Author Archives: CMerritt

New England beats Northwest 9-7, advance to US semifinal

by CAMERON MERRITT

Westport's Alex Reiner sealed his team's victory Sunday by throwing two scoreless innings to close it out. (Photo/Stamford Advocate)

WILLIAMSPORT, Penn.- The boys from Westport, Connecticut sealed another victory in the Little League World Series Sunday when they defeated the Northwest champions Sammamish, Washington 9-7.

Alex Reiner, who’s been seldomly called to the rubber this tournament,  helped seal a victory for the New England regional champions by tossing two scoreless innings, giving up an inherited run off a single, but for the most part dominating his opponents and keeping those who reached scoring position at bay.

“I came just trying to throw strikes,” Reiner told local paper the Stamford Advocate. “We have good fielders behind me. They make a lot of plays.”

His coach, Tim Rogers, was also very pleased by the performance.

“Alex just did a tremendous job. The one thing you can always count on from Alex is his strikes. That’s what we needed at the time.”

The New England team did the bulk of it’s scoring in the top of the second, totaling seven of their nine runs on the afternoon, with the other two coming in the fourth. The Northwest squad tried to claw their way back with a few runs at a time, but ultimately came up short and took the loss.

Another loss for the Sammadish team was pitcher Jacob Dahlstrom, the starter who was involved in a scary moment when he took a line-drive by Tatin Llamas off of his right knee, and was eventually carried off the field by his coaches and staff. He was seen on crutches following the game, and his coach Rob Chandler described the injury as a “deep bruise.”

New England starter, and the man taking the win, Harry Azadian, proved very valuabloe for his team. Azadian went 3 1/3 innings giving up two runs while having himself a three hit afternoon, including a two-run homer, and driving in five RBIs.

After he left the mound, the Northwest started to stage their small comeback, scoring twice in the fourth and four times in the fifth, until finally be halted by Reiner.

By having Azadian only throwing 50 pitches, it means that he’ll be available to go again Wednesday, along with fellow star pitcher Chad Knight, as they’ll take on the red-hot West champions ,Chula Vista, California, who are coming off a four inning, 15-3 victory over the Mid-Atlantic winners, Newark, Delaware. Having both of his top pitchers, Rogers said, they “could not have asked to be in a better position.”

The Northwest champs move to the losers bracket, and will have to defeat Midwest winners Urbandale, Iowa in order to advance in the tournament.

 

Posted in Baseball, Home | Tagged , Little League World Series, Sammamish, Washington, Westport | Leave a comment

New England comes from behind to beat Southeast 3-2 in LLWS opener

by CAMERON MERRITT

Ricky Offenberg is greeted by teammates at home after hitting a game-tying home run in the bottom of the fifth. (Photo/CTpost)

WILLIAMSPORT, Penn.- The boys from the Westport (Conn.) Little League continued their winning ways Thursday night, in their first game of the Little League World Series, coming from behind to beat the Southeast champions, South Nashville (Tenn.) LL, 3-2.

New England came back from a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Ricky Offenberg sent a solo shot to center to bring the two even, then pitcher Chad Knight, who lead his team to victory in the regional final, did it again with the go-ahead RBI double with two outs.

Offenberg, who had only hit one home run previously this season, was very surprised by his own burst of power.

“When I think I hit one out, I almost don’t believe it’s going to go out because I don’t do it a lot,” he said following the game.

Knight had another dominant night for his team on the mound, going 4 1/3 innings (85 pitch maximum), giving up one run and no walks while striking out eight. His replacement, Hank Azarian, gave up the other run in the top in fifth, a solo homer by Ben Pickman, which gave the Southeast the 2-1 lead, but would follow it up by retiring five straight and getting the win.

“We got down, but we’ve been in tough spots several times this year. The kids always find a way to battle back,” said New England manager Tim Rogers.

