Can Sporting KC repeat as MLS Cup Champions or will Houston Dynamo regain their place as the best team in the East? As Major League Soccer prepares to lift the curtain on another season, TSN.ca presents the first of our five part season preview, taking a look at the American based teams in the Eastern Conference. Chicago Fire It was a tough 2013 for the Toyota Park faithful, as the Fire followed-up their first playoff season in three years with their lowest-ever finish in 15 MLS seasons. The disappointing finish was due in large part to a disastrous start that saw the Fire go 2-7-1 over their first 10 games. A strong May and an unbeaten home record from late July onward were not enough to salvage the season. A turnaround for the Fire could well depend on their last line of defence. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, 24, posted a save percentage of 70, which was fifth-best among MLS keepers that started at least 20 games. The American national will need to be stellar again to get the Fire back into the MLS Cup conversation. The Fire are going to California for their 2014 season opener, crossing conferences to meet Chivas USA. They meet up with the Impact on Apr. 12 for their first Canadian visit of the campaign. Whos In?: F Giuseppe Gentile (waiver draft), D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (trade with Seattle), D Patrick Ianni (trade with Seattle), M Benji Joya (weighted lottery), D/M Lovel Palmer (trade with Real Salt Lake), GK Kyle Reynish (free agent). Whos Out?: D Jalil Anibaba (trade with Seattle), M Corben Bone (option declined), D Shaun Francis (free agent), M Joel Lindpere (option declined), M Daniel Paladini (trade with Columbus), M Arévalo Rios (option declined), F Maicon Santos (option declined), GK Paolo Tornaghi (waived), D Michael Videira (option declined), D Wells Thompson (free agent). SuperDraft: D Marco Franco (1-13). Columbus Crew A year after missing the MLS Cup playoffs by a single point, 2013 was a disappointment in the Ohio capital. The Crew dropped to eighth in the East, missing the playoffs once more. Six losses in seven mid-summer games would be the Crews undoing, despite strong seasons from Argentine striker Federico Higuain and team goal-scoring leader Dominic Oduro. The Crew have shuffled the deck in net, sending Andy Gruenebaum to KC and hoping that one of Matt Lampson or new acquisitions Steve Clark or Brad Stuver can carry the load. Columbus visits the minnows of the 2013 MLS season – D.C. United – to open their 2014 campaign. They get a return date with their Eastern rivals from Toronto in their first Canadian visit on May 31. Whos In?: GK Steve Clark (trade with Seattle), D Waylon Francis (discovery), D Giancarlo Gonzalez (transfer from Valerenga), M Hector Jimenez (trade with LA Galaxy), M Daniel Paladini (trade with Chicago), D Michael Parkhurst (rights acquired from New England), GK Brad Stuver (waiver draft). Whos Out?: D Drew Beckie (option declined), M Eddie Gaven (retired), D Glauber (option declined), GK Andy Gruenebaum (trade with Kansas City), F Aaron Horton (waived), D Kyle Hyland (option declined), D Chad Marshall (trade with Seattle), D/M Danny ORourke (option declined), M Matías Sanchez (waived), M Konrad Warzycha (option declined), GK Daniel Withrow (waived). SuperDraft: D Ben Sweat (1-14). D.C. United Fans in the U.S. capital would probably be best served to forget that 2013 ever happened. A season removed from the third-best record in the League, United dropped to dead last in the table, posting an all-time MLS low of just three wins for a season. The off-season overhaul was of particular note to Canadas MLS clubs as United acquired Montreal Impact captain Davy Arnaud via trade. A week later, though, D.C. sent one of its premier players back home, leaving Dwayne De Rosario unprotected in the MLS Re-Entry Draft, allowing him to be snatched up by Toronto FC. If Arnaud and Portland acquisition Eddie Johnson can reignite the United offence and if Chris Pontius can rediscover his scoring form, 2013 may prove to be an aberration. But a season that poor is a tough one to wipe clean from a fan-bases memory. D.C. opens at home on Mar. 8 against the Columbus Crew. Theyll face a rejuvenated Toronto FC in front of an undoubtedly-raucous BMO Field crowd in the teams home opener on Mar. 22. Whos In?: M Davy Arnaud (trade with Montreal), D Nana Attakora (re-entry stage 2), D Bobby Boswell (Re-entry stage 1), F Conor Doyle (transfer from Derby County), F Fabian Espindola (Re-entry stage 2), D Christian Fernandez (free agent), F Christiano Francois (waiver draft), D Sean Franklin (re-entry stage 1), F Eddie Johnson (trade with Seattle), D Jeff Parke (trade with Philadelphia). Whos Out?: M/F Syamsir Alam (option declined), M Dwayne De Rosario (option declined), F Christiano Francois (loaned to Richmond), D Dennis Iapichino (out of contract), D Dejan Jakovic (transfer to Shimizu S-Pulse), M Collin Martin (loaned to Richmond), F Lionard Pajoy (option declined), D James Riley (option declined), F Carlos Ruiz (option declined), M Marcelo Saragosa (option declined), M John Thorrington (option declined), D