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Loons come back for 3-2 win over Philadelphia Union

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Loons come back for 3-2 win over Philadelphia Union

It was fitting Adrien Hunou, Robin Lod and Franco Fragapane each scored for Minnesota United in its 3-2 win over Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night; those three players were the topics of conversation after the MLS Players Association released its latest salary information in the morning.

There was sticker shock over Hunou’s guaranteed compensation of $2.58 million, more than double any other Loons player. That was on top of a transfer fee of more than $3 million, and those figures were put in contrast to the Frenchman’s average scoring production going into the midweek game.

In 2019, it was Lod’s nearly $1 million salary and low production that turned heads. But it was Lod’s solid second season in 2020 that has some taking a wait-and-see approach on Hunou, who has three years on his contract.

At the other side of the spectrum was Fragapane’s paltry $142,500 salary on a four-year deal seeming like a bargain compared to his impressive presence on the score sheet before Wednesday. While he isn’t the first to do so, Loons manager Adrian Heath disputed the accuracy of the salary figures.

Regardless, each attacker showed their worth against Philadelphia at Allianz Field. Hunou scored first to give the Loons the first-half lead, Lod brought them back to a tie in the 63rd minute and Fragapane provided the winner in the 67th.

Lod and Fragapane each have 13 combined goals and assists; Emanuel Reynoso, who had two assists Wednesday, leads with 14; Hunou is fourth with six.

The Loons also needed them to grind out the game after right back Romain Metanire’s red card for throwing the ball at the head of Kai Wagner in the 78th minute. Metanire will be suspended for Saturday’s game against Los Angeles FC.

After a bad loss to Colorado 10 days prior, Minnesota (12-10-8) won its second straight game while ending a six-game unbeaten run for Philadephia (12-9-10).

“I’m so pleased for the players because the doom and gloom that was about here after we got beat by Colorado,” Heath said. “You would have thought that the season was over — and that’s not just externally; that was internally as well. It’s just a reminder that it’s never over. As you’ve got games, you can change the narrative. That is what the players have done.”

Hunou’s goal beat Union goalkeeper Andre Blake near post, a rare concession at that spot from the 2020 MLS goalkeeper of the year. The play was assisted by Fragapane and Reynoso. Chase Gasper’s intervention in the Philadelphia defensive third set it up.

Four minutes after Hunuo’s goal and just before halftime, Minnesota conceded the equalizing goal. Daniel Gazdag’s strike from the top of the box was in the spot Wil Trapp likely should have been hustling to help defend.

In the 54th minute, Loons goalkeeper Tyler Miller couldn’t get enough to parry away on a Union corner kick, and Gazdag was credited with his second goal.

Lod’s blast of a goal came off a great back-heel assist from Reynoso, and Fragapane’s was a header off a rebound of Hunou’s shot denied by Blake.

“We all talk about it: this is crunch time,” Hassani Dotson said. “I’m just proud of the boys and the effort they put on the pitch.”

The first 40 minutes didn’t have a lot of action, and the Bally Sports North streaming feed wasn’t working, but the last 50 minutes sure had enough action, and the channel and club were trying to promote it on social media.

Heath often says goals change games, and goals often change the perceptions of players, too.

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Celtics Notebook: Jayson Tatum on a run

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Celtics Notebook: Jayson Tatum on a run

In addition to rebounding at a career rate (10.2) over his last five games, Jayson Tatum has been finishing at the rim and getting to the free throw line with more regularity than at any point this season.

He’s averaged seven free throw attempts per game dating to a Nov. 15 game in Cleveland, when Tatum shot 7-for-7 from the line. He’s gone 30-for-31 over his last three games heading into Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.

Considering that Tatum has played some of his best basketball against the team he adored as a youngster, expect his best.

It’s all the result of attacking, and making adjustments to how the game is being called this season, with a wider margin of error for defenders.

“We’ve hit him quite a few times with not settling, making a quick decision and when he does that he can get to the basket or make plays for other guys,” said coach Ime Udoka. “He had some success quite a few games ago and saw himself getting to the free throw line. Saw he was missing shots earlier in the year that we love for him getting to the basket.

“I think he just saw the success of getting to the basket, getting to the free throw line, and how that opened everything up for himself and has carried that over,” he said. “We love the balance  and the fact that he can score in the post, pick-and-roll and iso — anywhere on the court. But we love him getting downhill and being aggressive there, and driving and kicking for his teammates for sure.”

Udoka would like to keep Tatum at his current 36.5-minute level, especially now that Jaylen Brown is a day-to-day consideration with his healing right hamstring.

“I don’t necessarily think 36 is a big thing for him,” he said. “Given that Jaylen’s been out the amount he has and we’ve had to rely on (Tatum) more, that obviously was ramped up a little bit beside the extra overtimes, the six extra periods there tacking on some minutes.

“But he’s a guy that’s coped well,” said Udoka. “He’s finding his rhythm and as I’ve mentioned, I’ve never seen a guy his age take care of himself and prepare the way he does with treatment, getting the shots he needs, in the weight room. He’s living in the gym, so he takes care of himself and it’s not a coincidence that he’s been able to play those high minutes and play at a high level.”

Especially now that Tatum is attacking the basket, with his paint attempts and kick-outs on the rise.

