Patrice Bergeron Climbs In Bruins History With Three-Point Game Vs. Flyers

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There was a lot of good to take note of as the Boston Bruins put together a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday at TD Garden.

And in what easily would be considered their most complete team victory of the season thus far, Patrice Bergeron’s effort got a bit overshadowed.

But as he quietly recorded a three-point performance (two goals, assist), the captain rose up the list in Bruins history.

As noted by NHL Public relations, Bergeron is the 11th player in franchise history to record at least 50 games with three-plus points.

Patrice Bergeron became the 11th player in @NHLBruins history to record at least 50 games with three-plus points with the franchise. Phil Esposito paces the list with 140. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/UdL5fxv7wd— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 24, 2021

“Yeah, I think that’s why you don’t hear about it, because you would have to talk about it every single night,” Brad Marchand told reporters in his postgame media availability. “He always comes to play, he’s always competitive. He brings his best. His effort is unmatched out there, and it’s the reason why he’s one of the best players in the league and has been for 15 years.”

Pretty much.

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How Red Sox Rotation, Bullpen Looks After Reported Garrett Richards Signing

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Plenty of players remain available in free agency and a few weeks still sit between now and the start of spring training, but the Boston Red Sox’s pitching rotation came more into focus Saturday with the reported addition of Garrett Richards.

One day after reportedly adding Kiké Hernández to provide some position player flexibility, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a deal with the veteran pitcher (Read more about him and the deal here).

Richards primarily is a starter, but can be used in relief. However, the Red Sox reportedly are paying him $10 million, which is not money swingmen tend to get.

So with all this in mind, let’s take a look at the state of the Red Sox rotation and bullpen.

Potential Red Sox Lineups After Reported Kiké Hernández Signing
7 hours ago

RotationEduardo RodriguezNathan EovaldiGarrett RichardsMartin Perez

Swing GuysMatt AndrieseNick PivettaTanner Houck

Now, when Chris Sale is healthy and fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, he’ll just slot in atop the rotation, and everyone will bump down a spot.

In the interim, the swing guys will likely make more starts. Maybe there’s a competition in spring training to be a permanent part of the rotation until Sale gets back, or the Red Sox do it more by committee and cycle the three through for spot starts.

Either way, having seven big league-caliber arms (even without Sale) that can shoulder a starter’s workload is some solid depth.

BullpenMatt BarnesRyan BrasierDarwinzon HernandezJosh TaylorPhillips Valdez

On the bubble/Triple-A depthChris MazzaAustin BriceJoel PayampsColten Brewer

There aren’t a ton of surprises here for now. If the Red Sox decide to carry 13 pitchers, then one of Mazza, Brice, Payamps or Brewer theoretically would be in the running for that spot. It all depends on how they look in spring training, especially since non-roster invitees to camp will get a crack at a role too. If everyone is healthy when Sale comes back, then someone would get bumped out of a spot.

But with the way last season went for them, it’s Brasier and Valdez’s jobs to lose in the bullpen. Mazza had some really strong appearances, as did Brice. Payamps — scooped up off waivers earlier this offseason — has upside, but is a relative unknown in the big leagues. Brewer’s analytics are enticing, but he has struggled with consistency, as well.

All told, the Red Sox actually have some pretty solid pitching depth, especially after the addition of Richards. It’s unlikely they’ve closed the door on making more moves (any GM will tell you the door never is closed on making moves), but their pitching is in a decent spot.

More Red Sox:
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Deshaun Watson Rumors: Texans Star’s Preferred Trade Destinations Revealed

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A trade from the Houston Texans seems increasingly likely for Deshaun Watson, and he has a couple places in mind.

Amid a fallout with the team he’s spent his whole career with, Watson’s future seems uncertain in Houston. It’ll take a massive haul to pry him away from the Texans, but if a team is willing to pony up the cash, it sounds like Nick Caserio could be amenable to moving him.

And according to The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, Watson would prefer to end up with the New York Jets, then the Miami Dolphins.

Wrote Salguero:

Watson this week told people the Jets are his top preference among the teams he’d like to be traded to because they hired Robert Saleh to be their coach and Watson values Saleh so much he wanted the Texans to interview him for their vacant head coach job.