Ethan White (trade with Philadelphia), GK Joe Willis (loaned to Richmond), D Daniel Woolard (option declined). SuperDraft: D Steve Birnbaum (1-2). Houston Dynamo Houstons run had to come to an end at some point. After two straight trips to the MLS Cup – both defeats at the hands of the Los Angeles Galaxy – the Dynamos season was once again derailed by the eventual Champs. This time it was Sporting Kansas City who took their aggregate Conference Final 2-1 at Sporting Park. That said, the Dynamo did what they do best once again and saved their best play for when it mattered most. A fourth-place showing helped show that they belonged with the best in the East and their playoff moxie once again came through for them. All-time leading scorer Brian Ching called it a career after the season, meaning Will Bruin can likely take full-time ownership of the “face of the franchise” mantle. With New York City FC on the way in 2015, this season could well be Houstons last in the Eastern Conference. Will they give the Conference one more run for its money? The Dynamo open at home on Mar. 8 against the team that forced them into the 2013 MLS Cup Knockout Round game by virtue of goal-differential, the New England Revolution. Their first Canadian test comes later in March, in Vancouver on the 29th. Whos In?: M Tony Cascio (loan from Colorado), D David Horst (trade with Portland). Whos Out?: D Bobby Boswell (out of contract), F Calen Carr (out of contract), D Mike Chabala (option declined), F Brian Ching (retired), M Alex Dixon (option declined), F Cam Weaver (option declined). SuperDraft: D A.J. Cochran (1-16). Sporting Kansas City Sporting got off to a roaring start in 2013, losing just one of its first six matches and that a surprising upset at the hands of Toronto FC in the latters home opener. They would pick up that pace once more to finish the season by winning six of eight (6-1-1) and coming within one point of the Supporters Shield. While they narrowly missed one piece of hardware, the Leagues most rabid fan-base was rewarded with the franchises second ever MLS Cup after a thrilling penalty-kick victory over Real Salt Lake in the Final. One of the faces of that triumph has left KC, as goalkeeper and captain Jimmy Nielsen has hung up his gloves. Losing arguably the leagues premier keeper hurts, but the addition of Columbus Andy Gruenebaum might salve that loss. The team will also be hoping for even greater leadership out of sophomore striker Dom Dwyer, midfielder and team MVP Graham Zusi and DP Claudio Bieler, who led the team in goals with 10 in 2013. Kansas City opens on the road in Seattle on Mar. 8 and make their first trip to Canada with a May 10 date with the Impact at Stade Saputo. Whos In?: GK Andy Gruenebaum (trade with Columbus), M Sal Zizzo (trade with Portland). Whos Out?: F Teal Bunbury (traded to New England), D Kyle Miller (waived), GK Jimmy Nielsen (retired), D Brendan Ruiz (waived). SuperDraft: F Adnan Gabelic (2-38). New England Revolution Something had to give eventually at Foxborough. After two straight years in the MLS basement, the Revs finally got back to good in 2013, racking up 14 wins (the same total as their prior two seasons, combined) and qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time since 2009. The difference-makers for the Revs were the young, dynamic offensive pairing of Kelyn Rowe, in just his second MLS season, and Diego Fagundez, a then-18-year-old Uruguayan somehow in his third. If those two can click once more, then the upward trend should prove to be more than just a one-year aberration. The permanent addition of Charlie Davies should also help the Revs depth up front. The Revs open up with a visit to the Houston Dynamo on Mar. 8 but dont hit a Canadian pitch until May 3 when they visit Toronto FC. Whos In?: F Teal Bunbury (trade from Sporting KC), F Charlie Davies (transfer from Randers), M Paolo DelPiccolo (waiver draft), GK Brad Knighton (trade with Vancouver), M Daigo Kobayashi (rights acquired from Vancouver), D Jossimar Sanchez (Supplemental Draft). Whos Out?: F Juan Agudelo (out of contract), F Chad Barrett (option declined), D Bilal Duckett (waived), M Ryan Guy (option declined), F Matt Horth (waived), M Gabe Latigue (waived), D Tyler Polak (option declined), GK Matt Reis (retired), M Clyde Simms (option declined), M Juan Toja (option declined). SuperDraft: F Steve Neumann (1-4), F Patrick Mullins (1-11). New York Red Bulls A nearly-winless March was cause for concern for the Red Bulls in 2013, but things turned out alright in the end. Two huge streaks – seven unbeaten in April and May and eight unbeaten to finish the season – propelled the Red Bulls to their first Supporters Shield in a tight race with Kansas City. Sadly, an Omar Cummings extra-time marker stunned Red Bull Arena and sent the Houston Dynamo on to the Eastern Final instead of the Bulls. The playoff result has to come as a sting, especially since it was Cummings who struck in injury time in the first leg to salvage a draw. The Bulls were clearly concerned about their back end in the off-season, bringing in Spanish full-back Armando Lozano and acquiring