Sunshine Girls Head Coach Connie Francis is expecting a much better performance from her shooters when they play Trinidad and Tobago in the second game of their series at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Tuesday.

Jamaica demolished their Caribbean rivals 71-22 on Saturday night with Jhaniele Fowler leading the way with 43 goals. Defensively, Jamaica was stifling limiting their opponents to only six second-half goals in a comprehensive victory.

However, Francis was not pleased with certain elements of the Jamaican execution.

“I was a bit disappointed with the shooting. I thought we were more than capable of doing a better job,” said Francis, who said the only player who she would excuse was Shanice Beckford who has not played in 18 months.

“I thought Jhaniele was too casual. Her style has changed a bit since she began playing in the Super League. She is not catching or elevating as she usually does.”

Francis also believes the team needs to tighten up defensively.
“Trinidad was able to get the ball through from the Jamaica attacking area into midcourt and into their shooting area without much pressure,” she explained.

She said she plans to tackle those areas of concern before the next game on Tuesday.

“We have a training session today (Sunday) and another on Tuesday morning, these ladies are professionals playing in leagues abroad, we should be capable of making those adjustments,” she said.

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez got on the scoresheet as LA Galaxy breathed life in their MLS playoffs aspirations with a 2-1 home win over Portland Timbers on Saturday.

Sacha Kljestan netted a stoppage-time penalty to clinch all three points for Galaxy, who had been in a freefall with a winless nine-game span.

Chicharito poked in at the back post for the opening goal in the 62nd minute, pouncing on Larrys Mabiala's defensive error from Victor Vazquez's ball into the box.

The Timbers equalized 10 minutes later when Sebastian Blanco's cross-cum-shot drifted over Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond and in off the post.

Blanco hit the upright from a long-range effort, before LA won a penalty when substitute Efrain Alvarez was brought down inside the box by Josecarlos Van Rankin.

Kljestan fired low to Timbers keeper Steve Clark's right for the winner which moves Galaxy up to 42 points, retaining their grip on sixth spot in the Western Conference.

Supporters Shield-leading New England Revolution conceded late as they drew 2-2 at home with Chicago Fire.

The sides traded four goals in the second half, with Wilfred Kaptoum drilling in a low opener in the 47th minute before Alvaro Medran equalized instantly with a classy volley.

Gustavo Bou netted his 13th goal of the season to restore Revolution's lead with a deft lob from Carles Gil's lofted pass in behind the defence in the 76th minute.

Bou was denied by Chicago keeper Gabriel Slonina before Brian Gutierrez danced forward for the visitors, finding Ignacio Aliseda who fired home an angled 88th minute leveller.

Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders missed the chance to close on New England after going down 2-1 at Houston Dynamo.

Maxi Urruti scored a spectacular volley to put Houston ahead on the quarter hour, with Darwin Quintero doubling their lead with a fine solo left-foot strike in the 20th minute.

Jimmy Medranda halved the deficit with a rifled 41st minute shot after recycling an over-hit corner, although Houston came closest to a second-half goal, hitting the woodwork four times, before Seattle's Joao Paulo had a stoppage-time free-kick cannon into the crossbar.

Real Salt Lake solidified their grip on a playoffs spot with a 3-1 home victory over Colorado Rapids, who are third in the Western Conference.

Minnesota United remained ahead of RSL by two points with a 1-0 triumph at lowly Austin thanks to Franco Frangapane's 16th-minute strike.

US international Gyasi Zardes netted a double as Columbus Crew thrashed Inter Miami 4-0, condemning them to their sixth straight defeat, during which they have scored one goal and conceded 16 times.

Luiz Araujo and Marcelino Moreno both netted late in each half as 10-man Atlanta United triumphed 2-0 at Toronto.

Junior Urso netted early as Orlando City eased past struggling Cincinnati 1-0, while DC United and Nashville drew 0-0 with the visitors recorded a draw for the fourth successive game.

The Master Blaster, Sir Vivian Richards is siding with Sir Curtly Ambrose in the latter’s public spat with the Universe Boss Chris Gayle.

The Jamaica Football Federation has called up 22 players, including two newcomers, for a one-week camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida ahead of the Football is Freedom initiative created by Jamaica's Global Ambassador for women's football, Cedella Marley.

The initiative features an international friendly between Jamaica and Costa Rica on October 24 at the DRV stadium. The match is part of a fundraising drive for the Reggae Girlz FIFA 2023 World Cup campaign that kicks off in February 2022.

