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e attacking midfield
PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco has already earned a long list of admirers during his short time in the majors. John Randle Jersey . New York Mets manager Terry Collins is now one of them. Collins got his first look at the Pittsburgh Pirates rookie right fielder Thursday night and came away impressed. "Hes got a lot of tools, a lot of skills," Collins said. "I watched him in batting practice and you see he had big power, then he showed it in the game. Hes very impressive." The hot-hitting Polanco homered and drove in four runs, and resurgent right-hander Vance Worley pitched seven stingy innings to lead the Pirates past the Mets 5-2 for their fifth win in six games. Polanco drove in the games first run with a groundout in the first inning, then sent a three-run homer into the right-field stands off Daisuke Matsuzaka in the fifth to put the Pirates ahead 5-1. The right fielder went 2 for 3 with a walk and is hitting .338 in 16 games since being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis on June 10. The Pirates are 10-6 since Polanco arrived, pushing them one game above .500 at 40-39. "Hes a talented young man, so Im humble to have him on the club and the opportunity to write his name in the lineup," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Its a good time for him to be included on our club and hes obviously been making a difference since hes been up here." Worley (2-0) scattered seven hits, walked two and struck out three. He has given up four runs in 20 2-3 innings over three starts since coming up from Indianapolis on June 15. He was 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts for Minnesota last season. Hurdle was particularly impressed that Worley pitched so effectively while struggling with his command. Worley had walked only five batters in 58 2-3 innings between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis prior to Thursday. "It was a very solid body of work, a very professional effort," Hurdle said. "Hell be the first one to tell you he wasnt as sharp as hed been previously. You saw a man go out there and have to wrestle a little bit and maintain composure, mound presence, and just pound the zone." Matsuzaka (3-2) allowed five runs and five hits in six innings with four walks and four strikeouts. Lucas Duda hit his team-high 12th home run for the Mets. New York cut it to 5-2 on back-to-back doubles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright in the eighth, but Mark Melancon pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save. Polancos home run came on a full-count pitch with one out after Pedro Alvarez hit the first of his three singles and Worley also singled. Polanco sounded a little like famous Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne when he talked about his approach at the plate in that situation. "I just fight, fight, fight, swing, swing and try to make contact," Polanco said. "I stayed with my approach and I hit it." Polanco hit a slider after Mets catcher Travis dArnaud had called for a changeup. "I shook off dArnaud and that ended up being a big mistake," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "I apologize to him about that." NOTES: New York activated CF Juan Lagares (ribcage) from the 15-day disabled list before the game. ... Mets RHP Dillon Gee will make his second rehab start Sunday, pitching for Class-A Brooklyn while on a 55-pitch limit. He has been on the DL since June 11 with a strained right lat. ... Pittsburgh LF Starling Marte was not in the starting lineup for the second straight game. He felt concussion-like symptoms after sliding into second base Tuesday night at Tampa Bay. The head and neck are no longer a problem, but Marte is still feeling the effects of a jammed right middle finger. ... Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano had a 30-pitch bullpen session, the first time he had thrown off a mound since going on the disabled list June 11 with a left oblique strain. ... New York RHP Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75 ERA) faces RHP Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93) in a matchup of rookies Friday night. Rashod Hill Jersey . DArnaud hit one of three doubles for the Mets as they took a 4-0 lead in the first. Then the catchers seventh home run of the season broke the game open in the fifth. The 41-year-old Colon (10- retired the first 20 batters in his last outing Wednesday against Seattle, eventually allowing two runs on three hits in 7 1-3 innings in a 3-2 win. Cheap Vikings Jerseys China . The Flames are in the midst of a six-game slide (0-5-1), their longest losing streak since an 0-6-3 skid from Jan. 11-28, 2010. They havent won since Nov. 3 in Chicago and most recently went winless on a three-game homestand. http://www.cheapvikingsjerseyselite.com/?tag=cheap-chuck-foreman-jersey . -- Kevin Stadler might be playing in the Masters for the first time, but hes already showing his old man a thing or two.The Vancouver Whitecaps will look to bounce back this season from the disappointment of missing the 2013 MLS Cup playoffs - and they will do so under new leadership. Former assistant coach, Carl Robinson, is the clubs new head coach, replacing