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Kirk Cousins learns first-hand how good Vikings can be in his debut

Leading the 49ers by a slim margin late in the fourth quarter, Kirk Cousins was determined to single-handedly extend the Vikings lead, even if it meant causing U.S. Bank Stadium to cringe in unison when he scrambled on third down and slid head-first in hopes of earning a first down.

Cousins came up a yard short of moving the chains, but his attempt to preserve the Vikings 24-16 margin was applauded by those on his sideline.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“Hey, when the game is on the line, we’re trying to get the first down,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Go for it. I’m all in.”

Minnesota’s $84 million investment paid off – at least this week – in a season-opening win over the San Francisco 49ers. Cousins impressed with pinpoint precision, no turnovers and a fiercely competitive drive.5

“You could see it in his preparation,” running back Latavius Murray said. “Just the way he carries himself, the way he goes about the game.

“For a quarterback to lower his shoulder and give his body up, that’s motivating. That’s inspiring because I don’t see a lot of quarterbacks doing that.”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

The Vikings offense had many bright moments in Cousins’ Minnesota debut. On an afternoon where the quarterback eclipsed the century mark in career touchdown passes, Cousins threw for 244 yards, two touchdowns and finished with a 95.1 passer rating.

Familiar with the “distracted boyfriend” meme? The one where a gentleman walking hand-in-hand with his girlfriend looks over his shoulder at a woman in the forefront? That’s probably how 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan felt. After being Cousins’ offensive coordinator in Washington, Shanahan the QB he hoped he’d one day reunite with make incredible touchdown throws, including a 22-yard dime to Stefon Diggs and an 11-yard pass to the back of the end zone where Kyle Rudolph was waiting — a throw he executed with the hand of DeForest Buckner inches from his face mask.

Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward ready for camp, can go ‘full speed’

Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will return to Boston next week and are expected to join their teammates in informal workouts as Celtics players begin pickup play in advance of the late-September start of training camp.

Irving and Hayward have been rehabbing this summer from follow-up procedures on the injuries that shortened their 2017-18 campaigns and prevented them from playing in Boston’s surge to the cusp of the NBA Finals.cheap nike jerseys nfl

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told ESPN on Monday that both Irving (knee) and Hayward (ankle) appear at full health and are ready for the new season.

“I don’t want to hype it up too much, but I’m saying that if our training camp were starting today that they would be here today going full speed,” Ainge said. “It’s not like they need an extra month. I think that they know they have an extra month, so they are sort of pacing themselves. They’re playing as if to build up to that opening day of training camp [Sept. 26].”

Celtics players have expressed excitement in starting 5-on-5 work after Boston brought back much of the same roster from last season’s squad that, even without Irving and Hayward, took the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals.9

“They’ll both be here within the next week or so; by the time Labor Day is over, they will all be playing 5-on-5,” Ainge said of Irving and Hayward. “I think it’s just a matter of, if they’re not playing 5-on-5 now, then it’s only because they want it more of a controlled environment, I guess. They’re doing everything — dunking the basketball off both legs and playing one-on-one live and jumping and cutting and defending. I’m excited for them.”

Ainge said the team will carefully ramp up activity for Irving and Hayward during camp and that the emergence of Boston’s younger players should ease the burden on the returning stars early in the new season.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

But there’s an obvious excitement for the Celtics in having their team whole again for the first time since the 2017-18 opening night in Cleveland.

“I’m really excited about the upcoming season with [Irving and Hayward],” Ainge said. “Obviously, there’s a transition from rehabbing to playing one-on-one to playing 3-on-3 to 5-on-5 and then playing NBA basketball, so I don’t want to build up expectations too high. I think there will be a little bit of an adjustment once that last phase is made.

Philadelphia Union improve playoff standing with shutout of New York City FC

The Philadelphia Union boosted their chances at a postseason spot with a 2-0 win over visiting New York City FC on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium.

After an uneventful first half, the Union’s attack broke out in the 57th minute, due in part to some listless marking from New York City. Philadelphia midfielder Borek Dockal had room to send a pass to an also-open Cory Burke on the left side of the box, and Burke finished with a hard shot inside the far post. It was Burke’s team-leading sixth goal of the season, and his sixth goal in his last seven games in all competitions.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Brazilian midfielder Ilsinho delivered some individual brilliance on the second Union goal, carrying the ball into the box himself in the 76th minute and out-maneuvering three different NYCFC defenders. Ilsinho then completed the highlight-reel goal by firing a left-footed shot into the net before another defender closed on him.

Ilsinho had missed Philadelphia’s last six games due to a groin injury. The midfielder entered the game as a 68th-minute substitute for striker David Accam.6

New York City’s best chances came early in the game, both off the foot of Maximiliano Moralez. In the second minute, the midfielder’s shot within the box required a big leaping save from Union goalkeeper Andre Blake to knock the chance away. Moralez had another opportunity in the 11th minute, taking a chip pass from Ismael Tajouri-Shradi but lofting the shot wide of the net.

