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.”


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.”

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.”


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.


What Jean Segura trade says about Phillies’ pursuit of Manny Machado

The Mariners-Phillies trade is finally official: The Mariners will send shortstop Jean Segura and relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos to the Phillies for first baseman Carlos Santana and shortstop J.P. Crawford.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

As with so many trades, the money and contracts must be considered. Segura is signed for four more seasons at $59.4 million (there is a $17 million team option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout). Santana has two years remaining at $41.1 million, plus a $500,000 buyout or $17.5 million team option for 2021. Nicasio will make $9.25 million in 2019 while Pazos and Crawford and not arbitration-eligible.12

While finding a taker for Santana’s contract was a nice bonus to this deal, the fact that the Phillies took on more overall money in the deal is an indication — at least to me — that they were hesitant to hand shortstop to Crawford in 2019.

A former first-round pick, Crawford’s minor league career had some ups and downs, but after a solid season at Triple-A in 2017 (he hit .243/.351/.405 with 79 walks and 15 home runs in 556 plate appearances) and a 23-game cameo with the Phillies, he entered 2018 as Keith Law’s No. 10 overall prospect.

Crawford began the season as the Phillies’ starting shortstop and was hitting .188 on April 28, when he landed on the DL with a forearm strain. He returned in June, started eight of 11 games at third base, and then suffered a broken hand when hit by a pitch. He returned in September and ended up hitting .214/.319/.393 in 138 PAs with the Phillies (and .208/.339/.317 in 29 games in the minors). It was mostly a lost season given the injuries, so it’s hard to evaluate his progress. It’s worth pointing out that the Phillies know him best of all and decided to trade him.

The basic scouting report: good glove, bats lefty, won’t hit for much for average or power, good plate discipline.

There doesn’t appear to be a lot of upside on offense, although if he draws enough walks at least he won’t kill the offense with a poor OBP. If he’s a .350 OBP guy with 10 home runs and good defense, that’s a valuable player. If he’s a .300 OBP guy with limited power, there’s pressure on the defense to be elite, and that seems to be the overriding issue in evaluating him: Is he an elite defender?nike nfl jerseys cheap china

His defense has always been scouted as a strength, with range, good hands and a strong arm. The metrics, however, were not kind to him in 2018, with minus-6 DRS in just 229 innings. Some of that was courtesy of a high error rate — he made eight errors, all on throws, for a poor .931 fielding percentage. Two of those came trying to complete double plays, one trying to double a runner off first and the other five came on grounders. The curious thing is when Crawford returned in June, Scott Kingery — who had played two games at shortstop in his minor league career — continued to get the majority of the starts at shortstop while Crawford played third base. Seems like a strange decision to move the player who is supposed to be the potentially elite defender.


Injury-plagued Rockets’ lack of depth exposed in loss to Mavericks

For the Rockets, the best thing about their fourth consecutive loss was that it was lopsided enough for coach Mike D’Antoni to pull his overworked starters with more than seven minutes remaining.

The injury-riddled Rockets’ lack of depth was exposed in Wednesday’s 128-108 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, who had a 65-25 edge in bench scoring.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

“Obviously, it’s a problem,” D’Antoni said. “It’s something that I know that the front office tried to address. They’re going to do the best they can. No blame going around; it’s just the way it is.”12

The Rockets played without star guard Chris Paul (hamstring) and key reserve wing Gerald Green (ankle). D’Antoni indicated that he expects both players to return for Friday’s road game against the San Antonio Spurs (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App) and that backup center Nene Hilario is close to being ready for his season debut after being sidelined by a calf strain.

“Then our depth is pretty good,” D’Antoni said. “We’ve got everybody a couple of rungs up. We’ve got rookies playing as the sixth or seventh man. They should be ninth, 10th men. They would be OK every once in a while, but when you rely on them, it’s tough. And it’s not their fault. They’re going to develop. Again, we’re just going to have to knock on wood and make sure they stay healthy.”

The only Rockets reserves to play non-garbage time minutes against the Mavs were recent G League call-up Danuel House Jr. and undrafted rookies Gary Clark and Isaiah Hartenstein. The Rockets entered the season counting on minimum-salary additions Carmelo Anthony and Michael Carter-Williams to play key reserve roles, but the team opted to part ways with Anthony after he struggled, and Carter-Williams has fallen out of the rotation.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

Four players on the Rockets, who are second to last in the Western Conference standings with a 9-11 record, have averaged more than 36 minutes during the losing streak, which has included two overtime games. D’Antoni believes that fatigue has played a significant role in the Rockets’ recent struggles and is concerned about the long-term effect if he can’t lighten the loads of James Harden, PJ Tucker, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon, in particular.