Jamaica will be hoping to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for a second time following their historic entry into the 2019 World Cup in France.

The 22 players will have two new faces in Page Bailey-Gayle who plays for Leicester City in England and Kalyssa van Zanten, who suits up for the University of Notre Dame in the United States. Also named in the squad is prolific striker Khadijah ’Bunny’ Shaw, who plays for Manchester City, after signing from Bordeaux in France during the summer.

Meanwhile, both teams are expected to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on October 18 for a week of training and the two-game series.

According to the JFF, the local delegation is set to depart the island on Saturday, October 16, to join other members of the technical staff from overseas who will finalize preparation for the camp ahead of the arrival of the players.

The full squad comprises Sydney Schneider (Washington Spirit), Chantelle Swaby (Glasgow Rangers FC), Jade Bailey (Liverpool FC), Vyan Sampson (Charlton Athletic), Konya Plummer (Orlando Pride; on loan to AIK Stockholm), Chinyelu Asher (Washington Spirit), Kayla McCoy (Glasgow Rangers FC), Atlanta Primus (London City Lionesses), Khadija Shaw (Manchester City FC), Sashana Campbell (Unattached), Rebecca Spencer (Tottenham Hotspurs FC), Allyson Swaby (AS Roma), Tiernny Wiltshire (KUPS), Drew Spence (Chelsea FC), Cheyna Matthews (Louisville FC), Marlo Sweatman (Haladas FC), Satara Murray (Bristol City FC), Yazmeen Jamieson (P18 IK), Olufolasade Adamolekun (University of South California), Trudi Carter (FC Gintra), Kalyssa Van Zanten (University of Notre Dame) and Paige Bailey-Gayle (Leicester City FC).

 

West Indies T20 vice-captain Nicholas Pooran has heaped praises on under pressure batsman Chris Gayle, insisting the veteran remains a valuable part of the team ahead of its attempted World Cup title defence.

The 42-year-old Gayle has found himself in the crosshairs of critics in recent months, with many insisting the player should have been overlooked in favour of younger talent.  The batsman'ss recent form will not have helped matters.  In the last year, Gayle has played a total of 16 matches, scored a total of 227 runs with an average of 17.46 and strike rate of 117.61, well down from his career average of 139.18.

Criticism of the batsman recently came to a head when he took exception to comments made by former fast bowler Curtly Ambrose who suggested that Gayle was not the same player he used to be.  Pooran is, however, certain of the value the player brings to the team.

“As much as everyone has questioned it, 14,000 runs doesn’t come about just like that.  Not many people know how to win T20 matches and T20 leagues and that sort of experience is invaluable,” Pooran told members of the media on Wednesday.

“The experience batting out in the middle, talking about intent, talking about taking on players when to go when not to go, you just don’t get experience like that,” he added.

“We are very happy to have him, even off the pitch he is someone who supports you 100 percent, someone who backs you 100 percent.  You talk about positivity, he is one of the most positive guys we have on the team, in the Caribbean.

“He’s a special human being.  Only when you play cricket with him or against him you’d know what it feels like to have him around.”

 

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran insists the team has looked to address well-noted concerns regarding the rotation of the strike but believes it is important to stick to its strengths, with the World Cup on the horizon.

Known internationally for their flamboyant, swashbuckling style, the Caribbean team will head into next week's tournament as defending champions.  However, despite having captured the global title on two occasions, questions have been raised in recent times regarding the team’s batting approach.

With a batting line-up filled with heavy hitters, the problematic issue stems from the tendency to soak up too many dot balls.  Pooran admits that it has been a focus but in the grand scheme of things the team intends to stay true to its style as it has delivered success in the past.

“We have net sessions and we as a group have spoken about it, we have players to play certain roles, honestly.  As a batting group, we want to get better, we want to improve, and getting singles is a part of that game as well, but our focus is not so much on singles,” Pooran told members of the media on Tuesday.

“We won two World Cups with the same problems, to be honest, not getting singles.  I don’t think the emphasis is so much on it, but on intent and playing smart cricket.  There are times that we know that will have to put our egos aside and grind for the team and if that means pushing a dot ball and getting singles, we’ll do that.”

Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper has signed a three-year deal to become the newest brand ambassador for TruShake.

