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Messi scores but Inter Miami’s 10-match MLS unbeaten streak ends in 3-1 loss to Atlanta United

Messi scores but Inter Miami’s 10-match MLS unbeaten streak ends in 3-1 loss to Atlanta United

30/05/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31789987

By TIM REYNOLDS

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE — Lionel Messi scored yet again. It was the lone real highlight for Inter Miami, as its 10-match Major League Soccer winning streak was ended by an Atlanta United side that got its first league win in nearly two months.

Saba Lobjanidze scored once in each half, Jamal Thiaré helped put the game away with a goal in the 73rd minute and Atlanta United snapped a nine-match MLS winless streak with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday night.

Atlanta United was 0-5-4 in MLS play since beating Chicago 3-0 on March 31. But it never trailed on Wednesday, with Lobjanidze scoring late in the first half to put his side on top and adding the second in the 59th minute. After Messi’s score, Atlanta United kept all 10 field players in the defensive end whenever the hosts had deep possession in the final 30 minutes.

Messi got his 11th goal of the MLS season, tying Luis Suarez for the team lead. Inter Miami (10-3-4, 34 points) kept a one-point lead atop the Eastern Conference and the overall MLS standings over Cincinnati (10-3-3, 33 points). Cincinnati lost to Nashville on Wednesday night, missing a chance to take the top spot.

“We were missing a gear,” Inter Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said through an interpreter.

Inter Miami entered Wednesday with a 7-0-3 mark in its last 10 MLS matches. It is now 10-0-4 when allowing two goals or less in MLS play this season — and 0-3-0 when surrendering three goals or more.

“I’d say it was a night where the team went backwards from other matches,” Martino said.

So, Wednesday was a dud. The first half of the season, though, has gone largely to plan.

With 34 points through exactly half the MLS schedule — matching its total from all of the 2023 season, when Messi joined around the midway point and helped the team win Leagues Cup but couldn’t get it into the playoffs — Inter Miami is on pace for 68 points this season.

Mathematically, yes, that’s correct.

Realistically, well, probably not so much.

The plan, for now, calls for Messi to play at least some minutes when Inter Miami plays host to St. Louis on Saturday. After that, Messi will be trading Inter Miami’s pink kit for the blue of Argentina — playing for country instead of club for a bit.

Copa América — the 16-team tournament which runs from June 20 through July 14 — is looming, with Messi set to play for defending champion Argentina and Suarez a possibility to play for Uruguay. They may miss MLS matches when Inter Miami plays at Philadelphia (June 15), vs. Columbus (June 19), at Nashville (June 29), at Charlotte (July 3) and at Cincinnati (July 6). Following the Copa América final, Miami also has home matches against Toronto (July 17) and Chicago (July 20).

Unlike most leagues, MLS schedules games during some FIFA fixture periods, when release of players to national teams is mandatory. And after Copa, it would seem likely that Inter Miami may lose some players again when national teams call for the Paris Olympics.

Messi had some opportunities in the early going, including a diving header about four minutes into the match off a chip into the middle of the box by Jordi Alba. Messi, fending off some contact, sent the ball into the turf and the carom spun over the crossbar; he gave Alba a thumbs-up for the idea as he picked himself up from the grass with a smile.

And in the 21st minute, Messi sent a chip toward the left post — just over a leaping Robert Taylor, who would have had plenty of net to aim for had he been able to attempt the header.

His goal in the 63rd minute was a typical Messi masterpiece, threading a ball between two defenders and just inside the right post, barely out of the reach of a diving Atlanta goalie Josh Cohen.



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/05/29/messi-scores-but-inter-miamis-10-match-mls-unbeaten-streak-ends-in-3-1-loss-to-atlanta-united-2/
Rockies’ Ty Blach shuts down Guardians in 7-4 Colorado victory

Rockies’ Ty Blach shuts down Guardians in 7-4 Colorado victory

30/05/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31789812

The Rockies’ May resurgence rests on their starting pitching, and Ty Blach has been central to the revival.

The Denver native began the season at Triple-A Albuquerque, got called up as a reliever, and was inserted into the starting rotation out of necessity.