The Mavs’ bench significantly outplayed the Rockets’ starters early in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, killing any hopes of a Houston comeback after Harden (25 points, 11 rebounds, 17 assists and six steals) led a rally to cut the deficit to seven points at the end of the third. Mavs reserve guards J.J. Barea (13 points, 12 assists in 18 minutes) and Devin Harris (20 points, four assists in 15 minutes) dominated during a 20-6 run that led D’Antoni to pull his starters.


Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Doncic keeps dominating

Luka Doncic and James Harden put on a playmaking party last night in Houston. As far as the winner’s side, Doncic continued to impress with an efficient 20 points on 11 shot attempts.

Harden led both teams outright in points (25), rebounds (11), assists (17) and steals (6), but the Rockets fell 128-108 to the Mavericks, losing their fourth straight game. Remarkably, at 9-11, Houston is second to last in the Western Conference standings a season removed from finishing with the best record in the NBA. Houston is now 1-7 when either Chris Paul or Harden sits (0-5 without Paul) and 8-4 when both play this season.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Harden picked up his 36th career triple-double, seven back of Fat Lever for eighth all-time, but also added eight turnovers. Harden has 35 turnovers in his past four games, the most by any player in any four-game span on record (first tracked in 1977-78). Bob McAdoo held the previous distinction, with 34 turnovers in a four-game span back in January of 1978, per Elias.

Harden is averaging 38.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 12.8 APG in Houston’s past four games and they’ve lost them all. Harden’s fantasy managers, however, stay winning.11

The performance marked Doncic’s 10th 20-point performance in his 19th career game, becoming the fourth player with 10 20-point games within his first 20 career games during the past 10 seasons. The other three eventually won Rookie of the Year: Tyreke Evans, Kyrie Irving, and Damian Lillard.

With an impressive slash of 19.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.5 3PG and 1 SPG as a 19-year-old import to the league, we find only Paul George currently matching Doncic’s production in each of these categories this season. Meanwhile, Doncic is the lone rookie on record to produce that many points, assists, rebounds and 3-pointers.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

With Doncic universally rostered in ESPN leagues, it’s worth noting just how effective Dallas’ bench mob has proven this season. For instance, J.J. Barea is averaging 17 PPG, 9.0 APG, 1.3 3PG and 1.0 SPG during his past three outings, all wins for the Mavs. Barea is available in roughly 85 percent of ESPN leagues as of Thursday morning. Going a bit deeper into Dallas’ rotation, we find one Maximilian Kleber, who is one of just seven players averaging at least one made 3-pointer and 1.3 blocks per game this season. Wesley Matthews, for his part, is tied with Devin Booker and Danilo Gallinari with 2.5 made 3-pointers per game.


Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri won’t change N’Golo Kante position after Tottenham shocker

Kante’s rate of tackles and interceptions have plummeted this season as he operates higher up the pitch in Sarri’s 4-3-3 system, but Sarri said that Chelsea’s midfield problems against Tottenham were not rooted in tactics.

“I think, as you know, I want to play a central midfielder as a very technical player — Jorginho or [Cesc] Fabregas,” the ex-Napoli boss said. “I don’t want Kante in this position.

“And I think this is not one of the best characteristics of Kante, but it was only a reaction to the difficulties [of the team].”

Sarri also hinted it may be possible that Kante — who last week signed a new five-year contract making him Chelsea’s highest-paid player on around £290,000-a-week — does not yet understand what his manager is asking him to do.

“Maybe. Maybe it’s only a question of time,” Sarri replied when asked if that was the case. “But Kante has to stay near to Jorginho, especially when the ball is on the other side.

“When the ball is on the left, he has to stay very close to Jorginho.”

Olivier Giroud, Kante’s teammate for club and country, has no doubt that his fellow World Cup winner will get on Sarri’s wavelength sooner rather than later.

“I think N’Golo can play every single position in midfield,” he said. “In the manager’s philosophy, how he wants us to play, Jorginho is the holding midfielder or Cesc — that’s a very important part of our game.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“Maybe in the manager’s mind, N’Golo is more efficient playing that position box to box. He can be more efficient carrying the ball, finding passes between the lines.12

“Obviously we know how fast he is. When he recovers the ball, he can penetrate the lines. That’s one of his main strengths as well. It’s a good position for him.

“He maybe needs to be more selfish around the box when he has the opportunity to shoot. I’m pretty sure he will score more goals. We know it’s not his main strength, but he’s very important for us in recovering the ball. He’s everywhere.

