Bears

Pappa, John lead Fire to win over Galaxy

Pappa, John lead Fire to win over Galaxy

Sunday, August 1, 2010
11:35 PM

Associated Press

CARSON, Calif. (AP)Marco Pappa and Collins John scored about a minute apart early in the first half to lead the Chicago Fire to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday night.

Mike Banner also scored for the Fire (5-5-5), which won its second consecutive game after losing five straight in all competitions. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson made four saves for his first Major League Soccer victory in his first start.

Were just a lot more confident, Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic said of his teams recent improvement. Were a lot sharper and a lot more disciplined.

Johnson added: Were finishing our chances and eliminating our mistakes. Its massive for us.

Landon Donovan scored both goals for the Galaxy (12-3-4), which lost its first home league game and is 1-4-1 in its past six games. Donovans first goal was the 100th of his MLS career.

Our execution was poor, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. It could be complacency. I think thats been the case with a number of players when they look at the league standings and see that were out in front.

Pappa gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute with a 13-yard shot inside the left post for his seventh goal.

John followed one minute later by firing a 6-yard shot between goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and the right post after making a solo run along the right flank.

We have to address the first 10 minutes of games, Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter said. Were not relaxed and doing our jobs. Were thinking too much, maybe. Were a little bit tense, maybe.

Banner made it 3-0 in the 19th minute with his first of the season. Ricketts dove to deflect Pappas 19-yard line drive with his left hand but Banner volleyed the rebound from seven yards.

We came out firing where we usually come out slow, Johnson said. Coming at a team aggressively and not sitting back has helped us for the past couple of games.

Donovan converted penalty kicks in the 37th and 81st minutes for his fourth and fifth goals and tied Taylor Twellman for fifth place in MLS career goal-scoring with 101.

We should have been scoring goals off the run of play, Arena said. We couldve scored five goals. There was failure on both ends of the field, no question about it.

Johnson kept Los Angeles from scoring the tying goal in the 85th minute when he dove to his right to block Alan Gordons 10-yard header with his right hand.

I couldnt aske for more, Johnson said of his first MLS start. I tried to keep myself calm going into it. I didnt really have time to be nervous. I had to made a save early and I think that was good for me to get a touch on the ball.

The Fires Freddie Ljungberg, acquired from Seattle on July 30, made his team debut when he replaced Pappa in the 58th minute. Nery Castillo, whom the Fire signed Aug. 1, did not make the trip.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Bears coaching upheavals portend inevitable stumbles

Bears coaching upheavals portend inevitable stumbles

Call it a small Bears reality check, if not a full wake-up call, then at least a nudge in the night. And this sort of thing should be expected, not just in OTAs, not just in training camp or preseason, but when it all counts.

And it should serve as a lesson of sorts. Because some of the underlying reasons are worth a little highlighting and patient understanding around a team that has spent its offseason and millions of dollars refashioning an offense, beginning with coach Matt Nagy and coordinator Mark Helfrich, and that offense wasn’t particularly good on Wednesday.

In a sport where the operative cliché is “just get better each and every day,” the Bears didn’t, but as far as their coach is concerned, “there’s two ways to look at it,” Nagy said. “Whether you say on our side, on offense, trying to see a bunch of different looks a defense can give you, is it too much or not? It’s good for us. It’ll help us out in the long run. It’s good for our players and they’ve handled it well. There’s going to be mistakes but they have it on tape to be able to look at. “

This is about more than just a few bad reps or missed assignments. It’s part of the good-news-bad-news reality that a sea change brings to a team.

The good news is that the Bears have a new coaching staff on offense.

The bad news is that the Bears have a new coaching staff on offense.

The Bears defense is predictably ahead of the offense, hardly a surprise, given that most of the core of the top-10 unit has remained in place. That said, you do have to like the attitude of the barely-above-rookie No. 1 quarterback challenging that assessment Wednesday, with a “Who says that?”

This while the offense has myriad moving and new parts, and interceptions, blown plays and such were occurring for an offense that, like Halas Hall, is a massive building work in progress.