Tapper, the first woman from the Caribbean to win a medal in an Olympic 100m hurdles final, today formalized the agreement which takes effect from October 2021 and will run through to September 2024. Tapper finished third behind Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and the USA's Kendra Harrison in her history-making run in Tokyo in August.

“It means the world to me that I was chosen to represent the brand. It’s a great partnership. TruShake is a fairly new product in Jamaica and I am entering a new phase in my journey as an Olympic athlete. I am looking forward to us growing together,” said an excited Tapper after putting her signature to the deal at Funland Jamaica.

TruSHAKE is Trade Winds Citrus Limited’s locally manufactured milk-based nutrition shake developed for all ages and lifestyles. Tapper admits that TruShake is a great addition to her meal plan.

“Sometimes I do not feel like eating a heavy meal; it feels good to be able to have an affordable option that is healthy and tasty,” she said. “At times, I feel like whenever I eat healthily, I am sacrificing taste but that’s not the case with TruShake. So, it’s a great addition to my meal plan.”

Marketing Manager of Tradewinds Citrus, Lauren Mahfood explained that Tapper is a perfect fit for their brand. “Like most Jamaicans, we witnessed Megan’s outstanding talent at the Olympics this year and we were extremely proud of her performance on the world stage,” she said.

“Her infectious energy and incredible character made it clear that she was an all-around winner – a perfect fit for the TruShake brand.”

Tapper, who is also a motivational speaker, uses her platform to inspire young girls and women to seize the moment and to dream big. She explained that she will use this opportunity as TruShake’s brand ambassador, to continue her work to motivate and encourage Jamaicans to eat and live healthy so they can achieve their optimum physical goals.

 “Megan is an incredible ambassador for Jamaica and as a Jamaican brand, we look forward to seeing her compete locally and internationally, representing with passion and focus as always,” said Mahfood.

Tapper will be looking to be on the podium once more at the 2022 and 2023 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, and Budapest, Hungary, respectively as well as the lucrative Diamond League circuit before she aims for another Olympic medal in Paris in 2024.

Apparently having had his fill of detractors questioning his selection to the West Indies 15-man squad for the ICC T20 World Cup later this month, Chris Gayle has reacted strongly and channelled his rage at Sir Curtly Ambrose, who has opined that he would not start the Universe Boss once the two-time champions begin their campaign for a third title.

Ever since the squad was named last month, West Indies selectors have come in for criticism for the selection of Gayle and other players like Darren Bravo, who was named among the reserves. Critics have also questioned why players like Sherfane Rutherford and Odean Smith were not selected given how well each performed during the 2021 Hero CPL tournament in St Kitts and Nevis.

However, amidst all of the criticism, Gayle has perhaps come in for the greatest criticism because of the absence of his explosive form that has made him arguably the most successful T20 batsman in the world.

Former West Indies fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose is among those questioning Gayle’s selection. However, with the Jamaican already in the squad, Ambrose did not believe Gayle should start for the West Indies when the tournament begins.

“No, he (Gayle) is not an automatic choice for me. The few home series (West Indies) just played, he had no scores of significance, and I have said before that if he did not do well in those home series, he should not go to the World Cup,” Ambrose reasoned while speaking on Mason and Guest talk show in Barbados last week.

“However, he will be at the World Cup, but for me, he is definitely not an automatic choice for starting… If he gets it going on the day, he can be destructive, but he has not done much in the last 18 months or so to really make me think he will set the World Cup alight.”

Responding to Ambrose’s criticisms, Gayle lashed out hard while speaking on The Island Tea Morning Show in St Kitts on Tuesday.

“I can tell you personally and you can let him know that Chris Gayle, the Universe Boss, have no respect for Curtly Ambrose whatsoever,” said Gayle, who accused the fast-bowling great of seeking attention.

“I am speaking about Curtly Ambrose. I am singling out Curtly Ambrose, one of your own. I highly respected him when I came into the West Indies team. When I just joined the team, I looked up to this man. But I am now speaking from my heart. I don’t know what, since he retired, what he had against Chris Gayle. Those negative things he has been saying within the press, I don’t know if he is looking for attention but he is getting the attention. So I am just giving back the attention which he requires and which he needs.”

Gayle continued: “We have won the tournament twice and we will be going for the third title. The team has seen what is happening. It is going to reflect on the team. If the past players continue being negative, I am Chris Gayle Universe Boss is going to be disrespectful, disrespectful verbally in their face. In the media as well. I am not going to take anything from any senior player. Curtly Ambrose pull your socks up, alright? Support for West Indies, ok? Support West Indies, that is the thing.”

