Tag Archives: small

Matt Dunstone gets an assist at Brier from small town in Saskatchewan

Matt Dunstone’s curling team continued to parlay the generosity of a Saskatchewan small town into its strong start at the Canadian men’s championship.

Dunstone’s foursome downed Quebec 9-6 on Tuesday for a third straight win. Saskatchewan was 4-1 in Pool B at the Tim Hortons Brier.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Brier at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as streamed live on CBC Gem and CBCSports.ca

The COVID-19 pandemic decimating the competitive curling season and closing off ice time in certain regions of the country meant none of the 18 participating teams were in peak form upon arrival in Calgary.

Dunstone’s home club in Regina closed due to restrictions, a curling club in Wadena, population 1,300, offered itself up as an exclusive training base to the team.

Dunstone, vice Braeden Moskowy and front end Kirk Muyres and Dustin Kidby had the run of the Wadena Curling Club for two weeks before the Brier.

‘Huge advantage’

“We had two straight weeks of dialing in pretty much exactly how we wanted to throw the stone,” Dunstone said Tuesday.

“Huge advantage to us to be able to spend that amount of time doing exactly that. Not a whole lot of rust coming into this. We felt pretty confident in how we were throwing the rock.”

Ontario’s John Epping also won Tuesday to join Saskatchewan at 4-1 behind Kevin Koe’s Wild Card Two, which enjoyed a day off from the ice atop Pool B at 5-0.

THAT CURLING SHOW | Ben Hebert, Michael Fournier and Greg Smith join the show:

Hosts Colleen Joens and Devin Heroux get the low-down from Benny Heebz in the bubble, learn what ‘feed the horses’ means and gets a lesson in sass from Newfoundland and Labrador’s Greg Smith. 55:36

Four-time Brier champ Koe faces both Epping and Dunstone on Wednesday.

Ontario won its fourth straight downing Greg Smith of Newfoundland and Labrador 9-4.

“That was probably one of our best performance so far,” Epping said.” We just keep building momentum every game, getting sharper and sharper. If you would have said we’re four and one when we came into this after five games, I think we’d take that.”

After back-to-back losses, defending champion Brad Gushue returned to the win column with an 8-6 victory over Nova Scotia to get to 3-2.

The top four teams in each pool advance to the championship round starting Friday and take their pool records with them.

The championship round’s top three make playoffs. The No. 1 seed gets a bye to Sunday’s evening’s final and faces the victor of the afternoon semifinal.

Winner of three of the last four Canadian titles, Gushue’s schedule in Pool B was front-end loaded with contenders.

THAT CURLING SHOW | Greg Smith’s response to being underestimated:

“People underestimate you and then they lose to you,” says the Newfoundland and Labrador skip who is sometimes underestimated in sport because he’s queer. 0:59

Gushue’s Newfoundland rink lost tough battles to both Koe and Dunstone, but defeated Epping in its opener.

“I think the fact that we’ve got two losses this early put us a little further back in the pack,” Gushue said.

“The good thing for us is they came against two very good teams that are probably going to be around at the end of the week.

“As long as we can get through the rest of pool play and come in with a 6-2 record, then we grind it out on Friday and Saturday and see how things shake out.

“I think three losses at this point with the amount of upsets that have happened is still going to be in play. We’ve got a little bit of cushion, but I think we’ve used enough cushion at this point.”

WATCH | Manitoba’s Gunnlaugson claims 5th straight win at Brier:

Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson defeats New Brunswick’s James Grattan 8-4 in Draw 12 of the Brier. 0:45

Nova Scotia, skipped by Scott McDonald, dropped to 3-3 alongside Quebec’s Michael Fournier.

Prince Edward Island’s Eddie McKenzie earned his first win downing Nunavut’s Peter Mackey 7-4.

P.E.I. was 1-4, Newfoundland’s Smith 1-5 and Nunavut was winless.

Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson ranked first in Pool A at 5-0 following an 8-4 win at night against New Brunswick’s James Grattan (4-2).

Glenn Howard’s Wild Card Three was 4-1, Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs sat 4-2, and Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher was at 3-2.

Wild Card One’s Mike McEwen was 2-3 ahead of B.C.’s Steve Laycock (1-4) and Gregory Skauge of Northwest Territories (1-4). Yukon’s Dustin Mikkelson (0-6) remained winless.

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Xbox Series X Has Great Features, Small Content Library

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Microsoft has given some reviewers the green light to publish extensive previews of the Xbox Series X. A few weeks ago, we got reports based specifically on backward compatibility. Now, the company has authorized other disclosures regarding the system.

The reports — at least as concern the hardware themselves — are uniformly excellent. There was some concern that the Xbox Series X hardware might run hot, but Ars Technica reports that the console never gets warmer than an equivalent Xbox One X. They write: “As a computing device, Xbox Series X may go down in history as one of the most remarkable machines ever made—as compared to other products in its era, power level, and price.”

