Tag Archives: Late

NWSL contest turns chippy between Thorns, K.C. late in Challenge Cup match

Rocky Rodriquez and Tyler Lussi scored and the Portland Thorns welcomed their fans to Providence Park for the the first time in 545 days with a 2-1 victory over Kansas City on Friday night.

It was the first professional sporting event in Oregon to have fans in attendance since the Portland Trail Blazers on March 10 last year. State officials are allowing outdoor venues to host events at 25 per cent capacity, but fans are still not allowed at indoor arenas.

The game was part of the National Women’s Soccer League pre-season Challenge Cup tournament, which opened Friday. In the earlier match Friday, the Houston Dash played at home to a scoreless draw with the Chicago Red Stars.

The game turned chippy in the final moments. Portland’s Simone Charley, Morgan Weaver and coach Mark Parsons all got sent off with red cards, as did KC’s Kristen Edmunds.

Thorns were minus Canadian national team captain and all-time international goals leader Christine Sinclair, who played less than half of Canada’s 3-0 win over Wales in a Friday friendly after getting tangled with an opposing player.

Two K.C. players are also on national duty – Desiree Scott and Jordyn Listro – with the Canadian squad, which will learn its path to another Olympic podium when the draw to assign teams their opponents for the group stage at the Tokyo Games this summer is announced on April 21.

Regular season begins May 15

KC NWSL was founded in the off-season after the Utah Royals disbanded. Utah’s players were moved to the new team.

Rodriguez scored in the eighth minute to give Thorns the early lead before Lussi’s goal in the 58th. Veteran Amy Rodriguez scored the first goal for KC in the 60th.

The Challenge Cup runs through May 8 and will be followed by a 24-match (for each team) regular season from May 15-Oct. 30. The NWSL playoffs open Nov. 6 and culminate with the Nov. 20 championship game.

Last summer the NWSL, entering its ninth season with 10 teams, became the first professional sports league to restart in the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic with the inaugural Challenge Cup tournament, held in a bubble in Utah.

A few things are different about this year’s Challenge Cup:

  • It won’t be played in a bubble, like last year’s in Salt Lake City. Matches will take place in teams’ home stadiums, with some fans in attendance where allowed.
  • There are 10 teams this time, not eight. The Orlando Pride are back after missing the 2020 tournament because of an outbreak, while Racing Louisville FC joins as an expansion team. Also, New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC was rebranded as NJ/NY Gotham FC.

More than a dozen Canadians play in the NWSL, including four on the defending Challenge Cup champion Dash. 

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Signa Butler previews Canada’s upcoming U.K. friendlies:

Head coach Bev Priestman has a chance to determine her strongest 18-player roster as Canada come up against Wales and 6th-ranked England in back to back friendlies this month. 9:02

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Hockey world paying tribute to the Great One’s late father, Walter Gretzky

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says Walter Gretzky “embodied all that is great about being a hockey parent.”

Bettman released a statement on Friday following the announcement of the death of Wayne Gretzky’s father late Thursday night.

Walter Gretzky, who had battled Parkinson’s disease, was 82.

Bettman says Walter’s influence on the league and the game was “profound.”

“Teaching the game to his children on the famed backyard rink he built in his beloved hometown of Brantford, Ontario, Walter instilled in them not only an uncommon understanding of hockey’s essence, but a love and respect for the game that has become synonymous with the name Gretzky, all while ensuring that the game was fun to play,” Bettman said.

Bettman praised Walter for staying connected to the game after Wayne retired as a player.

“Walter’s passion for the game and for teaching it to young players transcended place, status and skill level,” he said.

WATCH | Rob Pizzo joins CBC News Network to remember Walter Gretzky:

CBC News Network’s Heather Hiscox and CBC Sports Rob Pizzo reflect on the life of Walter Gretzky. 9:39

“During the two decades since Wayne retired, Walter could always be found at a rink, sharing the game with players and fans at all levels. Quietly and humbly, Walter dedicated so much of his time to countless charities with little fanfare but with a deep commitment to improving the lives of so many — particularly children.”

Oilers release statement

The Edmonton Oilers released a statement, extending their sympathies to the family. Wayne Gretzky played with the team from 1979-88.

“On behalf of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club, I extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Gretzky family on the passing of Walter Gretzky,” said Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson. “The fabric of our franchise has been woven by some of the most influential players, coaches and executives the game has known and included in that too, are the loved ones that make our team a family.