Martin Rennie, who was removed from the post back in October. The appointment of Robinson has been received with widespread approval, despite the fact that he wasnt the clubs first choice. Former U.S. mens national team coach, Bob Bradley, was the man the Whitecaps were courting. But when that move failed to come to fruition, the club chose to appoint from within. It is an appointment that I believe will work very well for the club. Robinson has a very bright football mind and is well-respected within the league. He has an excellent rapport with young players - of whom the Whitecaps have many - and it will be his ability to get the most out of those young players that will determine how far the ‘Caps will go in 2014. While Robinson wont be afraid to utilize whatever tactical formation is best suited for each opponent, I expect he will begin the season lining up in a 1-4-2-3-1 formation, with the following players being first choice: Goalkeeper - David Ousted When David Ousted joined the club last season, many fans questioned the wisdom of adding a player in a position at which the club appeared to be reasonably solid; both Brad Knighton and Joe Cannon had played well over the course of their time in Vancouver. But Martin Rennie felt the need for an upgrade, and it is fair to say that Ousted will be expected to perform as such this season. He has had a few moments to forget in a Whitecaps jersey, but by and large, Ousted is an upgrade over the previous incumbents. His distribution is excellent, he is a good shot-stopper and is comfortable claiming crosses. Ousted is also not afraid to be vocal - something that all teams need from their ‘keeper. If Ousted performs up to his potential, expect him to play ahead of Paolo Tornaghi. Right Fullback - Steven Beitashour If you ask Carl Robinson, the Vancouver Whitecaps signed the best right fullback in Major League Soccer in the offseason - and he might just be right. Beitashour was an MLS All-Star in 2012, and he has shown that he is willing and able to get forward to provide scoring chances for his teammates. His 16 assists over the last three seasons are ample evidence. If Beitashour can carry on performing at this level for the Whitecaps, the problem of replacing the retired Lee Young-Pyo wont be much of a problem at all. Left Fullback - Jordan Harvey When the Whitecaps traded Alain Rochat to DC United last season - for an undisclosed amount of allocation money - the fans were up in arms. Rochat was a popular player, and fans felt that Harvey would be unable to fill his shoes. Harvey responded by putting in the best season of his career. His four goals over the course of the season tripled his career production to date, and went some way to alleviating the fans concerns over the solidity of the left fullback position. Academy graduate, Sam Adekugbe, is one to watch for the future, but to start the season, the left back position is Harveys to lose. Central Defender - Jay DeMerit The Vancouver Whitecaps first-ever signing, Jay DeMerit has, in many ways, become the face of the club. In fact, one could argue that he and his wife, Olympic gold-medallist Ashleigh McIvor, are the poster couple of Vancouver sports. Publicity aside, it will be DeMerits play on the field that is most important. He showed tremendous attitude and work rate to come back from a torn Achilles tendon last season, and put in some solid defensive performances towards the end of the year. He set the standard with those performances, and if he is to stay in the team, he will need to match that standard. Dont expect DeMerit to dribble the ball into midfield or play 60-yard cross-field passes - that isnt what he does best. What he does do is lead by example; he puts his body on the line week in, week out, and what he lacks in technical savvy he makes up for in tenacity. Central Defender - Andy OBrien Some fans were surprised that the Whitecaps re-signed Andy OBrien last season - but I wasnt. OBrien is quiet and soft-spoken off the field, but once he crosses the white line, he adopts a much different demeanor. He organizes and commands the back four, and along with DeMerit, leads by example. His experience playing at the highest level in England is evident, as he reads the game well and sees dangerous situations before they develop. The only concern with OBrien - and the same concern applies to DeMerit - is that he can remain healthy, given that he is on the wrong side of 30. If either DeMerit of OBrien go down with injury, expect Jonny Leveron and Carlisle Mitchell to be able deputies. Defensive Midfielder - Nigel Reo-Coker When he joined the Whitecaps last season, Nigel Reo-Coker put in some outstanding performances. It was to be expected, given the level at which he has played throughout his career in England. Reo-Coker is outspoken and demands the very highest of himself and of his teammates. When those standards are not met, he can become frustrated. If Robinson is to get the best out of Reo-Coker, he will need to keep his midfield general in a good frame of mind - focused on the job at hand, not concerned with distractions in other areas of the team. Curtis Cothran Jersey. . Reo-Coker can be the driving force in the middle of the park for Vancouver. If he has a strong campaign, the Whitecaps will be