The West Indies begin the defence of their title when they play England on October 23 in Dubai.

West Indies T20 captain Kieron Pollard remains unsure regarding the extent to which a recent hamstring injury could affect star all-rounder Andre Russell for the World Cup but remains optimistic.

The 33-year-old big-hitter has been out of action since sustaining a Grade 2 hamstring tear last month.  Depending on the severity of the injury, the typical recovery time is said to run anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.  The player’s India Premier League (IPL) team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is hopeful of Russell returning in time to face the Delhi Capitals in Wednesday’s eliminator, having already missed three games.

However, the extent to which the player will fully recover in time for that match, or the start of next week’s World Cup remains a source for conjecture, already sparking concerns regarding potential workload.

“I can’t make any assumptions about what he can or cannot do at this point, we will need to make an assessment as a team,” Pollard told members of the media on Tuesday.

“We have not had the opportunity to see him.  We’ve gotten reports as to what he has done, but I would not want to get into trying to say what he can or can’t do at this point in time,” he added.

“We’ll judge from the assessment but he is a critical person for our team and we would love to have him 100 percent fit.”

 

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists he remains unperturbed by the indifferent form of some players heading into the ICC T20 World Cup as there is still enough time to get things right.

With the start of the tournament just a few days away, there has been some concern raised regarding the form of a few of the team’s potential match-winners based on their performances in lead-up tournaments this year, most recently the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Indian Premier League (IPL).

Falling into that category and of primary concern would be the form of high-impact pair Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, whose IPL form this season best illustrates the point.  The duo set the IPL alight for Punjab Kings XI last season and such form would have been welcome heading into next week.

In 2020, Pooran played 14 matches scoring 353 runs at an average of 35.30, by comparison, the player’s most recent campaign has ended with 85 runs at an average of 7.72, in 12 games.  For Gayle, 2020 saw him score 288 runs and average a healthy 41.14 in 7 games, however, this time around he could only manage 193 runs at an average of 21.44 in 10 games. 

Pollard, however, believes players who might not be in form still have plenty of time to kick into gear for the global showpiece, where they will start as defending champions.

“If we look too much into the past, then that is where sometimes we get ourselves into trouble,” Pollard told members of the media on Tuesday.

“Let’s deal with what we have in the present, the guys that have confidence, roll with them, the guys that don’t we try to get them into that zone with some practice sessions,” he added.

“We have a couple more games and then the big one, which is the World Cup, so from a perspective of being concerned, I know when it comes to the international stage it is about personal pride and individuals will want to show what they have to offer.”

 

      

 

Colorado Rapids produced a second-half comeback as the 10-man visitors shocked Minnesota United 3-1 in MLS on Sunday.

Everything seemed to be going Minnesota's way, with the home side taking the lead through an Adrien Hunou goal in the eighth minute. 

Colorado then went down a man as Danny Wilson was shown a red card for a foul on Hunou approaching the hour mark in Minnesota, where the team had boasted the best home defence in MLS having conceded just seven times in 13 games at Allianz Field prior to this fixture.

The Rapids – who had their second-longest unbeaten run in franchise history ended by Seattle Sounders last time out – made a series of substitutions a few minutes later and they paid off, with Michael Barrios producing a scintillating performance off the bench.

With 20 minutes remaining, Minnesota's Tyler Miller took down substitute Barrios in the penalty area and VAR confirmed a spot-kick, which fellow substitute Cole Bassett converted. 

Barrios then got one of his own in the 84th minute, running unmarked through the centre of the box and slotting home a pass from Jonathan Lewis. 

Barrios added an assist on the final goal by Lucas Esteves in the third minute of stoppage time. 

The victory brought Colorado within a point of second-placed Kansas City in the Western Conference standings, while seventh-placed Minnesota squandered an opportunity to open up space ahead of pursuers Vancouver Whitecaps, who sit a point back. 

As the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup draws ever closer, some observers are still in disbelief at the squad Cricket West Indies selectors have chosen to defend the title the West Indies won in 2016.

Among them is Sir Vivian Richards, a man considered by many to be the greatest batsman of all time and one of the most destructive.

