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Sky Blue FC Win Final Game of NWSL Fall Series

October 12, 2020
Source: Michael Ainsworth/AP Photo
Source: Michael Ainsworth/AP Photo

The GIST: While the New York football teams’ dumpster fire seasons continue to burn on, the Yankees enter the offseason disappointed from their playoff loss. On the pitch, Sky Blue FC closed out the NWSL Fall Series with a decisive win.

🏈Not close enough: It was another dark day to be a New York football fan as both the Giants and Jets dropped to 0-5. The Jets suffered a brutal beatdown, this time at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. The Gang Green struggled to score with quarterback (QB) Joe Flacco filling in for injured Sam Darnold, ultimately losing 10–30. 

  • The Giants, on the other hand, kept up with the Dallas Cowboys all game. Tied 34–34 with less than thirty seconds left in the game, Cowboys fill-in QB Andy Dalton threw a 30-yard bomb to put Dallas in range for a field goal, which they barely made to win it. Sigh, another loss for the G-Men.

⚾️Moving on and getting over: ICYMI, the Yankees were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series (ALDS) on Friday after a game-winning homer from Los Rayos closed the series 3-2. This is the second straight year the Yanks ended their season in the ALDS. With lofty goals and the talent to back it up, the Bronx Bombers hoped this year would be different. 

  • Nevertheless, an inconsistent regular season led to an inconsistent postseason with both brilliant and disastrous moments. Now the Yanks are left to an important offseason with decisions to be made around pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton and second baseman DJ LeMahieu, all of whom are entering free agency. 

⚽️On the pitch: Sky Blue FC closed out the NWSL Fall Series on Saturday with a 4–1 win over the Chicago Red Stars, a team who beat the club by the same margin earlier in the series. You love to see it. Sky Blue now enters the offseason until preseason begins in spring 2021. The countdown is on. 

🏀LA Lakers Win NBA Bubble Championship

October 12, 2020
Source: Kevin O’Connor/Twitter
Source: Kevin O’Connor/Twitter

The GIST: The bubble champions have been crowned! With a lop-sided 106–93 Game 6 victory, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat to earn their record-tying 17th (!!!) franchise NBA championship.

Wow! Tell me more: LeBron James led all scorers with 28 points in Game 6, earning his fourth career NBA title with his third team. True to his royal title, King James also posted his 11th career NBA finals triple-double. Unreal.

  • Unsurprisingly, LeBron was named Finals MVP, marking the fourth time he’s received the honor. He’s now second all-time on the list of multi-time winners, only behind Michael Jordan’s six.
  • Anthony Davis put the “two” in one-two punch, notching a double-double and pouring in 19 points. Rajon Rondo came off the bench and stepped up for the Lakeshow, adding 19 points of his own.

What did their path to the final look like?: The Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets en route to the Finals. Impressive, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the adversity this team overcame off the court.

  • In a season featuring player wildcat strikes in support of social justice, the Lakers voted to end the season following the police shooting of unarmed Black man Jacob Blake. The vote wasn’t binding, but it sent a message to NBA leaders that players wanted more action from ownership.
  • And this title means even more in the wake of Kobe and Gigi Bryant’s passing. The Laker legend was a friend, teammate and inspiration to many on this Lakers squad, making this title all the more special. 

How about the Heat?: The Lakers dominated this series from the beginning, but the underdog Heat put up a better fight than anyone expected. With a young core of stars, including Tyler Herro (the youngest player to start in an NBA Finals), likely to return next season, we’ll definitely be seeing more of the Heat in the future.

When does the next season start?: After almost 100 days in the incredibly successful bubble, all involved deserve a round of applause and a well-earned break. Although the NBA season typically begins in October, commissioner Adam Silver said he expects that next season won’t begin until at least January. After such a thrilling run, we’re already hungry for more!

🏈More Postive COVID-19 Tests in NFL Mean More Games Postponed

October 12, 2020
Source: Jim Davis/Boston Globe
Source: Jim Davis/Boston Globe

The GIST: With more players and personnel testing positive for COVID-19, the NFL postponed  yet another game, requiring some serious reshuffling of the schedule. Things are getting messy.

Which game was postponed?: After a fourth player tested positive, the New England Patriots’ Week 5 game vs. the Denver Broncos (which had already been rescheduled once) was postponed to next Sunday. The Patriots were forced to shut down their facility for the third time in 10 days. Oy vey.