With the win, New England enters the winner’s bracket, and will return to action Sunday to take on the Northwest champions, Sammamish, Wash., while the boys from South Nashville enter a must-win situation to stay alive as they’ll face the Southwest champion, Corpus Christi, Texas. While the winner will move on, the loser has one final conselation game against an eliminated team from the International pool, then will head back home.

Despite the disadvantage handed to them by the loss, the man at the helm of the Southeast champions, Chris Mercado, wasn’t too worried.

“Every tournament we’ve played, we’ve lost the first game. Our team doesn’t like to lose, but with our back against the wall … we’ll see if there’s one more miracle in there for us.”

Posted in Baseball, Home | Tagged , little league, Little League World Series, South Nashville, tennessee, Westport | Leave a comment

Westport, Conn. defeats Lincoln, R.I. 1-0 for New England regional championship, advance to LLWS

by CAMERON MERRITT

Westport (CT) celebrates it's 1-0 victory over Lincoln (RI) to clinch the 2013 New England Little League Regional championship. (Photo/Westport News)

BRISTOL, Conn.- On Saturday night, the boys from the Westport (Connecticut) Little League achieved the dream of every youth baseball player around the world; a chance to play in the Little League World Series.

The Connecticut state champs defeated their counterparts from Rhode Island, Lincoln Little League, 1-0 as star pitcher Chad Knight tossed a complete game shutout, allowing only one hit while striking out 14, including five in a row at one point,to book his team a ticket to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to represent New England in the 2013 Little League World Series.

“I was so happy. It’s a dream come true. The last four years it’s been my dream,” said Knight on the win.

Along with a solid performance on the mound, Knight also drove in the game’s only run in the top of the fifth off a fielder’s choice grounder to third, allowing shortstop Ricky Offenberg to score. Westport, the favorites going into the tournament, finished a perfect 6-0, at times all-out dominating their opponents, as they did on their way to the state title, where they also went undefeated at 17-0.

This was not the case in the regional championship, however, as Lincoln, who finished at 4-2, put up quite the fight, only to come up just short in the end.

“(Knight) was dominating,” said Lincoln manager Matthew Netto. “He was incredible. Knight is an amazing athlete. His curveball looks exactly like his fastball. I told (Westport) that’s the greatest baseball game I’ve ever seen.”

Dominic Cunha pitched one of his best game’s of the tournament despite taking the loss, as he went 4.1 innings, throwing the maximum of 85 pitches, giving up only two hits and a run while striking out 10. He retired all but one of the last eight batters he faced, then was replaced in relief by Stephen “Big Country” Andrews.

“(Cunha) really brought the heat; his curve was alright, but his fastball was overpowering. Our kids are rarely overpowered, but that kid did it to us,” said Westport manager Tim Rogers. “It’s a shame someone had to lose that game. I had seen (Lincoln) Rhode Island play before, and to think we would’ve shut them out? I never would’ve believed it.”

In regards to his own team’s victory, Rogers called it “just amazing.”

“It’s amazing how many good teams we’ve had to beat along the way. Some of those close games, to pull them out and get every single one along the way is just amazing.”

While obviously disappointed by the final result, Netto said that on the way home, “I thought about how proud I was of every one of our kids, and what they had accomplished.”

Westport wasted little time in travelling, arriving in Williamsport Sunday and receiving their New England uniforms. They are the third team from Connecticut in the past four years to win the New England title, and the only four teams from New England to win it all all hailed from the Constitution State, the last coming in 1989 when Trumbull National defeated Kang-Tu LL (Kaohsiung, Chinese-Taipei) 5-2, where pitcher Chris Drury, who would go on to have a successful hockey career playing four seasons at Boston University and 13 seasons in the NHL, tossed a complete game, giving up only five hits and two runs, while driving in two runs of his own to clinch the title.

Wesport will open up their 2013 LLWS Thursday, when they’ll take on the Southeast champions, South Nashville (Tennessee) LL.

