Good thing Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 2017 invested in a couple Boeing 767 jets to serve as the team’s private planes. When he did so, New England became the first NFL franchise to invest in one plane, let alone two, to fly to games.Per ESPN, the planes the Patriots purchased and retrofitted with first-class seating, “depending on miles flown and condition, generally cost between $5 million and $65 million. A source said the planes the Patriots bought are extended range, which allows the planes to fly nonstop for about 12 hours. A brand-new plane could cost $200 million.”The Patriots opened as four-point road favorites against the Texans for their “Sunday Night Football” game, but that line has dropped to -3 in the days leading up to the game. The illness that spread throughout the Patriots’ locker room over the last week is evidently no joke.According to ESPN, when the team left New England for Houston ahead of Sunday night’s Week 13 game, it took two planes, “one to accommodate those who were sick and keep others away from them.” Presumably, the players who traveled on the “sick” plane were the nine who were listed as questionable with an illness on the Patriots’ injury report for the Texans game: Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Joejuan Williams, linebackers Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, offensive tackles Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon, safety Patrick Chung and offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor.Tight end Ryan Izzo was the only player the Patriots ruled out with the illness.MORE: How the Patriots can clinch a playoff spot in Week 13
Ghana, seeking a first Cup of Nations title since 1982, will play Cameroon next Thursday in Franceville for a final place.It will be a sixth consecutive semi-finals appearance for four-time champions Ghana, who were runners-up in 2010 to Egypt and in 2015 to the Ivory Coast.They overcame DR Congo without captain and striker Asamoah Gyan, who failed to recover from a thigh injury sustained in a group loss to Egypt four days ago. “We corrected some mistakes at half-time and were a totally different team in the second half,” Ghana coach Avram Grant told SuperSport.“Both our goals were fantastic, as was the one scored by Congo, who were a well organised team.”Although Ghana had more possession during a goalless first half, it was DR Congo who came closest to scoring in a stadium surrounded by dense rainforest.Giant Hull City striker Dieumerci Mbokani featured prominently for the Congolese Leopards, and one of his attempts was foiled by the woodwork.A suicidal back pass from Ghanaian Harrison Afful was intercepted by Mbokani, who rounded goalkeeper Razak Brimah, but his scuffed, angled tap hit the post.Midway through the half, Mbokani retained possession under pressure from three Ghanaian Black Stars and passed back for Junior Kabananga to blaze over.A superb pass over the defence from Mpoku gave Mbokani a half-chance on 37 minutes only for his hurried shot to fly well off target.As half-time approached, Brimah got lucky twice as DR Congo continued to look the likelier side to break the deadlock.He dribbled across a Congolese attacker inside his box when a booted clearance would have been more advisable, and gentler on the nerves of Grant.The Spain-based goalkeeper then failed to grasp a Mbokani shot from outside the penalty area, but smothered the loose ball as a Leopard darted toward it.Ghana, who did not have a shot on target in the opening half, threatened as the second half progressed and it was no surprise when they took the lead.A misplaced Congolese pass was intercepted by Mubarak Wakaso, who set up Jordan Ayew to hold off one tackle and fire past Ley Matampi.But the advantage for the Ghanaians did not last long as Mpoku took aim outside the box and his swerving drive flew past Brimah into the right-hand corner.A rollercoaster game took another turn when Joyce Lomalisa fouled Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew sent Matampi the wrong way with his penalty kick.Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2 3 FT: Ghana 2 DRC 1; Morocco 0 Egypt 1Oyem, Gabon | Brothers Jordan and Andre Ayew scored for Ghana as they reached the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals Sunday with a 2-1 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo in Oyem.Jordan opened the scoring after 63 minutes of a tight, bruising quarter-final in northern Gabon and Andre put Ghana ahead again from a 78th-minute penalty.They are sons of Ghana football legend Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew, ranked among the greatest African footballers of all time.Between the Ayew goals, Paul-Jose Mpoku levelled for DR Congo on 68 minutes.
Facebook11Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Oly Town ArtesiansReturning for the first time from an off-season injury, Oly Town Artesians goalkeeper JJ Olson made 26 saves and held the high-powered Bellingham offense to just two goals over the first three quarters on Saturday night, and was voted Western Indoor Soccer League Defensive Player Of The Week for week 10 by league coaches and club operators.The Saint Martin’s grad played a game for the ages. On The Pavilion’s small field that traditionally yields high scores and against the #2 team in the league both in record and in scoring who scored 14 goals on the Artesians earlier in the season, Olson held Bellingham to just one goal at even strength in a 5-4 loss. He made 26 saves despite facing constant pressure while Oly Town’s offense struggled to keep possession in the second half. Eventually, the Hammers took advantage and scored two power play goals and scored once with a man advantage after pulling their goalkeeper to add a sixth attacker.This is Olson’s second WISL Player Of The Week award. The Lakeville, Minnesota native took home the prize last season with a big 7-5 win over the Tacoma Stars Reserves. In his fourth season with the Artesians, Olson has started the most games at goalkeeper and has the most wins of any goalkeeper in club history but was only able to play in one game this season. Injuries beset Oly Town keepers this season. Ryan Perkins and Bradley Hanson both suffered season ending injuries early on. Defender Ryan Fakkema was converted into a keeper and played admirably in five games.This was the third Player Of The Week award for the Artesians this season. Eli Boatright was named Offensive POTW for his game tying goal in a 4-4 week nine draw in Snohomish. And Chris Pugh was also named Offensive POTW last week for his hat trick against the Oly-Pen Force.The Oly Town Artesians wrapped up their league schedule with Olson’s grand performance, but they will host one more game this Saturday night with Austin Kelley Night, an annual celebration of soccer in memory of friend and teammate Austin Kelley. First kick in the friendly between the Artesians and the Oly Legends is set for 6:30 at The Pavilion at The Evergreen State College.Stay up to date with the Artesians during the off-season and heading into the 2019 Evergreen Premier League season by visiting the Oly Town Artesians website, following them on Twitter, and liking them on Facebook.