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ctable and their off-the-ball movement

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Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss Maple Leafs defenceman Paul Ranger, Floyd Mayweather, the Washington Capitals decision to let Alex Ovechkin participate in the Olympic torch relay and the Washington Redskins nickname. Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Paul Ranger. Ranger was a top-four defenceman for Tampa Bay when in 2009 he asked for a leave of absence from the team and for his salary to be withheld. He didnt come back. After two years he resurfaced to help coach his old bantam triple-A team in Whitby. And last year he asked Toronto for an AHL-only contract and excelled. Now hes a Leaf. He wont say what specifically kept him away, but he talks about how strong he feels inside, how the mental side of the game is so important and how proud he is that hes come this far. Were not hard to root for people in this business, but Ill say this: for Paul Ranger its not hard to make an exception. Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Floyd Mayweather Jr., the only breakout star left in the dwindling attraction that is boxing. Money Mayweather was at his best Saturday night in Las Vegas putting on another clinic of both pugilism and commerce winning just about every round against the capable Canelo Alvarez and taking home a guaranteed purse of $41.5 million to boot. Mayweather was as slippery as ever in the Super Welterweight title bout, nearly impossible to hit, counter-punching, utilizing his incomparable hand speed. The only downfall to the one-sided win was one of the ringside judges, C.J. Ross, myopically scored the fight a draw. Anyone who watched from around the world knew better. Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to simple common sense, which the Washington Capitals showed in the not-insignificant matter of Alex Ovechkin and the Olympic torch relay. The Capitals are allowing Ovechkin a quick trip to Greece to carry the torch from Mount Olympus even though it will occur only two days before the team opens – eight time zones away – in Chicago. Washington might have a travel-weary captain against the Blackhawks, but my guess is this conspicuously proud Russian will be energized by the torch honour. Ovechkin had a slow start to his Hart-winning 2013 season. This Olympic hors doeuvre is the thing that might light a fire under him. Dave Naylor, TSN: My thumb is up to the growing number of voices calling for the Washington Redskins to find a new nickname. Recently the chorus of those crying for change added two prominent American journalists: Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Christine Brennan of USA Today who, among others, said they will no longer use the word in their work. More significantly, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appears to be changing his tune, talking about the "need to be listening" and to "do the right thing." Many, including Goodell, have pointed out that the Redskins name represents an important piece of the NFLs history. But history is exactly where that name belongs. Tramon Williams Jersey . The future hall of famers stole the show at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night, with Jagr moving into seventh place in all-time goal scoring and Brodeur stopping 29 shots as the Devils downed the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Oren Burks Packers Jersey . Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Fiorentina levelled on aggregate in the 14th minute when Joaquin Sanchez Rodriguez headed back a long ball from David Pizarro and Pasqual smashed home an angled volley. http://www.shoptheofficialpackers.com/E ... rs-Jersey/. The 29-year-old German, the 2011 overall World Cup champion, says she has decided "to end my career now. Josh Jackson Packers Jersey .com) - Thursday marks the official debut of a new dirt racing surface at Meydan Racecourse. Tramon Williams Packers Jersey . -- Josh Smith made a 3-pointer as time expired and finished with 20 points to lift the Detroit Pistons to a 99-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night in both teams exhibition finale.SHAPES OF MLS – Whitecaps fail to take advantage of Chivas red card THE FORMATIONS Both teams came into the game on the back of opening day victories: Chivas USA got a late goal from Bobby Burling to defeat the Chicago Fire 3-2, while the Vancouver Whitecaps destroyed the New York Red Bulls 4-1. Chivas named an unchanged lineup from the opening day, while Vancouver were forced to make one change, as Russell Teibert was unavailable due to a slight hamstring strain. Kenny Miller took up Teiberts place on the right, with designated player, Pedro Morales, occupying the attacking midfield role for the Whitecaps. THE GAME Given that the on-field temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius at kick-off, the tempo of the game was understandably slow at the start. Vancouver was content to move the ball around the back as it tried to find a way to get Morales involved in the game. Chivas started the game brightly, but its game plan went out the window in the 13th minute when Augustin Pelletieri was harshly sent off for a challenge on Morales in midfield. The challenge from Pelletieri was a strong block tackle, but in no way did it merit a red card. The tackle could not be classed as violent conduct, nor was it made with excessive force. The sending off forced Chivas to drop Thomas McNamara back into midfield, leaving Erick Torres to play up front on his own in a 4-4-1 formation. The red card galvanized Chivas, though, as they defended stoutly for the remainder of the game. Credit has to go to their new head coach, Wilmer Cabrera, who has transformed Chivas from a dysfunctional group of also-rans into a well-oiled, well-organized unit. In Mauro Rosales and Leandro Barrera, Chivas had two wingers who