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fragmented once the quarters

  • 01 Aug
    TORONTO -- Fresh from a trip to England and Italy in search of marquee talent, Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen says his MLS club is feeling optimistic about the future. [b]Trace McSorley Youth Jersey[/b] . Nelsen was accompanied overseas by general manager Tim Bezbatchenko and Tim Leiweke, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. "We talked to a number of players, a number of friends," Nelsen said after practice Wednesday. "Hopefully we can get something done as soon as possible. "But I know -- having been in the middle of this myself before -- it does take time. But it was a really productive trip. Thats all I can really say. "Lets just say I came back very excited." Leiweke has said that the club hopes to sign two designated player strikers in the January transfer window. While Nelsen did not detail his itinerary, his travels took him to his former club Tottenham where talented striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been surplus to requirements this season. But the 29-year-old Togo international reportedly makes north of 125,000 pounds a week (C$210,000 or close to $11 million a year). Thats rich -- for MLS and MLSE. Former French international Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls leads the league salary table at US$4.35 million, according to figures released by the MLS Players Union. Adebayor, who once cost Manchester City 25 million pounds (C$42 million), may also not tick off all the boxes expected of a DP by Leiweke. Torontos immediate future, however, is its regular-season finale Saturday against a motivated Montreal Impact team. The visiting Impact (14-12-7) currently stand third in the East with 49 points. A win over Toronto (5-17-11) and Montreal automatically qualifies for the playoffs. New York and Sporting Kansas City have already earned two of the five playoff berths in the East. That leaves Chicago (49 points), Houston (48), New England (48) and Philadelphia (46) chasing Montreal. If Montreal ties or loses to Toronto, it will need help from its rivals in a convoluted playoff scenario further complicated by the Impacts 1-5-1 record in recent weeks. Should the Impact fail to win Saturday, it will have to wait on its fate until Chicago, Houston and New England play Sunday. Montreal has never won at BMO Field since entering the MLS, with an 0-2-2 record in all competitions. In the clubs previous meetings this season, the Impact won 2-1 in Montreal on March 16 and there was a 3-3 draw in Toronto on July 3. NOTES -- Toronto striker Justin Braun trained separately after taking a knock in a reserve game. Midfielder Darel Russell continues to nurse a muscle strain. On the plus side, Bobby Convey is back training and fellow midfielder Jeremy Hall is back from suspension. [b]Jaylon Ferguson Youth Jersey[/b] . The Cubs made the moves before Thursdays game against Arizona. They promoted left-hander Zac Rosscup and right-hander Neil Ramirez from Triple-A Iowa and optioned righty Blake Parker to their top minor league team. [b]Marquise Brown Womens Jersey[/b] . Gorges is believed to have suffered the injury while blocking a shot with a hand during Montreals win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The Canadiens added to their defensive depth this week by acquiring veteran Mike Weaver from the Florida Panthers.With the knockout stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicking off Saturday in Brazil, TSN.cas panel of experts is back with a full set of predictions for the Round of 16 all the way through the Final. Read on to find out which team has the legs to outlast the cream of the crop and emerge as 2014 World Champions. The panel consists of TSN Soccer Analysts Jason deVos, Luke Wileman and Kristian Jack, TSN Radio 1050 Toronto host Gareth Wheeler, TSN Radio 690 Montreals Noel Butler and TSN.ca soccer editors Shane McNeil and Ken Rodney. Round of 16: Brazil def. Chile Though a unanimous choice from TSNs panel, Brazil will be in tough against a Chilean side that dislodged the defending champions from Spain. If handed a lesser opponent, Chile might be a dark horse advancement pick, but drawing the hosts was always the likely peril for whomever finished second in Group B. Brazil was a unanimous choice Colombia def. Uruguay A very conspicuous absence threatens to overshadow what would otherwise be an exciting clash between two of South Americas less-heralded giants. In the end, though, Luis Suarez suspension almost levels the playing field as Colombia has been and will be without its biggest threat – Radamel Falcao – for the entire tournament. Despite his absence, Colombia has been dominant in Brazil, piling up more goals than all but one team in the group stage. If James Rodriguez keeps at his