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Oduro's late goal leads Fire past Chivas

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Oduro's late goal leads Fire past Chivas

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011
Posted: 2:11 p.m.
Associated Press

Both Chivas USA and the Chicago Fire are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

A win for either club, however, could drastically help its postseason chances.

Hoping to regroup from a disappointing loss, Chicago looks to extend its seven-game unbeaten streak in this series while Chivas tries to avoid a season-worst fourth consecutive defeat Saturday at Toyota Park.

The Fire (4-8-15), who recorded 2-0 victories over Toronto FC and Colorado to close last month, saw their run come to an end with last Saturdays 2-0 loss at San Jose - their first defeat in five games.

With 27 points, Chicago is one of seven teams within striking distance of the fourth and final wild-card spot.

While getting defender Gonzalo Segares back after serving a one-game suspension against the Earthquakes (yellow card accumulation) will surely help the Fire, theyll be without fullback Dan Gargan, who was suspended for this match through caution accumulation.

I think Gonzalo is obviously a proven left back in this league, so to take a guy out of the lineup thats played 20 games for us, that hurts, Gargan told the teams official website. Anytime you change two positions in your back line, its going to take some adjusting.

In what interim coach Frank Klopas considered a tune up for Chivas, Chicago lost 1-0 to Mexican side CD Guadalajara in a friendly Wednesday.

It was a good match, one that the fans enjoyed, Klopas said. For us, we wanted to continue to build as a team, be sharp and I felt we did that. Second, we walked away with no injuries.

Games like this will get us even sharper and more ready for the one on Saturday. Never pleased with the outcome of the game, we never like to lose, but I was pleased with the performance of a lot of our guys.

Chivas (7-11-10), meanwhile, also remains in the postseason hunt, but it hasnt looked anything like a playoff contender of late. After suffering back-to-back 1-0 defeats, coach Robin Frasers club fell 3-0 to United last Saturday.

One approach is to close the door on it and say it was a bad day and move on, but Im a little too practical for that. A lot of it, we just have to look at ourselves and look at what mistakes weve made and be able to commit to making the same kind of mistakes, Fraser said.

At the end of the day, if you give team goals, you are making it really difficult for yourself and I thought the goals we gave away today were incredibly soft.

Regrouping against the Fire could prove difficult given Chivas lack of recent success in this series. Since posting a 2-0 victory June 19, 2008, Chivas has gone 0-5-2 against Chicago.

The teams reached a 1-all draw during the last meeting, July 2 at the Home Depot Center.

The Bears can be aggressive in NFL free agency if they bet on new CBA

The Bears can be aggressive in NFL free agency if they bet on new CBA

If the NFL’s proposed CBA is ratified by the NFLPA — and, right now, it seems like it will be — every current, active contract will look like a bargain in a few years. And that’s the starting point for how the Bears could maybe, just maybe, get a little weird in free agency this year. 

There's always money in the banana stand, after all. 

The Bears are projected to have about $26 million in cap space, per Spotrac, a number that currently would not allow them to sign a big-name free agent or trade for a guy with a high price tag. Cap space can always be created, though — it just depends on how willing a team is to kick the proverbial can down the road. 

And that bill always comes due. But what if the Bears have loads more cap space when the bill comes due thanks to lucrative new TV deals signed a few years after the CBA is ratified?

A new CBA would likely immediately increase 2020's salary cap (the Athletic estimated a $5 million increase per team). But the best way for the Bears to create more cap space in 2020 is by borrowing from the Bank of Khalil. 

The Bears could create about $10 million in cap space by converting some of Mack’s base salary into a signing bonus, per Spotrac, and could also do the same with the contracts of Eddie Goldman, Kyle Fuller, Cody Whitehair and Akiem Hicks, if they so chose. 

The Bears would save a total of about $22.5 million in 2020 cap space by restructuring all five of those contracts. Add in a contract extension for Allen Robinson that could save a few million in 2020 and the Bears wind up with over $50 million in cap space this year. 

That’s a lot of cans to kick down the road, and it’s not without risk (injuries, age-based regression, etc.). It's also crazily aggressive, but who knows what contracts will look like in 2022 or 2023. Paying Mack $26 million then might look like a bargain, even as he plays into his 30s.  

So the money is there if the Bears really want it, and are willing to place a big bet on their 2020 roster. This space of the interweb has mostly been reserved for preaching the Bears’ need for salary cap prudence this offseason; it’s part of the reason why the expectation still is for Ryan Pace to target a backup who can “compete” with Mitch Trubisky, not a guy to start over him. 

But maybe the Bears can shop in a different aisle for that second quarterback. Instead of targeting a Case Keenum-type on a cheap, one-year contract, perhaps the Bears can pry Andy Dalton away from the Cincinnati Bengals and not worry about his $17.7 million cap hit. 

Maybe it means offering a contract to the guard or tight end Pace and Matt Nagy want, not the one they can afford. Needs at inside linebacker, cornerback and/or safety could be more readily addressed before the draft, freeing Pace up to actually stick to his “best player available” mantra. 

There is hope here if you want the Bears to be more aggressive in free agency than their current amount of cap space suggests they will be. That doesn’t mean the Bears are going to follow this path, though. The new CBA needs to be ratified first, of course, and maybe that immediately drives up prices in the free agent market, leaving the Bears in the same position they’re in now. 

But the Bears do have a way to inflate their salary cap balloon, and if they do, they might not need to totally worry about it popping a few years from now. It all depends on if the new CBA is ratified or not before the new league year begins in mid-March. 

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No, Zach LaVine wasn't ranting at Jim Boylen in latest viral video

No, Zach LaVine wasn't ranting at Jim Boylen in latest viral video

In the final moments of a hard-fought 124-122 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night, Zach LaVine was caught on camera saying something to the effect of, "I've got 40 [expletive] points."

LaVine has been broadcast multiple times this season appearing to exhibit expasperation over late-game timeouts called by Jim Boylen, so some segments of NBA Twitter took this as another show of frustration towards the Bulls' head coach. But it seems that's not the case.

According to reporting by Eric Woodyard of ESPN, LaVine was merely jawing back and forth with Thunder guard Dennis Schröder. Common practice in a closely-contested game.

The report quotes LaVine, himself.

"You get into the heat of the battle and between players when you guys are talking, you talk smack sometimes, right? And that's all it was," LaVine told Woodyard. "We were still down. Dude was talking a little mess to me and I just let him know 'Look, I've got 40, I don't know why you're talking to me.

"I don't know why they said they thought I was talking to Jim but it was just people being competitive in the game talking."

In the play following the clip, LaVine nailed a pull-up 3-pointer from the logo for his 41st points of the night. It was LaVine's sixth 40-point game of the season, but despite his brilliance, the Bulls dropped to 20-39 and 1-9 in their last ten games with the defeat. A tale as old as time.

It's obviously been an up-and-down season for the Bulls, but consider this 'controversy' dead on arrival.

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