The Jamaican football fraternity was plunged into mourning earlier this week when a former player from Cornwall College, a dominant team in the country’s rural area schoolboy football competition, the DaCosta Cup was murdered.

Dead is 22-year-old Leonardo Murray,now a customer service representative on the Western side of the island, Montego Bay.

According to reports, Murray was in a vehicle that was sprayed with bullets, killing him and injuring a 36-year-old woman who is set to surivive the attack.

Another former Cornwall College student, Craig Oates, remembers Murray, otherwise known as ‘Nardo’, as a talented player and wondered about somebody killing him.

“It is yet another sad chapter in the life of Montego Bay. It is hard to understand why anyone would kill a promising youngster like this,” said Oates in The Observer, a Jamaican newspaper.

According to eyewitness reports, Murray was in a Toyota Voxy when another vehicle pulled up beside it. A man exited the vehicle and fired a number of rounds before the Voxy drove off and crashed.

The shooter, apparently hopped back into his vehicle and drove away.

The police were called and found Murray and his female companion suffering from gunshot wounds.

The two were rushed to the Cornwall Regional Hospital where Murray was pronounced dead and the woman was admitted in serious condition.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey has picked up another hamstring injury, just days after the Bayer Leverkusen winger stated on social media that he had fully recovered from a similar setback on September 18.

The 22-year-old was expected to be in Bayer squad for the German Bundesliga game against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday. However, just before the start of the match that Bayer lost 3-0, Bailey announced the further setback on his Instagram page.

"Found out this morning, the day of the game that I tore my hamstring again and now ruled out for some weeks," the post said.

"It's really been a rough month and half for me but I do trust in God and God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. Thanks to everyone who's been truly supportive during this difficult period. I promise I will come back stronger than ever before."

Earlier this week, Bailey had posted on his Instagram page that "I am back now, and I feel very good.  But of course, after an injury, it's important not to rush anything. Maybe I come off the bench,” Bailey said in making reference to the game against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday.

"I think I'll be in the squad, but I do not know if I'll start."

Just four weeks ago, Bailey suffered a muscle injury and was replaced at half-time in a 1-2 loss to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League.

Bailey has scored two goals in six games for Bayer this season.

Lawyers representing the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) are proceeding to initiate legal action against noted attorney Dr Emir Crowne after the latter refused to apologize for alleged defamatory comments he made about the commission in  August this year.

Five days before the Jamaica National Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships on September 7, Deidre Lewis was not even thinking about entering.

Former West Indies captain and legendary batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, believes Hayden Walsh Jr, can reap more success than did the world’s foremost T20 bowler at one time,Samuel Badree.

Badree, once known as the number-one leg spinner in T20 cricket, came into the West Indies line-up in similar fashion to Walsh Jr.

Walsh claimed 22 wickets in the recently concluded Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), to lead all wickettakers and earn a debut callup to the West Indies.

Sir Viv, just like Walsh Jr is from Antigua and believes the achievement, especially coming from one of the smaller islands, is remarkable, saying he wished the Leeward Islands had picked him more often.

“I think at that particular point, that particular achievement of him getting the most wickets as a spinner and to be coming from these parts, I am wondering what would have happened earlier for him not to have been utilized by the Leewards a little bit more,” Sir Viv pondered.

Walsh Jr’s limited selection in the Leeward Islands side is something Sir Viv believes begs bigger questions about the way the team is selected and their ability to spot talent.

“And so, all these questions need to be asked but I think that certainly, he has thrown his hands in the ring for the next T20 World Cup. I personally believe that he has done well enough to be considered and to be part of that particular unit,” Sir Viv had said before Walsh Jr’s selection to te West Indies’ white ball squads.

Making the comparison to Badree, Sir Viv said:

“And especially with this last performance in terms of being on the winning team with the most wickets, this is how I think Samuel Badree came into contention for the West Indies … I think he came in and he had some success … I don’t think he was as successful as what Hayden Walsh would have [been].”

According to Sir Viv, Walsh Jr can offer more to the West Indies than did Badree because he has other attributes.

To be fair as well, too, he brings so much as well, especially as a spinner; his athleticism in the field. Everything is so brilliant about him, you need some sort of an individual like that for those sort of tournaments,” he said.