Now he’s pitching like he should have been in there all along.

Wednesday night, the veteran left-hander pitched seven solid innings, setting the table for Colorado’s 7-4 win over Cleveland at Coors Field in front of an announced crowd of 21,374.

After a miserable April, the Rockies have been a different team this month. They have won four of their last six series and 12 of their last 19 games.

Blach got plenty of support from an offense that is finally starting to heat up. Colorado scorched Cleveland for six runs in the second inning, sending 10 men to the plate and rapping out five hits.

Brendan Rodgers’ two-run homer to left off shaky lefty starter Logan Allen was the big blow. The Rockies also got RBI doubles from Jacob Stallings and Elias Diaz, a bloop RBI single from Hunter Goodman and a sacrifice fly from Sean Bouchard.

The Rockies’ first run came in the first when Ezequiel Tovar led off with a walk, took second a wild pitch and scored on Ryan McMahon’s pop-up single to left.

Blach’s seven innings, as well as his five strikeouts, were season highs. He allowed six hits and two walks, but the Guardians barely laid a glove on him after the first inning. The Regis Jesuit graduate is 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA in four starts at Coors this season.

Wednesday marked Blach’s second quality start in a row. Last Friday against Philadelphia, he allowed two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings.

Blach’s critical test came with two outs in the first inning.

The Guardians had already scored two runs and packed the bases when Blach issued back-to-back walks to Jonathan Rodriguez and Gabriel Arias. Blach is not known as a strikeout pitcher by any means, but he whiffed Austin Hedges on four pitches, fanning him with an 81.7 mph changeup.

The Rockies only had nine hits but hit 3 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Rodgers had a 2-for-4 night to boost his average to .266.

For a nice change of pace, there was not excessive late-inning drama from Colorado’s bullpen.

Jalen Beeks pitched a perfect eighth inning before Tyler Kinley gave up two runs in the ninth. His third-strike wild pitch allowed Rodriguez to reach first. Rodriguez came around to score on Will Brennan’s single.

Brennan took second on defensive indifference and scored on Brayan Rocchio’s single. But with two runners on base, Kinley struck out Andres Gimenez to end the game.

Want more Rockies news? Sign up for the Rockies Insider to get all our MLB analysis.

The Rockies are off on Thursday. They begin a three-game series against the Dodgers on Friday in Los Angeles.

Pitching probables

Friday: Rockies RHP Dakota Hudson (1-7, 5.54 ERA) at Dodgers RHP Walker Buehler (1-2, 4.26), 8:10 p.m.

Saturday: Rockies RHP Cal Quantrill (4-3, 3.53) at Dodgers RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto (5-3, 3.51), 8:10 p.m.

Sunday: Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (1-2, 2.76) at Dodgers RHP Gavin Stone (5-2, 3.16), 2:10 p.m.

 



https://www.denverpost.com/2024/05/29/ty-blach-shuts-down-guardians-rockies-win/
Cuypers rallies Fire to 1-1 draw with Orlando City

Cuypers rallies Fire to 1-1 draw with Orlando City

30/05/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31789853

CHICAGO (AP) — Hugo Cuypers scored midway through the second half to rally the Chicago Fire to a 1-1 draw with Orlando City on Wednesday night.

Cuypers scored for a fourth time in his first season with Chicago (2-8-6), using assists from defender Arnaud Souquet and Maren Haile-Selassie to find the net in the 70th minute. Haile-Selassie’s contribution came after he subbed in for Thomas Barlow in the 61st minute.

The Fire earned a point but saw their winless streak reach nine in a row. Chicago’s last win was 2-1 at home over the Houston Dynamo on April 6.

Orlando City (4-6-5) jumped in front in the 4th minute when Facundo Torres slipped a shot out of a crowd past Fire goalkeeper Chris Brady for his second netter of the season. It was the 32nd goal of Torres’ career, moving him past Nani into second place on the club’s all-time list. Cyle Larin leads with 44.

Brady turned away one shot for the Fire. Pedro Gallese stopped one shot for Orlando City.

Defender Robin Jansson made his club-record 175th appearance for Orlando City in all competitions.