“From his development and constant influence on one of the greatest players our game has known, to the tremendous impact he had on Canada’s gold medal-winning team in 2002, Walter was truly everyone’s hockey dad. He will be missed by all of us, but the memories created by his tremendous character and passion for our game will remain with us forever.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered his condolences in a social media post on Friday morning.

Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Doug Gilmour mourned the loss of “Canada’s Hockey Dad.”

Tributes continued to pour in on Friday

“Always the gentleman. Always had a smile and so incredibly generous with his time. Canada’s Hockey Dad is a very fitting description,” said Leafs president Brendan Shanahan.

WATCH | Walter Gretzky, Canada’s Hockey Dad:

How Walter Gretzky helped make The Great One great. 5:53

Hockey commentator Don Cherry said that “he was truly a great guy. Godspeed Walter.” 

Leafs centre Auston Matthews also paid respect to the Gretzky family.

“Obviously a pioneer of the game. And it’s a really sad day, so my condolences go out to the Gretzky family,” Matthews said.

Tribute from former journalist

Mark Ritter, a former sports journalist and Brantford, Ont., resident, drove an hour on Friday to the city about 100 kilometres west of Toronto to leave a hockey stick at Walter’s reserved parking spot at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.

He recalled once spending an hour talking hockey with Walter at Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant in Toronto.

“He was always really kind,” Ritter said. “He was always shaking hands. He was always making eye contact with people. I think his greatest gift really was time. I think it’s something that people take for granted these days. And I think we’ve kind of learned a little bit more about that during [the COVID-19 pandemic]. That time is really important. And he gave it up unselfishly with kindness and love and care. We lost someone really special.

“I don’t think you’ll hear a negative word about him. He was a great asset to our country.”

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Americans need late goal to scrape past Canada at SheBelieves Cup

Substitute Rose Lavelle scored in the 79th minute to help the U.S. defeat Canada 1-0 Thursday on the opening day of the SheBelieves Cup.

It was a gritty performance by a Canadian side missing captain Christine Sinclair and other top players.

While the top-ranked Americans dominated play at Exploria Stadium, they failed to convert until late when Canada didn’t clear a ball in the box and Lavelle hammered a shot through traffic. The Canadians thought there had been an infraction on the play but to no avail.

The Canadian women, tied for eighth with Brazil in the FIFA world rankings, had their hands full with the Americans who spent much of the game in Canada’s end.

WATCH | Lavelle scores late goal to secure U.S. win over Canada:

The United States defeats Canada 1-0 with Rose Lavelle’s goal in the 79th minute. 1:04

The Americans kept coming but could not finish. Canada had a few chances of its own with a Shelina Zadorsky header going just wide in the dying seconds

The game marked the debut of 34-year-old Bev Priestman as Canada coach. The English native, who worked for Canada Soccer from 2013 to 2018, took over last November when Kenneth Heiner-Moller took a coach job in his native Denmark.

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FIFA eyes late 2021 to pick 2026 World Cup host cities

FIFA set a new target Tuesday of finalizing North American host cities for the 2026 World Cup — if the coronavirus pandemic allows.

The 23 candidate cities likely need to be cut to 16. FIFA said it could confirm them at the end of the the year.

The pre-pandemic schedule called for cities hosting the first 48-team World Cup — likely 10 in the United States and three each in Canada and Mexico — to be picked early this year. The new deadline will depend on FIFA officials being able to take inspection trips to 17 cities in the United States and three each in Canada and Mexico.

“The visits will only take place if the health and safety situation in the host countries allows FIFA to do so,” the governing body said in a statement.

Most of the venues in the United States will be NFL stadiums, with the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets expected to host the final on July 12, 2026.

“Realizing the commercial potential of each venue, as well as in terms of sustainability, human rights and event legacy, is of the utmost importance,” FIFA said.

The first World Cup with 48 teams will have 80 games instead of the current 64.

The proposal was to play 60 games in the United States and 10 each in Canada and Mexico when the bid contest was won in 2018.

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Late winner lifts U.S. over Finland, sets up showdown with Canada for world junior gold

The United States will play for gold at the world junior hockey championship after beating Finland 4-3 on Monday in the tournament semifinals.