“He’s picking his spots, understanding what he has to do every night for other guys, as well as himself,” said Udoka. “We just say make the right play, basically, and he’s done that all year for the most part. There’s still going to be times when he goes to his natural tendency of looking to score at times, but he does it at a high level, so you can’t knock him on that or take that away. But, as I’ve stressed over and over, he’s learning on the fly what he has to do to become a more well-rounded player offensively and defensively and he picks his spots well. I’m thinking he’s making the right play for the most part and teams are going to try to take the ball out of his hands. So the more he loosens everybody else up, the easier it becomes for him in the second half of games.”

And as Tatum’s performances even out, his confidence will build.

“Stay confident. Stay consistent in his process of what he does,” said Udoka. “He doesn’t waiver from that, whether he scores 40 or has a bad shooting night. He comes in and does what he does every day like I just mentioned. So his professionalism is off the charts, especially for a guy his age, like I said. I’ve been around a long time and never seen a guy at that age and focus on taking care of himself to the extent that he does. It’s a credit to him that he’s able to play those minutes. Thirty-six isn’t a crazy high number. Like I said, we’ve had to rely on him probably more than we would have liked to early with guys being out. But he’s taken on a heavy load and stays consistent with what he does every game, every practice, every day.”

‘Being cautious’ with Brown

No Celtic benefited more from the team’s two-day stay in Los Angeles than Brown, who is once again listed as questionable as he slowly returns from a strained right hamstring. His workout intensified during Monday’s practice.

“Jaylen is listed as questionable, and will be questionable going forward,” said Udoka. “Had a good session today, ramped it up a little bit and with him we want to be patient and wait for him to get to 100 percent. Whenever that is, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow after going harder today than he has in awhile, since he played in the games, and like I said, big picture approach, being cautious with it and getting him back at 100, not 85, 90, so it doesn’t linger, and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

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Patriots-Bills inactives: Kyle Dugger out, all 8 questionable Pats active in Buffalo

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Patriots-Bills inactives: Kyle Dugger out, all 8 questionable Pats active in Buffalo

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Questionable? Ha.

For the third straight week, every Patriot listed as questionable on the team’s injury report is active. Starting right tackle Trent Brown and defensive tackle Christian Barmore were among the eight supposed question marks, but both will play in windy Buffalo. Backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, cornerback Shaun Wade and linebacker Jahlani Tavai are the Pats’ most notable inactives.

The Patriots also activated linebacker Jamie Collins off injured reserve and elevated defensive lineman Daniel Ekulale and safety Sean Davis from the practice squad.  They are without starting safety Kyle Dugger, who remains on COVID-19 reserve.

For the Bills, run-stuffing defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is active after returning from injured reserve. Wide receivers WR Marquez Stevenson and Isaiah McKenzie are both out.

Both teams’ complete inactive lists are below.

PATRIOTS

QB Jarrett Stidham

LB Ronnie Perkins

TE Devin Asiasi

OL Yasir Durant

BILLS

WR Marquez Stevenson

WR Isaiah McKenzie

FB Reggie Gilliam

OL Jamil Douglas

DT Vernon Butler

DE Efe Obada

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Parents, teachers push for prompt transition to elected Boston school committee

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Parents, teachers push for prompt transition to elected Boston school committee

Boston Public School parents, teachers and graduates called on city councilors to shift the mayor-appointed school committee to an elected body in a public hearing Monday, demanding follow-through on the resounding 79% memorandum voters passed on the identical ballot question in November’s election.

“With this appointed school system, I feel that my voice goes unheard,” said BPS parent Suleika Soto, summarizing what many petitioners highlighted: a lack of both accountability and communication from the current structure of the committee.

“We, the students, families, and educators are not the constituents of the Boston School Committee,” said BPS teacher Neema Avashia. “We find ourselves begging to be heard.”

The Boston School Committee is responsible for managing Boston Pubic Schools’ annual operating budget, hiring and overseeing the superintendent, and regulating policies and practices within city schools. Members of the 13-person council had been elected by city residents from 1982 until 1989, when voters decided to transition the council to a mayor-appointed body.

Question 3 on November’s ballot to restore the group back to an elected body got overwhelming support from voters, with more than 99,000 votes cast in favor of the change.

“What we have to do now is listen to what people have said and how loud they’ve said it,” said John Nucci, who served four years as the president of the Boston School Committee during its most recent era as an elected body.

The City Council provided an early draft of what the transition back to an elected body could look like. The first step, in January 2022, would maintain eight appointed members and add one member elected through the BPS student population. By January 2024, the body would become a hybrid mix of seven appointed members, one student-elected member and three at-large elected members. Finally, by 2026, the entire 13-person committee would consist of elected members.

But the question of how those members are elected is one of many details councilors will try to hammer out through future hearings and meetings. One topic of debate is whether the majority of committee members should represent specific districts, or act as at-large officials, representing the city as a whole.

Newly elected city councilor and former BPS teacher Erin Murphy suggested at least nine of the members should represent specific districts, fearing “many voices would be left out” if they don’t have specific representation.

Pam Kocher, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau — a neutral party on the issue — cautioned that an elected governing body is not a guarantee for a representative body.

“Elections can reward the loudest voices and those with the most resources,” she said.

Councilors assured attendees this meeting will be the first of several on the issue before action.

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