Orlando City is now 25-22-21 away from home under manager Oscar Pareja, including 12-6-6 since the start of 2023. Only FC Cincinnati, with 13, has more road wins over that span.

Orlando City stays on the road to play the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. The Fire will host the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

____

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sport



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/05/29/cuypers-rallies-fire-to-1-1-draw-with-orlando-city/
Orlando City winds up with draw in Chicago

Orlando City winds up with draw in Chicago

30/05/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31789914

CHICAGO — Hugo Cuypers scored midway through the second half to rally the Chicago Fire to a 1-1 draw with Orlando City on Wednesday night.

Cuypers scored for a fourth time in his first season with Chicago (2-8-6), using assists from defender Arnaud Souquet and Maren Haile-Selassie to find the net in the 70th minute. Haile-Selassie’s contribution came after he subbed in for Thomas Barlow in the 61st minute.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 29: Referee Malik Badawi gives a yellow card to Brian Gutiérrez #17 of Chicago Fire FC after he tripped up Iván Angulo #77 of Orlando City SC during the second half at Soldier Field on May 29, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Referee Malik Badawi gives a yellow card to Chicago’s Brian Gutiérrez (17) after he tripped up Orlando City’s Iván Angulo during the second half at Soldier Field on Wednesday night.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Fire earned a point but saw their winless streak reach nine in a row. Chicago’s last win was 2-1 at home over the Houston Dynamo on April 6.

Orlando City (4-6-5) jumped in front in the 4th minute when Facundo Torres slipped a shot out of a crowd past Fire goalkeeper Chris Brady for his second netter of the season. It was the 32nd goal of Torres’ career, moving him past Nani into second place on the club’s all-time list. Cyle Larin leads with 44.

Brady turned away one shot for the Fire. Pedro Gallese stopped one shot for Orlando City.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 29: Fabian Herbers #21 of Chicago Fire FC and Dagur Dan Þórhallsson #17 of Orlando City SC battle for control of the ball during the second half at Soldier Field on May 29, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Chicago’s Fabian Herbers  and Orlando City’s Dagur Dan Thorhallsson  battle for control of the ball during the second half at Soldier Field on Wednesday night.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Defender Robin Jansson made his club-record 175th appearance for Orlando City in all competitions.

Orlando City is 25-22-21 away from home under Oscar Pareja, including 12-6-6 since the start of 2023. Only FC Cincinnati, with 13, has more road wins over that span.

 

Up next

Orlando City at N.Y. Red Bulls

When: Saturday at Red Bull Arena, 7:30 p.m.

TV: Apple TV

 



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/05/29/cuypers-rallies-fire-to-1-1-draw-with-orlando-city/
Rays’ Jose Siri follows tremendous catch with walk-off hit in 9th

Rays’ Jose Siri follows tremendous catch with walk-off hit in 9th

30/05/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31789781

By MARK DIDTLER

Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG — Jose Siri made a tremendous catch in the top of the ninth inning and singled in the winning run in the bottom half in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

Amed Rosario doubled leading off the ninth against Michael Kelly (2-2), went to third on Alex Jackson’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on Siri’s hit.

“Unreal [catch], and then it’s like a storybook ending,” Rays starting pitcher Ryan Pepiot said.

Pete Fairbanks (1-2) survived the ninth after allowing a leadoff double to Miguel Andújar. He retired the next three batters on balls all hit 102.3 mph or higher, including Zack Gelof’s 107.7-mph drive to center on which Siri made a leaping catch.

Siri, through a translator, called his catch “pretty impressive.”

“I was very concentrated and never took my eye off the ball,” he said.

Andújar had a fourth-inning sacrifice fly and put the Athletics up 2-1 with an RBI infield single in the sixth. He hit a three-run homer in Oakland’s 3-0 victory over the Rays on Tuesday night.

Tampa Bay won for the second time in nine games. Oakland has dropped 17 of 23.

Max Schuemann was on second when JJ Bleday singled to left in the eighth and, after getting the signal to try and score, stopped and returned to third when left fielder Randy Arozarena threw to plate. When Jackson threw to second to retire Bleday, Schuemann broke for the plate and scored to draw Oakland even at 3.