  • The Tennessee Titans, the NFL’s first team hit with a COVID-19 outbreak, had a staff member test positive Sunday morning, forcing them to shut down their facility once again. Their Week 5 game vs. the Buffalo Bills is somehow still scheduled to take place on Tuesday. Yeah, we’re just as confused as you are.

How long can the NFL keep this up?: TBH, we’re surprised it’s lasted this long. Players are beginning to voice their frustrations with the league’s (mis)handling of positive cases. For example, rather than implementing a bubble or a comprehensive response and appropriate isolation period, the NFL instead announced new penalties for coaches who fail to wear masks when approaching officials.

  • Of course, we’re all for keeping the referees safe. But, newsflash NFL, those same refs are still at risk when they officiate a game between players potentially exposed to COVID-19. Time for a better solution.
  • Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins, who have already been hosting a limited crowd of 13,000 fans, were recently cleared to fill the stands to full capacity (aka 65,000 fans). Luckily, even if the league (or state) won’t, the Dolphins showed strong leadership and stuck with their original limited-capacity plan.

Ugh. Well, what happened on the field Sunday?: The on-field action was just as chaotic as these scheduling changes. The highlight: the Las Vegas Raiders handing the Kansas City Chiefs their first loss in 336 (!!!) days, snapping their franchise record 13-game win streak.

The Raiders solidified their 40–24 victory in style with this soaring leap to the end zone by running back (RB) Josh Jacobs. Check out more highlights from Week 5 here.

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KPMG Women's PGA Championship, French Open Continue

October 08, 2020
SOURCE: DAVID CANNON/GOLFWORLD
SOURCE: DAVID CANNON/GOLFWORLD

Golf: Can you believe it’s still major season? The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the LPGA’s third of four majors this year (normally they have five), tees off today. Usually scheduled for June, the tournament hasn’t been played in October since 1964, so organizers will have to get creative with fewer daylight hours.

  • The field is wide open right now: Australian Hannah Green is back to defend her title, World No. 2 Nelly Korda is desperate for her first major win, and Sophia Popov and Mirim Lee are each looking for their second majors of the season (and of their careers). Fun! Follow the leaderboard here.

Tennis: The French Open is down to the semifinals and the women’s draw is wonderfully lopsided. One semifinal will feature a top-tier matchup between World No. 6 Sofia Kenin and No. 11 Petra Kvitová, both former Grand Slam winners.

Baseball: The MLB’s best-of-five divisional series are still going strong. In the American League, the Houston Astros missed out on their chance to sweep the Oakland A’s last night, losing 9–7 to make the series 2-1, and the Tampa Bay Rays lead the New York Yankees 2-1.

  • In the National League, the Atlanta Braves are up 2-0 in their series against the Miami Marlins, and the LA Dodgers lead the Battle of SoCal 2-0 against the San Diego Padres. Find the full postseason bracket here.
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NFL Week 5: Eagles vs. Steelers

October 08, 2020
SOURCE: EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: The Eagles will take on a solid Pittsburgh Steelers team in Week 5, while the Flyers made moves this week in the NHL draft.

Do it again: Even though we won’t be able to bring the green and white to Heinz Field this year, this Eagles vs. Steelers matchup is still going to be rowdy. The 3-0 Steelers will be coming off a forced bye week after a COVID-19 outbreak in the Tennessee Titans organization canceled their Week 4 matchup, so they’ll either be dangerously well-rested or a little sluggish. Let’s hope for the latter.

  • Either way, this game’s a long shot. The Steelers boast one of the best defenses in the league, and with the Eagles struggling offensively, it could be a disaster. We’ll find out when the teams kickoff at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Didn’t see that one coming: The Flyers surprised everyone when they drafted forward Tyson Foerster No. 23 overall on Tuesday. A current Barrie Colt in the Ontario Hockey League, Foerster is known to shoot the puck a lot and shoot it well. While the Flyers definitely need help on offense, skeptics are calling out Foerster’s skating issues. TBD if he’ll be a major impact player in the upcoming season, but maybe this risk will one day reap its reward.

A second-half spark: Last night the Union earned a 3–0 win against Cincinnati FC to bring their regular season record to 9-4-3. We weren’t not nervous when the score was 0–0 at the half, but then the boys found the DOOPs with goals from midfielders Ilsinho and Alejandro Bedoya and defender Jack Elliott. That’s the way to end it!