Posted in Baseball, Home | Tagged , Lincoln, Little League World Series, , Westport | Leave a comment

Blount shines and Tebow time as Pats beat Eagles 31-22 in preseason opener

by CAMERON MERRITT

PHILADELPHIA- The New England Patriots opened up their preseason in winning fashion on Friday night, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 31-22 at Lincoln Financial Field, capping off a week of  combined team practices for the two teams that once faced off in Super Bowl XXXIX.

The Pats running game was on full display as both Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount, who was acquired earlier this year from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, combined for three of the team’s four touchdowns, the other being scored by fellow back Shane Vereen via a 13-yd pass from Tom Brady in the first quarter, while rushing for 193 yards on 19 attempts.

“We’re special. We’re off to a really good start. You can’t really ask for more,” said Ridley of his team following the game.

It didn’t take too long for a team to get on the board, as New England scored on the first drive of the game, and after only six plays, one of which was a long 62-yd run by Ridley, who capped off the drive off when Brady handed it off to in for a short punch-in run at the goal line to take the early lead.

But it didn’t take long for the Eagles to respond, as new coach Chip Kelly, after much speculation, handed the ball to last year’s starting QB, Michael Vick, and while he’s been up and down the past few years, the veteran from Virginia Tech did not disappoint. On their fifth play, Vick found reciever DeSean Jackson, who faked out Pats corner Aqib Talib, for a 47-yd touchdown.

Tom Brady & Co. would answer right back on the next drive, however, as the veteran drove his team down field and connected with Shane Vereen in the back corner of the end zone, which turned out to be Brady and much of the New England offensive’s starters final play for the night.

Both teams employed their coaches’ preferred style of a fast-paced offense, new to the Eagles as something Kelly brought with him from Oregon, a style which he first developed as an assistant at UNH. Turning to their backups, third year Ryan Mallett hoped to further establish himself at the quarterback position and as the eventual heir apparent to Brady. While struggling at first, Mallett began to find more of a groove, being helped especially by the running game, but had to leave following a head injury late in the second quarter, his condition still unknown.

Nick Foles, while technically the backup on the game’s depth chart, is still very much in the race for the starting position with Vick. He lead the Eagles on one TD drive, which ended with an eight yard run by Bryce Brown, and an Alex Henery PAT attempt tied it all up early in the second quarter.

While not in any race for a starting job, one of the player’s whose debuts made the most buzz was Tim Tebow, the QB known more for his devout faith and running abilities than his arm. Coming on earlier than expected following Mallett’s injury, the third year man from Florida struggled with his arm and was sacked three times, but did something he hasn’t done in over a year; leading his team on a TD drive, handing the ball off to Blount who ran for a spectacular 51-yd TD, zig-zagging across the field to deke out Eagles defenders and definitely increase his stock the eyes of his new team.

One veteran player who decreased his stock Friday night was kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who missed two of his three field goal attempts. While not currently facing any competition for his job, that could change in the coming weeks.

The Eagles would score once more in the fourth quarter, when third-stringer Matt Barkley connected with former Pats receiver Greg Salas for a 12-yd TD, and then completed another pass to Matthew Tucker for two points to put his team within nine.

But that was as close as they would get to New England, who despite some concerns over the loss of several key offensive weapons (Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and for now, Rob Gronkowski), have had several young receivers step up, including highly-touted rookie Aaron Dobson, with the man out of Marshall having two catches for 35 yards, and Kenbrell Thompkins out of Cincinnati received some significant attention from Brady, going 23 yards on four catches. Undrafted tight end Zach Sudfeld out of Nevada, who’s been a pleasant surprise thus far in camp, showed his inner “Gronkness” by throwing off a couple receivers on his only reception of the game, which he went 22 yards on.

The Patriots saw a lot of the same on defense, with the secondary making some errors, and while some were also made up front, the linebackers once again were the highlights.

While having played well, the Patriots still have a lot of room for improvement, as head coach Bill Belichick said following the game, and will head back to Foxboro with their next preseason showdown happening next Friday at Gillette against the Buccaneers.