Isaac Paredes had an RBI double in the seventh to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead.

Tampa Bay pulled even at 2 on pinch-hitter Jonathan Aranda’s sixth-inning run-scoring single. The inning ended when Arozarena was thrown out by Scott Alexander on a straight steal attempt of home with Jackson, who is in an 0-for-25 slide, batting.

“Arozarena is a real aggressive player,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. ”Thankfully, the dugout yelled loud enough for Scott to step off and he made a smart baseball play.”

The Rays tied it at 1 on Brandon Lowe’s RBI triple in the fourth off Joey Estes.

Estes, in his fourth start this season and sixth overall, allowed one run and two hits in five innings.

“I thought he had good stuff,” Kotsay said. “I thought he performed really well and gave us a chance to win the game.”

Pepiot gave up two runs, three hits and struck out seven over 5 2/3 innings.

The game was delayed around 10 minutes with one out in the fifth when plate umpire Brian O’Nora departed. O’Nora appeared to have cold-like symptoms early on and got hit on the mask by a foul ball in the fourth.

Second-base umpire Derek Thomas replaced O’Nora at the plate.

A’s LHP Kyle Muller (0-1, 3.48 ERA) was set to make his first start of the season Thursday after 13 relief appearances. Rays LHP Tyler Alexander (2-3, 6.06 ERA) was scheduled to start or follow an opener.



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/05/29/jose-siri-follows-tremendous-catch-with-walk-off-hit-in-the-9th-rays-beat-athletics-4-3/
Renck: In career defined by humor and fearlessness, broadcaster Vic Lombardi has left stamp on Color

Renck: In career defined by humor and fearlessness, broadcaster Vic Lombardi has left stamp on Color

30/05/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31789717

Sports found Vic Lombardi. And he has spent his adult life finding ways to make it more fun and interesting for the rest of us.

The son of Italian immigrants Ezio and Bambina, Lombardi did not speak English until around the age of 7. He remembers watching neighborhood kids play football, not knowing the rules, but joining the game anyway.

“It was my way to assimilate into the culture. A way to be American,” recalled Lombardi, a TV and radio host for Altitude Sports. “It made me want to be part of something bigger. I thank sports for giving me a light.”

By the age of 12, Lombardi found his purpose, enthralled by watching nightly sportscasts of Ron Zappolo, Les Shapiro and Tom Green. Sitting in front of his TV in North Denver, he promised himself that he would pursue a career in broadcasting.

After more than three decades in the media, it is clear Lombardi made the right decision. Beyond having what he calls “the most punchable face in the Denver media for 25 years running” is a fearless interviewer, a journalist with a passion for storytelling and a reporter with a slapstick sense of humor.

Lombardi’s excellence and longevity were honored as he was recently inducted into the Silver Circle of the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. It recognizes 25 years in the industry with a meaningful and significant contribution to broadcasting. Lombardi is the first sports-exclusive anchor in the group — an honor revealed to him by the Altitude crew in a surprise ceremony last week.

What is it like to achieve the status of living legend?

“I had no idea. I thought I was going to a cookout, so I was wearing cookout clothes,” Lombardi said. “I am humbled and flattered.”

Lombardi’s greatest strength is being driven without losing his identity. He makes people laugh, he makes them mad and he makes them feel like they would like to hang out with him.

“One of the most authentic TV anchors I have ever worked with, and someone who loved to get involved in his stories. Sometimes too involved,” said Tim Wieland, president and general manager of CBS Colorado. “His stories often included buying or breaking something. I eventually just created a line in my expense budget titled ‘Vic’ because I knew I’d need it for something.”

Lombardi, 55, remains busy as the husband to wife, Terri, and father to son, Dante, and daughters Alexis and Isabella. Sports are never far from his reach. He golfs and plays a mean game of pick-up hoops — competitiveness and versatility that define his career.

“He engages with all audiences. He can tell a story like others can’t,” said Matt Krol, vice president and general manager of Altitude Sports. “He can interview Charles Barkley or a fan at a Nuggets game, whoever it is, it is entertaining.”