Between Saturday’s result and last weekend’s 3-2 win over the New England Revolution, the Union have now won consecutive matches for just the second time this season. Philadelphia remains in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, creating a bit more distance in the table in front of Montreal and New England.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

The Union recorded their sixth clean sheet of the season, while high-scoring NYCFC were shut out for just the third time this season. All six of New York City’s losses have taken place in away games.

New York City defender Ronald Matarrita received a straight red card in the match’s final seconds for a violent kick at Ilsinho. Matarrita will be suspended for at least one game, missing Wednesday’s derby game against the New York Red Bulls.

Premier League helped by early deadline but were teams ready to play?

The English top-flight always commences in mid-August but, after a significant change to the structure of the transfer window, the new campaign will not feature the disastrous three-week period, in which clubs and media were focused more upon moves than matches. Now deadline day has already passed, the games themselves dominate.

In years gone by, the first month has been compromised by numerous teams not appearing to be properly equipped. Last season, for example, the Premier League began on Aug. 11 but clubs had another 20 days of transfer activity. At that point, with squads eventually finalised, we were forced to endure an international break, so the season only began properly on Sep. 9, nearly a month after the first game.cheap authentic nfl jerseys

It is worth remembering precisely why the Premier League found itself in this situation. Until 2002-03 there was no transfer window, as such, in England, aside from a deadline day on March 31 that was essentially to stop teams artificially boosting their squads with late-season additions. Otherwise, they were free to trade as they liked.

The introduction of a transfer window was effectively forced by the European Commission and the summer deadline day was generally in line with those of Serie A and La Liga, i.e. the end of August. However, there was a problem: While the leagues were in harmony as regards the end of the window, they were not when it came to the date on which the season began.10

Opening day in 2002-03 was Aug. 17 in England, Sep. 1 in Spain and Sep. 15 in Italy. Therefore, the latter two leagues effectively operated within the system the Premier League has now unilaterally enacted: Transfer window and league campaign did not overlap.

The pattern broadly continued for the next few years. La Liga’s season crept forward into the last week of August, meaning one week of overlap, while Serie A’s alternated between that date and an early-September start.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

But the Premier League has remained relatively consistent in its mid-August commencement, usually resulting in three rounds of matches with the window still open; it is a reason why the deadline-day silliness that is somewhat unique to the Premier League has meant matches have been played under a cloud.

 

Colorado Rapids rally for 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy

For a second consecutive game, the LA Galaxy twice gave back a one-goal lead in the second half and was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw at home, this time against the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Edgar Castillo scored and then assisted on Niki Jackson’s goal for Colorado. With a tie following two victories, the Rapids have strung together a three-match unbeaten run for just the second time this season.cheap youth nfl jerseys

Sebastian Lletget scored in his second consecutive game and Ashley Cole also scored for the Galaxy. LA still moved up one spot to fourth in the Western Conference standings on a night when everyone else was idle.

The Galaxy also saw two players depart injured by halftime for a second consecutive match. This time, midfielder Jonathan dos Santos left in the 34th minute with groin soreness before defender Michael Ciani followed at halftime with an undisclosed ailment.

Winger Romain Alessandrini and attacker Giovani dos Santos both departed the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw against Minnesota United last weekend and were unavailable Tuesday.9

Colorado endured its own unforeseen loss five minutes after the break, when Kellyn Acosta left due to illness shortly after vomiting on the field.

Cole had not scored since July 4, 2017, but the defender opened the scoring with the style of a forward in the 59th minute. Cole took Chris Pontius’ pass and sliced to the other side of one defender with his first touch, split two defenders with his second and chipped on-rushing goalkeeper Tim Howard with his third.

Castillo tied it in the 74th minute when he reached a clearing header from a Galaxy defender outside the penalty area, took a couple touches into the area and then unfurled a quick strike that beat diving goalkeeper David Bingham to his left.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Lletget put the Galaxy in front again four minutes later. After Colorado failed to clear a long cross toward the penalty area, Ola Kamara played a square ball toward Lletget that may have also grazed Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Lletget fired a first-time shot with his left foot, curling it beyond Howard and into the side netting.

However, Jackson had the final word, taking a pass from Castillo and firing a shot from the left corner of the penalty area that caromed off the leg of an LA defender and badly fooled Bingham as it knuckled into the net.

The AAF is different from leagues that have come before

Ebersol, the league CEO and son of former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, started working the phones and developing the business plan. Tech companies and former NFL stars got behind the product. Polian, who is staying in his role as an NFL analyst for ESPN, helped assemble personnel and coaching staffs with nearly 500 years of combined NFL experience.

