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NY Cosmos soccer team plans Belmont Park stadium

NY Cosmos soccer team plans Belmont Park stadium

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) The New York Cosmos, which was one of the world's best-known soccer franchises of the 1970s and was resurrected last year after nearly three decades of dormancy, proposed Wednesday to construct a 25,000-seat, privately financed stadium at Belmont Park racetrack.

Plans for the $400 million project were submitted last week to New York's Empire State Development Corp., which will decide later this year on how to develop the 400-acre racetrack property in Elmont, just east of New York City.

A new soccer stadium could be an economic boon for struggling Nassau County following last year's announcement that the National Hockey League's New York Islanders were relocating to Brooklyn in 2015.

``This is an exciting prospect that will create jobs and complement Nassau's sports entertainment tourism plan,'' County Executive Ed Mangano said in a statement.

Seamus O'Brien, chairman and CEO of the Cosmos, called Belmont ``an ideal location and a win-win for everyone involved. Nassau County and Elmont will realize much needed economic growth, and local residents will have a year-round premier destination they can call their own.''

In the 1970s, the Cosmos played in the North American Soccer League, and attracted worldwide attention by signing some of the greatest players of the day including the legendary Brazilian star Pele, Italy's Giorgio Chinaglia and West German star Franz Beckenbauer. The NASL disbanded in 1984, but the Cosmos played one more season in 1985 as an independent team before folding.

Last year, the Cosmos announced plans to play in the revived NASL beginning in 2013; home games this season will be played at Hofstra University's former football stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.

The NASL of today is a second-division, small-budget league with teams in Atlanta; Bayamon, Puerto Rico; Blaine, Minn.; Cary, N.C.; Edmonton, Alberta; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; and San Antonio. The top American soccer league, Major League Soccer, has a New York franchise, the Red Bulls, playing in Harrison, N.J.

The MLS last year proposed a stadium be built in neighboring Queens for an as-yet-unnamed soccer franchise to rival the Red Bulls. That team would play near Citi Field, the home of baseball's New York Mets.

MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche said in a statement Wednesday that the league is continuing to work with New York City and local officials on the Queens project. ``We continue our discussions with a variety of potential ownership groups, all who are very interested in being involved with the division I soccer league in North America,'' he said. ``MLS continues to support the development of the lower leagues.''

The Cosmos said in a statement that the team wasn't ``in a position to comment about any other stadium proposals,'' but added that the franchise believes ``in the strength of our proposal and the increasing interest in soccer both nationally and regionally.''

The Cosmos' proposal, called Elmont Crossings, includes nine new restaurants, retail space, a 175-room hotel and a 4.3-acre public park. Team officials say it would create more than 500 construction jobs and over 3,000 full-time permanent jobs.

If approved, the team expects to break ground in 2014. Retail sites would open in 2015 and the team could begin play in the spring of 2016.

A spokeswoman for the Empire State Development Corp. said proposals for the property are currently being evaluated for feasibility, economic impact and experience of the project team.

New York State Sen. Jack Martins, whose district includes Belmont Park, called the proposal ``an exciting project - a real game-changer for the community, the county and the state. It will create thousands of short and long term jobs and economic opportunity where we need it most.''

Each June, the racetrack hosts the final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. Cosmos officials say they would not schedule events at the soccer stadium on dates that coincide with major races at Belmont.

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AP sports writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

3 Caps who impressed against the Blues in preview of the season opener

Nicklas Backstrom scored with less than seven seconds remaining to give the Capitals the 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in a preseason preview of the regular-season opener. Radko Gudas and Richard Panik also scored.

Here are three players who impressed for the Caps.

1. Richard Panik

Panik got plenty of practice on the penalty kill with 4:16 of shorthanded ice time shorthanded. In that time he gave a glimpse of why he was so coveted by the Caps as a free agent.

In the first period, Panik pounced on a loose puck at the top of the faceoff circle in the defensive zone. Seeing he had room to work with, he did not just clear it down the ice and instead elected to skate up with it. He fought off the backcheck from Tyler Bozak through the neutral zone, drew an additional two Blues players to him, then drew a holding call from Bozak because he would not give up the puck.