During his freshman year at the University of Colorado in 1987, Lombardi walked into the campus radio station and asked to broadcast sporting events and host a talk show. One problem. KUCB played alternative music, dabbling only in sports with the station’s ultimate frisbee intramural team. Undaunted, he borrowed equipment to do play-by-play, while securing a press pass from longtime sports information director David Plati, whom Lombardi worked for part-time.

When he got accepted into Notre Dame, Lombardi continued his broadcasting path with the Irish. As a student, he called some of the biggest games with the biggest names. Upon graduation, he had a job lined up as a researcher for NBC Sports for the upcoming Olympics.

“It was then I was asked, ‘Do you want to be behind the scenes or in front of the camera?’ I am a ham,” Lombardi said. “I got hired by WSJV in Elkhart, Indiana. I lived with the other sports guy at the station and he had seven cats. And I was allergic. But he was so kind.”

Talent does not operate on traditional timelines. Lombardi quickly landed in Austin, Texas, then Phoenix before returning home to anchor weekends for CBS4. It was in Austin where Lombardi began distinguishing himself. Covering the Dallas Cowboys at training camp, he put a uniform and a mic on the athletic weatherman.

“He went through the entire practice with the punters. Coaches had no idea who he was. Players didn’t know who he was,” Lombardi said with a laugh. “It was the most ridiculous story I have been a part of. (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones loved it.”

Current 9News sports producer Brian Olson worked in the area at the time and remembers the piece.

“It was like George Plimpton’s Paper Lion,” Olson said. “Vic always had great energy and was full of ideas. You could tell then he was ready to do big things.”

Working in Denver was Lombardi’s dream. And the stage, to his surprise, was almost too big for him. No longer was his audience nameless and faceless. His family and friends were watching.

“I dealt with anxiety. I had to overcome that,” Lombardi admitted. “I believe that if you don’t have some nervous energy when speaking to a crowd or an audience, there is something wrong with the presentation.”

At CBS4, Lombardi found his way, eventually becoming a major sports personality in Denver. His sportscasts were contagious, his commentaries biting. He colored outside the lines, like the time at Broncos training camp when he conducted interviews without a microphone.

“He used a spoon when talking to the players,” Denver7’s Lionel Bienvenu said. “They didn’t (notice.). It’s a hilarious clip. He was always looking for creative ways to be different.”

At Altitude, Lombardi fills a variety of roles from pre and postgame host to sideline reporter. He also served as emcee of the Nuggets championship parade last summer, with the former Nuggets ballboy producing one of the event’s most memorable moments when he declared coach Michael Malone the “Lakers’ Daddy.”

“I made a fundamental error. I crawled into my 12-year-old body. The Lakers owned us for 40 years. And when I say us, I mean those of us fans that grew up here in Denver,” Lombardi said. “We finally hit the bully in the mouth. My intent was never to be part of the story.”

It came from a place of passion, like so many things throughout his illustrious broadcasting career.

Nearly every big Colorado sporting event over the past 30 years has included Lombardi’s stamp. He has done it while making a lot of friends, a few enemies and winning a lot of Emmys.

“You have to give people a reason to react, to respond,” Lombardi said. “I am not afraid. That comes from not knowing any better. I am born of immigrant parents. I am not supposed to be here. I have already won.”

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https://www.denverpost.com/2024/05/29/vic-lombardi-silver-circle-honor-media-broadcasting/
Garrett outlasts Darvish and Marlins beat Padres behind season-high 16 hits

Garrett outlasts Darvish and Marlins beat Padres behind season-high 16 hits

30/05/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31789854

By BERNIE WILSON

SAN DIEGO — Braxton Garrett outlasted Yu Darvish, Josh Bell had three hits and scored twice and the Miami Marlins beat the sloppy San Diego Padres 9-1 on Wednesday to avoid a sweep.

Jesús Sánchez hit a solo homer and Jazz Chisholm Jr. had two hits and drove in two runs as the Marlins had a season-high 16 hits and snapped the Padres’ three-game winning streak. The Padres dropped to 13-19 at home.

