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Sports in brief


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Cup rematch opens MLS

PORTLAND, Ore. — The defending champion Portland Timbers host the Columbus Crew today (4:30, ESPN) in a rematch of last year's MLS Cup final as Major League Soccer opens its 21st season.

Orlando City opens its second season at home against Real Salt Lake as all 20 teams get underway today.

Replays: Referees will be assisted by video replays for the first time on a trial basis, FIFA announced. Tests will start next year in private before a live pilot phase by the 2017-18 season.

Spain: Cristiano Ronaldo had four goals to become the No. 2 leading scorer in La Liga as host Real Madrid routed Celta Vigo 7-1. With 252 goals, Ronaldo passed Telmo Zarra's 251 and trails only Barcelona's Lionel Messi (305).


Browne TKOs champ Chagaev

Lucas Browne (24-0, 21 KOs) became Australia's first world heavyweight champion, beating Ruslan Chagaev (34-3-1, 21 KOs) in a surprise technical knockout in Grozny, Russia. Browne won the so-called regular version of the WBA belt, but Tyson Fury is considered the WBA "unified" champ.


McGregor cashes $1 million payday

Conor McGregor became the first UFC fighter to make a disclosed $1 million purse in his nontitle fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 196 late Saturday in Las Vegas, the Nevada Athletic Commission reported. Anderson Silva made $800,000 against Nick Diaz in early 2015. UFC 196 also featured unbeaten Holly Holm, making $500,000 to face Miesha Tate.


U.S. advances in Davis Cup

John Isner moved the United States into the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup, defeating Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4) early today for a winning 3-1 edge over host Australia in Melbourne. On Saturday, twins Bob and Mike Bryan topped captain Lleyton Hewitt, who came out of a 41-day retirement to replace Sam Groth, and John Peers.


Downs mark tied

Tampa Bay Downs leading trainer Gerald Bennett, whose 72nd birthday is March 12, tied a track record with wins on all four starters at Oldsmar. His winners: Thunder Harbor (Race 3), Antoine's (4), R Quick Temper (5) and Taipan's Advantage (8). Jamie Ness (twice) and Kathleen O'Connell also have had four-win cards.

Gotham Stakes: Shagaf won the $400,000 stakes race at Aqueduct, improving to 3-0.

Et cetera

Gymnastics: Reigning Olympic champ Gabrielle Douglas won the American Cup in Newark, N.J., with 60.195 points, edging U.S. teammate Maggie Nichols.

Motorcycles: Eli Tomac won in AMA Supercross at Daytona International Speedway.

Swimming: Michael Phelps was third in the 100-meter freestyle at a meet in Orlando in 49.57 seconds; Nathan Adrian (48.05) won.

Iditarod: The 1,000-mile dog sled race officially starts today in Willow, Alaska.

Don Jensen, Times correspondent; Times wires

Sports in brief 03/05/16 [Last modified: Saturday, March 5, 2016 11:39pm]
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© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


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  1. Protests at hotel before NFL owners open fall meetings


    NEW YORK — A pair of protests preceded the opening of the NFL's annual fall meetings, where owners and players are seeking a way to highlight social issues while taking the focus away from demonstrations during the national anthem.

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'


    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.
  3. Fennelly: Longtime Bucs fans, we want to hear from you


    Calling all Bucs fans! Calling all Bucs fans!

    Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.
  4. A punter is the state's only first-team, midseason All-American


    Here's another indictment of how mediocre the state's college football season has become.

  5. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay


    1. Armwood (7-0)

    Up next: vs. Brandon

    Armwood quarterback Devin Black (7) shakes hands with Plant defensive back Keon King (26) after the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The Hawks beat the Panthers 27-7.