Watson confirmed reports, circulated for several weeks in national media, he’d also welcome playing for the Dolphins but said that is his second choice at this time.

The Jets absolutely have the capital to make this happen. They certainly would have to part with the No. 2 overall pick, which would allow the Texans to select Watson’s replacement. But it’ll cost well beyond that, with more first-round picks likely involved, which could be what ultimately turns the Jets off.

As for the Dolphins, they would likely have to send soon-to-be second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa Houston’s way as the starting point of the package.

Who knows, but things sound like they’ll be getting exciting soon.

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Deshaun Watson Rumors: Texans Star’s Preferred Trade Destinations Revealed

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Garrett Richards Rumors: Pitcher Reportedly Agrees To Deal With Red Sox

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The Boston Red Sox reportedly have bolstered their pitching staff.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the Red Sox and veteran pitcher Garrett Richards reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth $10 million. Speier is reporting that the deal has an option for 2022.

Reports Friday indicated talks were heating up between the two sides Friday, while Speier noted earlier Saturday that things were getting close to the finish line.

Richards is coming off a modestly successful season with the San Diego Padres, his first full campaign since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018.

Used most often as a starter throughout his career, Richards is similar to another new Sox pitcher Matt Andriese in that he can serve as a swingman of sorts.

Over the course of his career, Richards has made 187 big league appearances, with 128 coming as starts. He has a 47-41 career record with a 3.62 ERA. Last season, he went 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in 14 appearances, 10 being starts.

Richards has an impressive spin rate, and his fastball (averaged out at 95 mph), was among the fastest of the starters on the market.

With Richards in the fold, the Red Sox will have Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Richards, Andreise, Tanner Houck and Nick Pivetta competing for roles in the rotation.

More Red Sox:
Potential Red Sox Lineups After Reported Kiké Hernández Signing

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McGregor v Poirier II: The Build to the Second Installment

This weekend’s UFC 257 headliner features a rematch six and a half years in the making. A lot has changed since Conor McGregor quickly took out Dustin Poirier during their featherweight bout at UFC 178. Although the two fighters have taken a vastly different route to get to this point, they each find themselves in one another’s crosshairs once again. There are specific key moments that led everyone to McGregor vs Poirier 2, and they deserve a closer look.

