Opportunity knocks for 7 Bears 'tryouts'

762378.png

Opportunity knocks for 7 Bears 'tryouts'

They are still deep in the category of longshots and will be for the foreseeable future but seven unrostered players out of 34 tryout prospects brought to Halas Hall for this weekends rookie minicamp made enough of an impression to be signed to their first NFL contracts.

Some undrafted players made their mark, said coach Lovie Smith. The group of tryout guys that came here without a contract, always anxious to see what we have from those. A few of the guys really made us take notice.

All of the position players signed were on offense, plus one kicker and one punter:

Wide receiver Joe Anderson, Texas Southern; quarterback Matt Blanchard, Wisconsin-Whitewater; tackle Tyler Hendrickson, Concordia; guard Nick Pieschel, Central Florida; and tight end Brandon Venson, Illinois State.

Boston College punter Ryan Quigley and Connecticut kicker David Teggart also were signed as relief legs for Adam Podlesh and Robbie Gould.

The Bears wont keep four quarterbacks but that number is important in ensuring that veterans Jay Cutler, Jason Campbell and Josh McCown are not overused for drills and other sessions.

Blanchard and Ronnie Fouch from Indiana State both gave good accounts of themselves in the three days work. Blanchard quarterbacked UW-Whitewater to the last two of the Warhawks three consecutive NCAA Div. III national championships.

They were students of the game, said quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates. They executed well. It was fun to watch those guys.

White Sox: Avisail Garcia leaves game early with sore left knee

6-28_avisail_garcia_ap.jpg
AP

White Sox: Avisail Garcia leaves game early with sore left knee

White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia left Wednesday night’s game with a sore left knee.

Garcia exited the contest in the top of the ninth inning when he was replaced in right field by Alen Hanson. The removal came two innings after a pickoff throw at first base forced Garcia to awkwardly dive back to the bag.

In the middle of a heavy rain, Garcia stayed on the ground for several seconds after New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez attempted to throw behind him.

The team’s best All-Star candidate, Garcia entered the contest hitting .321/.361/.516 with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs in 305 plate appearances. Garcia was 0-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch before he left early.

Fire lose Open Cup epic in Cincinnati after penalties

schwein-628.jpg
AP

Fire lose Open Cup epic in Cincinnati after penalties

CINCINNATI — A few days ago Dax McCarty was talking about the Chicago Fire trying to win every trophy they were competing for this season. The hopes of winning one of those trophies ended Wednesday night.

The Fire lost in penalty kicks to USL team FC Cincinnati after 120 minutes of goalless soccer. A crowd of 32,287 in Cincinnati, the second biggest crowd in U.S. Open Cup history, waited and waited and waited some more, but finally got what they wanted.

It was all about the goalkeepers before penalty kicks with the Fire’s Matt Lampson and Cincinnati’s Mitch Hildebrandt combining for 17 saves. Hildebrandt improved on his crazy good night by denying Nemanja Nikolic, Arturo Alvarez and Juninho in penalty kicks. Bastian Schweinsteiger was the only Fire player to convert a penalty in four rounds. Cincinnati missed its first penalty, but converted the next three.

"We wanted this competition," Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. "It is important for the club and it is important and a possibility for us to get trophies and win trophies for our team, for our club. But now we have to move forward and we have to think about playoffs. That’s all that is left and we have to now understand that this is something that we have to keep working hard. The team is doing well, but these kind of defeats are good red flag for the team to understand that we can not relax."

In regulation, the Fire huffed and puffed in the first half, but didn’t really create much danger in front of Cincinnati’s goal. At halftime, the Fire had 78 percent of the possession, but couldn’t manage a shot on target.

"First half we were a team that was dominating and having a lot of opportunities, but that’s what happens in these kind of games," Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said.

Cincinnati’s game plan to defend deep and counter was stifling the Fire’s attack. The Fire only managed shots from outside the box that all missed the target. Matt Polster had an open shot in the box following a corner kick, but it was deflected wide by a sliding defender.

The home crowd of 32,287, which is the second biggest crowd in U.S. Open Cup history, didn’t have much to cheer in the first half, but Matt Lampson made the only save of the half when he came off his line to deny Danni Konig who got free down the left side.

Both the atmosphere and the game livened up in the second half. Both teams had multiple quality chances and both keepers, Lampson and Cincinnati’s Mitch Hildebrandt came up with big saves.

Lampson saved the game to deny a breakaway for Jimmy McLaughlin in added time just before regulation ended.

In extra time, Cincinnati thought it had the go-ahead goal from Andrew Wiedeman in the 110th minute, but it was called back for a close offside call. Hildebrandt and Lampson both came up with huge saves in the final minute of extra time to send the match to penalties.