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Soccer

Zusi’s goal lifts U.S. to victory

In Panama City, Graham Zusi scored his first international goal in the eighth minute, and the United States beat Panama 1-0 in an exhibition game Wednesday night for its third consecutive win.

Using mostly backups while the regulars remained with their European clubs and playing nearly the entire second half a man short, the Americans evened their record at 4-4-1 under Jurgen Klinsmann, who replaced Bob Bradley as coach last summer.

Hope Solo has an ailing leg, the result of some extra work she was putting in to get back into playing shape after Dancing With the Stars.

The timing isn’t the greatest. The U.S. women’s soccer team is about to play the game that determines whether it goes to the Olympics.

“We have to make a decision whether she is 100 percent to go or not,” coach Pia Sundhage said Wednesday. “And if she isn’t, we have a tremendous backup goalkeeper (Nicole Barnhart).”

The United States plays Costa Rica on Friday in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.

The winner goes to London, the loser stays home for the summer.

Softball

Jaguars picked 4th in PBC poll

Augusta State is picked to finish fourth and USC Aiken sixth in the Peach Belt Conference’s preseason coaches poll.

North Georgia was picked to finish first.

Augusta State will open its season Feb. 10 in Columbus State’s tournament. The Jaguars play West Alabama at 4 p.m. that day and Lenoir-Rhyne at 6.

USC Aiken also starts on the road, on Feb. 18 against Catawba.

NHL

Canadiens end Red Wings’ run

In Montreal, David Desharnais had two goals and an assist, and the Montreal Canadiens ended Detroit’s seven-game winning streak with a 7-2 victory over the Red Wings night in the NHL’s final game before the league’s All-Star break.

Alexei Emelin scored his first NHL goal, and Montreal scored four times in the opening period against Jimmy Howard, who will make his first All-Star Game appearance on Sunday in Ottawa.

Baseball

La Russa to still manage all-stars

Tony La Russa will become the second retired manager to lead an All-Star team next summer, joining Hall of Famer John McGraw.

La Russa concluded a 16-season run in St. Louis with the team’s second World Series title in five years last October, stepping down after 33 seasons overall.

Commissioner Bud Selig announced that the 67-year-old La Russa will manage the National League in this year’s game July 10 in Kansas City.

• The Milwaukee Brewers says NL MVP Ryan Braun will not attend the team’s fan festival this weekend because it’s too “sensitive” a period for the slugger who awaits a decision of his appeal of a 50-game suspension under baseball’s drug policy.

Brewers chairman and principal owner Mark Attanasio thanked fans for their understanding and patience. The team’s “Brewers On Deck” event will be held Sunday.

• St. Louis closer Jason Motte has agreed to a $1.95 million, one-year contract after helping St. Louis win the World Series.

The 29-year-old reliever was 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA and nine saves last season, earning the closer’s role in late August and getting five saves in the postseason.


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