“Well, today was a bad ‘build,’ but that’s to be expected,” Helfrich acknowledged. “We’re adding a chunk each day, I thought today was the first day where we had somebody do something that just like, ‘wait, OK’ – a few positions here and there, a few new guys, obviously a few veterans here and there that it’s all new to, hit the wall.”

It’s a “wall” that arguably is inevitable with a coaching change.

Not to make excuses, but….

For a sense of perspective, scroll back to Jay Cutler, who went through offensive coordinators perhaps faster than he went through socks: a year with Ron Turner, two with Mike Martz, one with Mike Tice, two with Aaron Kromer, one with Adam Gase, one with Dowell Loggains, who at least was a holdover from the Gase year. (Whether Cutler’s failure to match potential with production was the cause of or because of that turnover, this humble and faithful narrator leaves to you, the reader).

More than a few current Bears can only dream of that kind of “stability.” And because of that, the 2018 pre- and regular seasons may be bumpier than the optimism surrounding the Nagy hire was anticipating.

Guard Kyle Long, still not practicing full-go while he rehabs from surgeries, is on his fifth offensive-line coach in six NFL seasons. Center Cody Whitehair, who has started every game since the Bears drafted him in the 2016 second round, has had three different line coaches in as many seasons: Dave Magazu for 2016, Jeremiah Washburn for 2017 and now Harry Hiestand. Left tackle Charles Leno was drafted in 2014, making Hiestand Leno’s fourth O-line coach.

And this is the offensive line, the unit that most engenders use of the term “continuity.”

“Each coach brings in a little bit, different techniques,” Whitehair said. “There’s a lot of time for us to hone in and get to know what he’s trying to teach us. But in the end it’s still football.”

Kevin White is entering his fourth NFL season. He is on his fourth receivers coach (Mike Groh, Curtis Johnson, Zach Azzanni, Mike Furrey) and third different season-starting quarterback (Jay Cutler, Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky), not including offseason battery mates ranging from Jimmy Clausen, Brian Hoyer, David Fales and Connor Shaw, depending on how much rep time he spent with which unit at various times during his training camps.

“It doesn’t matter,” White said. “Roll with the punches, come here and do my job every day.”

Regardless of how many bosses you’ve reported to.

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

0521-welington-castillo.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

For the first time since new rules came into effect in 2005, the White Sox will reportedly see a major league player suspended for violating baseball’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

Welington Castillo, the team’s biggest offseason addition, will be suspended for 80 games, according to a pair of reports.

The veteran catcher was brought in over the winter to help the rebuilding White Sox in the short and long term. He had a career year offensively and defensively in 2017, and he was acquired to help develop a young pitching staff featuring big pieces of the future like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, and also to swing a solid bat and help this young team learn how to win.

If Castillo proves productive over the course of his two-year deal, the White Sox have a team option that could keep Castillo on the South Side for the 2020 season. That could make him a piece of the puzzle for when the rebuild reaches its apex and the team is ready to start contending for championships. But this news has the potential to change that dramatically.

Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are both having strong offensive seasons at Double-A Birmingham and figure to be the long-term answers behind the plate. But Castillo’s absence from any long-term picture could leave the White Sox without a veteran safety net in the years ahead, depending on how the team decides to react to this news in the coming seasons.

Castillo’s absence for the next 80 games could also have an impact on the development of aforementioned pitchers like Giolito and Lopez. Lopez, in particular, has been throwing really well this season, and Giolito has control issues to work through, as he leads the American League in walks. Without the veteran catcher brought in to help those guys transition to the major league level, how will the transition continue for those two pitchers?

As for who could take Castillo's place on the major league roster, the options are limited. Kevan Smith, who was edged out by Omar Narvaez for the backup-catching job in spring training, is on the disabled list at Triple-A Charlotte, placed there Tuesday. The aforementioned Zavala is also injured at Double-A Birmingham, and it seems far too early to rush Collins to the big leagues. Alfredo Gonzalez is a catcher on the roster at Charlotte. A spot on the 40-man roster would need to be freed up to bring him to Chicago.