving left Thursday night’s game with 3:34 left in the fourth quarter and the outcome already decided after getting tangled up. He had ice put on the shoulder while he watched from the bench, and did his television walk-off interview with it still on, but had nothing on the shoulder in the locker room, and said he’d be fine.

“It was just a weird play at the end of the game,” Irving said. “I don’t know. It’s like I got caught up as I was trying to get the ball out and pass it to Marcus for a 3. It just caught me weird on my shoulder. So it’s probably an AC joint or something like that. I’m not diagnosing myself, I’m pretty sure. I saw the doctors afterward and they said AC joint or something going on there, but I’ll be all right.”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Irving continued his hot shooting over the past several weeks, scoring 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting (and 3-for-6 from 3-point range). Since Nov. 1, Irving is averaging 24.8 points while shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from 3.

After losing here to the lowly Knicks two weeks ago, Irving said he and the Celtics were happy to not only exact some level of revenge but continue the momentum they’ve built over what now is a four-game winning streak.

“We just had fun kicking people’s ass,” Irving said. “We should, we really should. And it should be … competition in itself, it should bring the best out of you. And the way you bring the best out of your opponent is you play at a certain level where they either match it or they exceed it or they don’t do anything at all and they just give up.”

Celtics center Aron Baynes, meanwhile, exited the game after just two minutes because of a sprained left ankle, and didn’t return. After the game, though, Baynes walked out of the arena without a limp or any kind of boot, and said he felt fine — which was precisely what Celtics coach Brad Stevens expected him to say.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“In typical Baynes fashion, he’ll do 3-on-3 drills tomorrow after he does full-court sprints and runs a marathon and then he’ll get ready for the flight, then he’ll play on Saturday,” Stevens said with a smile, and tongue planted firmly in cheek. “But I don’t know if the doctors agree with that, so we’ll see.”

9

The Sixers being this good is a minor miracle

Philly arrives in Toronto on Wednesday essentially in a second-place tie in the Eastern Conference standings. That’s a minor miracle. The past nine months have seen an incredible streak of bad luck and, for lack of a better term, uncontrollable happenstance that has threatened to wreck the momentum that took so many years to craft.

It hasn’t been framed that way because the Sixers and their fans maybe haven’t stopped to consider it; they’ve just dealt with one trauma after another. But what a run.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

It seems like it started in late March against the tanking New York Knicks on a simple give-and-go with Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz. Fultz’s shoulder — yes, that shoulder — ran into Embiid’s face and fractured his orbital bone. Watch the replay, it was crazy; they weren’t even in traffic. It was just a horrid bit of fortune.

At that point, the Sixers had won seven in a row and were just laying waste to teams. They were ramping up to their finest ball of the season. Heck, they were ramping up to their finest ball of the decade.9

Embiid needed surgery and missed 10 games. The Sixers kept winning, eventually getting to 17 in a row, but that belied the fallout. When Embiid came back in the playoffs he wasn’t himself. He had a few good games, but his shooting, rebounding, scoring and efficiency plunged in the postseason. Against the Boston Celtics they needed their best player because Ben Simmons was frozen and Embiid just couldn’t deliver.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Then, of course, we have the great Bryan Colangelo twitter fiasco of 2018. There was so much scrutiny and stress as amateur and professional investigators combed through the internet that it might have been lost on the masses just how ludicrous the entire scenario was.

It is incumbent on any major business to prepare contingency and disaster-response plans. But even in the world of the NBA — in which there seem to be disasters of some sort every few weeks — there was nothing in the handbook for this one. Even now, months later, it still isn’t totally clear what happened as Colangelo has gone underground and no one wants to talk about it. The upshot is the Sixers lost their GM days before they were about to embark on arguably the most important offseason in franchise history.

Would having Colangelo at the controls instead of the front office scrambling to hold things together have made a difference? Would the Sixers have landed a free agent instead of striking out and having to absorb Wilson Chandler as their major offseason move? Would they have been able to close the Nemanja Bjelica deal instead of it falling apart? We don’t know.

What we do know is that it was a letdown of a summer as their competitors made major moves. It created pressure for them to make the in-season move for Jimmy Butler, rolling the dice that he’ll re-sign.