successful. Defensive Midfielder - Matias Laba As soon as Michael Bradley became available, it was inevitable that Toronto FC would have to move Matias Laba. Its a real shame for TFC, because I rate Laba very highly. At times last year, he was a man playing alongside boys in Toronto. He has a very bright football brain, and he reads the game really well. Alongside Reo-Coker, the Whitecaps could very well have the strongest pair of central midfielders in MLS - the box-to-box power of Reo-Coker complimenting the positional discipline and tenacity of Laba. Because he doesnt play a glamorous position, Laba will not get the credit he deserves for his play. But those in the know will see the value in the little things that Laba does so well. Right Midfield - Russell Teibert This is a very important year for Russell Teibert. He is currently out of favour with the Canadian mens national team, and the only way for him to work his way back into Benito Floros plans is to play so well for his club team that leaving him out is not an option. To do that, Teibert needs to produce - goals and assists, to be precise. He isnt going to supplant either Reo-Coker or Laba as a defensive midfielder, a position he played during pre-season. He isnt going to supplant newly signed designated player, Pedro Morales, as an attacking midfielder, either. So if Teibert is going to stay in the team, he needs to make the right midfield position his own. He has plenty of good qualities; he is technically sound, has a great left foot and is the fittest member of the Whitecaps squad. But his biggest asset is that he wants to learn. He latched onto Nigel Reo-Coker when the Englishman joined the club last season, and has tried to soak up as much football knowledge as he could. If Teibert doesnt perform, expect Kekuta Manneh to be given a run in the team. You will see plenty of Manneh this season, but I think Robinson is smart enough to know that the youngster needs time to continue his development, and cannot be rushed into a starting role. Left Midfield - Sebastian Fernandez One of two Uruguayans to join the club in the offseason, Fernandez looks to be a very exciting option for the Whitecaps, in either of the wide midfield positions. Fernandez is comfortable with a ball at his feet, has strong technical qualities and has provided a creative influence for the team down the left flank during preseason. If he can develop an understanding with Pedro Morales, the Whitecaps will have the attacking midfield threat that has been lacking for the last three seasons. There will be a period of adaptation for Fernandez - and this applies to Nicolas Mezquida and Pedro Morales as well - to the rigours of MLS. The travel and varying playing conditions, not to mention the physicality of the league, will require that he be adaptable. If he can do this, his technical ability will have a chance to shine. Attacking Midfield - Pedro Morales The Whitecaps have been in desperate need of a genuine attacking midfielder since they joined Major League Soccer. Not since Davide Chiumiento have the club had a player that could even remotely be called a ‘number 10. Pedro Morales will be that player. Morales has spent the last year playing for Malaga in Spains La Liga, and he has two goals in 11 international appearances for Chile. His touch is exquisite, his passing range and vision is superb, and he is not afraid to shoot from distance. He will be expected to slot into the Whitecaps midfield almost immediately, and will be relied upon to dictate play when Vancouver is in possession of the ball, to create scoring chances and to score goals himself. Forward - Darren Mattocks Carl Robinson has a big challenge on his hands - to turn Darren Mattocks into the player that Darren Mattocks thinks he is. The young Jamaican has a very high opinion of himself as a player - he said so himself in an off-season interview on Jamaican television. Mattocks has so much to learn about the game tactically, though, and Robinson and his coaching staff will have their hands full trying to develop that aspect of Mattocks game. It will be doubly difficult if they cannot get Mattocks head out of the clouds. It is a real test of the new head coachs man-management abilities. Succeed, and the Whitecaps will have a fearsome striker on their hands. Fail, and Darren Mattocks will be just another player who failed to live up to his potential. If Mattocks struggles, the Whitecaps have options. The experienced Kenny Miller will be desperate to impress and earn an extension to his contract, and Kekuta Manneh is always a threat up front or out wide coming off the bench. The Vancouver Whitecaps are a young, dynamic team who have added some South American quality in Laba, Morales, Fernandez and Mezquida. Their squad is deeper and more talented than the one that began the 2013 MLS season, and if Carl Robinson can get the young players to be consistent, the Whitecaps will surprise many people this season. Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Cheap NBA Jerseys Wholesale NHL Jerseys Wholesale MLB Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Wholesale NCAA Jerseys Wholesale Football Jerseys Wholesale Basketball Jerseys Wholesale Baseball Jerseys ' ' '

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