Richards, who played on the West Indies teams that won the Prudential World Cup in 1975 and 1979, said he still cannot believe that former West Indies captain Jason Holder, was not among the 15-man squad named for the world cup.

Holder, who played well in the recent CPL and took 16 wickets for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL this season, was only named among the four reserve players who will travel with the team to the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies will begin the defence of their title on October 23.

The decision by the selectors doesn’t sit well with the Master Blaster.

“I felt maybe it could have been a misprint and then hearing the news as well you think you were not hearing right at that particular time,” Sir Vivian told the Antigua Observer.

“We may have our issues with Jason when he was in charge as captain of the team, but we can never doubt the individual’s ability and his talent and I just felt sad that someone with such ability couldn’t make a West Indies T20, so that suggests to me that we must be seriously blessed with talented individuals the calibre of Jason Holder.”

Despite his misgivings, Richards urged fans to get behind the team as it goes for a third world title having won the tournament in 2012 and 2016.

West Indies open their defence against England in Dubai.

 

Seattle Sounders became the second MLS team to clinch a play-off berth with their 4-1 rout of Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. 

Seattle are atop the Western Conference on 57 points, second only to runaway Eastern Conference leaders and Supporters' Shield pacesetters New England Revolution (65), who already have secured the top seed on their side. 

The Sounders established themselves early with goals from Shane O'Neill in the fifth minute and Nicolas Benezet in the 14th at home to the Whitecaps amid their 13-game winless run against Seattle – the club's longest drought against any opponent in MLS.

After Vancouver clawed a goal back via Brian White at the end of the first half, Will Bruin added a third for Seattle 10 minutes into the second period and Leo Chu netted in the 90th minute to close it out. 

New York Red Bulls kept their play-off hopes alive, defeating slumping Inter Miami 1-0 behind a 25th-minute goal courtesy of Patryk Klimala. 

The Red Bulls sit ninth in the east, three points adrift of Montreal, rivals New York City and DC United, who currently hold the final three post-season positions.

Inter Miami are eight points off the pace amid a five-match losing streak.

FC Cincinnati became the first team officially eliminated from play-off contention following a 2-1 home defeat to third-placed Philadelphia Union. 

Though Philadelphia had possession for only 37 per cent of the match, they built a lead through Kacper Przybylko in first-half stoppage time before Paxten Aaronson doubled the advantage 11 minutes into the second half.

Haris Medunjanin netted in the 82nd minute but it was too late as Cincinnati suffered their 16th loss of the season against eight draws and an MLS-worst four wins. 

The Boston Red Sox conquered rivals the New York Yankees 6-2 in Tuesday's Wild Card Game to set up an American League (AL) Division Series showdown with the Tampa Bay Rays.

A playoff berth was on the line in MLB after the Red Sox and Yankees both claimed dramatic last-gasp wins on the final day of the regular season to finish in the AL Wild Card spots, ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.

The Red Sox welcomed the Yankees to Fenway Park and eased to a comprehensive victory, securing an ALDS clash with AL East champions the Rays, starting Thursday in Tampa.

Boston got to Gerrit Cole as the Yankees ace endured a nightmare outing – Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber both homering off the four-time All-Star, while Red Sox counterpart Nathan Eovaldi allowed just one run on four hits after striking out eight batters in 5.1 innings.

Cole lasted just two innings after giving up three runs, two homers and two walks on four hits as the Yankees' season came to an abrupt end – the storied franchise have not reached the World Series since 2009.

Bogaerts hit a first-inning home run off Cole before Schwarber heaped further misery on the 31-year-old starting pitcher in the third to help the Red Sox move 3-0 ahead.

Anthony Rizzo homered in the sixth to finally get the Yankees on the board as he and Schwarber became the second pair in history to hit home runs in a postseason game as team-mates (2015 NLDS) then later home in another playoff contest featuring for different teams after Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth in the 2016 NLDS, according to Stats Perform.

But the Red Sox scored two unanswered runs in the seventh and while Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton homered in the ninth, it was too little too late in Boston.

Alex Verdugo ended the game with three RBI to become the youngest Red Sox hitter with a three-RBI performance in a winner-takes-all clash since Dustin Pedroia in the 2007 ALCS Game 7.

 

Cardinals at Dodgers

The St Louis Cardinals will visit defending World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers in Wednesday's National League (NL) Wild Card contest. It will be a battle between St Louis' Adam Wainwright and Dodgers ace Max Scherzer.

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