Posted in Home | Tagged Legarrette Blount, , , Philadelphia Eagles, Preseason, Tim Tebow | Leave a comment

Saër Sène returning to France? Sochaux, Rennes interested

By Cameron Merritt

Is Revs striker Saër Sène on his way back to France? (Photo/Getty Images)

Is last year’s lead goalscorer for the New England Revolution on his way back home? According to a report from New England Soccer Today and an article from Maxifoot.fr, the French striker is being linked with possible moves to Ligue 1 sides FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and Stade Rennais FC.

The 26 year old was born and raised in Paris, the son of Paris Saint-Germain and Senegalese international midfielder Oumar Sène, and scored 11 goals for the Revs last season before going out in late August after suffering an ACL injury. Slowly making his way back into coach Jay Heap’s starting XI this season, he’s made 11 appearances with four starts, two goal and an assist.

Along with being one of the club’s best players, he’s quickly become one of the most popular amongst fans since coming over from Bayern Munich II, the reserve team of the current champions of Europe, in early 2012.

As for the teams that are rumored to be interested in the player, both are looking for a boost to their offense attack. Sochaux, the former home of Manchester, NH native and BC alum Charlie Davies, made waves by defeating the “big four” clubs of France last season; PSG, Lyon, Marseille, and Saint-Étienne, but just avoided relegation in their final match.

Helping Sochaux avoid the drop was striker Giovanni Sio, who came to Les Lionceaux on loan for the remainder of the season from Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg, where he had struggled, but flourished in France, scoring four goals and having three assists. However, his success on the pitch for Sochaux may hurt his chances of staying with the club on a permanent basis, as Wolfsburg have now stated he’s not for sale because of his impressive turnaround.

If Wolfsburg continues to stand by their word, Sochaux may make the move for Sène, as the large, powerful forward could provide a strong boost for the Jaune et Bleu who look to improve on their 16th place finish as they head into their 66th season in the top flight, longer than any other French club.

Stade Rennais made it as high as fourth midseason, but lacking form and losing 12 of their final 15 matches saw them plummet all the way down to 13th, rarely scoring more than once a game. Recently having signed defender Sylvain Armand from PSG, Rennes could now turn to their focus more to improving their offense as well, and Sène could be a fit for a club searching for a way to repair after their almost half-table collapse.

Sène isn’t alone in receiving interest from Europe, as Revs forward Juan Agudelo, acquired from Chivas USA in May, is rumored to be connected with a January move to Scottish giant Celtic FC.

In the days before Saturday’s 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, one of the goals which came from Sène, the striker acknowledged he’d heard of the interest.

“Yes, (my agent) has been contacted. (But) I’m focused on here, and I’m getting ready for the game on Saturday against San Jose,” Sène told New England Soccer Today last Thursday.

On the rumors, Heaps told reporters that he believes it’s “extra motivation” for his star striker.

“If they are catching the eyes of other teams, then they have to step on the field on Saturday and know that teams are watching them,” said the Revs head coach, who also added that rumors are just rumors, and no sale is imminent at this moment.

While any sale of such an important player is probably unlikely this summer, a strong enough offer to the MLS could send the striker back home and the Revs looking for his replacement.

Posted in Home | Tagged Ligue 1, MLS, , Rennes, , Sochaux, transfers | Leave a comment

Salem Red Sox fall 8-1 to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in rain-shortened affair

By Cameron Merritt

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.- The division-leading Myrtle Beach Pelicans, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, made easy work of the Salem Red Sox on July 1 in a six-inning 8-1 win, the first meeting of the two in the second half of the Carolina League (Adv. A) season.

Myrtle Beach, the champions of the first half of the season, struck first in the bottom of the first with two runs, with Luis Sardinas tagging up on a Rougned Odor sacrifice fly to left, and Kellin Deglan brought in Edwin Garcia off of an RBI single to center.