provided a genuine threat from wide areas. Both players terrorized Vancouver on the counter attack, as time and time again, Chivas repelled the Whitecaps buildup play. In Oswaldo Minda, Chivas had a midfield destroyer who sat in front of the back four and disrupted play. His defensive work alongside McNamara in the middle of the park made life difficult for Vancouvers central trio of Matias Laba, Nigel Reo-Coker and Morales. In fact, Morales was virtually anonymous until the second half, when a formation change allowed him to get more time on the ball. In Burling and Carlos Bocanegra, Chivas had two experienced MLS defenders. Neither player is especially quick, but given Vancouvers inability to move the ball quickly, this didnt pose a problem for either defender on the day. With the home side looking bright, Chivas took the lead just before the half-time break after Reo-Coker forced a pass in midfield that was intercepted by Rosales. The winger broke quickly and played the ball to Torres, whose strike from the edge of the penalty area hit the backside of Whitecaps skipper Jay DeMerit, deflecting past the helpless David Ousted in goal. Chivas fully deserved their lead, as the Whitecaps were second-best throughout the first half. Slow, methodical, deliberate and predictable. All of these words can be used to describe Vancouvers play in the opening 45 minutes. It was a complete reversal from the slick, fluid passing performance that the Whitecaps displayed just one week earlier and head coach Carl Robinson had some choice words for his players in the locker room at half-time – buck up your ideas or changes were coming in 10 minutes. THE TURNING POINT Robinson gave his team 15 minutes in the second half before introducing Kekuta Manneh in the 60th minute. Manneh came on for Reo-Coker and brought with him a change in formation for the Whitecaps. Vancouver shifted to a 4-4-2 formation with Miller partnering Darren Mattocks up front, Morales dropping alongside Laba in central midfield, and Manneh and Sebastian Fernandez occupying roles on the flanks. Manneh iinstantly changed the game for Vancouver.dddddddddddd Every time he got the ball, he ran at the Chivas defenders, forcing them onto the back foot. This forced the Chivas midfield to help out defensively by applying back pressure on Manneh, creating space in midfield for Morales to dictate the tempo of the game. The Chileans passing range is superb and his through balls for the likes of Mattocks, Manneh and Erik Hurtado, who entered the game in the 75th minute for Fernandez, were a threat for Vancouver, although they failed to produce a goal for the Whitecaps. Instead, the equalizer came from good work by Mattocks down the left. The Jamaican recovered possession after pressurizing the Chivas backline, drove to the byline and cut the ball back to the top of the penalty area, where Manneh was able to calmly side-foot the ball past Kennedy. It was a cool finish from the youngster, and the move gave a glimpse of just how dangerous the Whitecaps can be when their young guns are flying. THE POSITIVES The play of the three substitutes (Manneh, Hurtado and Christian Dean, who made his professional debut after replacing the slightly injured Andy OBrien) made a real difference for Vancouver. The team as a whole looked lethargic until after the substitutions were made and too many key players struggled to impact the game. But the youngsters came on and made a difference by upping the tempo, allowing Vancouver to rescue a point from a game in which they were often second-best. Carl Robinson deserves a mention for not only his willingness to make early substitutions, giving those players enough time to alter the course of the game, but also for his decision to change to a 4-4-2 formation. Morales was ineffective in an advanced midfield role, as Chivas did an excellent job of compressing the space between lines, as well as across the pitch. Dropping Morales deeper (and putting Miller up front alongside Mattocks) allowed the Chilean to get on the ball and do what he does best – pull the strings. Too often, coaches are married to a tactical formation and Robinson showed that he is savvy enough to make in-game changes to produce the desired result. THE NEGATIVES Too many below-par performances from too many key players – DeMerit, Reo-Coker and Miller, in particular – saw the Whitecaps struggle to dictate a game in which they had a man advantage for 77 minutes. Playing Miller on the right in place of Teibert did not work. While one game is not enough to come to a conclusion on his ability to be effective in a wider role, there will be plenty of discussion and debate amongst the coaching staff before they choose a employ the Scot in a similar role. It is often said that it is difficult to play against 10 men, but this is only true if you play the game at a pedestrian pace. This is exactly what Vancouver did against Chivas, as the Whitecaps ball movement was slow and predictable and their off-the-ball movement was non-existent. Chivas were able to set two solid lines of four with Torres operating as an outlet up front, which allowed them to break quickly on the flanks through Rosales and Barrera whenever they recovered possession. THE STAR MAN It is very difficult to pick out a star player for Vancouver, as so many players were below average. However, Manneh showed glimpses of what he can offer as a dynamic attacking threat and he took his goal very well. If Teibert is still unavailable for this Saturdays game away to New England (watch on CTV BC at 11am pt), Manneh could very well have played his way into Robinsons starting eleven. For Chivas, Leandro Barrera looks like a perfect complement to Mauro Rosales. With Torres and McNamara making a nuisance of themselves up front, dont expect the 2014 version of Chivas USA to be a pushover. Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping ' ' '

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