This infographic provided by BetWay.
Key Moments Leading to McGregor vs Poirier 2
Dustin Poirier
Poirier vs. Ferreira
Immediately following his loss to McGregor, Poirier made the jump to 155 pounds, facing Carlos Diego Ferreira in April 2015. Poirier looked a lot healthier cutting ten less pounds, and his performance showed as much when he knocked out Ferreira in the first round. While this fight did not necessarily signify him as a contender in the new division, it did make him a fighter to watch out for.
Poirier vs. Pettis
By November 2017, Poirier’s move to lightweight had proven successful, going 6-1 with one no-contest. This run had proven Poirier to be a contender, and was set to face former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. “The Diamond” was dominant, eventually forcing “Showtime” to succumb to a body triangle submission in the third round. The win signified to the lightweight division that Poirier is a bonafide threat to any lightweight on the planet.
Poirier vs. Gaethje
His next fight came against Justin Gaethje, who was looking to rebound from his first career loss against Eddie Alvarez in his previous fight. The fight nonetheless had serious title implications, and was promised to be nothing less than a barnburner. For just over four rounds, the fight lived up to the hype. However, a Poirier flurry of punches was able to take out “The Highlight” at 33 seconds into the fourth, solidifying his place as one of the division’s top contenders worthy of title consideration.
Poirier vs. Holloway
At UFC 236, Poirier finally realized that title shot, albeit an interim one against then-featherweight champion Max Holloway. After the Gaethje win, Poirier defeated former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez by TKO to earn the title shot. Although he was a 2-to-1 underdog, Poirier defeated “Blessed” Holloway in a back-and-forth fight to win a unanimous decision. The win sealed Poirier’s place in UFC history as one of the all-time greats. 
Even though he lost the title unification bout to Khabib Nurmagomedov in the following fight, he then recovered to defeat Dan Hooker. With Nurmagomedov now presumably retired, Poirier is once again on the cusp of a title shot, with a win over McGregor the only thing standing in his way.
Conor McGregor
McGregor vs. Mendes
Even with his dominant performance over Poirier, there was still a lot of doubt surrounding McGregor. Namely, questions remained regarding his grappling abilities. Nonetheless, a subsequent win in January 2015 over Dennis Siver earned him a title shot against Jose Aldo. When Aldo had to withdraw due to injury, Chad Mendes stepped in to face McGregor for an interim title. Many fans suspected Mendes to be the ultimate foil for “The Notorious”, given the credentialed wrestling background of Mendes. The first round of the fight seemed to give the doubters credence, but McGregor came back in the second round to TKO a gassed Mendes. The win significantly helped prove that he is not just “all talk”.
McGregor vs. Aldo
The win over Mendes kept the Aldo match intact, setting up one of the biggest fights in UFC history. Aldo looked to be nearly unstoppable at the time, but McGregor was an entirely new breed that Aldo had never faced. McGregor got in Aldo’s head early and often in the build-up to the fight, and it showed as they walked out to the Octagon. An aggressive Aldo came out swinging, only to be stopped dead in his tracks by a McGregor left hand, just thirteen seconds into the match. The win shot McGregor into superstardom, making him the clear biggest name in the UFC and a bonafide shot-caller in the organization.
McGregor vs. Alvarez
McGregor quickly made it clear that he intended to move up to lightweight to challenge for that division’s title. Although an injury to then-champion Rafael dos Anjos put a halt to that bout, Nate Diaz stepped in his place. One of the greatest rivalries in UFC history ensued, with the two splitting bouts. Once McGregor gained revenge on Diaz in August, he was quickly scheduled to help the UFC make their maiden voyage to New York at UFC 205 in November, and was booked to fight Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight championship. Alvarez defeated dos Anjos for the championship while the McGregor-Diaz rivalry was taking place.
McGregor became the first champion to hold belts in two divisions simultaneously when he defeated Alvarez by second-round TKO. The fight was the culmination of a six fight stretch in two years, and his stock was never higher.
McGregor vs. Cerrone
Since then, McGregor has only fought twice in MMA, both following a foray into boxing in 2017 to face the legendary Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather defeated the Irishman by TKO. Over a year later, McGregor finally returned to MMA to try to earn back the lightweight title he was stripped of. In what was one of the most intense rivalries in sports history, the aforementioned champion Nurmagomedov choked out McGregor.
McGregor would sit out for over a year again, returning in January 2020 to face fan favorite Donald Cerrone. The return featured none of his patented animosity towards his opponent, seemingly turning over a new leaf and rededication towards fighting. He would then handily defeat “Cowboy” Cerrone, reintroducing himself to the lightweight division. Given his star power, McGregor will always be near a title shot if he wants it, but a win over Poirier could earn that for him regardless.
McGregor vs. Poirier 2 is the re-converging point for the two vastly different paths that the two fighters have taken. Both fighters are entirely different fighters and people compared to 2014, and it will be interesting to see how the fight plays out. The build up has been very respectful, a far cry from the toxicity of their last fight. Here’s hoping the fight itself fully showcases their improved skills as well.
Main image credit:
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NFL Picks: Odds, Analysis, ATS Predictions For AFC, NFC Championship Games

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Four teams now are one win away from Super Bowl LV.

The field includes the defending champions, the projected MVP, the greatest quarterback in NFL history and a franchise that’s never won a Super Bowl despite four consecutive appearances in the 1990s.

Should be fun. In fact, it’s hard to find a more compelling quartet, from an entertainment perspective, for championship weekend.

Anyway, our resident pigskin prognosticators Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian are back to make their against-the-spread (ATS) picks for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game and AFC Championship Game.

First, here’s how they fared in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs (and the regular season).

Ricky Doyle: 2-2 (129-127-10)Andre Khatchaturian 2-2 (121-135-10)

Bucs-Packers, Bills-Chiefs Picks, Odds, Betting Analysis | The Spread, Ep. 21
Yesterday

Now, here are their picks for the conference title games, with lines via consensus data.

