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Sports Canadian MLS teams try to make best of relocation

03:31  06 may  2021
03:31  06 may  2021 Source:   thecanadianpress.com

NHL evaluating alternate plans for North Division's playoff setup

  NHL evaluating alternate plans for North Division's playoff setup As the Stanley Cup Playoffs creep closer and closer and there has been no change at the Canadian border, it is seeming more and more likely that there will be some form of relocation in the postseason. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the NHL is not rushing to any conclusions, waiting to see if border policies are relaxed, but have to evaluate alternative plans for the North Division winner to be able to compete in the semifinals and Cup Final this season.

Vancouver Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos looks forward to the day when he can focus solely on the soccer.

a group of young men playing a game of football © Provided by The Canadian Press

Dos Santos' attention must often turn to other logistics these days — even seemingly miniscule details like who takes care of players' pets — while the team is based in Utah because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ensuring the emotional wellbeing of his players and their families has become a priority.

Like Major League Soccer's other Canadian teams, the Whitecaps have been hampered by travel restrictions between the United States and Canada. Last season after the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida, Vancouver set up shop in Portland, Oregon, and played “home” games at Providence Park.

COVID protocol-related absences: 04/25

  COVID protocol-related absences: 04/25 Each day, the NHL will publicly release the list of players that are unavailable to their respective teams due to being in COVID-19 Protocol. Here is today’s list: Calgary – Josh Leivo Colorado – Joonas Donskoi, Mikko Rantanen New Jersey – P.K.Calgary – Josh Leivo

This season started for the Whitecaps in Sandy, Utah, home of Real Salt Lake. It's not known how long they will have to stay.

“What I’m more concerned with -- and I was never concerned really before when we went to Portland or Orlando, it was something of a month and a half or a month -- but now what we’re going to have to pay a lot of attention to things like mental health, mental health of the families that stay here, the families that cannot go to Salt Lake, the distance," Dos Santos said. "All of this, when I prepared myself to be a coach, I never thought I would have to deal with.”

The Whitecaps' travel party in Utah consists of 30 players, four coaches, 21 staff members, which includes everything from executives to video analysts, 30 family members, five dogs and a cat.

'To be the best, you need to win continuously' - Vela 'excited' for another chance to add to his MLS legacy

  'To be the best, you need to win continuously' - Vela 'excited' for another chance to add to his MLS legacy The LAFC star is eyeing a strong campaign after a difficult 2020 on and off the field meant he could not reach the heights of previous seasonsThere was an obvious silver lining: the birth of his daughter, India. But, even Major League Soccer's biggest star struggled with a pandemic that has changed the world forever.

Toronto FC, with new coach Chris Armas, is based at an Orlando, Florida, resort and plays at Exploria Stadium. The Reds played home games in Connecticut last fall when the league returned to local markets. Montreal, meanwhile, is based in Fort Lauderdale.

For the Reds and Montreal, training in Florida means dealing with more heat than some of the players are accustomed to, as well as the occasional unwanted visitor — like the massive alligator that invaded a Toronto training session.

But there's a more serious aspect as well: staying safe in a pandemic. The Reds invited families to join the players in mid-April when COVID-19 cases suddenly spiked in Toronto.

“They weren't planning to come down originally and then as things changed in Toronto, we decided it makes the most sense for them to just be down here, and then I can be around to help them out a little bit,” defender Justin Morrow said.

CF Montréal remains undefeated following 0-0 draw against Columbus

  CF Montréal remains undefeated following 0-0 draw against Columbus During an interview this week, Club de Foot Montréal defender Kamal Miller stressed the importance of his team starting to produce some clean sheets. While Miller’s wish was granted Saturday afternoon, his team also failed to score a goal for the first time this season. CF Montréal and the Columbus Crew played to a 0-0 draw at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. CFM had scored six goals through its opening two games. CFM remains undefeated, While Miller’s wish was granted Saturday afternoon, his team also failed to score a goal for the first time this season.

FORMATION FOUNDATION

The foundation of the Seattle Sounders' impressive start to the season can be found in their formation.

Technically, the new formation would be considered a 3-4-1-2 with three defenders, four midfielders, one attacking midfielder and two forwards. It’s a stark departure from the past when Seattle played with four defenders and only one forward at the top of the attack.

The new look has allowed wingers Brad Smith and Alex Roldan to be more involved in the attack, and Raul Ruidíaz seems to be enjoying having Will Bruin to work with up top. Ruidíaz is second in the league with four goals in three games.

Seattle’s eight goals are tied for most in the league through three games. Even more impressive, Seattle is one of two teams -- along with Orlando City -- that has allowed just one goal through the first three games.

“What I like is, how are teams supposed to plan for Raul and Will? How teams will plan for our two wing backs inside the penalty box,” coach Brian Schmetzer said. “We pose problems for teams in the attacking half based on, again, the tactics and our personnel.”

NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 8, 2021

  NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 8, 2021 Players in the protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Calgary – TBA

A NEW NAME

While the Sacramento Republic awaits more clarity about its MLS expansion future, the USL version of the club is partnering on a unique new naming rights deal for its home stadium.

Sacramento’s stadium will be known as Heart Health Park for the upcoming season through a partnership with Western Health Advantage, a non-profit HMO health plan based in Sacramento. It’s believed to be the first sports venue to be named specifically to draw attention to a health concern.

Along with the name, the team intends to open the stadium for workouts with local fitness instructors, incorporate CPR certification into its youth soccer programming, and engage with regional nonprofits to create additional programing at the stadium with an emphasis on active lifestyles and nutrition.

"Our mission to make Sacramento an incredible place to live, work and play includes prioritizing the health of our family, friends and neighbours,” Republic owner and CEO Kevin Nagle said.

The 11,000-seat venue at Cal Expo was previously known as Papa Murphy’s Park.

Sacramento’s plans for an expansion MLS franchise took a major hit earlier this year when lead investor Ron Burkle backed out of the project. The team has been having advanced discussions with others interested in stepping in as lead investors.

Sacramento was originally scheduled to join MLS in 2023 as the league’s 30th team.

GAME OF THE WEEK

There are a number of good MLS rivalry games this weekend but Saturday night's El Trafico between the LA Galaxy and LAFC stands out because of the hot start by Javier Hernández, better known as Chicharito. The game will be nationally televised on FOX.

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AP Sports Writer Tim Booth contributed to this report.

Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press

NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 14, 2021 .
Players in the COVID protocol are: St. Louis' Jake Walman and Nathan Walker, and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov.St.

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