A year later, the Alliance of American Football has a Feb. 9, 2019 launch date, a CBS contract, a Starter apparel deal, an eight-city blueprint, scheduled combines, a set of double-take football rules and 73-year-old Steve Spurrier.

The vision is clear: Keep the good times flowing in the late winter and spring with a league run by serious football people while learning from the failed attempts that came before it.

The USFL failed because it tried to overtake the NFL more than 30 years ago, defined more by lawsuits and undercut potential than its once star-studded rosters.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

The XFL failed because efforts to sell sex, excessive violence and wrestling-like personalities didn’t resonate with viewers, though Vince McMahon is eyeing a 2020 XFL reboot.

Even the CFL isn’t a true complement.8

But the Alliance has NFL people who care about the NFL’s well-being. It’s not a farm system, but it might involve shades of the NBA G League.

“Our objective is to take some of those people who can’t quite make it and make them into quality NFL players,” Polian said.

And the NFL wants on-the-bubble players to get reps elsewhere, Polian said. The Chicago Bears recently gave Phoenix general manager Phil Savage a list of prospects for him to watch closely during a scouting trip to Bourbonnais, Illinois.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“Since NFL Europe expired 10 years ago, there’s been a real desire and frustration by NFL personnel people that there’s a missing link as far as a developmental type league for prospects that weren’t quite ready,” said Savage, former general manager of the Cleveland Browns and Senior Bowl director.

Malcom a surprise signing by Barcelona but one that makes sense

His parents named him after Malcolm X, FC Barcelona scribbled out his name, hurriedly writing Silva where it originally said something else, and AS Roma didn’t name him at all. It was a joke, albeit a rather pointed one that quite a lot of people didn’t find very funny. Meanwhile, Ernesto Valverde couldn’t help but notice he wasn’t called Willian.

As for Hristo Stoichkov, he called him the new Hristo Stoichkov. Well, sort of. His full name is Malcom Filipe Silva de Oliveira, but everyone calls him just Mal cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Is it too late to do the “Malcom in the Middle” joke? It is? OK, but he was. A week ago, Malcom was on his way to Rome — fans had gathered at the airport to welcome him — only to end up at Barcelona instead. A deal had been done but not signed with the Italians, and yet, the next thing they knew, there he was kissing the Barcelona badge instead. It was, he said, a “dream come true.” For Roma, it was a nightmare. The president said he would never forgive the Catalan club… unless they sold him Messi.

Asked what he thought of Malcom a couple of days ago, Stoichkov said, conspiratorially: “He reminds me of a Bulgarian striker who came to Barcelona in 1990, ready to ‘eat the world.’ Things didn’t go too badly for him.” The Bulgarian was happily handing over his number, if not actually his name.11

“[Malcom is] daring and has personality: give him Stoichkov’s No.8!” Stoichkov implored his former club.

Persuading Stoichkov to join Barcelona back then was quite easy: all he wanted was a red sports car. “I signed for that,” he said. “An Audi.” He didn’t yet have a Spanish licence so he couldn’t drive it, but still, it was enough. Persuading Malcom was easy too, even with a deal basically done. And €41 million was enough to persuade Bordeaux to break from Roma.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“That’s normal,” their coach Gus Poyet told ESPN. “Barcelona appeared, improving the deal, and the club and the player decided. If Barcelona call you…”

Persuading everyone at Barcelona that he is the right signing might have looked a little more difficult, but it has happened surprisingly quickly. For now, at least.

On one level, that shouldn’t surprise. Barcelona had watched him for a couple of years while there were suggestions, not entirely tongue in cheek either, that they did the safe thing: wait to see what Roma sporting director Monchi was up to and then hijack his deal. Imagine, by the way, the mischief Monchi could have with that…

What Johnny Manziel’s trade to Montreal says about his NFL future

The view from 30,000 feet is rough: Johnny Manziel couldn’t beat out a CFL quarterback. He couldn’t, in fact, get on the field for a single snap in five games for a 2-3 team. Now he has started over, traded to one of the worst teams in the league with a third of the season already expired.

It’s easy to view the past two weeks as a setback for Manziel and his comeback attempt. Late last year, Hamilton Tiger-Cats coach June Jones predicted Manziel would be one of the best players in CFL history. On July 22, the franchise decided it was better off without him. So what happened in between to merit a trade to the last-place Montreal Alouettes?nike nfl jerseys cheap china

To hear the Tiger-Cats tell it, the decision was sealed by the record-setting play of starter Jeremiah Masoli and an undeniably massive bounty offered by the Alouettes. In an interview, Tiger-Cats general manager Eric Tillman said he also considered the “human element” of giving Manziel a chance to get on the field. And by all accounts, there was no off-field issue involved.4

Are you buying that explanation? Do you really think a team would trade a player it considered a potential future hall of famer for any reason? Or is there reason to fear that Manziel fell far short of the team’s expectations?