NFC Championship GameTampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers (-3.5), 3:05 p.m. ETRicky: Packers.The Bucs benefitted last week from four Saints turnovers and Drew Brees’ inability to push the ball downfield. Good luck hoping for similar defensive results this week. The Packers have the fewest giveaways in the NFL, and Aaron Rodgers ranks first in passing yards, third in completion percentage and fourth in passer rating on throws traveling 20-plus yards (among QBs with at least 30 such attempts). Rodgers has 12 touchdowns and only one interception on deep throws, and Tampa Bay’s cornerbacks have proven vulnerable at times.

Two other components to consider: The Packers’ knack for extending drives and finishing drives. Green Bay’s offense ranks first in both third-down conversion percentage and red-zone scoring percentage. Tampa Bay’s defense ranks 18th and 21st, respectively, in those areas.

Andre: Bucs. The quarterback matchup is a wash. Both guys are legends who perform well in the cold. What I’m looking at is Green Bay’s ability to establish a running attack. This season, when the Packers had more than 110 rushing yards in a game, they were 9-0. When they had fewer than that number, they were 5-3.

In the divisional round, the Packers proved me wrong and were able to establish a running attack against the Rams’ stingy rush defense. But this week, they face an even stingier rush defense. Plus, Vita Vea returns this week and should bolster Tampa Bay’s run-stuffing D. The Bucs have allowed more than 110 rushing yards just three times all season.

Finally, for what it’s worth, the Bucs haven’t lost by more than three points to any non-Saints opponent this season — and they exorcised those demons last week.

NFL Playoff Odds: Over/Under Picks For Conference Championship Games
January 20

AFC Championship GameBuffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-3), 6:40 p.m. ETRicky: Bills.Patrick Mahomes has cleared the concussion protocol and will play. Which is great. Except that wasn’t the only issue that plagued the Chiefs quarterback in Kansas City’s divisional-round win over Cleveland. Mahomes also dealt with a foot injury before getting knocked out of the game, and that could be a problem this week if it hinders his mobility and reduces the number of plays he’s able to make outside the pocket.

Kansas City’s offensive line, which has dealt with injuries, showed some cracks down the stretch that forced Mahomes to improvise way too often. Buffalo ranks second in pass rush win rate, per ESPN Analytics, and creating pressure without blitzing heavily would be huge, especially with the Bills’ talented secondary nearing its potential as the team benefits from good health at the second level.

The Chiefs once were the NFL’s safest bet, looking like the Patriots of old in terms of covering the spread. Now, they’re 0-8-1 ATS in their last nine games. They haven’t covered since beating the Jets 35-9 as 19 1/2-point favorites on Nov. 1, and I’m not expecting that trend to end Sunday against one of the few teams that can keep pace offensively.

Andre: Chiefs.Buffalo finally goes up against a legitimate offense for the first time in months. Since Week 12, the Bills played the Chargers (21st in yards per play), 49ers (15th), Steelers (24th), Broncos (26th), Patriots (21st) and Dolphins (23rd) in the regular season. In the playoffs, they played the Colts and Ravens (both top 10 in yards per play), but that Indy game was very close and who knows what happens if Lamar Jackson doesn’t get hurt in the divisional round? The Chiefs had the second-most yards per play and already took apart the Bills once this season.

The Bills allowed the most receptions and the second-most receiving yards to tight ends this season. Sounds like a big day for Travis Kelce.

The Chiefs’ biggest weakness is their rush defense, but the Bills don’t really rely on their running game. Buffalo is a passing team and Kansas City allowed the fifth-lowest completion percentage to QBs this season and has the tools to mitigate Josh Allen.

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Matt Grzelcyk Out Vs. Flyers; Connor Clifton To Make Season Debut

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The Boston Bruins are taking things slow with Matt Grzelcyk.