“We don’t need to question his position. He just needs to adapt to what the manager wants.”

Sarri did not hold back in his criticism of Chelsea’s performance immediately after the Spurs loss, and he held individual meetings with his players on their return to training on Monday.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“It’s very difficult for them, I think, to tell me why [it happened],” Sarri said. “Very difficult.

“Somebody told me that, maybe, the international break was a problem. A problem to be immediately ready at 100 percent. But I don’t know.

“Maybe for Tottenham it was easier because the players of Tottenham played here in London, played on Sunday [for England]. On Monday they were all together, but the situation was similar. So, maybe, it can be true. But only for a small percentage, I think.”


Unai Emery has work to do as Arsenal show grit and flaws in Bournemouth win

After three draws in a row, Arsenal are back to winning ways in the Premier League and on balance, Sunday’s 2-1 victory against a lively Bournemouth side was deserved. They took the lead through a bizarre Jefferson Lerma own goal but were pegged back on the stroke of half-time by Josh King. But Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winner brought them back to within a point of the top four and extended their unbeaten run to 17 games in all competitions.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

An open start brought close shaves and some controversy, too. In the eighth minute, David Brooks tucked the ball past Bernd Leno after a scramble inside the Arsenal box, only to be swiftly flagged offside. The decision looked questionable: one of Brooks’ legs seemed level with Shkodran Mustafi, while there was a suggestion he had found possession via another Arsenal defender. Bournemouth’s frustration was almost compounded when Lucas Torreira thudded the left upright with a 20-yard drive and watched Alex Iwobi lash the rebound over.11

Arsenal began to assume control and took the lead in bizarre fashion on the half-hour. Lerma’s finish would have been applauded at the other end; in this case, though, he stretched to intercept a Sead Kolasinac cross and only succeeded in lacing a firm volley into his own net from 14 yards. Kolasinac might have found it harder to deliver the cross if Brooks, who might have provided some cover on Bournemouth’s right, had not been running back on to the pitch after receiving some treatment.

As half-time neared the visitors looked comfortable but, from nowhere, they were picked apart. It was a flowing move from Bournemouth, Callum Wilson and Brooks combining to tee up an emphatic left-footed finish from King — which was immediately followed by the whistle.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Aubameyang, fed by Mkhitaryan, shot over just after the hour as Arsenal began the second half brightly. It was not long before he went one better. Again the provider was Kolasinac, running behind a dozing Ryan Fraser as Bournemouth stood off, and the Gabonese striker slid in to convert his 10th goal of the season in all competitions, and his 18th in 26 Premier League matches since joining in January.

Bournemouth huffed and puffed in response. Substitute Junior Stanislas could not quite sort his feet out 11 minutes from time and jabbed softly at Leno. Then, six minutes from time, Lerma took aim from range but struck the same upright Torreira had hit earlier. There was to be no further shot at redemption.


Mets coach Jim Riggleman downplays idea he’s manager in waiting

New York started 11-1 last season in Callaway’s first season as a manager, then struggled with injuries and faded to 44-63 by early August before finishing fourth in the NL East at 77-85.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any issue with any perception because I think we’re going to get that out of the way real quick by the way we work in spring training and the way we get out of the blocks in April as to what our ballclub is going to be able to do,” Riggleman said.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Riggleman’s agent, Burton Rocks, was contacted about the job by Mets senior adviser Omar Minaya even before new Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was hired last month. The 66-year-old Riggleman interviewed about two weeks ago with Van Wagenen, Callaway, assistant general manager John Ricco and Minaya.11

Riggleman was Cincinnati’s bench coach and became interim manager for the final five-plus months last season. He led the Reds to a 64-80 record after the team’s 3-15 start under Bryan Price. David Bell was hired by the Reds on Oct. 21.

In a 2-1, 10-inning loss at Riggleman’s Reds on May 9, New York’s Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores batted out of order because the handwritten lineup card given to umpires was different from a computer-printed version posted in the Mets’ dugout.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“It’s one that got by, but, believe me, it’s gotten by everybody who’s ever done this job,” Riggleman said. “Now, sometimes it happened in the minor leagues and it’s such an eye-opening experience for you that you just say, wow, as many times as we looked at that lineup, that one got by us.”

Riggleman also managed the Chicago Cubs (1995-99), Seattle (2008) and Washington (2009-11). He has a 726-904 (.445) record as a big league manager. He compared his new job under Callaway to his work with Jim Tracy with the Los Angeles Dodgers and with Price.