group-stage pace and Colombia goes deep, he would be a legitimate Golden Ball contender. Picks: Butler, deVos, Jack, McNeil, Rodney, Wheeler, Wileman – Colombia; Jack - Uruguay France def. Nigeria Few were surprised when France handled Honduras to open the tournament, but Les Bleus made a definitive statement, pouring in five goals (and what likely should have been six but for a quick final whistle) against the top-ranked Swiss side. Karim Benzema has been a force alongside Olivier Giroud and if he continues his Golden Boot pursuit, France should certainly be on its way to the quarters at least. France was a unanimous choice Germany def. Algeria Algeria has caught a lot of teams napping, but will they be able to stun the perennial powers from Germany? Probably not as Thomas Muller scores seemingly at will and Miroslav Klose sits one fortuitous substitution away from the record book. The Greens have made history already in Brazil with their first ever advancement. The miracle run ends here, though. Germany was a unanimous choice Netherlands def. Mexico Though an overwhelming favourite, the Dutch present themselves as the first pick on to create a rift between our analysts. The reason? Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa. The man has been simply ridiculous and has already proven that hes single-handedly capable of withstanding an elite offence, having held Brazil scoreless. Gareth Wheeler and Kristian Jack are believers, but the rest of the panel is seeing Oranje for the quarters. Picks: Butler, deVos, McNeil, Rodney, Wileman – Netherlands; Jack, Wheeler - Mexico Costa Rica def. Greece It comes as no surprise that a match-up between two unlikely entrants provides the most divisive result iin terms of predictions. [b]Jonathan Ogden Jersey[/b]. Thats no slight to either team or their achievements, but on this same panel no one predicted Costa Rica to get through prior to the start of the tournament and only one had Greece advancing (Shane McNeil, in an extremely lucky guess). Consensus seems to be that the Ticos – having already dispatched England and Italy – will be able to handle Greece, but its not a sitter by any means. Picks: deVos, McNeil, Rodney, Wheeler – Costa Rica; Butler, Jack, Wileman - Greece Argentina def. Switzerland Or is it Lionel Messi that defeats Switzerland? The Argentines have gotten just two goals that didnt come off the Little Magicians boot and one of those was an own-goal from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The pressure will be even more firmly on Messi as Sergio Aguero will miss at least the Swiss match if not more, but our panel has complete faith in the Argentines here. Argentina was a unanimous choice Belgium def. United States Another divisive choice, but Belgium gets a slight edge over the Americans in this match-up. The Americans had a foot in the second round before Cristiano Ronaldos highlight-reel cross snatched victory out of their hands. Clint Dempsey and the return of Jozy Altidore will provide a handful for the Belgians, but with a balanced attack that has produced four different goal scorers and with Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku yet to register, Belgium gets the edge. Picks: Butler, deVos, Jack, McNeil, Wheeler – Belgium; Rodney, Wileman - USA Semifinals: Things get a bit fragmented once the quarters set in. A Brazil-Germany semifinal appears to be on the minds of many of our analysts, but its by no means by acclaim as both Noel Butler and Wheeler see upsets in the offing. On the other side Argentinas a safe bet with McNeil providing the lone vote of dissent in favour of the Belgians while the Dutch have been given a healthy dose of competition in the form of Mexico and/or Greece. Picks: deVos - Brazil def. Germany, Argentina def. Netherlands; Butler - Brazil def. France, Argentina def. Greece; Jack - Brazil def. Germany, Argentina def. Mexico; McNeil - Brazil def. Germany, Belgium def. Netherlands; Rodney - Germany def. Brazil, Argentina def. Netherlands; Wheeler - Germany def. Colombia, Argentina def. Mexico; Wileman - Brazil def. Germany, Argentina def. Netherlands Champions: It appears primed to go one of three ways, or so sayeth we. Will Brazil exorcise the ghosts of 1950 and finally win the Cup at home? Thats the opinion of Jason deVos, Luke Wileman as well as McNeil. Meanwhile, Jack and Wheeler continue to keep away from the pack, predicting a first-ever championship in the Americas for a European nation. Theyve got their money down on the Germans. Ken Rodney and Noel Butler, meanwhile, have gone rogue on the panel and stood in direct opposition to the Brazil-backers. Theyll get the bragging rights should Lionel Messi add a World Cup title onto his “Best Player in the World” case-file. Picks: deVos, McNeil, Wileman – Brazil; Butler, Rodney - Argentina; Jack, Wheeler - Germany ' ' '