Few would have heard of the 27-year-old Antiguan-American before the start of this season but it's safe to say his whirlwind leg break bowling took the competition by storm.  His 22 wickets in 9 matches representing a tournament-high that earned him the Hero Player of the Tournament award.

Twice this season the spinner proved completely unplayable for the opposition, claiming five wickets against the Trinbago Knight Riders and four against the St Lucia Zouks to help catapult the then-struggling team into the playoffs. 

Eventually, it set the stage for one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history with a win over the previously unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final.  

Perhaps even fewer would remember the bowler’s forgettable CPL debut season for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2018 where his two overs in just two matches went for a costly 54, with no wickets to show. 

For Walsh, the gentle placing of the CPL crown on a head once plagued with uneasiness, surely once again proved the old adage, the price of success is hard work.

The MLS playoffs are here once more.

Los Angeles FC cruised to the Supporters' Shield title, but the path to MLS Cup glory is far from straightforward even for the league's outstanding team.

Since 2011, only Toronto FC have successfully followed up a regular season championship by conquering the postseason.

Will LAFC join them, or can Bob Bradley's men be stopped? We take a look at the key issues surrounding the leading contenders heading into the playoffs.
 

ARE LAFC AND CARLOS VELA THE BEST EVER?

The above statistic may make for uncomfortable reading for Shield winners LAFC, but no past regular-season champions have been able to match the standards set by Bradley's side.

Toronto broke a points record that had stood for 19 years when they earned 69 in 2017, yet the New York Red Bulls bettered that last year and the new benchmark of 71 was topped once more by LAFC, a late-season slump merely limiting the runaway leaders to 72 points.

Carlos Vela was key to the team's achievements this year and any side hoping to stop LAFC must somehow master the Mexican. He scored a record 34 goals, including a final-day hat-trick, and will aim to echo Josef Martinez, the previous record-holder in 2018, by making his mark in the coming weeks.
 

CAN ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC AND THE GALAXY STOP THEIR RIVALS?

Having missed out on the postseason last year, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was rather bold - perhaps unsurprisingly - as he slammed the playoff structure in MLS earlier this term, believing it provides excuses for players not to deliver all year round.

The Swedish superstar has at least followed up those words by guiding LA Galaxy to the playoffs this time, while seemingly on a personal crusade to prove he is the greatest player in league history - sparking a rivalry with Vela.

Galaxy's style of play has not been particularly pretty since trading a potentially smart newly built side for long-ball-to-Zlatan early last year, but it has proved effective on occasion. Notably, LAFC still have not beaten their neighbours in five attempts and might fear another meeting.
 

HAVE NYCFC GOT WHAT IT TAKES WITHOUT BIG NAMES?

New York City made a big bang when they arrived in MLS, signing David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard, but their star power counted for little in a desperate first season.

Club icon Villa then led NYCFC to the Eastern Conference semi-finals in three straight seasons, before departing at the end of 2018 with the team struggling to recreate the high level of performances under Patrick Vieira with new coach Domenec Torrent.

However, Torrent has got the Bronx outfit playing some of the best football in MLS this season, all without a standout star. The supposedly more modest talents of Anton Tinnerholm, Maxi Moralez, Alexandru Mitrita and Heber, among others, have fired City to the top of the conference, but the playoffs are a different beast.
 

IS THERE LIFE LEFT IN DEFENDING CHAMPS ATLANTA YET?

Despite failing to win the Shield, Atlanta United's class of 2018 might still have a case for being the best team in league history for the timebeing, but they then lost inspirational coach Tata Martino and star playmaker Miguel Almiron after MLS Cup.

Frank de Boer arrived and his infamously unconvincing record outside of Ajax looked set to continue early on, until a string of clean sheets steadied the ship. Even then, it took Martinez's sensational 15-game scoring streak to secure a comfortable playoff spot.

Pity Martinez has not really convinced and a late-season injury for Josef means Atlanta's preparation for their postseason title defence has not entirely gone to plan.
 

THE BEST OF THE REST...

Minnesota United have been a surprise package this year, having added experience last offseason, but a title push is surely beyond them. Rivals Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers both have experience of success at this time of year, however.

