As summer heats up, so does the intensity of every major sport across the world. In New England, baseball’s biggest rivalry gets renewed as the Red Sox host the Yankees in a pivotal series after the All-Star Break.
Meanwhile, in England, Wimbledon is shaping up to be an extremely memorable tournament as usual. The men’s and women’s champ could both be over the age of 35, speaking to the fact that Roger Federer and Venus Williams are aging like wine.
USA soccer’s quest for the Gold Cup is still in tact, while Big3 basketball and International Champions Cup soccer are ready to get under way.
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees – Fenway Park, 7/15
Night and day. That is the difference that Red Sox and Yankees players will be feeling this weekend. A few days ago they were teammates on the American League All-Star Roster, and right after the break these two heated rivals are back at it.
For the Boston Red Sox, the All-Star Game was a success. Chris Sale started the game and pitched two scoreless innings. Mookie Betts flashed the leather and strong arm by making a double play from deep center field. Closer Craig Kimbrel pitched an interesting ninth inning, but it was enough to get the win.
The Yankees’ All-Stars didn’t make the biggest impact during the game, but their presence was felt during the Home Run Derby on Monday Night. Gary Sanchez ousted Giancarlo Stanton, the favorite heading in to the competition. If you haven’t heard about Aaron Judge’s performance in the Home Run Derby then you came to the right spot. After 23 home runs in Round 1, Judge mashed his way to the title, becoming the first rookie to win the competition.
Both teams need to snap out of the All-Star Break mentality as quick as possible. With such a tight race for the lead in the AL East, this upcoming four game series is pivotal. Chris Sale will take the mound for the Red Sox and look to build on his Cy Young case. Aaron Judge will bring the gavel to Fenway Park and look to help the Yanks close the gap on the Red Sox as they currently trail the division leaders by 3 1/2 games.
United States vs. Nicaragua – CONCACAF Gold Cup Group Stage – First Energy Stadium, 7/15
After a roller coaster win against Martinique, the United States Men’s National Team can rest a little bit easier. There is still work to do but the pressure is considerably lower heading in to their final group stage match against Nicaragua. Nicaragua has yet to win a point in this competition, so the United States will seemingly have their easiest game for last.
Without their veteran leaders on the squad, this young United States roster is proving they belong. Players such as Gyasi Zardes, Alejandro Bedoya, Omar Gonzalez and Brad Guzan have been pivotal elements of the USMNT squad. The star of the show, and the likely reason that the USA team is advancing is Jordan Morris. Morris was a college star and former MLS Rookie of the Year. He is now beginning to find his footing for his national team, and the timing is impeccable.
Morris scored the second and third goal for the United States Wednesday night, and both proved to be pivotal. Martinique proved to be a feisty opponent. USA built a two goal lead, but within fifteen minutes, Martinique leveled the score. A beautiful give-and-go between Gyasi Zardes and Jordan Morris led to the third, and game-winning goal for the stars and stripes.
The team will need to ride this confidence in the final group stage against a weaker opponent. The USA team let Martinique hang around, build confidence, and as a result the game was much tougher than it needed to be. Make that same mistake twice, and it could haunt the U.S.
Big3 Basketball – Wells Fargo Center, 7/16
Big3 Basketball is…bigger than I expected. The retired NBA players are putting on a show that fans in cities across the country are appreciating. The half-court, first to 50 format keeps the game short, close and exciting.
The bullies in the Big3 thus far are embodying the style of play displayed by their coach in his prime. During the lates 80s and early 90s no one wanted to mess with Rick Mahorn. Now he is leading the team Trilogy, and they have a trio of players that are hard to deal with in this league. Rashad McCants, Al Harrington and Kenyon Martin have led Trilogy to 3-0, good enough for first place in the league. Three teams are hot on their heels, and are also playing with past NBA stars who still have something left in the tank.
Power is 2-1, and with a scoring punch from Corey Maggette and Cuttino Mobley they are never out of the game. Mike Bibby is running the show for the Ghost Ballers while Rashard Lewis’ jumper is the catalyst for the 3-Headed Monsters.
Ghost Ballers will square off against Power this upcoming weekend. A good test for both teams who are currently in the playoff race. Trilogy will take on the last place team Tri-State at the Wells Fargo Center this weekend as well. Tri-State is looking for their first win while Trilogy wants to stay undefeated.
The Championships at Wimbledon – Finals Weekend, 7/16
There are fewer lawns that are more iconic than the ones that are closely mown at the All England Club. The host of the Wimbledon Championships in London, England, this venue has seen some of the most iconic moments in tennis.
In the women’s draw the storylines are riveting even without Serena Williams being in the tournament. Her older sister Venus has returned to her winning ways at Wimbledon and has made a deep run in the tournament. The five-time champ is handling personal strife and professional stress with grace. The Wimbledon crowd is getting behind their homegrown talent Johanna Konta. These two talented ladies squared off in the semifinals, but Venus was able to display her world class ability even at age 37. The win in straight sets will give her confidence heading in to the final.
Garbine Muguruza, a former French Open champion and Wimbledon finalist, is looking to add to her legacy as well. She easily breezed through her side of the draw capped off by an impressive 6-1, 6-1 win in the semifinals.
On the other hand, the men’s draw is just as interesting. The greatest tennis player of all-time is still swinging. Roger Federer outlasted his peers, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, and is the only member of “The Big Four” to advance to the semifinals. Fed will take on journeyman Tomas Berdych, a talented player who has yet to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
This will be one of the best opportunities in Berdych’s career, but he will have the GOAT in his way. Berdych made the finals in 2010, and beat Federer and Djokovic on the way there, but lost to Nadal in the finals.
On the other side of the men’s draw, Marin Cilic is blasting his serves past all opponents, while Sam Querrey is the first American male to reach a major semifinal since Andy Roddick in 2009. Federer is the clear favorite but this tournament has been so unpredictable to this point.
International Champions Cup – Paris St. Germain vs. AS Roma – Comerica Park, 7/19
The wait is finally over! The International Champions Cup is one of the most anticipated events of every summer for soccer fans in the U.S. Only the best clubs in the world make the trip to American soil as they prepare for their upcoming domestic seasons. The initial match up features two teams that will look to start the season strong as they were both runners-up in their respective leagues. Paris St. Germain placed second in the top division in France while AS Roma finished behind Juventus in Italy last season.
The game will have a relaxed vibe due to the preseason aspect, but the talent will still be on display. The beautiful Comerica Park in Detroit, MI. will host the event, and the stadium should be packed with excited fans.
Paris St. Germain’s star on display will Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan striker is quietly one of the best finisher’s in Europe. His supporting cast includes French International star Blaise Matuidi and one of the best up-and-coming playmakers, Julian Draxler of Germany.
AS Roma is led by Italian hero Daniele De Rossi and striker Eden Dzeko. With so much talent on one field this game will be must-see. There should be plenty of skillful play and beautiful goals.
The complete ICC schedule is available now at TicketNetwork as this match up is the first of many classics in the International Champions Cup.
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