Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez all did not travel for Inter Miami's 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps, leading head coach Gerardo Martino to apologise.

The former Barcelona trio were expected to feature for the Eastern Conference leaders on Sunday, but were rested as Martino's side triumphed thanks to goals from Robert Taylor and Leonardo Campana.

Vancouver's BC Place was expecting a larger than usual home crowd to greet the global superstars, though Whitecaps Axel Schuster apologised once the hosts got wind of Messi's absence.

With Martino subsequently leaving Messi and his former Blaugrana stars at home, the Miami boss felt it necessary to offer his apologies to the expectant Vancouver crowd.

"Obviously it is very important for us because of the absences we had," Martino said after the victory that made it 10 unbeaten games for Miami. 

"The expectation that people have. I really don't think I have to apologise, but in some ways we are very sorry for not being able to travel with our stars.

"There is a question, we have or have come without our great players. Leo, Luis, Busi, Diego Gomez and still we have competed very well."

Schuster and the Whitecaps had previously echoed Martino's apologetic sentiment on Thursday when news emerged of their absence.

"We know that there will also be a lot of disappointed fans," Schuster said in a statement released by Vancouver.

Disappointment followed on the pitch as Vancouver slipped to six straight MLS matches without victory.

Jamaica’s Brianna Lyston spearheaded an impressive contingent of Caribbean athletes into the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships following stellar performances at the NCAA East Regionals on Saturday.

Lyston, a sophomore at Louisiana State University, marked her 20th birthday on Friday with a standout performance, winning her 100m heat in a swift 10.99 seconds. She continued her impressive form by qualifying for the 200m with a time of 22.82 in her heat, securing her place at the national championships.

Joining Lyston is fellow Jamaican Shenese Walker from Florida State University, who clocked a personal best of 11.09 to finish third in the same 100m heat.

Antigua's Joella Lloyd also shone brightly, advancing to the national championships by finishing third in her 100m heat with a time of 11.06. Lloyd's qualification highlights the growing presence of Caribbean athletes in top-tier collegiate track and field competitions.

Clemson University’s Oneka Wilson delivered a personal best of 12.79 to win her 100m hurdles heat, showcasing her exceptional hurdling skills and securing her spot in the national championships.

Additionally, Onieka McAnuff of the University of Kentucky set a lifetime best of 51.70 in the 400m to qualify for nationals, demonstrating remarkable endurance and speed.

In the field events, Roschell Clayton of Villanova cleared 1.84 meters in the high jump, earning her place at the nationals with a strong performance.

These athletes will now compete at the NCAA Division I Outdoor National Track and Field Championships, set to be held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, from June 5-8, 2024. Their outstanding performances at the NCAA East Regionals highlight the Caribbean's rich track and field legacy and promise thrilling competition at the national championships.

 

Inter Miami extended their club-record unbeaten streak as Robert Taylor starred in Sunday's 2-1 triumph away to Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS.

Taylor opened the scoring after 38 minutes before teeing up Leonardo Campana's second-half strike, rendering Ryan Gauld's late penalty as meaningless at BC Place.

Jordi Alba teed up Taylor's third MLS goal this season, playing down the left before the Miami man cut inside and rifled into the top-right corner.

Taylor continued to dominate in the second half, driving down the left-hand side before cutting back for Campana to slot a routine, first-time finish into the bottom-right corner after 54 minutes.

Gauld sliced the deficit with 18 minutes remaining, caressing a cool penalty past Drake Callender, but that mattered for little as Miami continue to lead the Eastern Conference standings.

Data Debrief: Unbeaten Miami on fire

Gerardo Martino's side are now unbeaten in their last 10 MLS games, a club-record run, as well as moving to five games undefeated on the road – another first for Miami.

In stark contrast, Vanni Sartini's Whitecaps are without victory in their last six MLS matches, last suffering as long as a winless streak between October 2022 and March 2023.

Roston Chase and Gudakesh Motie played starring roles to lead the West Indies to a 16-run win over South Africa and an unassailable 2-0 series lead at Sabina Park in Kingston on Saturday.

The hosts, after winning the toss and batting first, made an imposing 207-7 from their 20 overs on a much-improved Sabina Park pitch.