But the Pelicans really dove in on the Sox in the third, as they scored six, all of which came with two outs, as Deglan bringing in two more runs as Odor and Garcia crossed the plate via his line-drive double to right. The next three plays would also result in runs, as Deglan scored off a Joe Maloney double right up the middle, then Maloney off a Chris Grayson single to center, almost caught on the dive by Sox center fielder Henry Ramos, Grayson off a double to right by Preston Beck, then Beck off a double to center by Jake Skole. Salem brought in reliever  Heri Quevedo to take over for starter Miguel Pena and finish off the inning, which he did the next at-bat. Pena (3-2) took the loss in the game, finishing with 2.2 innings pitched, giving up nine hits and eight runs with a strike out and walk, while Quevedo gave up two hits and struck out two in 3.1 innings of work.

The Sox, who had started some chances early on, finally broke through in the fifth when Stefan Welch brought in Deven Marrero, the first-round selection of the Boston Red Sox in 2012, on a line drive single to right. The run was given up by Myrtle Beach reliever
Will Lamb (2-0), who tossed two full inning giving up two hits, a run, and was credited with the win. Starter Alec Asher threw three shutout innings giving up four hits, two walks, and struck out two, but was worked heavily in the count by the bats of Salem, and didn’t pitch long enough to qualify for the win. Taylor Dennis tossed a scoreless inning in the sixth, without a hit, walk, or strikeout.

Between scoring, both teams went through each other fairly quick as a light to medium rain would fall on and off again, but the rain grew progressively heavier into the sixth inning and the tarp was put over the field just before the start of the seventh. With the rain staying and thunder being heard in the distance, the game was put in the books about 20 minutes later.

The Pelicans would get the best of Salem the next night, in a much closer 1-0 game. However, the the final game of the series saw the last-place Sox come back from a 5-0 hole to surprise the division leaders Myrtle Beach 14-6.

Stefan Welch, responsible for Salem's only run of the game (Photo/Cameron Merritt)

Salem OF Henry Ramos leads off of third (Photo/Cameron Merritt)

2012 Red Sox top pick and former Lowell Spinner Deven Marrero warms up pre-game (Photo/Cameron Merritt)

Posted in Baseball, Home | Tagged , , Carolina League, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Salem Red Sox, Texas Rangers | Leave a comment

Pats sign Tim Tebow

By CAMERON MERRITT

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.- According to a report from ESPN, the New England Patriots have signed free agent quarterback Tim Tebow and he will report to the team’s minicamp on Tuesday. No further details on the contract have been released at the time of publication.

Tebow was taken in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, then coached by current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, after a very successful college career at Florida, where he was teammates with Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes, and won the Heisman Trophy in his senior year.

Famous for his devout Christian beliefs and his celebratory prayer pose that inspired the incredibly popular “Tebowing” craze, the 25 year old made his biggest impact on the NFL in the 2011 season, where he took over the starting job in Denver from Kyle Orton and had several famous fourth quarter comebacks, including against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round, but would be soundly defeated in a 45-3 blowout at the hands of the New England Patriots a week later, Tebow’s last game as a Bronco and a starter.

In March 2012, the New York Jets sent their 4th and 6th round draft picks to the Broncos in exchange for Tebow and a 7th round pick, a trade that would be seen as a “flop,” as he never found a real role with the team, and also believed to be out of favor with head coach Rex Ryan, who stuck by starter Mark Sanchez through all of his struggles as the team finished 8-8. The Jets and Tebow officially parted ways on April 29.

While being signed as a quarterback, Tebow has struggled with his throwing arm, completing only 47.9% of his passes in the NFL, and heavily depended on running plays to score, and could possibly serve in multiple roles for the team. Coach Bill Belichick has praised his versatility and football intelligence, and even had dinner with the player when he visited the team prior to the 2010 draft.

Whether the Patriots have found a third string quarterback or just testing out a possible option is yet to be known. BostonSportsU18 will stay with the story and provide any and all updates on the situation as they come in.

