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Sporting KC to host MLS All-Star game in July

Sporting KC to host MLS All-Star game in July

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) Major League Soccer is bringing its All-Star game to the home of Sporting Kansas City.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced Thursday that Livestrong Sporting Park would host the July 31 game between MLS All-Stars and an international club still to be determined. It will be the 10th time that MLS All-Stars have played an international opponent.

``This market has just been so incredibly exciting for all of us at Major League Soccer, and really for soccer fans throughout the United States and North America,'' Garber said. ``This has been one of the great, great success stories for our sport.''

Last year's game between MLS All-Stars and Premier League club Chelsea was played at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia. The MLS side won that game 3-2.

The opponent for this year's All-Star game will be announced at a later date, but Garber said that Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes would serve as coach for the MLS team.

The game in Kansas City, Kan., follows a successful showing by the metro area in hosting Major League Baseball's All-Star game last summer. Fans packed every event during the weeklong festivities at Kauffman Stadium, just across the state line in Kansas City, Mo.

``You want to really highlight how engaged Kansas City is in soccer, and I think that's going to be a phenomenal opportunity for us,'' Mayor Joe Reardon said. ``Last year's game against Chelsea in Philadelphia was fun to watch on TV. Now we're going to get to watch it right here.''

The past few years, MLS has brought its All-Star games to the smaller, soccer-specific stadiums that have popped up in its markets across the country.

Garber said it's important to reward those who invested in the facilities rather than playing the game at a larger stadium that could generate more revenue. That's why the game will be played at Livestrong Sporting Park, which opened in 2011, rather than at Arrowhead Stadium, the home facility of the Kansas City Chiefs.

``There's been a massive financial commitment by the team and the community to build this stadium, and they deserve to have this showcase rather than playing it in a larger venue where we could arguably make more money,'' Garber said. ``We're proud of that.''

Livestrong Sporting Park has already become one of the jewels of MLS. It hosted the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Olympic qualifying rounds last summer, along with the CONCACAF Gold Cup the previous summer, when the $200 million stadium had just opened.

Sporting KC's average attendance last season, when the club won the regular-season Eastern Conference championship, was 19,404 - well over the listed seating capacity of 18,467, thanks to a number of areas where standing-room tickets are sold.

``The goal and vision for the club is to win MLS Cups. Let's always be clear,'' said Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman. ``But this is a great day for the stadium and the city. It's the kind of event we always wanted to have, and for it to come to fruition so quickly is a great thing for us.''

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NBA Rumors: Lakers reportedly waive DeMarcus Cousins

NBA Rumors: Lakers reportedly waive DeMarcus Cousins

After signing Markieff Morris to a contract following the former Wizard's buy out from the Pistons, the Lakers reportedly waived center DeMarcus Cousins to open a roster spot. 

Health has been a major issue over the last two years for Cousins. He hasn't played a game this year thanks to a torn ACL he suffered before the season, and he missed all but 30 games last year due to an Achilles injury he suffered with the Pelicans midway through the 2017-18 season. 

Before injuries robbed Cousins of the majority of his prime, he was arguably the best big man in the game. Prior to his Achilles injury in New Orleans, he was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists while shooting 47% percent from the floor and 35.4% from three on 6.1 attempts per game. 

For the Wizards, Cousins could represent another low risk, high reward big man acquisition that the Lakers couldn't find any use for. Washington acquired both Thomas Bryant and Moe Wagner from LA for practically nothing and both have played well after their relocation to D.C. 

Also, John Wall played with Cousins at the University of Kentucky and both have mentioned a desire to play together again at some point. Neither player is expected to return from injury this season, so they could both go on an NBA revenge tour together alongside Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura. 

In the meantime, we'll have to wait and see what Cousins decides to do. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, Cousins won't officially be waived until Sunday. The team who claims him will be able to offer him up to $4.2 million in salary this summer. 

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Three things to look for during the Orioles first spring training game Saturday

Three things to look for during the Orioles first spring training game Saturday

Baseball isn’t quite in full swing yet. But it’s close enough. 

The Orioles will open up their spring slate of games on Saturday against the Braves in North Port, Fla. It’s both the first game of spring training for both teams. 

The game can be listened to on Orioles.com or on the MLB At-Bat app. 

So here are three things to pay attention to during the first game of the spring: 

1. The starting pitching

The pitching was, to be frank, atrocious last season for the Orioles. 2020 doesn’t figure to showcase a large jump, either. 

Baltimore will start Chandler Shepherd against the Braves, a pitcher who started three games last season in Baltimore. He allowed 23 hits and 14 earned runs in 19 innings pitched and posted a 6.63 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.

Ty Blach will pitch in relief of Shepherd. Blach pitched in five games last season for the Orioles and threw 20 ⅓ innings with an ERA 11.32. 

While neither will likely make the Opening Day roster, it’ll give an interesting look at what could be in store for the rest of spring training in Sarasota. 

2. How much the prospects play

For most major league clubs, there’s not much to get excited about for the first few games of spring training. The Orioles, though, are in a bit of a unique circumstance. 

In the second year of a rebuild, the Orioles are placing their future in the hands of younger prospects, meaning there’s always a chance for a few players to stand out in the first weeks of camp. 

While the lineups aren’t known yet, both for Saturday’s game and for the immediate future, getting a glimpse at some of the younger prospects like Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, Gunnar Henderson, and DL Hall is what fans have been clamoring for. 

3. The return of baseball

It’s not the return of baseball in the truest sense of the phrase.  

The Orioles aren’t going to play their top of the line prospects, or their major league club. But the first game of the spring means that baseball, officially, is back for Baltimore. 

Even though the 2020 season almost assuredly won’t be one that resembles any kind of contention, the Orioles hitting the field once again is always an exciting time.

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