Panik's 4:16 of penalty kill time was more than top penalty killer Carl Hagelin's 2:26, though the fact that Hagelin took two minors on the night probably had something to do with it.

Late in the game, Panik was also added to the power play as a sixth attacker with the goalie pulled. He would score the game-tying goal with just 1:09 left in regulation.

2. The goalies

Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov both played about a half of the game. It is really hard to evaluate a goalie on just 30 minutes of work, so I will give a shoutout to both as both played very well.

Vanecek got the start. He looked a little awkward at first, but settled in as the game went along for a solid performance. He stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced with the only goal he allowed a weird deflection off of Brett Leason’s skate.

Samsonov took over about halfway through the second period and within minutes found himself defending the net on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. The penalty killers helped out their young netminder allowing only one shot on goal, but it was a good one. Colton Parayko one-timed a slap shot, but Samsonov was there to stop with no rebound. Soon after the penalty was over, Vladimir Tarasenko was all alone in front of the net, but was denied by Samsonov’s who stretched the blocker to deny the high shot.

Sanford scores on the PP. Samsonov wasn't tight against the post. Showed him too much daylight and Sanford made him pay.

Samsonov finished with 11 saves on 12 shots.

3. Connor McMichael

Boy, somebody got a confidence boost from Monday’s game. 

McMichael was given a second preseason game as a reward for his solid performance on Monday and he definitely showed off the confidence that comes along with being a first-round draft pick.

In the first period, McMichael found himself all alone with the puck on a mini-breakaway on Jordan Binnington. Just a reminder, this is the Binnington who was the starting goalie for the Stanley Cup champions.

So what did McMichael do? He skated to the front and tried the stick between the legs shot. It may not have worked, but you have to respect the confidence this kid had just to try, though no doubt the coaches probably had a few words for him in the locker room about it.

There was one area in which McMichael struggled, however, and that was on the faceoff where he lost all five draws he took on the night.

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

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WNBA Semifinals: Aces at Mystics - Game 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream how to watch

After a thrilling back-and-forth contest to start the WNBA Semifinals, the Washington Mystics and Elena Delle Donne are back in action to host the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2.

Washington took Game 1 97-95 over Las Vegas in their first game in nine days to start the series. Rusty and stuttering out of the gate, the Mystics were able to gut out a win after an explosive run in the third and early fourth quarter. 

Emma Meesseman (27 points) led the charge for Washington. In the third quarter, she took over the game totaling 13 of the team's 26 points and got the Mystics back in control of the contest. Elena Delle Donne finished with 24 points and hit the game-clinching basket in the final minute of regulation.

A'ja Wilson had 23 points in a losing effort, despite playing all but three minutes. Off the bench, Kelsey Plum emerged with 16 points to give the Aces an additional spark. 

Game 2 is on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The best-of-five series features the high-powered and No. 1 seeded Mystics against the most defensively sound squad in the No. 4 seeded Aces.

The Aces entered the series with a ton of momentum, fresh off one of the craziest wins in WNBA history. They gut-punched the top seed in the opening half and nearly stole it in the closing seconds. Nevertheless, it appears the Mystics with the third-best offense in the WNBA's existence found their footing and will be better prepared for Game 2. 

ACES VS. MYSTICS GAME 2:

Who: Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

What: WNBA Semifinals Game 2

When: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.

TV Channel: ESPN2

Live Stream: WatchESPN

MYSTICS vs. ACES WNBA SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE:

Game 1: Mystics 97, Aces 95 (Mystics lead 1-0)

Game 2: Thurs, Sept. 19: Aces at Mystics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 3: Sun, Sept. 22: Mystics at Aces, 5:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Game 4: Tue, Sept 24: Mystics at Aces, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

Game 5: Thurs, Sept. 26: Aces at Mystics, Time TBD, ESPN2 (if necessary)

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