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ars In Trouble, to be ridden by Rosie Napr

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  • ars In Trouble, to be ridden by Rosie Napr

    TORONTO - Jermain Defoe has been where Gilberto is under the microscope and unable to score goals. Defoe insists its only a matter of time before his Toronto FC strike partner starts finding the net. And hes told Gilberto the same thing several times. "Everyones trying to talk to him, not just me. The manager and everyone. . . all the boys are just trying to be positive," Defoe said. "Im sure hes experienced enough to know its just a matter of time. Hes been unlucky. "Hopefully when he gets the first one, hell score many more. Still got a long way to go, its a long season." Toronto FC (4-4-1) hosts the Columbus Crew (4-4-4) at BMO Field on Saturday, a game that coach Ryan Nelsen said, in the event of a victory, could "springboard us forward for the rest of the season" Gilberto was part of Torontos much-celebrated off-season makeover, acquired to boost the clubs underpowered offence. The 24-year-old Brazilian has come oh so close numerous times, banging shots off the post and sending balls just wide of the net. But he remains without a goal in eight Major League Soccer appearances. And with his near-misses comes increasing scrutiny, which Defoe said comes "part and parcel with playing football." "I suppose at any level really where youve got to perform, people will expect you to perform, and obviously if you dont people are going to ask questions," Defoe said after Fridays practice at the clubs sun-drenched training grounds just north of the city. "But on the flip side, when youre playing well and youre scoring goals, everyone loves it and you get all the praise. So if its not going well, I suppose you have to just take it on the chin, as they say in England." Nelsen joked that hes played through goal-scoring droughts that lasted years he, of course, was a defender. But he believes the scrutiny is a bit unfair. "Strikers, they get referred to as goalscoring, with defenders its conceding, . . sometimes (playing) just feels wrong. And its not just in football, its in your job," Nelsen told reporters. "You have a couple of months where its just tough, things just dont seem to go your way. Its life. "The only trouble in our job is everybody is watching you when it happens. Everybody talks about it, everybody wants to know about it, everybodys picking your brain about it. You all go through it, sometimes its just more out front, its just right out there in the media." Gilberto scored 14 goals in 24 games for Portuguesa of Brazils top division last season. He signed with Toronto as a Designated Player in December, and is set to earn US$1.2 million this season 12th highest in MLS. One TFC official mused before the season kicked off that the Brazilian may score even more goals than Defoe, but the former Tottenham Hotspur striker leads the way with four goals in six games. "I think every striker has been through spells where at some stage in the season you might go a few games without scoring," Defoe said. "But youve just got to keep working hard and getting into position where youre going to score. Youve got to remain positive and thats all you can do really. "Obviously its difficult because your confidence gets really low. But hes working hard. Im sure its just a matter of time before he scores." Defoe missed Torontos previous game against Columbus with a hamstring injury a 2-0 road victory on April 5 that boosted the teams record to 3-1. Both Defoe and Nelsen said they like where the team is positioned right now. Theres a sense that its turned the corner after a disappointing stretch. "Were starting to strengthen ourselves and trust our squad and get a bit hardened," Nelsen said. "Going to have our ups and downs of course, but were starting to become an MLS squad which is literally competitive in every game. And considering what we inherited here, its a good little evolution. "I know everybody wants to just flip the switch and you go from nobodies to champions overnight and it doesnt happen like that. If you just step back, you can look where we were and look where we are, you kind of see an evolution or developments that other teams probably because they werent as low as us are not making. Thats what I like about our team, everybodys just getting a wee bit better, and the squads just getting a wee bit better every day." Nelsen was happy to have midfielders Jonathan Osorio (hamstring) and Jackson Goncalves (concussion) back practising Friday. The two will be available to play against the Crew. "Im anxious to come back. I hate missing games, obviously. I even hate missing practices," said the Toronto-born Osorio. "Im more excited that Im healthy, Im feeling good, so Im excited (Saturday) to just play without any worries, without any knocks on me, and to be 100 per cent." The club will be missing captain and defender Steven Caldwell, who will serve his suspension