Capitals

U.S. falls to Panama in shootout, 3-2

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U.S. falls to Panama in shootout, 3-2

Backup goalkeeper Luis Mejia saved two penalty kicks in the shootout, and an inspired Panama team ended a trying week with a medal, beating the United States in the CONCACAF Gold Cup third-place game Saturday.

Panama won the shootout 3-2 after extra time ended with the score 1-1. Mejia saved DaMarcus Beasley's shot in the fifth round in what might have been the veteran defender's last game for the national team.

Panama was on the verge of beating Mexico in Wednesday's semifinals despite being down to 10 men but was called for a disputed hand ball in the area. Mexico converted the penalty kick in stoppage time then scored on another penalty kick in extra time for the 2-1 win.

The Panamanian federation's president later alleged the match was fixed, and players were seen arriving at PPL Park on Saturday wearing T-shirts that read, "Dignity isn't bought."

It was another shaky performance by the Americans, who were stunned by Jamaica in the semifinals and had their worst Gold Cup finish since losing to Colombia, an invited guest, during a shootout in the 2000 quarterfinals.

Roberto Nurse scored for Panama in the 55th minute, and Clint Dempsey evened the game in the 70th with his tournament-high seventh goal.

With the shootout tied 2-2 in the fourth round, Mejia saved captain Michael Bradley's shot. Harold Cummings then beat Brad Guzan inside the left post to put the pressure on Beasley to keep the U.S. alive.

Panama was missing several key players because of injury or suspension, including its top goalkeeper. But it dominated play against a sluggish U.S. team, with 11 shots on goal to the Americans' two in regulation.

After a U.S. player had to clear a shot off the line to save a goal for the second time, Panama finally broke through moments later. Nurse took the ball in the area but had two defenders around him. He faked out John Brooks, the young center back who had a rough tournament. Nurse was alone in front of the goal for what seemed like several seconds as he lined up the shot to beat Guzan.

Jurgen Klinsmann had planned to bring Beasley in during the second half, but the coach was presumably hoping the U.S. would be leading. With the Americans instead trailing and scuffling, Klinsmann used DeAndre Yedlin and Dempsey as subs in the 60th minute, and they combined for the tying goal.

Yedlin's speed created the chance when he ran onto and chested down a long ball from Bradley. That drew the goalkeeper and two defenders to him, and Yedlin spun around and flicked it to Dempsey, who slid into the ball from 16 yards.

Beasley came on to start extra time.

In all six of its Gold Cup games, Panama went up 1-0 only to give up the equalizer in the second half and end regulation tied 1-1.

It was the Americans' first shootout since they beat Panama in the 2005 Gold Cup final.

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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' TOP PROSPECTS

Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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