Polygon’s writeup focuses on the use of AutoHDR and an HDR calibration feature that makes enabling the option a snap. This sounds incredibly useful — if you’ve ever tried to calibrate a display for HDR on a per-game basis, you know that getting the feature to work properly on the PC can be a bit of a chore. Consoles have been ahead of PCs as far as deploying HDR support, but it looks like Microsoft has taken some necessary steps to make the feature easier to deploy. AutoHDR is used to add the feature to games that don’t support it by default, while the calibration app walks you through the process of calibrating the software to work well on your own display.

The Verge minces no words, declaring the $ 500 box is “quieter and far easier to use and maintain than the $ 3,000 gaming PC I built a few weeks ago. There’s a reason the Xbox Series X looks like a PC — it’s because it often feels like one.” The Verge also published a comparison of load times for modern titles between the Xbox One X and the Xbox Series X.

It is assumed that many of these gaps would be even larger if they’d compared against the Xbox One / One S, so keep that in mind. Overall, the performance gains are exactly what Microsoft promised. In The Outer Worlds, load times fall by nearly 80 percent. Even in the weakest case, CoD: Warzone, the Xbox Series X is still 25 percent faster. 40-60 percent accelerations are fairly common. Gamers have access to 802GB of the 1TB SSD, which is actually a bit more than the Xbox One X (780GB).

Everyone Loves 120Hz Gaming, PC-Quality Detail

The 120Hz option that Microsoft offers requires you to trade off a lot of graphics detail, generally speaking, but the tradeoff in certain games is well worth it according to various publications. Ars writes: “There’s no getting around it: Series X is a fundamental game-changer in terms of console power, and Gears 5’s buttery smooth 120fps toggle has me instantly excited at the prospect of other console-game developers following suit.” (Emphasis original).

Xbox Series X Gears 5, Swamp Edition, 120Hz. Image by Ars Technica

PC Gears 5, Maximum Detail, Swamp Edition. Photo by Ars Technica

The PC still retains a small advantage over the Xbox Series X in Gears of War 5, thanks to a superior ambient occlusion implementation. I zoomed into a pair of Ars’ screenshots to create the following close-up examination of how detail levels vary between the two:

Xbox Series X extreme closeup, 120Hz. Image by Ars Technica. Accidental inclusion of Paint.net tool selector reflects an error on my part, not a bundling decision by Microsoft.

PC extreme close-up, maximum detail. Image by Ars Technica.

While PC image quality is still higher, the PC image was taken with the game running at maxed-out detail levels on a Core i7-8700K and an RTX 3080. The RTX 3080 alone will cost you $ 700 if you can find one, while the Xbox Series X is a $ 500 platform. Also, it loads data stupidly faster than a PC in at least some cases. Ars reports that some areas of the game took as long as 53 seconds to load on an NVMe PCIe 3.0 drive, compared with 12 seconds for the Xbox Series X. A gap that large is unlikely to be explained by the difference between PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0. One might expect performance to double with doubled bandwidth, but the Xbox takes 22 percent as long as the PC to load the same content. It isn’t 2x faster, it’s 4.4x faster.

Ars does note that there’s one game that runs terribly on Xbox Series X: The Xbox 360 version of Dark Souls will apparently drop to 10fps in places.

The games being tested in these previews are “Optimized for Series X,” but Microsoft is keeping a lid on actual next-generation titles. Weak links in the current design include the length of time it takes to upload clips (Polygon) and the rather clumsy means of sharing content compared to equivalent features on the PC side of the equation.

Apart from ongoing concerns about launch titles and the impact COVID-19 has had on software development, the folks who’ve spent time hands-on with the platform love it. Multiple previews talk about how much gaming on the console feels like playing on a PC. In some places, the Xbox Series X outperforms even a top-end PC. It’ll be impossible to match the console’s performance with a $ 500-$ 700 full system build, and it may even challenge the value of mainstream PC upgrades. Imagine, for example, that the Xbox Series X proves to match the performance of a $ 300 – $ 450 discrete GPU. This is arguably likely, considering it has 52 CUs to the Radeon 5700 XT’s 40 and runs at equivalent clock speeds. Given that we’ve already measured the performance of RDNA and we know how fast a Ryzen 7 3800X is, Microsoft should be able to beat the current Ryzen 5700 XT with its RDNA2-powered GPU.

It would be ridiculous to declare a winner between Microsoft and Sony when Microsoft is sharing extensive details and Sony is keeping quiet. But at the very least, we can say the Xbox Series X looks to be much better competition for the PlayStation 5 than the Xbox One ever was against the PlayStation 4. The fastest console isn’t always the one that wins the generation, but Sony had a known advantage in that department when the PS4 launched back in 2013. This time around, the technical numbers favor the Xbox Series X. We’ll see if that does or doesn’t translate into a real-world advantage in a few more weeks.