In the East, Wayne Rooney will hope to leave DC United on a high but the signs have not been promising late in the campaign. Philadelphia Union have impressed, while Toronto still have a very strong side on paper.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey is primed to return to action for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen having fully recovered from a hamstring injury suffered last month.

The 22-year-old, who is looking to rediscover his best form at the Bundesliga club, could be on the bench for the team’s match away to Eintracht Frankfurt.  Prior to the injury, the winger made four appearances for the team, scoring once.

Bailey has had a torrid time of late with injuries.  In April the player experienced another setback, on that occasion straining a thigh muscle.  Having worked hard at rehabilitation, the player insists he is ready to go again and could be in line for a start.

"I am back now, and I feel very good.  But of course, after an injury, it's important not to rush anything. Maybe I come off the bench,” Bailey said.

"I think I'll be in the squad, but I do not know if I'll start."

In addition to Bailey, other players making a comeback are Lars Bender and Jonathan Tah.

There will be a World Series game in Washington D.C. for the first time since 1933.

Two quarterbacks are heading to the bench and Jalen Ramsey has finally been dealt.

While all of that has been going on there has been some monetary proposals in the NBA.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. Nationals earn first World Series berth

It was a historic week in Washington D.C. after the Nationals swept the St Louis Cardinals in four games to earn the first World Series berth in Nationals/Expos history.

The Nationals were the 29th team to make the Fall Classic, leaving the Seattle Mariners as the only organisation to not have been to one.

While this is a big day for this franchise, it is also one for some very loyal Washington D.C. fans as this will be the first World Series played in D.C. since 1933 when the Senators faced the Giants and lost in five games.

The Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Twins.

 

2. Quarterbacks head to the bench

The Marcus Mariota era may be over in Tennessee, while the Josh Rosen era in Miami is at least on hold.

The Tennessee Titans announced this week that Mariota will be replaced under center by Ryan Tannehill going forward. The Miami Dolphins also announced Rosen will once again be on the bench and replaced by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Rosen is still young having been taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft so he has some time to still find his way, but Mariota is bordering on being a veteran at this point, so this very well might be the end of his career as a starter.

 

3. Ramsey on the move

Ramsey finally got his wish this week as he was traded by the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Los Angeles Rams for first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2021.

This came on the heels of the Rams' trade of Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the day.

Ramsey asked to be traded by the Jaguars after a Week 2 spat with head coach Doug Marrone.

He got his wish and is thrilled to be playing for a NFL Super Bowl contender.

 

4. NBA contracts being weighed and measured

It is that time of year where players and teams figure out what they will be paid or what can be afforded, and Wednesday, several reports came out that players have been given some offers.

Pascal Siakam is weighing an extension with the Toronto Raptors, as is Bogdan Bogdanovic with the Sacramento Kings, but Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown turned down a four-year, $80million extension which came as a surprise to some.

At the same time, the Kings have apparently not offered guard Buddy Hield an extension and he may be open to a trade if they do not give him the money he is looking for.

The NBA season starts next week, but there is still plenty to be decided going forward.

Naparima College, with three games to go in their Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division title defence campaign have tightened their grip at the top of the table after Wednesday’s round of games.

Beginning the day with a four-point lead over Presentation College, Naparima did themselves a big favour with the 5-0 thrashing of Carapichaima East Secondary on Wednesday.

The result pushed Naps to 29 points from 11 games, six ahead of St Anthony’s College, who were comfortable 2-0 winners over Pleasantville Secondary.

That result helped St Anthony’s jump from third to second and may have put Presentation under pressure after their game against Queen’s Royal College was not played.

Presentation just needs to win their remaining games to keep pressure on Naps and to stave off St Anthony’s, who, while a point ahead,have a game in hand and could perceivably regain their second-place position. Without a mistake from the leaders, Presentation can finish at best, one point off the leaders.

Carapichaima are still fourth despite the heavy defeat with their 19 points, giving them one point more than fifth place East Mucurapo, who were clipped 1-0 by Trinity College East.

In other games played on Wednesday, San Juan North Secondary were 4-2 winners over Malick Secondary and Trinity College Moka were slammed 4-nil by St Benedict’s College.

