Rowdies win on road
The Tampa Bay Rowdies boosted their flickering NASL playoff hopes with a 4-1 victory Saturday night at Fort Lauderdale.
Stroker Georgi Hristov scored three times for Tampa Bay (9-8-8); according to the team it's the first hat trick since the franchise returned in 2012.
Tampa Bay trailed 1-0 but scored three times by halftime, with two of the goals coming from Hristov and one from forward Tom Heinemann. The Rowdies rose to fifth in the overall standings, just a point behind Minnesota for the last playoff spot after Minnesota's 3-1 loss to Ottawa.
The spring season (Indy Eleven) and fall season winners automatically reach the four-team playoffs with the other spots going to the next best overall records.
Rooney watches win
Wayne Rooney was dropped for Manchester United's English Premier League game against champion Leicester in Jose Mourinho's biggest call in his short time in charge at Old Trafford. It proved a good decision, with United winning 4-1 and Rooney's replacement — Juan Mata — scoring. Mourinho said Friday that his captain had not been the same player since he was criticized for his display for England against Slovakia in a World Cup qualifier in early September.
MLS: Daniel Royer scored his first league goal in the 60th minute as the New York Red Bulls clinched a playoff berth for the seventh straight year with a 1-0 victory over visiting Montreal.
Spain: Barcelona cruised past host Sporting Gijon 5-0 in its first Spanish league game without injured star Lionel Messi, who is out for about three weeks with a groin injury.
Wozniacki keeps surging
Former champion Caroline Wozniacki continued her late-season resurgence by beating No. 2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the final of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Radwanska led 5-3 in the second set, but Wozniacki broke her opponent twice to win the last four games in the set on her way to a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win. Wozniacki faces Naomi Osaka of Japan, who beat Elina Svitolina 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
ATP: Stan Wawrinka will try to follow his U.S. Open title with one in St. Petersburg, Russia, after beating Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (8-6), 6-2. Wawrinka faces Alexander Zverev today.
Phoenix pulls upset
Diana Taurasi scored 30 and Brittney Griner added 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks to help No. 8 seed Phoenix upset host and No. 3 seed New York 101-94 in the playoffs. The Mercury will head to Minnesota for the semifinals, which is a five-game series as opposed to the two single elimination games that Phoenix has won.
Boxing: Jorge Linares defeated Anthony Crolla to capture the WBA lightweight belt by unanimous decision in Manchester, England.
Horses: Accelerate won the $201,035 Los Alamitos (Calif.) Derby by a head, surviving a foul claim.