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Toronto FC to start small group training sessions Monday

Toronto FC plans to up its training on Monday, going from individual workouts to small group sessions.

Major League Soccer, which suspended play on March 12 due to the global pandemic, announced Friday that teams had the green light to start voluntary small group training providing their plans are approved by the league and don’t conflict with local heath or government policies.

Atlanta United and Sporting Kansas City also plan to begin small group training sessions Monday.

Individual outdoor player workouts at team training centres have been allowed since May 6.


It took some clubs longer than others to get the necessary approval for the individual training, with Montreal, Chicago Fire FC, the New York Red Bulls, New York City FC and D.C. United not getting the green light until last week.

The San Jose Earthquakes have yet to resume training.

The league is reportedly looking at resuming play later this summer in one hub, possibly the Orlando area.

Players must physically distance

MLS says players will maintain physical distancing protocols in the small group training. The protocol calls for a maximum of six players in a group, with physical distancing rules coming into play.

Clubs can divide each full field into two halves, assigning a group of players to each segment. Each half-field can be split up into six zones, spaced at least 10 feet (three metres) apart. Only one player may be in a zone at any given time.

Players can pass the ball and shoot on goal within a group, providing they maintain physical distancing.

Other rules include barring goalkeepers from spitting on their gloves, which must be sanitized after each training.

The training sessions remain closed.

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CBC | Soccer News

MLS says players can begin small group training sessions

Major League Soccer is moving ahead with small group training sessions, providing they are not in conflict with local health or government policies.

The 26-team league, which suspended play on March 12 due to the global pandemic, allowed individual outdoor player workouts at team training centres as of May 6.

It has taken some clubs longer than others to get the necessary approval for the individual training, with Montreal, the New York Red Bulls, New York City FC and D.C. United not getting the green light until this week.

Chicago Fire FC and San Jose Earthquakes have yet to begin their individual workouts.

Vancouver Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said work is underway to progress to the small group workouts, which like the individual sessions will be voluntary.

‘Safety will always be our top priority’

“We are encouraged by this next step from the league and are well prepared for it,” Schuster said in a statement. “Safety will always be our top priority. Throughout this pandemic we have remained in constant communication with our local and provincial health authorities, as well as the league.

“We have proactively worked with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and prepared safe and secure protocols for our next steps. We will submit our plan to the league today with the goal of starting our small group training sessions early next week.”

Toronto FC statement

Said Toronto FC: “We are working on our plan internally and in co-ordination with the league, Toronto Public Health and the province to ensure that any potential changes are meeting the health and safety regulations set in place, which is our highest priority.”

The Montreal Impact did not immediately respond to a question about its small group training plan.

Gatherings of more than five people, with the exception of those who live together, remain illegal in Ontario because of COVID-19. The limit is 10 in Quebec, representing a maximum of three households. The limit in B.C. is 50.

The league is reportedly looking at resuming play later this summer in one hub, possibly the Orlando area.

Distancing protocols

MLS says players will maintain physical distancing protocols in the small group training.

As with the individual sessions, teams will have to provide the league with club-specific plans that has been reviewed and approved by club medical staff and local infectious disease expert. The blueprint will build on the health and safety protocols implemented for the individual sessions.

The protocol calls for a maximum of six players in a group, with physical distancing rules coming into play.

Clubs can divide each full field into two halves, assigning a group of players to each segment. Each half-field can be split up into six zones, spaced at least 10 feet (three metres) apart. Only one player may be in a zone at any given time.

Players can pass the ball and shoot on goal within a group, providing they maintain physical distancing.

Other rules include barring goalkeepers from spitting on their gloves, which must be sanitized after each training.

The NWSL has already permitted small group training, pending local approval, with plans to allow full team training as of Saturday if certain requirements are met.

The nine-team women’s league is preparing for a 25-game tournament set to start June 27 in the Salt Lake City area.

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NHL eyes transition to Phase 2 in early June, including small group workouts

The NHL hopes to have players back in team facilities soon, with plenty of precautions.

The league, which was forced to pause its season March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, released a memo Monday announcing it’s targeting early next month as the start date for Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol, including the opening of practice rinks and allowing small, voluntary group workouts on and off the ice.

“It has not yet been determined when precisely Phase 2 will start or how long it may last,” the memo read. “We are continuing to monitor developments in each of the club’s markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate, following discussion with all relevant parties.”

The NHL, which has worked closely with the NHL Players’ Association on the phased approach, said that while it views the protocol as “very comprehensive … [it] cannot mitigate all risk.”