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

F

A

+-

Pts

1

Naparima College

11

9

2

0

30

10

20

29

2

St Anthony's College

10

7

2

1

31

10

21

23

3

Presentation College

9

7

1

1

25

6

19

22

4

Carapichaima East Secondary

10

5

4

1

16

14

2

19

5

East Mucurapo Secondary

10

5

3

2

18

9

9

18

6

Queen's Royal College

9

5

1

3

18

20

-2

16

7

San Juan North Secondary

10

4

2

4

23

9

14

14

8

St Augustine Secondary

10

3

4

3

25

18

7

13

9

Trinity College East

9

3

2

4

13

16

-3

11

10

Pleasantville Secondary

10

3

1

6

12

16

-4

10

11

St Benedict's College

10

3

1

6

12

19

-7

10

12

Speyside Secondary

10

2

2

6

13

31

-18

8

13

Malick Secondary

10

2

1

7

15

22

-7

7

14

Trinity College Moka

10

1

1

8

11

33

-22

4

15

St Mary's College

10

1

1

8

5

34

-29

4

 

Windies chairman of selectors Roger Harper believes newly drafted spinner Hayden Walsh Jr’s ability to take wickets could be a missing component for the regional team.

The Windies ineffectiveness with the ball during the middle overs of One Day Internationals has been an issue that has come to the fore in recent years.  The problem was recently laid bare at the ICC World Cup. 

Making good use of pace bowlers to open the innings, the team often managed to prise out openers with quick deliveries and variable bounce.  The Windies would often lose any early momentum, however, with an inability to keep taking wickets. 

On the back of a successful CPL campaign, where he claimed 22 wickets with crafty spin bowling, Harper believes the bowler could eventually make a big difference.  

“During CPL he excited everyone with his performances and given the direction white-ball cricket has gone, we realize the need for bowlers capable of taking wickets,” Harper said.

“Walsh has proven he is a wicket-taker and I think he will have a great impact on the team, especially in middle overs so that we won’t be drifting through but can keep control of games.”

The Antiguan-American Walsh previously represented the United States but is now clear to represent the West Indies.

Former West Indies batsman Gus Logie has been named the Interim Head Coach of the West Indies Women’s Team. Cricket West Indies has also appointed a new team manager.

Newly appointed Windies chairman of selectors Roger Harper confirmed veteran batsman Chris Gayle was unavailable for the upcoming series against Afghanistan but suggested the panel would focus on younger talent going forward.

Speculation has continued to surround the future of the star batsman after he announced plans to retire, following the ICC World Cup earlier this year.  The 40-year-old, however, appeared to have a change of heart and went on to claim that the team's series again India, following the cricketing showpiece, would instead be his final. 

Controversy, however, erupted with many suggesting the batsman should hang up his tips and allow for the development of younger players.  Following the series against India, Gayle was again quick to insist that he was in no hurry to retire.  With young openers like Evin Lewis and Brandon King included in the squad, Harper suggested it was time to give younger players an opportunity to showcase their skills.

“Gayle told us he is unavailable for Afghanistan Series, but we all know Chris, he is a world-class player with a tremendous record and of course it’s difficult to replace Chris Gayle,” Harper explained.

"But I think going forward it is in a way an opportunity for young players to showcase their skills and make a name for themselves as we look ahead to the next two T20 World Cups in 2020 and 2021 and the future.”

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vowed he would draw on his inner "viking" as he weighed up the prospect of playing in the snow at Minnesota United in the MLS play-offs.

Ibrahimovic has packed his career with bold claims, regularly referring to himself as a "lion", and he remains bullish despite the potentially tricky conditions at Allianz Field on Sunday.

LA Galaxy have returned to the post-season but face a tough trip to surprise package Minnesota, who have hosted snow games in the past in the colder months of the year.

Star Galaxy striker Ibrahimovic, born in Sweden, does not foresee any adverse weather being an issue for himself or LA.

"I'm from Sweden, I was born in the snow," the 38-year-old said in an interview posted on Galaxy's Twitter page.

"When it snows, I'm a viking. When it's warm, I'm a lion. We adjust for every condition there is."

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in 29 regular season games in 2019, leading LA back to the play-offs after missing out in his first MLS campaign following a remarkable final-day collapse by the team last year.

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