Richard Eckersley from Toronto via trade. Will a better D be key to a better finish? The Red Bulls season starts on Canadian soil as they will be forced to begin their campaign in front of a boisterous BC Place crowd in the Vancouver Whitecaps opener on Mar. 8. Whos In?: D Armando (free transfer), M Bobby Convey (trade with Toronto), D Richard Eckersley (trade with Toronto). Whos Out?: D Brandon Barklage (option declined), D David Carney (option declined), F Fabián Espíndola (option declined), GK Kevin Hartman (retired), D Markus Holgersson (contract terminated), D Heath Pearce (out of contract). SuperDraft: D Chris Duvall (2-22). Philadelphia Union The Union finished just three points out of the MLS Cup playoffs and maybe locking down the last 10 minutes of their final three games – all of which saw them concede an equalizer or winner – might have been that difference. Jack McInerney – seventh in league scoring – certainly did his part scoring late ones of his own in two of the three, but time would run out on the Union. McInerney was excellent early in the season and clearly turned it on again at the seasons end. The Union are hoping theyve found him some help, but will a return to the States prove a jump-starter for Maurice Edu? The 27-year-old has seen little of the pitch over two years with Premier League side Stoke City and it has led to fewer appearances with the U.S. national side as a result. The Unions season begins with a tall task, the team being handed the reigning Western table-topping Portland Timbers on the road to start the season. Philly will hit Canada for the first time on Apr. 26 when they visit Montreal. Whos In?: M Corben Bone (re-entry stage 1), M Maurice Edu (loan from Stoke City), GK Brian Holt (free), M Cristian Maidana (free transfer), M Vincent Nogueira (transfer from Sochaux), D Ethan White (trade with Philadelphia). Whos Out?: D Chris Albright (retired), F Don Anding (waived), M Michael Farfan (transfer to Cruz Azul), M Greg Jordan (waived), M Kleberson (waived), GK Oka Nikolov (waived), D Jeff Parke (trade with D.C. United), D Mikaël Silvestre (contract terminated). SuperDraft: GK Andre Blake (1-1), MF Pedro Ribeiro (1-15). Nike Vapormax Uk Sale
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. The Jays responded to the three-spot Detroit placed on Casey Janssen the evening before with an attack on the Tigers Achilles Heel, its bullpen, tying the game in the ninth and winning the game in the 10th. The result absolved Marcus Stroman, brilliant once again, of a tough luck loss while at the same time robbing Max Scherzer, brilliant once again, of a deserved win.Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals is in the books and while the Spurs took care of home court to little surprise, the circumstances were somewhat interesting. Will Strickland and Duane Watson from TSN 1050s 1 On 1 With Will & Duane are joined on the Three Man Weave this week by On Points Drew Ebanks. On Point is a series of basketball films featuring prominent basketball personalities from across Canada. The trio look at what happened and what needs to happen for Game 2. The heat or The Heat couldnt slow the Spurs. Who and what can? Strickland: The HVAC Havoc in the AT&T Center is another in a long line of arena mishaps and strange occurrences in the history of San Antonio professional hoops, be it snakes in a locker, bats on the court or having the old Boston Garden heat trap trick in play. Whether you believe or not weather was the biggest culprit here, when history is at stake on both sides, you do what is necessary to improve your chances for victory. That said, Miami has to have better contributions from their bench or its One For The Thumb deep in the heart of Texas soon! Ebanks: Only the Spurs can truly stop the Spurs in these playoffs. When this collection of future Hall of Famers and highly productive role players and veterans are moving the ball, spreading the court and creating havoc for rotations they are almost impossible to slow down, never mind stop. If their 3 pointers are falling the only thing left to do is pray. San Antonio plays a beautiful style of basketball, making the game looks so easy and effortless, which in turn causes problems for opposing defenses. Watson: I wouldnt be entirely surprised if Spurs Head Coach Greg Popovich was behind the AC "failure" in the arena. Im sure it will come to light in an ESPN 30 For 30 one day. Despite Miami forcing 22 turnovers, it was the smaller stars for San Antonio that shined bright in Tiago Splitter, Danny Green and Boris Diaw. If the Heat expect to compete in this series, it cant be solely on the backs of the Big Three who scored 62 of their 95 points. LeBron James: Cant Stand The Heat... Or Human? Strickland: I loved the analysis of instant athletic trainers and non-athletes on social media who spent days pontificating on what they or someone else whose name rhymes with Michael Jordan would have done in that situation, but… There will always be a difference between fans and fanatics. Did LeBron shrink in the moment? No. Miami lost the game once James went down. Be sure that preventative maintenance will be the goal to keep James on the court for the rest of the Finals. Ebanks: Of course LeBron James is human. Look, this man is one of the most incredible physical specimens/athletes in the history of sports. 