Arthur Kaliyev broke a 3-3 deadlock with 1:16 to go with a snap shot from the slot to advance the Americans into the gold-medal game against Canada.

Alex Turcotte, John Farinacci and Matthew Boldy also scored for the Americans, who have won gold four previous times including their last one in 2017.

Kasper Simontaival had a pair of goals and Roni Hirvonen also found the back of the net for Finland, which will face Russia for bronze.

WATCH | Kaliyev’s late tally sends U.S. to gold-medal game:

Arthur Kaliyev’s goal with 1:16 to play in the third period gave the United States a 4-3 win over Finland in the world juniors semifinal. 0:26

Spencer Knight, one of eight returning players for a U.S., team that finished sixth last year following a quarterfinal loss against Finland, stopped 33-of-36 shots. Kari Piiroinen made 21 saves for the Finns.

Canada, last year’s gold-medal winner, blanked the 2020 silver medallists from Russia 5-0 in Monday’s other semifinal. Both medal games go Tuesday at Rogers Place.

Turcotte held off a Finnish defender to swipe home a bouncing puck from the top of the crease to open the scoring at 12:39 of the first period.

The Finns responded quickly on a power play, with Simontaival finishing off a one-touch pass from Kasper Puutio on a set play at 14:06 to even the score.

Knight stopped 18-of-19 shots through 40 minutes, and was rewarded by his teammates when the U.S. struck twice in a 1:07 span of the second period to take a two-goal lead into the third frame.

Jackson LaCombe caught Finland making a change and sprung Farinacci on a breakaway with a slick pass up the middle from his own zone, with the American forward snapping the puck past Piiroinen at 15:53 of the second.

Then while on a man advantage, Boldy tipped in a perfect snap pass from Trevor Zegras at the side of the net to make it 3-1 with three minutes to go in the period.

Zegras’ assist gives him 16 points in six games and ties him with Jeremy Roenick (1989) for the second highest single tournament point total in American history. Doug Weight set the record with 19 points in 1991.

Simontaival brought Finland back within one midway through the third when he took a pass on his forehand in the slot and snapped it glove side on Knight, and Hirvonen supplied the game-tying goal off a rebound in front on a power play with 3:43 remaining.

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Pascal Siakam benched as Raptors come alive late to beat Knicks for 1st win

It took four games, and the benching of Pascal Siakam to reinforce the message of team culture, but the Toronto Raptors finally looked like themselves on Thursday.

Fred VanVleet had 25 points and Kyle Lowry had 20 and the Raptors pulled away to beat the New York Knicks 100-83, ending a miserable three-game winless streak, their worst start in 15 years.

“It just feels good, man,” VanVleet said. “A first win is hard to get in any season and losing three in a row any time in a season is not acceptable around here and I think a lot of guys are fired up, there’s a core group here that we know what we’re thinking at all times but sometimes things just need to be said out loud.

“So, I think guys said, `Enough is enough and it was time to get a win.”‘

WATCH | Raptors ring in new year with win over Knicks:

Toronto Raptors defeat New York Knicks 100-83, Fred VanVleet leads the way with 25 points. 1:15

Norman Powell started in place of Siakam and finished with 17 points, while newcomer Alex Len had 11 off the bench.

Coach Nick Nurse had benched Siakam after the angry forward fouled out of Tuesday’s loss in Philadelphia and made a beeline for the locker-room.

Nurse said the move was a “discipline thing for an internal matter.” The message? “Just a certain way we want to do things and everybody’s got to be a part of that. As simple as that,” the coach said.

Julius Randle and Kevin Knox had 16 points apiece to top the Knicks. RJ Barrett, one of 18 Canadians on NBA opening-night rosters, had 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Raptors went winless in their first three games — collapsing down the stretch in each loss to the angst of Raptors fans, and the frustration of players — going 0-3 for just the second time in franchise history. They pointed to the new-look roster and the shortened pre-season as causes.

After the morning shootaround, Len talked about “tension in the locker-room.”

But on Thursday, the Raptors played with the confidence and late-game toughness that they’ve made their cornerstone the past few seasons, to pull away and win, ending 2020 on a high note.

VanVleet pointed to a particular Lowry play that set the tone. The veteran guard hauled down a rebound that VanVleet guessed he had only about 20 per cent chance of retrieving.