“A range of clinical scenarios exist, from very mild to fatal outcome,” the 22-page memo continued. “COVID-19 generally affects older age groups and those with previously existing medical conditions, more so than younger, and otherwise healthy, individuals.

Training camps not addressed in memo

“We recognize that players and personnel have family and household members who may fall into these vulnerable categories.”

  • If the Phase 2 plan gets the green light, on-ice sessions will be non-contact and involve up to six players, who will be expected to maintain physical distancing at all times. Players will be required to wear masks when entering and exiting facilities, and when not able to physically distance.
  • “Face coverings [cloth or surgical-type mask] shall be worn at all times — other than while exercising — when entering or leaving the club facility and while inside the club facility where social distancing cannot be maintained,” the memo read. “Players are not required to wear face coverings when they are exercising or on the ice.”
  • Teams are also not allowed to require a player to return to a club’s home city to complete any necessary quarantine measures before the workouts begin. Coaches and management will be allowed to watch, but not participate in, the informal skates.

The final two phases of the return-to-play protocol — training camps followed by a resumption of game action — were not mentioned in the memo. Phase 1, which continues after a number of extensions, saw players advised to self-quarantine after the novel coronavirus paused most of the sports world some 10 weeks ago.

WATCH | NHL players approve 24-team playoff proposal:

The NHL Players’ Association has authorized “further negotiations” on a 24-team playoff format as the league bids to resume the 2019-20 season and award the Stanley Cup. Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports 6:02

The NHL/NHLPA Return to Play Committee has been hashing out details of what the game will look like if it’s allowed to return this summer. The union’s executive board approved further negotiations on a 24-team format Friday.

The Phase 2 memo sent to teams Sunday and made public Monday also states players and staff will be administered COVID-19 nasal swab tests two days before training begins, and will be tested twice a week afterwards. They will also be perform daily self-administered temperature and symptom checks at home before heading to their team’s facility.

Some players have resumed skating

Clubs must also administer “a separate temperature and symptom check at the entrance of the club facility.”

“As an over-riding principle, testing of asymptomatic players and club personnel must be done in the context of excess testing capacity, so as to not deprive health care workers, vulnerable populations and symptomatic individuals from necessary diagnostic tests,” the memo read.

Players who live in NHL markets other than where they play will be permitted to use local facilities, pending availability, meaning they won’t have to travel back to their team’s home cities for Phase 2.

WATCH | What would hockey in empty arenas look like?:

If (and when) hockey comes back, we know that fans will not be there. Rob Pizzo looks at what teams this may hurt the most. 2:24

Most NHL players have not been on the ice since the league halted its schedule, although some, including a number of Swedish players who returned home, have been skating in recent weeks.

The league said any player or staff member who develops COVID-19 symptons during Phase 2, including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever/chills, muscle pain (not exercise-related), loss of smell or taste, cold-like symptoms, or gastrointestinal symptoms are expected to immediately notify medical officials and self-isolate.

If a COVID-19 test comes back positive, the player/staff member’s team will conduct contract tracing in conjunction with local health regulations.

Apart from laying out the groundwork for Phase 2 and continuing discussions on the 24-team format, plenty of other hurdles remain for the NHL and the NHLPA before the games will be allowed to resume.

Should the NHL return sometime this summer, it’s almost certain teams will be clustered in hub cities across North America — Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Las Vegas are believed to be in the mix — with games being held in empty arenas.

The Stanley Cup has been awarded every year since 1893, save for 1919 because of the Spanish flu outbreak, and 2005 when a lockout led to the cancellation of the entire campaign.

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Small plane explosion kills 8 in Philippines, including 1 Canadian

A medical evacuation plane exploded in a ball of flames during takeoff on Sunday in the Philippine capital, killing all eight passengers and crew on board, officials said.

The plane, which was carrying six Filipino crew members, an American and a Canadian, was bound for Japan on a medical mission when it caught fire near the end of the main runway, Manila airport general manager Ed Monreal said.

Firetrucks and rescue personnel rushed and doused the aircraft with foam to try to extinguish the flames, he said.

“Unfortunately, there were no survivors,” Monreal told a late-night news conference.

He declined to identify the victims until their families were informed and said other details about the flight and the passengers were unclear.

WATCH | Amateur video from the scene of the crash:

Amateur video shows plumes of smoke rising from the wreckage after a plane explosion in Manila late Sunday. One Canadian is among the victims. Video credit: Jhun Gil Siriban Aguhob. 0:48

Global Affairs Canada said the federal government is offering the Canadian’s family its consular services.

“Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of the Canadian who died in a plane crash in the Philippines,” said spokesperson Anabel Lindblad

“We offer them our deepest condolences.”

The plane, owned by a Philippines-registered charter service Lionair, had been bound for Haneda, Japan, but burst into flames at the end of the runway around 8 p.m. local time, Manila’s main airport said.