12

Without Chris Harris Jr. and Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos must lean on youth

Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph has watched his team overcome obstacles this season, using words like “grit” and “fight” to describe his players’ efforts.

Now they’ll need those two things more than ever, as wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was lost for the season Wednesday with what team officials believe is a torn left Achilles tendon. Sanders suffered the injury in Wednesday’s practice, or roughly 72 hours after cornerback Chris Harris Jr., a three-time Pro Bowl selection, fractured a fibula against the Cincinnati Bengals.

That’s one of their premier players on offense and one of their premier players on defense out with injuries just as the team had finally clawed its way back into the playoff race.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“This is the 2018 Denver Broncos,” said quarterback Case Keenum. “Nothing’s been handed to us — we’re going to earn everything we get.”12

It also means a team that has leaned, and leaned hard, on its rookie class will do so again. Because while necessity may be the mother of invention, desperation might be the dad. In Sanders’ case, he was already in a wide receivers meeting room each day with four other players who either were rookies or had spent much of their rookie years in 2017 on the Broncos’ practice squad.

That was the choice the Broncos had largely already made when they shipped Demaryius Thomas to the Houston Texans on Oct. 30. At the time it put Sanders on the depth chart with two rookies (Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton) and two inexperienced players (Tim Patrick and River Cracraft).

The Broncos claimed Andre Holmes, a 30-year-old in his seventh season, off waivers less than an hour after they had finished Wednesday’s practice. The Broncos saw Holmes plenty during his four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, and Holmes had a touchdown catch against the Broncos last season when he was with the Buffalo Bills.

But Holmes or no Holmes, it will be the youth movement at wide receiver that determines how the Broncos move the ball in the passing game in the weeks to come.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“When you see somebody go down, it sucks, but each person who has been hurt will tell you that the person replacing them has to go in and do their job,” Sutton said. “If they don’t, the team ultimately suffers and nobody wants to see the team suffer.”

What that means for the Broncos is Sutton has to be, and play like, a No. 1 receiver. He’s won some matchups this season as a complementary player, often physically overwhelming defensive backs, but now he’s going to get a steady diet of top coverage players who would have been covering somebody else if the Broncos were anything resembling a healthy team.

11

The NFL’s ‘willful ignorance,’ and how it botched the Kareem Hunt case

Kareem Hunt apologized to the world, the Kansas City Chiefs organization, his family and his close friends before he finally got around to apologizing to the young woman he shoved and kicked in February — more than seven minutes into Sunday’s interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters. But just as telling about the assault that ultimately cost Hunt his job was his confirmation that the league had never interviewed him about it.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Hunt talked to the Chiefs after the assault outside his Cleveland hotel residence, and the Chiefs then talked to the league, and then Hunt was free to play 11 games and to help his team emerge as a Super Bowl contender. NFL officials accepted a version of events first supplied by a star running back invested in protecting his career, and then passed along by a team invested in keeping said difference-maker on the field, as part of yet another investigation and decision exposed as disturbing, revealing and woefully inadequate by a video aired on TMZ.

“It should surprise me, but it doesn’t,” said Kathy Redmond, who founded the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes more than 20 years ago. “These are non-investigations. It goes back to willful ignorance, and arrogance and hubris on the part of the NFL. It feels like everything the NFL does is on the surface, and to address PR and the brand they have to protect.”

Yes, the NFL says it did try (and fail) to obtain the video from Cleveland police and the hotel, and did try (and fail) to interview the victim it described in a Sunday statement as a “complainant.” That statement said the league’s “ongoing” investigation will include more attempts to interview “the complainants involved in the incident. It will include a review of the new information that was made public on Friday — which was not available to the NFL previously — as well as further conversations with all parties involved in the incident.”11

“Our investigation identified a number of investigative steps that the League did not take to acquire additional information about what occurred inside the elevator. League investigators did not contact any of the police officers who investigated the incident, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, or the Revel to attempt to obtain or view the in-elevator video or to obtain other information. No one from the League asked Rice or his lawyer whether they would make available for viewing the in-elevator video they received as part of criminal discovery in early April. And, after the initial contacts with the Ravens in the immediate aftermath of the incident, League investigators did not follow up with the Ravens to determine whether the team had additional information.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

That report was dated Jan. 8, 2015. Nearly four years later, with Mueller a bit tied up at the moment, it sure would be interesting to see what an independent review of the Hunt “investigation” would turn up.