There was optimism Friday that Grzelcyk would play after a scary spill into the boards Thursday. However, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on Saturday morning announced the second-pairing blueliner will be out for Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Connor Clifton will take Grzelcyk’s place alongside Brandon Carlo. Cassidy revealed John Moore has been unavailable due to a lower-body injury he had been dealing with since training camp. The Bruins did have youngster Urho Vaakanainen available from the taxi squad, but are electing to roll with Clifton on his off side instead.

Charlie McAvoy should see some time in Grzelcyk’s place on the top power play unit, but Cassidy said David Krejci might quarterback the unit from the point. Jakub Zboril will stay as the defenseman on the second power-play unit.

Grzelcyk ended up playing the rest of Thursday’s game after the injury, but was held out during overtime.

More NHL:
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NHL Rumors: Trade Involving Pierre-Luc Dubois, Patrik Laine Being Finalized

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Two disgruntled stars are about to get their wish.

Patrik Laine reportedly has wanted the Winnipeg Jets to move him for some time now. Meanwhile, Pierre-Luc Dubois has been insistent on a trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and he’s really started to pack it in.

Well, the two sides are about to help one another out.

A trade call is being set up between the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets to complete trade sending Laine and Roslovic to Columbus for Pierre Luc Dubois. A draft pick to the Jets May also be included.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 23, 2021

Roslovic needed to be signed, as he was a restricted free agent yet to reach a deal.

That problem appears to have been quickly solved.

Jack Roslovic has a new deal as part of all this. Laine/Roslovic for Dubois and a third.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 23, 2021

Who knows how happy Laine or Dubois will be with the deal.

Both are on bridge deals that will keep them as RFAs when they are up. Laine is signed through this season, while Dubois is under contract through next season.

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Revolution Notebook: MLS Meets With MLSPA, Manneh To Austin

In today’s edition of New England Revolution notebook, we take a look at the latest in negotiations between MLS and the MLSPA, Kekuta Manneh Signing With Austin and Jordan Morris loan to Swansea City.

On Friday, just a few days after MLS Commissioner Donald Garber sent a message to fans regarding the CBA negotiations, the temperatures cooled a bit. In a statement put out by MLS, the league says both sides met and that the MLS Players Association presented the league with a counter-offer. Per the league, they will review the proposal and will continue to meet with the MLSPA in order to reach an agreement.

pic.twitter.com/0teCwgWWqG— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) January 23, 2021

All of this comes after the league informed the players that it would invoke the force majeure clause in the CBA they agreed to last year, a move that could terminate the CBA. In the league’s first proposal to the players there weren’t any cuts to players’ salaries in 2021 but the league’s major ask was extending the CBA two years on the back end. That would freeze player’s benefits, salary growth, and the potential upside from renegotiating right after the new television rights deals are signed.

As of now the teams in the league do not have a training report date, a preseason schedule, or an exact date to when the regular season will start. Hopefully, if both sides are able to resolve this quickly the soccer will start to flow once again in MLS.

Jordan Morris To Swansea

Another big piece of MLS news on Friday came in the form of Jordan Morris’s loan to Swansea City becoming official. The 26-year-old will remain with the English Championship side for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. Since joining the Seattle Sounders in 2017 he has scored 35 goals and tallied 20 assists in 105 MLS games. At the national team level Morris has scored 10 goals in 39 USMNT appearances.

When Morris came out of Stanford he did have overseas options but decided to play for his hometown Seattle Sounders. Morris is joining a Swansea team that is eyeing a promotion to the Premier League with their 13-4-7 (46 points) record good for second in the table behind Norwich City (53 points). Swansea will need to stay in the top two to earn an automatic promotion to the EPL or be stuck fighting out for the third and final spot in a playoff.

So why is this Morris news newsworthy for us in New England? Well, just speculation. But Morris wants to continue to play for the national team and in order to do so, he needs minutes. With the uncertainty of the start of MLS, it wouldn’t be a shock if that was a driver in him departing for Swansea. After all, the majority of the USMNT starters are currently playing in Europe. We saw a similar departure from the USWNT from NWSL over the past year with a lack of games causing players to look elsewhere for minutes.