“And he went and got it, and I don’t think we looked back after that moment,” VanVleet said. “So it’s those types of plays that you gotta imprint on this team and continue to make those types of plays and that’s what we needed to do to win.

“We’re not going to go out there and out-talent anybody this year, we’ve got to do the little things.”

Toronto saw an early 11-point lead disappear at Amalie Arena, but battled back in the third and when VanVleet connected on a pair of free throws late in the frame, the Raptors went back up by eight. A three-pointer by Len sent the Raptors into the fourth up 71-64.

Lowry found Chris Boucher under the net for a dunk, then VanVleet nailed a three-pointer to cap an 11-0 run and the Raptors were up by 11 with 5:27 to play. A Lowry steal led to a VanVleet bucket with 3:01 to play and it was a 20-point difference. Nurse then went deep into his bench to close out the win.

The Knicks shot a brutal 8.3 per cent from three-point range.

“We were in the game,” Randle said. “Obviously 3-for-36 shooting (from distance) doesn’t help but overall we thought it was a very winnable game for us.”

Siakam watched the game in street clothes. He’d had a solid start to the three games he’s played this season, but fizzled in the second half of each.

VanVleet said Nurse addressed Siakam’s benching at the morning shootaround.

“So this is not gonna linger around us,” he said. “‘P’ was great. He was great, he handled it very well, he was a great energy for us on the bench tonight even though he wasn’t playing and we can’t wait to get him back out there with us.”

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Messi salutes late idol Diego Maradona in iconic celebration after scoring

Lionel Messi paid tribute to Diego Maradona by stripping off his Barcelona top to reveal a shirt for the fallen Argentine great after he scored the final goal in a 4-0 rout of Osasuna on Sunday.

Messi celebrated his powerful strike from outside the box by taking off Barcelona’s blue-and-burgundy to reveal the red-and-black of Maradona’s shirt from his stint at Newell’s Old Boys. Messi then blew a kiss with both hands to the sky as he looked upward.

After the game, Messi posted a photo of his tribute alongside an older image of Maradona in the same shirt, adding the message “Farewell, Diego” in Spanish.

“It was a great moment,” said Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman. “First, for the goal that Leo scored and then for the gesture he had for the death of Diego Maradona. He had surely been thinking of what he would do. For me, it was a great moment in every way.”

WATCH | CPL’s John Molinaro remembers Diego Maradona’s life, legacy:

Legendary soccer player Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60. John Molinaro joins CBC Sports to discuss his legacy on and off the field. 3:44

Messi played for Newell’s before he joined Barcelona at age 13. Maradona played five matches for Newell’s in 1994 near the end of his glorious playing career that made him a legend in his home country.

Messi had kept his head bowed during the minute of silence before kickoff in the Spanish league game at the empty Camp Nou for Maradona, who died of a heart attack on Wednesday at age 60. Maradona played for Barcelona from 1982-84.

“We have lost Diego, a world idol,” Barcelona’s Brazil forward Philippe Coutinho said. “Everyone admired him and we will all miss him. [Messi’s] tribute was beautiful.”

Coutinho also scored for Barcelona, along with Martin Braithwaite and Antoine Griezmann.

The win was only Barcelona’s second in seven league matches. It left the team in eighth place with two games in hand. Leader Real Sociedad hosts third-place Villarreal later. Second-place Atletico Madrid is nine points ahead of Barcelona also with two games in hand.

WATCH | Maradona’s famed ‘Hand of God’ goal:

In Mexico City during a quarter-final match against England, Argentine striker Diego Maradona scores “the goal”. 0:50

The victory for Koeman’s side may have come at the price of losing yet another defender.

Clement Lenglet hurt his lower right leg when it was unintentionally knocked by an Osasuna player in the second half. He had to be helped off by two team doctors. Barcelona was already without three other central defenders due to injury and right back Sergi Roberto.

Supreme dribbling skills

Barcelona finished the match with midfielder Frenkie de Jong in the centre of its defence alongside reserve team player Óscar Mingueza in his second game for the senior squad.

Koeman said it appears the injury to Lenglet is “not serious” but that he would undergo a medical exam on Monday.

Sergio Busquets returned for Barcelona from a knee injury that had sidelined him for two games.

Considered by many as the best player in his generation — and one of the greatest ever — Messi has been judged, especially back home, by how his career compares to that of Maradona.