Indonesian carrier Lion Air issued a statement making clear that it is unrelated to Manila-based Lionair.

Nearly three hours after the accident, the bodies of the victims were still inside the wreckage. Airport authorities were waiting for police investigators to examine the crash scene before retrieving the remains, Monreal said.

The airport’s main runway was closed due to the accident. The airport had only minimal staff due to air travel restrictions that are part of a month-long lockdown imposed by the government in the main northern Philippine region of Luzon, where Manila, the capital, lies, to fight the coronavirus outbreak, officials said.


Debris of the crashed plane seen at Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on Sunday. (Manila International Airport Authority Media Affairs Division/Handout via Reuters)

A Korean Airlines flight bound for Manila was diverted to Clark International Airport, north of Manila, due to the incident, Monreal said, adding that the main runway would be reopened as soon as the wreckage was removed.

Donaldo Mendoza, the deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said the aircraft was deemed “airworthy” based on records and its pilots were properly certified to fly.

The plane had flown to central Iloilo province Saturday to deliver medical supplies without any incident, Mendoza said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said the aircraft apparently encountered an unspecified “problem which resulted in a fire” as it rolled to takeoff, adding its chief investigator was on the way to the scene.

Video footage shows the aircraft engulfed in bright-orange flames in the darkness as firefighters scramble to put out the fire by spraying chemical foam while sirens blare.

An investigation by the Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines was underway, MIAA said.

Mendoza said airport tower personnel were horrified to see the plane still rolling on the runway at a point when it should have already taken off, but added it remains unclear what trouble the plane encountered.

“They were really alarmed so they already picked up the hotline just in case, whatever happens, they can immediately call Fire, Crash and Rescue,” Mendoza said.

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‘Too small, too skinny,’ Hamilton soccer star gets noticed ahead of MLS draft

Canadian Ryan Raposo has a chip on his shoulder going into Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft.

Growing up, the Hamilton native was labelled “too small, too skinny and couldn’t get around the field fast enough for some coaches’ liking.” He joined the Toronto FC academy at 11, only to be released less than two years later — which just added to his desire to prove doubters wrong.

The Syracuse University midfielder turned heads this year by setting school records for most points (37) and goals (15) by a sophomore.

“It’s definitely been a long road,” said Raposo. “My family and I are excited for the next step. Obviously I know it’s going to be even more work now, which is fine.”

“My priorities have stayed the same ever since I can remember,” he added. “I’ve always wanted to be a pro footballer. That’s never changed once for me.”

The 20-year-old Raposo, along with fellow Canadians Alistair Johnston and Dayonn Harris, have drawn attention heading into the draft.

Johnston, a 21-year-old from Aurora, Ont., is a midfielder converted to a right back at Wake Forest. Harris, 22, is a pacey forward from Milton, Ont., who played at Penn State and most recently UConn. All three have had some exposure to the Canadian youth program.

The three are friends from their club days. They played for Vaughan SC and were part of the Vaughan Azzurri team that lost on away goals to HFX Wanderers FC of the CPL last May. Raposo scored in the opening game.

“We’re hoping that all three of them can make an impact and go in the first round and be somewhere where they’re given an opportunity to do well and show what they can do,” said a proud Patrice Gheisar, Vaughan SC’s technical director of high performance.

Hard work and dedication

Off the field, Raposo learned hard work and dedication from his parents.

“Ryan’s resilience, his mental toughness, his constant belief in himself made him very special,” said Gheisar.

Raposo’s mother would get off work at 7 a.m. after a night shift at Hamilton General Hospital, go home to prepare breakfast and then drive him to practice in Toronto.

“My mum would be so exhausted she would literally drive to Lamport Stadium and just pass out, fall asleep,” Raposo recalled. “I’d go in, train, come out and just knock on the window for her to wake up, hop into the van and then drive back to Hamilton.”

“It’s been like that for years now,” he added.

Raposo ranked seventh in U.S. collegiate ranks in 2019 in points (37), ninth in points per game (1.85), 11th in goals (15) and 14th in goals per game (0.75). He recorded five or more points in a game five times, including an eight-point performance with three goals and two assists in an 11-0 win over Morrisville in October.

He switched to a No. 10 role last season from the wing. Syracuse coach Ian McIntyre calls him a dynamic, exciting attacker who can torment defenders.

Raposo says his favourite position is out wide. He is willing to do what’s needed, however.

‘He’s a winner’

“He was terrific for us in both years, scored some big goals in big games for us,” said McIntyre.

“What I love about him is his mentality. He’s a winner. He’s always looking to make something happen and he has that kind of drive and aggression that will translate well to the professional level as well,” he added.

