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United We Stand

This morning FIFA announced that North America will host the 2026 Men’s World Cup.   It was the combined efforts of United States, Canada, and Mexico.   The tournament will be increased from 32 to 48 teams.   Sixty of the eighty matches will be played in the United States, and the stadiums that are selected will be announced at a later date.   It is a big deal for U.S Soccer with all of the bad news they had in the past few months.   It could be a beginning of the second phase of soccer in the U.S.    The 1994 World Cup in the United States was the most profitable in its history.   That started the first soccer boon in the United States. The formation of the Major League Soccer in 1996, and along with the Women’s World Cup in 1999 that was won by the United States.   Besides the financial rewards for all three nations soccer programs, it could spur growth in all three countries.

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Cleveland Rocks

The U.S Women’s Soccer Team had its the second match against China this evening at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.   The U.S played in a 4-3-3 formation and came with a good first half.   They had better chances than their performance last Thursday night.   Christen Press, who was playing in her 100 games for the national team fed Megan Rapinoe and she scored in the 35 minute to give the U.S a 1-0 lead at halftime.  In the second half,  China had a better performance and tied the game on a goal by Li Ying in the 72nd minute.  Three minutes later, Tobin Heath who came in a substitute was set up by Press on a great pass and scored to give the U.S a 2-1 victory.

The U.S had a great first half but was flat and made some mistakes in the second half.  They also proved that they can come back from a deficit and win.  Head Coach Jill Ellis was to get players like Heath and Rose Lavelle both coming back from injuries some playing time.  The U.S has to play a full 90 minutes with the World Cup qualifying happening in October.  However, the Tournament of Nations is coming up at the end of July and taking on World Cup caliber teams such as Japan, Brazil, and Australia.

Utah Nights

On Thursday night, while the Washington Capitals was winning the Stanley Cup, the U.S. Women’s Soccer was taking the Chinese team at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.   Both teams were playing a 4-3-3.   Both teams had some chances in the first half, but the game was scoreless.    In the 57th minute, Megan Rapinoe fired a shot on goal and Alex Morgan scored to give the U.S a 1-0 lead.    The U.S had the pressure on the rest of the game and won 1-0.    They had a problem with the Chinese pressure and have to improve on that before Tuesday night.    They have a rematch with China tomorrow night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio with kickoff at 7:00 P.M.

Run To Immortality

Belmont Park had 90,000 fans this late Saturday afternoon to witness history.  A year ago no one ever heard about a horse who didn’t run as a two-year-old named Justify.     He won his debut last February in a Maiden race at Santa Ana Park in California with another jockey Draden Van Dyke.   A month later Trainer Bob Baffert replaced him with Mike Smith, and they won another race at Santa Ana.   Justify was able to be the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win The Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old.  The field at Churchill Downs was stacked and it rained the whole day with Justify winning by two and a half lengths.

Two weeks later at the Preakness Stakes, the weather was tough and he was challenged by Good Magic.  Justify was not at his best but won by a half of a length.    He followed the same training method going into the Belmont Stakes, like American Pharoah who won the Triple Crown in 2015.  Justify led from start to finish to win the Belmont Stakes by one and three-fourths of a length.   Justify became the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown and history was made for two people.   Mike Smith became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown at 52 years old.   Bob Baffert joined Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons as the only trainer to win two triple crowns.   Fitzsimmons trained Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935.    Today was a historic day at Belmont Park and horse racing was the big winner next to Justify.

2018 NBA Finals Game 4

The Golden State Warriors came out with an amazing performance.   Stephen Curry dominated the game with an incredible performance scoring 37 points.  Kevin Durant had an incredible game with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.  Durant won the Finals MVP for the second straight season and cementing his place as one of the top players in the NBA.  The Warriors dominated the game and won their 3 NBA title in four years with a 108- 85 win, a four-game sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The loss for the Cavaliers means one question where will Lebron James play in next season.  James had 23 points in what could be his last game for the Cavaliers. Speculation has started that James could be in Houston, Los Angeles Lakers, or the Philadelphia 76ers.   If the Warriors stay together they are already the odds-on favorite to win the NBA title in 2019.

2018 Stanley Cup Final Game 5

The Vegas Golden Knights came out desperate in a game five they had to win.   It was a scoreless first period in which both teams try to take the advantage.    Jakub Vrana gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead.   Nate Schmidt tied the game at 1 and 34 seconds later Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 2 to 1 lead.    The Golden Knights would tie the game when David Perron would score from in close.   Then late in the second period on a power play, Reilly Smith would give the Golden Knights a 3-2 lead going to the third period.   Midway through the third period, Devante Smith-Pelly would tie the game at 3.    Lars Eller would give the Capitals the lead 4-3 with 7:37 left in the third period.   The Golden Knights would pull Marc-Andre Fleury with 2:09 left but was unable to tie the game.   The Washington Capitals would win the game 4-3, and won their first Stanley Cup in 44 years.