 

Posted in Home | Tagged Denver Broncos, , , , Tim Tebow | Leave a comment

Revs defeat Houston Dynamo 2-0

BY CAMERON MERRITT

Revs midfielder Diego Fagundez scored his third goal of the season as they beat the Dynamo 2-0 in Houston Saturday. (Photo/Goal.com)

HOUSTON- Leominster’s own Diego Fagundez scored his third goal of the season and Juan Agudelo helped force an own goal in his debut Saturday night as the New England Revolution defeated the Houston Dynamo 2-0, after having lost to Real Salt Lake 2-1 and drawing the New York Red Bulls 1-1 at home last week. They now stand at 3-4-4 on the year.

Fagundez, the 18 year old Uruguayan-born midfielder, broke through the scoreless draw in the 51st minute when after a series of passes between himself and his teammates in their offensive zone, ran into a short pass from midfielder Clyde Simms at the edge of the box to put a quick shot past and to the right of Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall for his second goal in as many matches.

“I just saw Clyde [Simms] on the top of the eighteen so I gave him a pass. I followed through it and then he did a beautiful lay-off where I could just touch it around the defender and get a goal,” said Fagundez post-match.

Agudelo, who came over in a trade with Chivas USA earlier last week, came on as an injury substitution in the 35th when midfielder Ryan Guy went down with a left calf injury. The Columbian-born American international was impressive in his first match for the Revs, and capped it off in the 84th minute when, on an offensive attack with Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney, he sent a short shot that deflected off Houston defender Ricardo Clark rolled into his own goal to seal the win for the visitors, and to give the Dynamo their second home loss in the past week, their only two since they opened BBVA Compass Stadium in 2011.

“[Chris] Tierney tried to cross the ball after I played it to him and I saw that the defender wasn’t really looking at me. So I just put my body in the way and tried to get anything that I could on it and put it toward the net. I think the goal was counted as an own goal, but it doesn’t really matter because it gave so much space for our defense to give us a 2-0 lead,” said Agudelo. As for the win, he said it “felt awesome.”

“Not just to win 1-0, but 2-0 is huge. There’s a lot of momentum right now getting toward the middle of the season, playoffs getting closer and closer. It’s huge to win this away game. There’s a couple home games coming up and hopefully we can make a push to be on top of the league.”

In the first half, the action was back and forth with minimal scoring chances, but a heated argument between Revs forward Dmitry Imbongo and Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell in the 38th began to turn physical and resulted in the two being shown red cards and taken off.

After the Revs first goal in the second half, the Dynamo began to develop a few chances of their own, the closest being a forward Will Bruin header sent narrowly over the crossbar in the 61st.

Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth recorded his fourth shutout of the year, and made three saves. He came up huge in the 81st minute to preserve the lead when Andrew Driver connected back on a low pass to Brian Ching at the center of the box, and the forward tried to put it past Shuttleworth to his left, but the keeper pushed it back, and Ching would send the rebound far over the net, and the New England defenders could breathe a sigh of relief.

“I thought we had a good gameplan coming in, and our guys performed really well at the beginning of the game and really set the tone early,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps in the post-match press conference. “We wanted to come here and play and put them under pressure. Obviously, throughout the game a lot of things happen. You deal with things, they had to deal with a couple of things. It was a little strange having to play a match ten on ten, but I felt we adapted well. They’re a great team and we take our hat off to them but we’re excited for the win.”

He also praised his new acquisition in Agudelo, saying he was great in his debut.

“I thought Juan did a nice job of holding the ball. He was getting grabbed and pulled and pushed and he didn’t lose his focus and held on for some good plays. Not only that but he kept it for us in some really tight spots, difficult areas. Just excited to have him out there and doing well for us.”

The Revs now stand in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, and five points out of a playoff spot, and return to Foxborough next weekend to take on ninth place Toronto FC.

 

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Bruins can clinch series tonight with home win

By CAMERON MERRITT

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins could clinch their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which they lead 3-1, with a win tonight at the TD Garden.

