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It has been over two years since Diana Matheson’s stunning 92nd minute, Olympic bronze medal winning goal against France at City of Coventry Stadium during the 2012 London Games. The members of the Canadian Women’s National soccer team, hosts of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, have covered a lot of ground since seeing their flag rise. With automatic qualification for the World Cup granted to Canada as hosts, they were not forced to play in the CONCACAF tournament that determined the region’s other representatives. Instead they have contested a series of international friendlies and participated in other international tournaments. Most recently , the Women’s National soccer team capped off a busy 2014 with a victory and a draw against Sweden, two games that showcased both how far the team has come since their Olympic success in London and how far they still have to go before they open the World Cup in Edmonton next year. Were not there yet,” said head coach John Herdman. “To win World Cups you have to be able to beat teams by a couple of goals. Germany, on any given day, can score two or three past teams. But thats where weve got to get. We cant be that one-goal wonder team that will only beat you 1-0. So over the next months weve got to keep cracking at that and working on that front five. While Canada also enjoyed victories this year over Finland, Italy and Ireland, perhaps their best result of the year was earned in a 1-1 draw with the United States. They held the world’s number one-ranked team scoreless for 77 minutes before conceding. It was during that game that then 18-year-old Toronto native Kadeisha Buchanan, having already displayed her defensive skills keeping American striker Abby Wambach off the scoreboard, tallied her first goal for the Senior National team. The future is bright, said veteran Canadian midfielder Desiree Scott about her teammate Buchanan after the draw with the Americans. “An 18-year-old, going toe-to-toe with some of the best strikers in the world and she scores a goal... Unbelievable performance. TSN Soccer Analyst Jason deVos is also impressed with the skills already shown by the Canadian youngster and thinks she has the capacity to grow into an even more impressive player. “I think she has the potential to go on to become one of the best central defenders in the world in the women’s game,” said deVos. “She’s got everything you look for in a central defender, she’s quick, strong, aggressive, good on the ball and she has good natural instincts.” Buchanan, who has since turned 19, was identified by Herdman as one of the players that would need to step up when one of the two key injuries Canada has suffered since the Olympics took place. In March of 2014, defender Lauren Sesselmann suffered a cruciate injury to her knee, sidelining her for the remainder of the year. The 31-year-old started all six games for Canada at the Olympics and was one of the standout players in the bronze medal effort. Any time we lose a player it affects us emotionally, said Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc after Sesselmann was injured. I think what Lauren brought is that aggressiveness, that toughness and she had leadership in her own way.” In October the injury bug struck again as Matheson tore her left ACL in a loss against Japan. The veteran of 161 National appearances was hopeful at the time of the injury that she would be ready to participate in the World Cup, citing a previous injury recovery as a timeline. Obviously I want to be in a World Cup, so that’s my goal, said Matheson after the injury. I had surgery the November before (the Games) as well, she said. Hopefully I can make a similar comeback. With the tying goal in the second friendly against Sweden, Canadian captain Christine Sinclair continues to produce for the National team and remains the best and most important member of the squad. “She still has the ability to win games on her own,” said deVos about Sinclair. “That’s something the Canadian players and coaching staff know. They’ll need her to be at her best if they are going to go far in the tournament.” Another key player to the Canadian Olympic team is 32-year old Melissa Tancredi, who returned to the Canadian lineup for three games this year after taking a break from the team to go back to school. She started in two losses to Japan and came off the bench in the draw against the Americans. With the competitive year now over for Canada, the team will start to focus on tightening up the roster and paring down the players that will eventually become the team that will compete at the World Cup. “When we get to Christmas time, we’ve got some assessments we want to make about the squad we take in January,” said Herdman. “This is a chance for people to get game time under their belt before we begin again next year and it gets more serious.” Canada heads into the draw as FIFA’s eighth-ranked women’s soccer team based on the most recent list (released in September). They were down one spot from the seventh they held in the previous ranking and have fluctuated between the two positions since the London Games. At the 2011 Women’s World Cup Canada was drawn