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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. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  2. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

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  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Lightning confused by NHL's slashing crackdown

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — D Victor Hedman said the joke in the Lightning locker room before Friday's exhibition game was that the over/under on slashing penalties would be six.

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  5. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.