The Bruins are coming off game where they overcame a 2-0 deficit to take a 4-3 overtime win Wednesday night where center David Krejci finished off his hat trick with the game winner at the 13:06 mark in the first period of sudden-death overtime. The B’s took both their games in Toronto, having won Monday night’s affair 5-2, and drew even with the Leafs in Boston, taking the first game 4-1, but fell 4-2 in Game 2, aided by a goal from former Bruins forward Phil Kessel.

Momentum would seem to be on the side of Boston tonight as the Bruins have been the better side of late and will be backed up by a full house of the Garden faithful.

Earlier this afternoon, coach Claude Julien made to changes to his roster, with forward Wayne Redden a sudden scratch at afternoon practice and recalling defenseman Matt Bartkowski from Providence, who has been an important member of the P Bruins playoff team that advanced to the AHL Eastern Conference Semi-Finals after defeating the Hershey Bears 3-2 Wednesday afternoon.

It will be up to the Leafs to slow this momentum and force a Game 6 at the Air Canada Centre, then win on the road and at home, in order to win the series. Joffrey Lupul leads his team in scoring this series, with the Canadian forward having scored three goals, one more than his teammate Kessel.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle in the Leafs way of crawling back is the man in goal for Boston, top goalie Tuukka Rask, who has a .932 save percentage for the series against the franchise that originally drafted him.

If Rask keeps playing as he’s been, the Bruins top offensive players keep making chances, and with the Boston fans behind they, the B’s should be able to finish the series off and advance to the Conference Semi-Finals, as the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators have done in the East, defeating the Minnesota Wild and Montréal Canadiens respectively , and the San Jose Sharks in the West, who swept the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup rivals, the Vancouver Canucks.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , Stanley Cup, | Leave a comment

Revs acquire Juan Agudelo from Chivas USA

By CAMERON MERRITT

Juan Agudelo celebrates a goal for Chivas USA in 2012. (Photo/CD Chivas USA)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.- The New England Revolution acquired striker Juan Agudelo from Los Angeles-based club Chivas USA on Wednesday in exchange for allocation money.

The 20 year old Columbian-born Agudelo has 11 goals in 59 appearances. Coming to New Jersey at the age of seven, he eventually joined the youth academy of local club New York Red Bulls, and made his senior debut in a 2010 US Open Cup match against the Philadelphia Union, and found himself as an important piece for the New York club during the 2011 campaign.

After a slow start to the 2012 season, the Red Bulls parted ways with the young Agudelo, sending him to Chivas USA for defender Heath Pearce and allocation money. He made 26 appearances for the California club, scoring five times and had four assists. So far this year, he’s scored twice and has an assist, making him the Revs’ top goalscorer. His offensive output will be a welcome sight to a team that has so far only mustered four goals, one being an own goal by Red Bulls defender Brandon Barklage, leaving them tied for the worst offense in the MLS.

Agudelo is noted as having a lot of potential and is considered one of the best young forwards in the league. He has been made 17 appearances  for the US National Team, including four starts, with a goal and an assist. He has also spent time training with several European clubs during his offseasons, including Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart, Scottish giants Celtic, and Premier League clubs Liverpool FC and West Ham United.

Revs general manager Mike Burns told reporters that the move was a “no-brainer,” and that the club was “very pleased” to acquire Agudelo.

“While Juan is a young player with tremendous potential, he also already has a lot of experience both inside our league and internationally with the U.S. National Team. We believe Juan will improve our attack and make us a better team,” added Burns, the Marlborough native and former defender who also had several caps for the USMNT during his eight-year career.

Agudelo will most likely join the club later this week, possibly in time to face the club he began his career with,  but now on the opposite side of the Boston-New York rivalry, when the Red Bulls come to Gillette next Saturday. Before that, however, the Revs will take on Real Salt Lake at home in a Wednesday Night inter-conference showdown.

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