Garrett (2-0) was impressive for five innings, allowing one run and six hits, with two strikeouts and no walks. His only big mistake was allowing Ha-Seong Kim’s leadoff homer in the third, his seventh.

Garrett was making just his fourth start this season after spending the first 38 games on the injured list due to a left shoulder impingement suffered during spring training. He was coming off his first career shutout — on just 95 pitches — in a win at Arizona on Friday night.

“Not super sharp, but was able to get through it was just the one run,” Garrett said. “It was one of those days where I felt I was just missing and when I tried to make that adjustment, I’d miss over the plate. Wasn’t sharp, but we battled hard.”

He was backed to some nice defensive plays. With runners on first and second, and two outs in the third, Bell, the first baseman made a nice diving stop of Jake Cronenworth’s grounder and threw him out to end the inning. In the fifth, left fielder Nick Gordon barehanded the carom of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s liner off the base of the wall and threw him out at second.

“At this level you’ve got to play defense,” manager Skip Schumaker. “When we pitch and we play defense, we usually win. Today was another example of that.”

Schumaker said Garrett was “probably not as sharp as he wanted to be, but every time he pitches we have a really good chance to win.”

The Marlins went 3-3 on a swing through Arizona and San Diego.

“We faced a really good lineup, our pitchers did really good, our offense broke out finally, today, which is good to see,” Schumaker said. “Arizona I thought we did fantastic. We had a chance to win two games here as well, but that’s the big leagues.”

Darvish (4-3) was finished after three innings and 66 pitches. He allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits, with two strikeouts and one walk. It was his second straight loss after winning his previous four starts.

“Darvish is not easy to face,” Schumaker said. “He lives on the edges and you get in trouble if you chase and you start to play guess with him. So we got him in the middle of the plate. I thought the guys did a really good job.”

In his last start, Darvish allowed four home runs to the New York Yankees in an 8-0 loss on Friday night.

The Marlins took advantage of Padres’ mistakes, including two errors.

No. 9 batter Nick Fortes hit a two-out RBI double in the second as right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr., who won the NL Gold Glove and Platinum Glove awards last year, took a bad route. Chisholm followed with an RBI single.

A throwing error by Padres third baseman Manny Machado allowed a run in the third. The Marlins piled on with three runs in the fifth. Jake Burger, Otto Lopez and Vidal Bruján all hit RBI singles for a 6-1 lead.

Sánchez homered with one out in the sixth, his third, and Chisholm hit an RBI triple in the seventh.

UP NEXT

Marlins: RHP Sixto Sánchez (1-3, 6.25 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday night in the opener of a home series against the Texas Rangers.

Padres: RHP Dylan Cease (5-4, 3.29) will start Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Kansas City.



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/05/29/garrett-outlasts-darvish-and-marlins-beat-padres-behind-season-high-16-hits/
Dolphins’ Liam Eichenberg benefitting from work at center before competing at guard

Dolphins’ Liam Eichenberg benefitting from work at center before competing at guard

30/05/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31789435

MIAMI GARDENS — Austin Jackson did it last year, and there’s still hope for Liam Eichenberg to have a fourth-year emergence.

The Miami Dolphins have a vacancy at two guard spots with Robert Hunt going to the Carolina Panthers in free agency.

Last year, while Hunt manned right guard, Isaiah Wynn won the left guard competition that also involved Eichenberg, Robert Jones and Lester Cotton. But Wynn was lost for the rest of the 2023 season once a quadriceps injury took him out seven games in, and the other three all started games at that spot.

As Hunt also struggled with a persistent hamstring ailment, Eichenberg, Jones and Cotton also got starts at right guard. With Eichenberg the backup center behind Connor Williams, who remains a free agent rehabbing a knee injury this offseason, Eichenberg got eight of his 11 starts in 2023 at center.

Confusing? So was life for the Dolphins with 12 different starting offensive line combinations last season.

But the point is, even with Hunt gone and maybe Williams, while Miami added free agent interior offensive lineman Aaron Brewer this offseason, two spots are there for the taking between four returning linemen. Free agent pickup Jack Driscoll, tackle Kion Smith or other young players, like 2023 seventh-round pick Ryan Hayes, could also factor into the competition.