While no behemoth today — he’s listed at five foot seven and 145 pounds — Raposo is not afraid to throw his weight around in 50-50 challenges. And he knows the way to goal, both for himself and others.

Raposo is quick to point out teammate Massimo Ferrin, a forward from Mississauga, Ont. for helping him succeed at Syracuse.

“One of my favourite teammates ever … A guy that does not get enough credit, for sure,” said Raposo, who has European experience having trained with Hoffenheim, Mainz and Sandhausen in Germany.

The first two rounds of the draft go Thursday with the third and fourth taking place via conference call on Jan. 13.

Inter Miami CF has the first and third overall picks with fellow expansion side Nashville SC going second. Montreal will be the first Canadian team to pick, with the fourth overall selection while Vancouver chooses ninth.

Thanks to a trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy involving allocation order, Toronto FC has two first-round picks: the 19th and 25th.

The league offered a peek in late December at who might go high by signing six players to contracts ahead of the draft.

Raposo joined Clemson junior forward Robbie Robinson, Indiana sophomore defender Jack Maher and Virginia junior centre back Henry Kessler as member of the Generation Adidas class. The talented underclassmen signed deals that won’t count against team salary caps, making them all the more attractive picks.

Virginia forward Daryl Dike, the younger brother of former Toronto striker Bright Dike, reportedly is also under Generation Adidas consideration.

Georgetown defender Dylan Nealis and Stanford defender Tanner Beason, both seniors, also signed pre-draft contracts.

Harris, meanwhile, joined Raposo and some 38 other players at the MLS College Showcase in mid-December in Raleigh, N.C. Raposo scored in his scrimmage and interviewed with nine MLS teams including Montreal.

Raposo’s bid to impress college recruiters was hampered by a bad leg break suffered in December 2016 in a game for Vaughan SC against Sigma FC. McIntyre was at the game and was one of the few coaches to reach out to him.

“The broken leg really set me back” said Raposo, who only got a partial scholarship his first year at Syracuse.

It’s the sixth straight year that a Syracuse player has signed a Generation Adidas contract with MLS. Raposo follows the footsteps of Alex Bono (2014), Julian Buescher (2015), Miles Robinson (2016), Mo Adams (2017) and fellow Canadian Tajon Buchanan (2018).

Bono is a goalkeeper with Toronto FC while Buchanan is a forward with New England.

Toronto FC has two picks in the first round

The importance of the MLS draft has changed in recent years with Philadelphia trading all five of its 2019 selections to FC Cincinnati for US$ 150,000 to $ 200,000 in general allocation money, depending on performance.

The first day of the 2020 draft is being aired digitally, with ESPN in charge of the show.

Toronto has six picks overall, two in the first round (19th and 25th), two in the second (33rd and 51st) and one each on the third (77th) and fourth (103rd). The 33rd pick is compensation from Columbus for GM Tim Bezbatchenko switching teams.

Montreal has four selections, one in the first round (ninth overall) and three in the third (56th, 60th and 61st). The first two picks in the third round came via trades with Vancouver (for goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau) and Houston (in exchange for defender Chris Duvall).

Vancouver has a pick in each of the four rounds (fourth, 32nd, 55th and 82nd). The second and third-round picks came in trades with Sporting Kansas City and FC Cincinnati, respectively.

The Whitecaps sent forward Erik Hurtado to SKC and goalkeeper Spencer Richey to Cincinnati.

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CBC | Soccer News

Erica Wiebe takes 1 small step towards Tokyo at Canadian wrestling trials

Reigning Olympic champion Erica Wiebe finds herself on the ropes in the quest to qualify for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

But the 30-year-old made some small gains at the Canadian wrestling trials in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Friday.

Wiebe earned a berth to the women’s 76 kg final after rolling through her two first round opponents, Shauna Kuebeck and Taylor Follensbee, by a combined score of 20-0.

With a spot in the Pan American Olympic qualification tournament in March on the line, Wiebe will face Justina Di Stasio.

That meet represents the final chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020. Di Stasio won gold at the 2018 world championships and 2019 Pan Am Games.

Wiebe and Di Stasio will square off in the best-of-three final on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. Watch it live on CBCSports.ca.

WATCH | Eric Wiebe sets up wrestling showdown with Justina Di Stasio:

2016 Olympic champion Erica Wiebe will wrestle Justina Di Stasio in the finals of the 76kg division at the Canadian wrestling trials on Saturday. The winner will move ahead in qualification, while the loser will see their Tokyo Olympic dreams come to an end. 0:54

At the last-chance tournament, finalists in each event will book their tickets to Tokyo.

2019 world champion Linda Morais also reach her weight-class final, where she’ll meet Hannah Taylor.

On the men’s side, Korey Jarvis will take on Amar Dhesi in the heavyweight final. Jarvis, a 2016 Olympian hasn’t dropped a match to a Canadian in six years.