into a group with France, Nigeria and host Germany and they failed to win a game, with Sinclair scoring their only goal in an opening game loss to the home side. Lyle Alzado Youth Jersey . Leave it to Matt Niskanen, the newly proclaimed Eddie Haskell of the Washington Capitals. Jim Plunkett Raiders Jersey . Reimer is winless (0-2-1) since returning from a six-week absence due to concussion-like symptoms. The Maple Leafs dropped a 4-2 decision to the hosting Washington Capitals on Friday. https://www.raiderssportsgoods.com/Wome ... ed-Jersey/ . Phoenix originally signed Barbosa to a 10-day contract on Jan. 8 after Eric Bledsoe injured his knee and then signed him to another 10-day deal. Josh Jacobs Womens Jersey . THE MICHAEL JORDAN FLU GAME First this famous basketball moment. The story goes like this. “Game 5, known as "The Flu Game", was one of Michael Jordans most memorable. Jim Otto Youth Jersey .Gasol had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls beat the winless Orlando Magic 98-90 on Tuesday night.Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 21 points and Taj Gibson added 16 for Chicago, which finally pulled away in the final minutes of a game that was tied after three quarters.ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz fit right back in with the Texas Rangers after completing his 50-game drug suspension. The All-Star slugger was reinstated from the restricted list Monday by the Rangers, who immediately put him in their lineup. Cruz batted sixth as the designated hitter for the AL wild-card tiebreaker game against Tampa Bay. "I feel really confident right now," Cruz said before the game. "Im going to enjoy this moment. Happy to be back. Happy to be with my teammates. Its a blessing to see the reception they gave me." Cruz got a warm ovation from Rangers fans when he was introduced before the game, and again when he came to bat for the first time in the second inning. After swinging late on a couple of fastballs from David Price, Cruz lined out to first base. It was the first major league game for Cruz since Aug. 4. That was the day before his suspension stemming from Major League Baseballs investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. Cruz was among 14 players disciplined by MLB this year in the Biogenesis case. Only Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez appealed his suspension. The return of Cruz came eight weeks to the day he was suspended. He has acknowledged publicly that he made "an error in judgment" in the wake of a gastrointestinal infection that wasnt properly diagnosed over a few months before he reported to spring training in 2012. Cruz lost 40 pounds during that time. He has never offered more specifics. After serving his penalty, Cruz is ready to move forward and focus on the field. "I think Ive been doing a pretty good job," he said. "Whatever is going outside of baseball, just keep it outside." Cruz seemed at ease during batting practice, when he hit a few balls over the walls in a session he described as being "OK. It wasnt like great." He was planning to take more cuts in the indoor batting cage. Rays manager Joe Maddon expressed no issue with Cruz being eligible. "My job is to get my plaayers ready.dddddddddddd Hes served his punishment, and hes eligible to play. I cant worry about that. I spend most of my energy on things like the bullpen," Maddon said. "We just played A-Rod at home." Texas designated outfielder Joey Butler for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. The Rangers won their last seven scheduled games of the regular season and needed every one of those victories to force the first wild-card tiebreaker in the majors since 2007. A 163rd regular-season game provided a chance for the return of Cruz. Before flying to Texas on Saturday night, he had been playing games against mostly minor leaguers and prospects in the Arizona Instructional League. Cruz finished 9 for 27 with five doubles, a homer and nine RBIs in eight games in Arizona. Once Cruz told manager Ron Washington that he felt good and was loose, the slugger was back in the lineup. "He said he was ready to go. I didnt talk to anyone in (Arizona). I know Nelson Cruz," Washington said. "If you throw something in the wrong spot, I expect to jump up and down. ... Its the threat, its the presence, its what he does for everybody else just being in that lineup." General manager Jon Daniels said Cruz kept himself ready to play "as good as you can." Daniels said the at-bats got batter during that time and that Cruz was swinging the bat well. "All along, we knew were probably a better club with him available," Daniels said. The Rangers were 29-21 without Cruz, who hit .269 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 108 games before his suspension. Washington opted to have Cruz as the designated hitter for his return rather than put him in the outfield. The Rangers stuck with hot-hitting Craig Gentry in left, Leonys Martin in centre and Alex Rios in right. Rios was acquired from the Chicago White Sox four days after Cruz was suspended. "The way those three guys out there have been running balls down, Im not changing that right now," Washington said. "Well use Nelsons bat, and his threat." ' ' '