Stand-in Captain Brandon King, who stood out with a top score of 79 in the first T20I, got the ball rolling quickly on Saturday with a 13-run third over off the bowling of Anrich Nortje, who South Africa brought in for this game in place of Gerald Coetzee.

Johnson Charles, playing his 50th T20I, once again failed to make any inroads with the bat as he was first to fall, caught in the deep off the bowling of Bjorn Fortuin for seven.

Kyle Mayers joined the skipper and the pair brought the score up to 51-1 at the end of the first powerplay with King 35* off 20 balls and looking set for another big one and Mayers on nine from seven balls.

Unfortunately for the hosts and the Sabina Park crowd, King’s knock didn’t last much longer as he became the first T20I wicket for debutant Nqaba Peter when he was caught at long on for 36 in the seventh over.

Peter got his second wicket not long after when Mayers, after hitting a six the ball before, became the third West Indies batsman to get out caught in the deep. He made a 16-ball 32 including two fours and three sixes. The score at the time of his wicket was 83-3 with one ball left in the ninth over.

At the halfway point, the hosts were 88-3 with Roston Chase and Andre Fletcher at the crease on 10 and three, respectively.

The pair then batted beautifully to put on a further 56 in short time before Fletcher fell for 29 to leave the West Indies 139-4 with five overs left.

Not long after, Chase brought up an excellent maiden T20I fifty with a flat six over mid-wicket off Lungi Ngidi in the 17th over. His milestone came off 30 balls.

The 19th over proved to be the most crucial for the West Indies as a trio of sixes from Romario Shepherd brought the score past the 200 mark before he fell off the last ball of that over for 26 off just 13 balls.

In the end, Chase finished 67* off just 38 balls including seven fours and two sixes.

Peter was the pick of the South African bowlers with 2-32 from his four overs while Ngidi and Andile Phehlukwayo took 2-41 and 2-51 from their respective four over spells.

The start from South Africa then had Sabina Park silent as openers Reeza Hendricks and Quinton De Kock absolutely hammered the West Indian bowling around the park on the way to an opening partnership of 81 in the first five overs.

The last ball of that fifth over proved to be the start of the West Indian fightback as De Kock took one risk too many and was bowled by Akeal Hosein for 41 off just 17 balls including four fours and as many sixes.

Three balls later, one became two for the Windies as Reeza Hendricks, who made 87 in the first game on Thursday, was dismissed by Chase for 34 to leave the tourists 83-2 at the halfway point of the sixth over.

Ryan Rickelton and Matthew Breetzke then added a further 30 before the latter went for an ill-advised second run and was run out thanks to a brilliant throw from the deep mid-wicket boundary by Shamar Joseph for 12 off the penultimate ball of the 10th over.

Rickelton was next to go, caught off the bowling of Romario Shepherd for 19 to leave the score at 124-4 off 12 overs.

Not long after, Andile Phehlukwayo fell to another brilliant piece of fielding from Joseph, this time a catch in the deep off the bowling of Gudakesh Motie for three to leave the South Africans reeling at 138-5 in the 15th over.

Any chance South Africa had of pulling off the chase was dashed when Gudakesh Motie dismissed both Rassie Van Der Dussen (30) and Wiaan Mulder (9) in the 17th over.

In the end, South Africa reached 191-7 from their 20 overs, 16 runs short of their target.

Motie ended with 3-22 from his four overs while Shepherd bowled a crucial spell with 1-21 from his four.

Chase, who was named man of the match, completed a fine all-round performance with 1-26 from his four overs.

Chase says the team has eyes on a series sweep.

“Obviously we’ve started the series well being 2-0 up but three is better than two. I just think it’s for us to look at some of the areas where we were weak today and plan to execute them better tomorrow and improve on the areas we did well in as well,” he said.

“The guys have been playing some good cricket, we just had a camp in Antigua and we’ve put in a lot of hard work so it’s just for us to come out and execute and mostly, enjoy the cricket. I think once you go out there to enjoy the cricket, it becomes a lot easier and takes a bit of pressure off of you so it’s just to go out there and have fun,” he added.

The third T20I is set for Sunday.