A poor performance at the world wrestling championships in September put Wiebe in the win-or-else situation. ​​The Calgary resident led 3-1 in the dying seconds of her quarter-final match before Epp Mäe of Estonia scored a takedown to prevail 4-3 in the 76 kg bout.

Wiebe recently defeated Di Stasio in the 76 kg final at the 2019 Canada Cup in June.

At the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Wiebe became the third Canadian to win Olympic gold in wrestling.

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2020 Nissan Versa Review: Safer, Smoother, Still-Affordable Small Sedan

The 2020 Nissan Versa has more safety features, a better ride, and 40 mpg highway fuel efficiency in the just-shipped third generation of this subcompact sedan. The Versa feels more substantial and polished. It’s adequate on the interstate. The car has been lowered, widened, and lengthened, which makes it look sleeker (think baby Altima) at the expense of rear-seat room. The trunk, however, is huge. Nissan is banking on the apparent trend of millennials away from what their parents drove, meaning SUVs, toward sedans.

The changes make the 2020 Versa a reasonable contender. It’s no longer just a car shopped on price against subcompacts from Chevrolet, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota. Only the Versa sedan continues for 2020; the hatchback Versa Note goes away. If you want a Versa hatchback / SUV, it’s called the Nissan Kicks and is about $ 2,500 more, comparably equipped.

On the Road With the Nissan Versa

I spent a week with the Versa recently: a day in crowded Manhattan, a weekend tailgating and foliage-watching in New York State’s Finger Lakes, and several days driving suburban New York-New Jersey. The Versa is easy to park in the big city and would be better still if it had Nissan’s highly regarded Around View system of exterior cameras with a 360-degree birds-eye view. (Maybe in a year, Nissan hints.) The car is most at home on local roads. But once you get it up to highway speed, it’s a fairly quiet ride with great seats that Nissan dubs Zero Gravity. As with any small car, the short wheelbase (103 inches on a 175-inch car) means highway expansion strips are more noticeable. The driver assists (below) make highway driving a bit more effortless.

The 1.6-liter front-drive engine and continuously variable transmission are willing but engineered to return high mpg over tire-smoking performance. I clicked off 0-60 mph times of 9-10 seconds. Stomp the throttle hard and there was a bit of turbo-lag sensation — a second or two of hesitant progress while the engine room spooled up to full power — in a car that has no turbocharger. But 18-wheelers that take 25 to 100 seconds to reach 60 mph get onto highways safely every day.

Nissan rates the “Xtronic” Versa CVT at 32 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, 35 mpg combined. Driving 300 miles of interstate and 50 miles of 55 mph rural highway, I came out very close to that 40 mpg. When I ran 10- to 20-mile legs on more-or-less flat interstate road at 60-65 mph, I got closer to 45 mpg. This is a new 1.6-liter, 16-valve engine with 122 hp (12 percent more than the old Versa) and 114 pound-feet of torque (a 7 percent increase) that doesn’t peak until 4,000 rpm, which may account for the initial slow liftoff.

Those grandly named Zero Gravity seats are comfortable. They’d be a little better with adjustable lumbar support. The driver’s left leg is pushed back a bit by the wheel arch and you notice it on longer runs.

A 7-inch LCD in the instrument panel provides infotainment, phone, trip and safety alerts. Here, it shows the car is on or near the right lane marking. The triangle adjacent lights up when there’s a car in your blind spot and you flick the turn signal.

Nissan Versa Trim Lines

The 2020 Nissan Versa has one engine, one transmission (two on the cheapest model), one body style (sedan; no hatchback), and three trim lines, or model variants. All models are front-drive only, no sunroof. Normally the cheapest trim line accounts for a small fraction of sales. Here, the top seller is the base trim, says Jordan Savage, a senior planner for Nissan. Pay attention to what you do and don’t get on the base trim line, especially if you’re buying for a newer or younger driver who would benefit from the safety assists while they’re building skills and — sadly — convinced they can text and nothing will happen.

Nissan Versa S, $ 17,295 including $ 895 shipping. Every Versa including the S gets a 7-inch center console touchscreen LCD, three USB ports, four audio speakers, Bluetooth audio, push-button start, and hill start assist. The S has 15-inch steel wheels and 185/65R15 all-season tires. There is Siri Eyes Free and Google Assistant Voice Recognition.

With the Versa S entry model (only), there’s an even less expensive five-speed manual transmission version available for just $ 14,730 — “look, a Versa under $ 15,000″— plus $ 895 shipping, or $ 15,625 – $ 1,670 less than the CVT equivalent model. But fuel economy is less: 27/35/30.

With either transmission, Versa S safety features include pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, rear automatic braking, and auto high beams. Lane departure warning warns but does not pull the car back if you cross a lane marker, nor does it self-center.