Eichenberg has experience at all those positions. In fact, after entering the NFL as a tackle in the 2021 draft, where he went to the Dolphins in the second round after a trade up, he holds the distinction of having started at all five offensive line spots in his first three professional seasons.

“I’m going to play wherever they need me to play,” Eichenberg said after Tuesday’s organized team activities. “I’m excited to be out there. I’m excited to be healthy right now. End of the year last year, I was kind of banged up pretty good, so it’s nice being able to run without some pain.”

Brewer has been with the team during OTAs, but he hasn’t participated in team drills and instead worked out on the side, possibly taking care of an undisclosed injury.

While Brewer has positional versatility to play guard or center, he is most recently a center as of his final year with the Tennessee Titans. The expectation, if the roster remains status quo, is he slides into that starting center spot, at which point Eichenberg immerses himself into guard competition.

“I’m at center right now. I’m working to be the best center for this team right now,” Eichenberg said. “Obviously, when Brewer gets back, I’m going to start working at guard. I got some good work in the first couple weeks of OTAs, so I’m looking forward to getting out there in team (drills) and kind of showing what I can do.”

Wynn hasn’t done team drills either during OTAs either while Eichenberg works at center.

Eichenberg says “anything on the inside” feels second nature to him at this point.

Adding center to his repertoire last year gave him a better understanding of line play as a whole, which can help him at guard.

“Getting kicked over center not expecting to the first day, I was like, ‘It’s fine.’ I know the offense. I know how to run the offense. I know how to point everything,” he said.

“I’d recommend that every player plays some center. I think it kind of opens everything up for you, teaches you how to kind of understand your range on the inside. It’s just a different game. It kind of gets you more comfortable playing inside.”

Eichenberg played through a calf injury late last season, but he said it no longer hinders his ability to run.

Entering his fourth season, Eichenberg enters a contract year, like Jackson did last season before standing out at right tackle, earning himself an extension.

Eichenberg will benefit from a third consecutive season under coach Mike McDaniel and offensive coordinator Frank Smith and second under offensive line coach Butch Barry.



https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/05/29/dolphins-liam-eichenberg-benefitting-from-work-at-center-before-competing-at-guard/
Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett, defender Moïse Bombito called up to respective national teams for J

Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett, defender Moïse Bombito called up to respective national teams for J

30/05/2024, USA, Multi Sports, USA Publications, Article # 31789434

Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett could be headed to Paris this summer.

U.S. Soccer announced 25 players Wednesday morning who are being called up to represent the U.S. in an international friendly against Japan on June 11. The match will be held at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.

Bassett, who has been playing the best soccer of his career dating back to the final eight games of last season, was the only Rapids player to be selected. 12 players in the pool currently play in the MLS.

So far this season, Bassett has shone in a double-pivot alongside fellow homegrown Oliver Larraz as a part of a new-look midfield for Colorado, scoring five goals to go along with two assists in 15 games.

The 22-year old Littleton native fits under the U-23 age eligibility for the U.S. Olympic team, which is required for all but up to three players on any given squad. U.S. Olympic coach Marko Mitrović selected just one overage player for this match in 31-year-old Walker Zimmerman from Nashville SC.

The match against Japan will be the last before a final team, which will consist of just 18 players, is selected to participate in the Olympics in Paris. The games officially start July 26, though the U.S. Olympic squad will play its first group stage match against host country France on July 24. The other teams in Group A are Guinea and New Zealand.

Bassett joins Rapids defender Moïse Bombito in being called up to international squads.

Canada men’s national team coach Jesse Marsch, who was announced for the job earlier this month, selected his first squad on the job to compete in two international friendlies in Europe against the Netherlands and France next week.

The call-up is Bombito’s third, his last one being for the CONCACAF Gold Cup last year when he started all four of his matches en route to a quarterfinals loss to the U.S. in penalties.

The June friendlies will serve as key preparation for the 2024 Copa América, which kicks off June 20 with a match between Canada and defending World Cup champion Argentina.

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https://www.denverpost.com/2024/05/29/rapids-cole-bassett-moise-bombito-called-up-national-teams/
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