In reality, this all makes more sense than it might appear. Manziel hasn’t stumbled. If anything, he has followed the path predicted by those who pay close to attention to the CFL — a league that requires a bigger adjustment for U.S.-born players than many Americans realize. Players in similar positions have described a process of years, not weeks or months, before they were comfortable with the CFL style.

In truth, the trade put Manziel in a better spot to begin showing the skills he hopes one day can carry him back to the NFL. After sitting out his first game with the Alouettes last week, Manziel will start Friday night against — coincidentally — the Tiger-Cats (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2).china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“This is a decision we struggled with,” Tillman said. “If something had happened to Jeremiah, I’m very confident that Johnny would have come in and played at a high level. He has been great, on and off the field for us. We had no issues at all with him. I’ve had people calling me and asking me that, and the answer is no, no, no.

What could happen in the final 24 hours before the deadline?

As the trade deadline approaches, it’s more about quantity of moves that could be made than moves that will make you say “wow.” Once Manny Machado left Baltimore for Los Angeles, the top closers came off the market and Cole Hamels was traded from Texas to the Cubs, the market became decidedly short on pizzazz.

With less than 24 hours remaining, a slew of relievers, back-of-the-rotation starters and positional depth pieces are ready to change teams. The Twins, Blue Jays, Padres, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Rangers, Mets and Reds are among the teams with inventory to sell and no particular reason to hang on to it.

With the understanding that things are fluid at this time of year, here’s some buzz to pass along:cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

• Chris Archer remains the big name out there, and the Padres are the team most prominently linked to him. There’s a sense among some people that Archer will still be pitching in Tampa Bay after the deadline — and that the Rays’ talks in recent days were basically one big fact-gathering mission to lay groundwork for more extensive trade talks involving Archer this winter.

“They’re in no hurry to move him because of his contract,” said an official with one club that checked in on Archer. “I think they would have to be completely overwhelmed. I just don’t see it happening.”

• Are the Giants coming or going? No one knows for sure. They’re 3-8 in their past 11 games, but the front office seems loath to declare a sell-off.11

“The Giants don’t think they’re out of it,” said one person familiar with San Francisco’s thinking. FanGraphs calculates the Giants’ odds of winning the NL West at 0.5 percent and making the playoffs at 4.5 percent, so management is a lot more optimistic than it has a right to be.

If Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans decide to selectively sell Tuesday, relievers Will Smith and Sam Dyson could generate interest. Beyond that, Andrew McCutchen’s name could surface as a trade candidate in August because of his pending free agency. Problem is, McCutchen can’t play center field anymore, and his power production has dropped off a cliff. He’s 19-for-84 with three extra-base hits and a .286 slugging percentage in July.

• The Twins are working hard to deal Brian Dozier, but potential landing spots have fallen off the board in recent days. The Diamondbacks acquired Eduardo Escobar, the Brewers picked up Mike Moustakas, and the Dodgers didn’t have much need for a second infield acquisition after they added Machado. The Phillies were looking for a more versatile infielder with the ability to play shortstop, so they went for Asdrubal Cabrera (even though the metrics and scouts seem to agree that he’s now a defensive liability at the position).cheap official nike nfl jerseys

The reported second-tier-interest teams are less-than-ideal fits. Cleveland needs a center fielder more than a second baseman. Boston is focused more on bullpen upgrades and has already acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler. And the Giants might be more motivated to sell than buy, given their place in the standings.

Roma join Manchester City in pursuit of Australia’s Daniel Arzani – sources

Roma are rivalling Manchester City for Australian teenage sensation Daniel Arzani, sources have told ESPN FC.

Melbourne City star Arzani is one of the hottest properties in world football after impressing for club and country during the last 12 months.

The skilful attacker burst onto the scene halfway through last season’s A-League campaign and his performances saw him win a call-up to Australia’s World Cup squad.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

The 19-year-old was the youngest player at the World Cup and his featured in all three games during Australia’s World Cup campaign.12

Arzani made a positive impression during his cameo appearances at the World Cup and his performances have brought him to the attention of a number of Europe’s top clubs.

Manchester City have been leading the race for Arzani as Melbourne City are the Premier League champions’ sister club under the City Football Group umbrella.

City plan to sign Arzani and then possibly loan him out like they did with Aaron Mooy before eventually selling him to Huddersfield Town.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

However, Roma are monitoring Arzani’s situation at Melbourne City and they are ready to offer the forward a pathway to first-team football in the Italian capital.

Roma have shown they are shrewd operators in the transfer market having signed young talents like Justin Kluivert from Ajax this summer and they see Arzani as a potential star in the making.