The 2020 Nissan Versa SV, the middle grade, with its contrasting seats. All trim lines have fabric seats.

Versa SV, $ 18,535.The SV adds steering wheel controls, voice recognition, NissanConnect telematics with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, a driver (only) armrest, heated side mirrors, and 16-inch aluminum wheels with 205/55R16 all-season tires.

Additional safety features are blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert (Nissan calls it Safety Shield 360), a drowsy driver alert, and a rear door alert that warns you to check for kids and pets when you get out.

Versa SR 1.6 Xtronic $ 19,135 / $ 19,435 with Convenience Package. The SR adds remote engine start, automatic climate control, nicer seat fabric, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, six-speaker audio, and 17-inch alloys with 205/50R17 all-season tires. Also, the parking brake button is now chrome.

Additional SR safety features are LED low and high beam headlamps and LED fog lights. The SR Convenience Package is a must-have at $ 300: full-range adaptive cruise control and heated front seats. The ACC goes down to 0 mph and back to speed, but after 3-5 seconds at a traffic light, it disengages the brake beeps and creeps forward. ProPilot Assist, Nissan’s Level 2 autonomous system, is not on the Versa.

The 2020 Nissan Versa is more attractive with its lower roofline and less chunky silhouette.

Should You Buy?

The Versa has always been one of the most affordable new cars offered in recent years. Now it has a wide advantage in safety features over the key competition, especially Kia and Hyundai. The interior is much nicer than before and driving dynamics are vastly improved. Rear seat legroom drops 6 inches, from fantastic-for-a-small-car to competitive. Through three quarters of 2019, Versa sales in the US were about 57,000, best among subcompact sedans. (Two subcompact crossover/hatchback semi-competitors, Kia Soul and Honda HR-V, sold better.)

Subcompacts, those under 170 to 175 inches long, are a relatively small market because compact cars (Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra) start just a couple thousand dollars more. Some subcompacts are hatchback-only or have hatchback and sedan variants, so total US sales for subcompact sedans may be a quarter-million this year. The Toyota Yaris, a rebadged Mazda2 (that is no longer sold in the US) is the best-handling small car. The Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, and Chevrolet Sonic are also good vehicles. So is the Honda Fit, late in its model life; the next-generation Fit launches soon but it may not come to the US, in part because the similar Honda HR-V small SUV outsells the Fit 2-1. Other subcompacts include the Mitsubishi Mirage, Volkswagen Beetle and Golf, Fiat 500 / 500L, and Chevrolet Spark.

If you’re buying for safety and you’re shopping the Versa, bypass the Versa S for the SV, which is $ 1,670 extra. And if safety is your top concern, then the right choice is the Versa SR with the adaptive cruise control package. Look at Nissan Kicks as well.  It does not look anything like the SUVs the parents drove you around in. Either Versa or Kicks is a good deal.

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Thai PM orders probe after several small blasts in capital

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha on Friday ordered an investigation into several small blasts in Bangkok that took place as Thailand was hosting a high-level meeting attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his counterparts from China and several Asia-Pacific countries.

The explosions took place near two stations of the Thai capital’s elevated train system. A police spokesperson said that one of the two injured men was being treated at a hospital and the other was sent home.

Two other blasts were reported at a government complex on the outskirts of the city, and near the offices of a company associated with supporters of Prayuth’s new government.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters that police arrested two suspects connected to the explosions at five different locations in Bangkok.

Prawit said the suspects were trying to create a “situation.” When asked whether it was connected to the junta’s recent relinquishing of power, he said, “I don’t know either, let authorities investigate first.” Thailand recently ended five years of military rule following a 2014 coup.


Members of the explosive ordinance disposal unit gather at the scene of an explosion in Bangkok on Friday. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images)

Police on Thursday said they had found two fake bombs outside their headquarters in central Bangkok, near the venue of the meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The meeting was not disrupted, and Thai media cited police as saying that two men had been arrested in connection with the incident. In was not clear if it was the same two that Prawit mentioned.

The use of small, generally harmless bombs, though infrequent, is a regular part of the Thai political scene — though rarely do the perpetrators claim responsibility or get arrested. While opponents of the government in power at any given time are usually blamed, there is also usually speculation that such incidents are a result of a power struggle of factions within the country’s highly politicized security forces.

The government that took power last month is led by an ex-general, Prayuth Chan-ocha, who staged the 2014 takeover and led a military government until he took power through elections this year. The government’s critics say the election was not fair because the rules favoured the parties backing Prayuth.

Prayuth’s main antagonists are supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a coup in 2006. The action set off years of sometimes violent contention for power between his supporters and opponents. Thaksin’s supporters are now the main opposition party in the new parliament.

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