Kekuta Manneh Signs With Austin

On Friday Austin FC announced that they had signed 26-year-old forward Kekuta Manneh to a contract. Manneh spent the later stages of the 2020 MLS season with the New England Revolution. In that stint he appeared in six matches, two starts, scored one goal and tallied one assist.

New England traded for Manneh on August 16th from FC Cincinnati. In exchange for Manneh, the Revolution only gave up an international roster slot thru the end of the 2020 MLS season. Manneh has appeared in 155 MLS matches and made 89 starts with 31 goals and 19 assists.

When he arrived in New England he wasn’t in proper fitness and while there were flashes of something Manneh never quite made the desired impact. Manneh will have a familiar New England face in the locker room. Midfielder Diego Fagundez signed with the expansion club a few weeks back.
The post Revolution Notebook: MLS Meets With MLSPA, Manneh To Austin appeared first on Trifecta Sports.

Revolution Notebook: MLS Meets With MLSPA, Manneh To Austin

In today’s edition of New England Revolution notebook, we take a look at the latest in negotiations between MLS and the MLSPA, Kekuta Manneh Signing With Austin and Jordan Morris loan to Swansea City.

On Friday, just a few days after MLS Commissioner Donald Garber sent a message to fans regarding the CBA negotiations, the temperatures cooled a bit. In a statement put out by MLS, the league says both sides met and that the MLS Players Association presented the league with a counter-offer. Per the league, they will review the proposal and will continue to meet with the MLSPA in order to reach an agreement.

pic.twitter.com/0teCwgWWqG— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) January 23, 2021

All of this comes after the league informed the players that it would invoke the force majeure clause in the CBA they agreed to last year, a move that could terminate the CBA. In the league’s first proposal to the players there weren’t any cuts to players’ salaries in 2021 but the league’s major ask was extending the CBA two years on the back end. That would freeze player’s benefits, salary growth, and the potential upside from renegotiating right after the new television rights deals are signed.

As of now the teams in the league do not have a training report date, a preseason schedule, or an exact date to when the regular season will start. Hopefully, if both sides are able to resolve this quickly the soccer will start to flow once again in MLS.

Jordan Morris To Swansea

Another big piece of MLS news on Friday came in the form of Jordan Morris’s loan to Swansea City becoming official. The 26-year-old will remain with the English Championship side for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. Since joining the Seattle Sounders in 2017 he has scored 35 goals and tallied 20 assists in 105 MLS games. At the national team level Morris has scored 10 goals in 39 USMNT appearances.

When Morris came out of Stanford he did have overseas options but decided to play for his hometown Seattle Sounders. Morris is joining a Swansea team that is eyeing a promotion to the Premier League with their 13-4-7 (46 points) record good for second in the table behind Norwich City (53 points). Swansea will need to stay in the top two to earn an automatic promotion to the EPL or be stuck fighting out for the third and final spot in a playoff.

So why is this Morris news newsworthy for us in New England? Well, just speculation. But Morris wants to continue to play for the national team and in order to do so, he needs minutes. With the uncertainty of the start of MLS, it wouldn’t be a shock if that was a driver in him departing for Swansea. After all, the majority of the USMNT starters are currently playing in Europe. We saw a similar departure from the USWNT from NWSL over the past year with a lack of games causing players to look elsewhere for minutes.

Kekuta Manneh Signs With Austin

On Friday Austin FC announced that they had signed 26-year-old forward Kekuta Manneh to a contract. Manneh spent the later stages of the 2020 MLS season with the New England Revolution. In that stint he appeared in six matches, two starts, scored one goal and tallied one assist.

New England traded for Manneh on August 16th from FC Cincinnati. In exchange for Manneh, the Revolution only gave up an international roster slot thru the end of the 2020 MLS season. Manneh has appeared in 155 MLS matches and made 89 starts with 31 goals and 19 assists.

When he arrived in New England he wasn’t in proper fitness and while there were flashes of something Manneh never quite made the desired impact. Manneh will have a familiar New England face in the locker room. Midfielder Diego Fagundez signed with the expansion club a few weeks back.
The post Revolution Notebook: MLS Meets With MLSPA, Manneh To Austin appeared first on Trifecta Sports.