WATCH | Maradona’s ‘Goal of the Century’:

After scoring the “Hand of God” goal in 1986, Diego Maradona scores again, a spectacular effort against England. 0:58

Messi shares the lower centre of gravity, the supreme dribbling skills and the ability to score eye-popping goals as Argentina’s other great No. 10. But while his life focused on football and family has kept him well clear of the addictions that ruined Maradona’s health, Messi has never been able to reproduce the 1986 World Cup trophy Maradona led his country to, coming closest in 2014 when a Messi-led Argentina lost in the final to Germany.

Messi’s tribute to Maradona overshadowed a fine performance by Griezmann, the France forward who has been criticized for not reaching his potential at Barcelona.

Braithwaite scrambled in a rebound — after Coutinho’s attempt was saved by Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera — to open the scoring on the half-hour mark.

Griezmann doubled the lead three minutes before halftime when he volleyed a blistering strike from outside the area that left Herrera flat-footed and with no chance of stopping it.

Griezmann then passed up another scoring chance and opted to assist Coutinho to tap in the hosts’ third goal in the 57th. Messi rounded it off with his strike from long range in the 73rd.

“It was important to get this win because those at the top of table keep winning and we couldn’t slip again,” Griezmann said. “We did not know what Messi had planned to honour Maradona. It was a nice surprise.”

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Unable to say final goodbye, wife of late Oiler Colby Cave urges Canadians to respect COVID-19 regulations

Emily Cave didn’t expect her Instagram post about taking COVID-19 regulations seriously to go viral.

The wife of Edmonton Oilers’ centre Colby Cave, who died in April after suffering a brain bleed, simply wanted people to know how the pandemic is impacting people like her – people who can’t say a final goodbye to their loved ones.

“My 25-year-old husband died alone,” Emily Cave wrote in a story on Thursday. “I have no clue what his last breath was like. I have yet to be able to have a funeral because of this global pandemic.

“So for goodness sake, wear a mask. Wash your freaking hands and it’s not the end of the world if you can’t go to house parties or do things that are essentially a ‘luxury’ in your blessed world.”

Cave said she’d been seeing and hearing a lot of complaints about restrictions aimed at curbing the virus not just in Alberta, where measures were increased Thursday, but around the globe.

“I try to be super respectful and mindful. But I kind of just hit my breaking point a little bit yesterday,” she said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“COVID is impacting people in so many different ways. It’s impacting small business owners, it’s impacting health care workers, it’s impacting politics. But I can’t speak on behalf of those people. I can speak on behalf of losing a loved one during the global pandemic and what that looked like.”

It wasn’t the first time Cave has gone online to express herself. She posted heart-wrenching updates on Instagram after Colby was placed in a medically-induced coma at a Toronto hospital in April, detailing how she and his parents could only see him through a window and speak to him with a walkie talkie because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Doctors performed emergency surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on Colby’s brain, but the forward from North Battleford, Sask., died on April 11.

When the pandemic began taking hold in North America in March, Cave and her husband were concerned about staying healthy and protecting others, but never would have imagined how they were about to be impacted by the virus.

Her latest Instagram story has shown, however, that she isn’t alone in finding ways to grieve through the health crisis.

Immediately, people began sharing her post. By the time she woke up on Friday, her phone had “blown up,” and her words had caught the attention of outlets like TMZ and the New York Post.

Several people also got in touch with Cave to share their own stories.

“I’ve had people reach out saying `I haven’t had a funeral for my loved one’ or `I was on FaceTime saying goodbye to my loved one’ and all of that….It’s probably the worst experience you could ever go through,” she said. “And if [my post] can open a few eyes, that’s great.”

People have been reaching out in various ways since Colby’s death, Cave said. At first it was odd but now she finds solace in the messages.

“The more and more I get and the more and more time goes on, it’s really actually comforting just to know I’m not the only one, I’m not alone,” she said. “And if me sharing things can help people realize that they’re not alone, I’m more than willing to continue to share stories.”

Some of the comments have brought tears to her eyes, including the one where someone wrote “Colby chose his wife well.”

“It made me cry but I just felt like I was doing him proud,” Cave said.

She hopes the story she shared this week opens eyes and reminds people that they may not be aware what impact COVID-19 is having on the lives of others.

“Just be careful, be kind, look out for each other, don’t take things for granted — all those cliché things that, until a trauma happens to you, you can’t really grasp or really appreciate,” she said.

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