69", 265 lbs. who can play and defend all 5 positions, has the speed of a sprinter and the strength of a power lifter. Hes been pretty much an ironman throughout his career despite being hammered by defenders consistently in his career on his forays to tin. Plenty of players have succumbed to cramps. Heck, if youve played sports and havent had cramps you probably werent playing as hard as you should have. Watson: He cramped up, it happens and has happened in the past. It was a hotbox in the AT&T Center; that much was obvious. The only thing I found interesting was that he didnt seem to be taking any fluids while agonizing on the bench. How vital were bench contributions to Game 1? Strickland: Its no secret that the Spurs may have one of the most productive and diverse benches in NBA Finals history. It was surely an advantage in Game 1, where Manu Ginobili almost outscored the entire Miami bench alone and Booris Diaw combined with him to dish out 17 of the Spurs 30 assists off the pine.dddddddddddd Vital? No question. The Heats subs not named Ray Allen have to show up for Game 2 to give Miami a chance to take their talents back to South Beach with a split. Ebanks: For any basketball team, especially at the NBA level, benches are extremely important. The less drop off a team has from its starters to their subs means more success, generally speaking. In this series, the Spurs clearly have a definite advantage. In Game 1, San Antonios bench of super-sub Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Marco Bellinelli and Patty Mills outscored the Heats bench of Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Chris Anderson and Shane Battier, 34-20. The Spurs margin of victory was 15, so there you go. One other point: San Antonios bench is also more crucial for them because their main players are older and have more mileage than Miamis. Watson: There hasnt been a more obvious stat disparity between these two teams and it was clear in Game 1. The depth of the Spurs bench has never been secret, outscoring the Heat 34-20. Yet, the rebounding (20-10), assists (17-9) were both overwhelmingly in San Antonios favour. What does Miami need to do to win Game 2? Strickland: No wholesale changes by the Heat are necessary except preventing 36 point 4th quarter explosions. Other than that, continue to impose their defensive identity on the game, crafting live ball turnovers that they convert into fast break points and fouls for the Spurs and getting multiple Triple Singles off the bench from players other than Walter Ray Allen. Ebanks: They need to LEBRON! Hows that for an answer? As King James goes, so do the Miami Heat. Before LeBron James went down in Game 1, the Heat were actually right in the ball game. LeBron has to bounce back and lead Miami to victory in Game 2. If I were the Heat, Id bring in some Miami Air Conditioning specialists of their own, just in case. I mean who knows more about air conditioning than Floridians?!? Watson: The Heat were only down by 94-92 when James left the game for the final time with 3:59 left and then effectively choked on a Spurs 14-3 run to close out the game. They were very much in Game 1 and the defensive pressure on the ball clearly worked. They need contributions from the supporting cast not named Ray Allen. What does San Antonio need to do to hold serve in Game 2? Strickland: They won Game 1, which they did in Miami last year, only to lose the Finals in 7. It will be a long series and this veteran Spurs team knows it. Popovich will implore his charges to protect the pumpkin better despite shooting almost 60 per cent vs the Heat because 22 turnovers are never good. When players 1-12 contribute as they did in Game 1, Game 2 should be no problem because Teamwork Makes The Dream Work! Ebanks: The Spurs I think have to be smelling blood and its only Game 2. Their opponents best player (LBJ) is hobbling, meanwhile San Antonios leader and floor general, Tony Parker, coming off ankle issues, played well and says he feels great and is ready to go for the next game. Watson: More of the same, their game plan was effective. While only five players can play on the court at a given time, everyone gave them something; whether, scoring, defense, ball movement, three-point shooting, or rebounds. That balanced approach has been the cornerstone to the franchises success. The Three-Man Weave contributors are co-hosts of TSN Radio 1050s 1-on-1 with Will and Duane, Will Strickland (@WallStrizzle1) and Duane Watson (@byDuaneWatson) and guest air conditioning and 3-point specialist Drew Ebanks (@DrewEbanks) China NFL Jerseys Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap Basketball Jerseys Online Stitched Hockey Jerseys Wholesale Baseball Jerseys Football Jerseys Outlet College Jerseys For Sale Cheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys For Sale Wholesale NFL Jerseys
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