Understand this: By making multiple attempts to speak with witnesses and to secure the video from hotel officials and law enforcement — even after Cleveland police decided they wouldn’t file charges against Hunt — the league believes it has been more aggressive in the Hunt case than it was in the Rice case, a low standard indeed. An NFL spokesman declined comment when emailed this question: “Why didn’t the league interview Kareem Hunt after the alleged assault?” A person with knowledge of the case said investigators always prefer to speak with the victim of an alleged crime before they speak with the alleged perpetrator, and that the woman’s refusal to respond to the league’s requests for an interview scuttled the plan to interview Hunt.

12

Brighton overcome red card to swat aside poor Crystal Palace in southern derby

Replays appeared to show the Palace man had touched the ball before the Colombian went down, but Glenn Murray converted the spot kick for his ninth league goal of the season. Only Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a better return this campaign than the 35-year-old.

Brighton and Palace share a feisty rivalry with the fixture dubbed the “M23 derby” after the road that links the two clubs and last season’s fixture was marred by crowd disturbances.cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china

Those violent scenes were not repeated on Tuesday but Brighton were reduced to 10 men four minutes after going ahead when Shane Duffy was shown a straight red for attempting to head butt Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt.12

The decision did not halt their momentum, however, as substitute Leon Balogun, brought on to compensate for the dismissal, drilled the ball in from the middle of the area.wholesale cheap nfl jersey china

The home side lost Murray to an injury and his replacement Florin Andone scored Brighton’s third in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time. The Romanian finished off a fast break by striking the ball into the far corner past Wayne Hennessey.

Balogun conceded a penalty 10 minutes before the end by fouling Wilfried Zaha and Luka Milivojevic stepped up to pull one back, but it was not enough to stop Chris Hughton’s side from sealing all three points to rise to 10th in the standings.

“When it was 11 vs. 11 we were the best side. I thought we were outstanding. It’s shame their penalty went in,” Brighton boss Hughton told BBC Sport.

“All first goals are decisive. Anyone who has seen the replay of the penalty will have seen what I have seen so there is no point commenting. That wasn’t the crucial factor. The second goal was the really decisive moment.”

11

Manchester United lineup vs. Arsenal will be decided at last minute – Jose Mourinho

Mourinho’s injury problems are not restricted to his defence, with Alexis Sanchez sidelined because of a hamstring tear and Marcus Rashford doubtful because of an ankle problem.cheap nfl jersey wholesale

“Against Southampton, three hours before the game I didn’t know the team I was going to play,” said Mourinho, who was forced to pick midfielders Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay in defence during the 2-2 draw at St Mary’s.

“Nobody knew the team and ourselves we didn’t know yet. We were waiting to see who could and couldn’t [play] and I think we are going to be in a similar situation.11

“If you asked me at 11 a.m. [on Tuesday] I would say Smalling is not playing, Bailly is not playing, Jones is not playing.

“Of course, Lindelof is out of the question. Valencia is not playing, Shaw is a doubt, Darmian is back but I have to wait and maybe we decide like the last match a couple of hours before the game.”

United face Arsenal sitting seventh in the table, 16 points behind leaders Manchester City and eight adrift of the top four.

Mourinho has said repeatedly he was expecting a difficult campaign and revealed ahead of the meeting with the Gunners that he has been proved right because his was the only team in the top six that did not to improve over the summer.

In comparison, Liverpool spent £167m, Chelsea £128m, Arsenal £68m and Manchester City £63m while Tottenham did not sign a single new player.cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china

“All of the teams they got better,” Mourinho told a news conference on Tuesday. “Spurs was the team who didn’t make direct investment but the best investment is to keep the top players you have so everything got better and we didn’t so I was expecting difficulties for this season but my target is still the top four and we have to fight until the end to try to finish in the top four.”

United’s poor start to the season — they have taken 22 points from their first 14 games — has prompted questions about whether the squad are still behind their manager.

However, Mourinho insisted the performance levels of the players should not be driven by their relationship with him, but out of respect for the shirt.