Posada to step down as Fire president

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Posada to step down as Fire president

The Fire roster hasnt changed much for next season yet, but the clubs front office underwent a major alteration on Wednesday when owner Andrew Hauptman announced that team president Julian Posada will step down at the end of the year.
Posada, who held the post since Sept. 10, 2010, wont be replaced. His duties will be absorbed mainly by chief operating office Atul Khosla and president of soccer operations Javier Leon.
"Over the past year we have invested in building a diverse and deep management team, Hauptman wrote in an open letter to the teams followers. "In a relatively short time the club has accomplished a great deal, including the securing of numerous multi-year partnerships, a new jersey sponsorship, a 100 percent increase in season ticket holders and a significant increase in overall attendance.
Posadas most noteworthy accomplishment came in landing Quaker Oats as the jersey sponsor for last season after the Fire had gone without one in 2011.
Hauptman said Posada was leaving "to pursue other opportunities but that he will "remain a consultant to the club in 2013.
"Were grateful to Julian for his time and dedication to the Fire, Hauptman said.
Posada was the fourth president in franchise history, following Peter Wilt, John Guppy and Dave Greeley. Wilt served the longest. He led the Fire into Major League Soccer in 1998 and his reign as president ended in 2005 when then-owner Anschutz Entertainment Group replaced him with Guppy in the final days of the preseason.
Guppy departed in 2008, a few months after Hauptmans Andell Holdings took over the ownership of the club.
The club completed its 15th season with a playoff loss to the Houston Dynamo on Oct. 31 and will have a short-turnaround before the 2013 campaign begins. The Fire announced this week that its 2013 season opener will be a road match against the two-time defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy on March 3 the earlier start in franchise history. The first home match will be against the New England Revolution on March 9.
While the full season hasnt been announced, the Fire does have a third match on the books at Sporting Kansas City on March 16. SKC posted the best record in the Eastern Conference during the last regular season.

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After getting another signature win at Maryland, does any Big Ten team have two better conference wins than Minnesota?

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USA TODAY

After getting another signature win at Maryland, does any Big Ten team have two better conference wins than Minnesota?

Does any Big Ten team have two better conference wins than Minnesota?

The Golden Gophers went on the road and defeated a ranked group of Maryland Terrapins on Wednesday night, and they did so in impressive fashion, scoring an 89-75 victory in College Park.

Team this win with the win at Purdue back on New Year's Day, and there's no better pair of league victories to be found.

More importantly though, the Gophers, at 9-6, are now the No. 4 team in the Big Ten standings.

It's all a part of a quality NCAA tournament resume for the Gophers, who are closer to lock status after Wednesday's win than they are to being on any sort of bubble. With mediocrity running rampant through the Big Ten this season, Richard Pitino's 21-win squad should be well on its way to an appearance in next month's Madness, which would be the program's first since he took over as head coach.

The resume looks pretty strong at this point, especially after Wednesday. Minnesota can now claim wins over Purdue, Maryland and Northwestern — all three of those conference victories coming on the road. In the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Gophers beat Arkansas, the Razorbacks seemingly heading to the tournament themselves. The only loss from the non-conference portion came on the road at Florida State, one of the highest-ranked teams in the country.

So it's safe to say Minnesota will go dancing.

Wednesday's 14-point beatdown of the Terps saw the Gophers shoot 50 percent from the field on the night and 54.5 percent from the field in the second half. Five players scored in double figures: Dupree McBrayer with 18, Nate Mason with 17, Akeem Springs with 16, Jordan Murphy with 15 and Amir Coffey with 13. Minnesota didn't win the rebounding battle but scored 15 points off 10 Maryland turnovers and marched to the free-throw line, going 17-for-20 from the charity stripe while Maryland was just 8-for-13 there.

The second half was a rout, the Gophers outscoring the Terps 55-40 over the final 20 minutes and rattling off two separate 9-0 runs to burst away from the No. 24 team in the country.

The overtime win at Purdue on the first day of 2017 might go down as a bigger win considering the Boilermakers are closing in on the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. That win, too, came by an impressive-enough margin, 91-82. But Minnesota dominated Maryland over the final nine minutes or so and turned in a double-digit victory on the road against a team that lost to that same Purdue team on that same court by just a point two and a half weeks ago.

The Gophers are now on a six-game winning streak and are piling up wins in a fashion that's making them look like one of the Big Ten's finest. A 3-1 start to conference play that extended its overall record to 15-2 was dampened by Minnesota's five-game losing streak that featured losses to higher-echelon teams like Michigan State, Wisconsin and Maryland, plus road losses at Penn State and Ohio State. But since have come six straight wins. While the caliber of opponent hadn't been terribly impressive until Wednesday, the Gophers can now boast nine conference wins. Only three teams have more.

It's now worth watching how high Minnesota can climb in the Big Ten standings before the conference tournament just two weeks from now. If the season ended today, the Gophers would already be in possession of one of those highly coveted two-day byes. But Minnesota is just a game back of Maryland and just two games back of Wisconsin, who the Gophers play in the regular-season finale.

Like Pitino told his team after Wednesday's win: "No more talk about (just making) the NCAA tournament. We're talking about seeds in the NCAA tournament."