Alex Ovechkin would be named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP.  He can finally put to rest that label of not winning a championship.    The Vegas Golden Knights can be proud of an amazing season of getting to Stanley Cup Final in their expansion season.

2018 NBA Finals Game 3

It was a balanced Cleveland Cavaliers attack in-game three.   Lebron James had a triple-double with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists.  Kevin Love had 20 points and 13 rebounds.   The bench made some contributions such as Rodney Hood had 15 points.  However, despite Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both had an off night.   Kevin Durant had 43 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists.   The Golden State Warriors 110-102 victory this evening put them in a commanding 3-0 series lead.    Speculation has already begun where James will play next season.   If the Warriors swept the Cavaliers on Friday night who will be named Finals MVP.   Some NBA experts will put the Warriors in the same class as some of the great teams in league history.  But before that can be discussed, the Warriors will have to win the fourth game in the series, and their first crack at that happens Friday night at the Quicken Loan Arena with the tipoff at 9:00 P.M.

2018 Stanley Cup Final Game 4

The Vegas Golden Knights came out to a roaring start in-game four.   However, they could not get a goal to get any momentum.    The Capitals whether the storm and got to work on the power play.   The power play would be the story in game four.   T.J Oshie would score on the power play near the midway point of the first period.   Tom Wilson would score to add to the Capitals lead to 2-0.   Then late in the first period, Devante Smith-Pelly would score to make it 3-0 for the Capitals.    Smith-Pelly’s goal was the backbreaker.  That goal gave the Capitals momentum going to the dressing room.  The late goal would put the Golden Knights in major trouble.    The second period would belong to the Capitals because Braden Holtby was outstanding and John Carlson would score on the power play to increase the Capitals lead to 4-0 after the second period.

The Golden Knights would come out in the third period and try to get on the board.   They did when James Neal finally got one past Holtby to cut the deficit to 4-1.  Under seven minutes later Reilly Smith would score to make 4-2.   Vegas had the momentum and could make it a game.   A minute after Smith’s goal, Michal Kempy would score to give the Capitals a 5-2 lead.   The Golden Knights became unglued and took some bad penalties.    Bret Connolly would score on the power play to make the final 6-2 in favor of the Capitals.    It would the third power-play goal for the Capitals for the game.    There has been one team that has rallied from 3 games to 1 deficit and won the Stanley Cup.  That team was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the Golden Knights try to become the second team to do that.    The Washington Capitals can win their first Stanley Cup Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena and the faceoff is at 8:00 P.M.

2018 NBA Finals Game 2

It was a different game this evening with the Golden State Warriors leading the game from the tipoff.  Stephen Curry was having one of his amazing games scoring at will.  Curry scored 33 points and made 9 3-point shots.  Kevin Durant had a great game as well scoring 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists.  Klay Thompson dealing with an ankle injury scored 20 points.    The game was close for three-quarters until the Warriors took control of the game in the fourth quarter.

Lebron James had a great game scoring 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 13 assists.   Kevin Love had a bounce-back game with 22 points and 10 rebounds.   George Hill had his best game of the playoffs scoring 15 points.   The Cavaliers never had the lead and they led Curry to have a big game.   The Warriors won the game 122-103 and have two games to none series lead.   The Cavaliers need to start fast in-game three or it will be a short series.  Game three will be on Wednesday night from Quicken Loan Arena with the tipoff at 9:00 P.M.

2018 Stanley Cup Final Game 3

The change of venue for game 3 got the Capitals off to a great start.   The first period was scoreless but the Capitals were able to dominate the play.  Braden Holtby continued his outstanding play that started in-game two.   The Capitals thought they scored a goal but it was disallowed on a goaltender interference penalty by Devante Smith-Pelly.   Alex Ovechkin scored early in the second period and the momentum stayed with the Capitals.   Evgeny Kuznetsov scored to increase the Capitals lead to 2-0 after the second period.    Vegas was getting dominated in all facets of the game.

Vegas needed a goal in the third period and got it when Tomas Nosek turned a Holtby mistake into a goal.   Vegas got all of the momentum and Capitals fans were very worried.  Smith-Pelly took a pass from Jay Beagle and increased the Capitals lead to 3-1.   The Capitals would win game three 3-1 and take the series lead at 2-1.   Vegas has to come out to a great start for game four or it could be a short series.  Game four is Monday night at Capital One Arena with faceoff at 8:00 P.M.