 

 

 

 

Jamaican defender Latanya Wilson, produced a Player of the Match performance in her 50th national league game to assist Adelaide Thunderbirds to a comfortable 58-33 win over New South Wales Swifts in a lopsided affair at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Saturday.

The contest, which was a repeat of last year’s grand final, was expected to be just a fierce, but Wilson and her Thunderbirds teammates were in a no-nonsense mood, as they won all but one quarter of the encounter to bounce back from last week's nail-biting one-goal loss to West Coast Fever.

Wilson, 23, notched up 118.5 Nissan Net Points thanks to four intercepts, seven deflections and nine pick-ups in a performance that matches her milestone.

“It feels so amazing. What a milestone. It is such a great feeling and I am so happy we got the win. We are evolving and we are hunting something new, whatever that looks like, I am so happy that I am a part of this great team,” a beaming Wilson said in a post-game interview.

While the wing defence did her part along with compatriot and goalkeeper Shamera Sterling-Humphrey, who had five deflections and three intercepts, another Jamaican Romelda Aiken-George led the Thunderbirds attack with 30 goals from 32 attempts.

Lucy Austin (12 goals from 12 attempts), Georgie Horjus (nine goals from 10 attempts), and Lauren Frew (seven goals from nine attempts), contributed the others.

Wilson was on song in the Thunderbirds defence.

Meanwhile, the Swifts, who were off beat all-around, got most goals from Sophie Fawns (16 goals from 19 attempts). Helen Housby (10 goals from 14 attempts), Trinidad and Tobago’s Samantha Wallace-Joseph (five goals from seven attempts) and Grace Whyte (two goals from four attempts), got the others.

Aside from the opening quarter in which they came out strong and secured a 13-12 lead over the Thunderbirds, the Swifts struggled to maintain momentum throughout.

In fact, they made a number of errors in the second quarter that shifted things in favour of the Thunderbirds, who capitalised and won the quarter 11-7 to overtake the lead at 23-20 at the half-time interval.

Wallace-Joseph finally entered the court for the Swifts to start the third quarter which meant Housby moved back into her preferred position of goal attack, but the move proved futile.

While both teams made some uncharacteristic errors, the Thunderbirds recovered best and later asserted their authority on the contest in what turned out to be a match-winning third quarter.

Sterling-Humphrey made her presence felt and picked up a flying intercept, after which, Wilson took the mantle to shut out the Swifts, as they ended the quarter 13 goals up at 41-28.

Faced with the huge deficit, it was crucial for the Swifts to come out firing in the fourth quarter - and they did for the most part, but another intercept from Sterling-Humphrey prevented them from scoring.

From there, the Swifts racked up penalties and turnovers, while missing six of their 11 attempts, as Thunderbirds effortlessly took the quarter 17-5 to complete the 25-goal rout.

While all the excitement is rightly around the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, West Indies Women’s captain Hayley Matthews and her team are steadily building towards their own global T20 showpiece, which is scheduled for October.

Having lifted their first and only T20 World Cup title in 2016 when they defeated favourites Australia by eight wickets in Kolkata, Matthews, who was 18 years old at the time of that accomplishment, is hoping to repeat the feat in five months time, but for now, her immediate focus is on their build up to the tournament.

The Caribbean women are set to tour Sri Lanka for three One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals, from June 15-28, and those encounters Matthews said will kick start their preparation for the Women’s T20 World Cup to be staged in Bangladesh.

This upcoming tour follows the West Indies Women’s successful outing in Pakistan where they won both the ODI and T20 series, losing just one of eight matches played.

“Everyone would have had a nice month or so at home, so it’s about getting ourselves into tip top shape before we head off for a camp in Sri Lanka before the series,” Matthews told Barbados TODAY, shortly after a presentation to the Barbados Royals Girls Cricket Club at Friendship.

“(Winning) the T20 World Cup is probably the main goal for the year, but at the same time on the Sri Lanka tour, we have ICC Championship points to play for that would help our qualification for the 50-over World Cup next year. So I think that both the 50-over and the T20 aspects of this upcoming tour are going to be pretty serious and we’re going to want to do really well in both the formats,” she added.