for a red-card he received in Torontos last league game a 2-2 draw at Kansas City. Coincidentally, Toronto was also missing Caldwell in last months meeting. "Hopefully we can repeat that (win with him)," Nelsen said. "But I think youve seen in Bradley Orr, and Doneil Henry and Nick Hagglund weve got some pretty decent cover there, so hopefully whoever plays at centre back will be right up for it." Toronto will also be without recently-acquired midfielder Collen Warner. "His brother is getting married in Denver, and hes the best man," Nelsen said. "On several levels, us guys may have told him to tell his brother hes making a bad mistake," Nelsen added, laughing. "(Warner) says hes batting well above his average, so he should do it as soon as he can so. . . To tell you the truth, thats like me exactly." Bobby Doerr Jersey . Jamies number grades given are out of five, with five being the best mark. Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins (3) - Surrendered a tough first goal against on a deflection through the body short side. Steven Wright Jersey . According to Tony Barrett of The Times, the Liverpool captain is set to announce that he will leave the club at the end of the 2014-15 season. http://www.officialredsoxfanstore.co...ed-sox-jersey/. Tensions rose in the first period when Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik hit Bruins forward Loui Eriksson with what appeared to be a clean hit. Luis Tiant Jersey . -- Quarterback Josh Johnson has returned to the San Francisco 49ers and his former college coach, Jim Harbaugh. Jimmie Foxx Jersey . Torres scored the first goal by an English team in the knockout phase of the Champions League this season when he met Cezar Azpilicuetas cutback in the ninth minute of their first leg match in the last 16. But Chelsea failed to make the most of its counterattacks and the Turkish champions equalized in the second half after gaining in confidence and cutting out their defensive mistakes.LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Bob Baffert is down to one horse for the Kentucky Derby after early 6-1 second choice Hoppertunity was scratched Thursday because of a sore left front foot. The colt was to have been ridden Saturday by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. "Bad news travels fast," Baffert said outside his barn, where onlookers gathered as word spread around Churchill Downs. "The horse is OK. Hes just not 100 per cent and its too close to the race, so I pulled the plug." Baffert first noticed signs something wasnt quite right on Wednesday, when Hoppertunity took a few steps. The inside quarter of his left foot was sore, so part of his shoe was cut off. As the colt walked to warm up, he didnt appear bothered. But Baffert decided to scratch him anyway. Hoppertunity will have a full scan Thursday to eliminate any other possible problems than a sore foot, which will be soaked. In a bit of gallows humour, Baffert joked, "We missed a Hoppertunity." He said the colt could return in time for the Preakness on May 17. Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia revised the Derby morning line odds, although California Chrome remained the favourite at 5-2. Wicked Strong, the colt named for the victims of last years Boston Marathon bombings, replaced Hoppertunity as the early second choice at 6-1. Arkansas Derby winner Danza and Intense Holiday were installed as the co-third choices at 8-1. Tapiture was made the fifth choice at 12-1. The odds for Candy Boy were lowered to 15-1 from 20--1.dddddddddddd Louisiana Derby winner Vicars In Trouble, to be ridden by Rosie Napravnik, dropped to 20-1 from 30-1. Smith will still be busy on Derby day, ridding in seven of the 13 races on the card. "I could still have a pretty good day," he said. "Id rather lose it this way than something happen on the track." The scratch moved also-eligible horse Pablo Del Monte into the maximum 20-horse field. However, the 50-1 shot would have to start from the No. 20 post position. It wasnt immediately known if Pablo Del Montes owners want to start under that condition. "Its amazing to have the opportunity to run," said Wesley Ward, who trains and co-owns the colt. "With my 25 per cent there is nothing Id love better, with a horse that I bred, than to run. But I have to go with what my partners want to do." The original plan for Pablo Del Monte, who was third in the Blue Grass, was to wait for the Preakness. His other owners are in Europe, and Ward expected to learn their decision later Thursday or early Friday. Hoppertunity had drawn the No. 11 post. With his scratch, the other horses in the outside starting gate all moved up one spot. Blue Grass winner Dance With Fate will now break from the 11th spot. Baffert has another horse in the race, 20-1 shot Chitu. That colt also has had foot problems and recently threw one of his shoes. "Ive had a lot of luck here," said Baffert, a three-time Derby winner, "so I cant really complain." ' ' '
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