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Hope. Thats all Toronto FC supporters have asked for. Wins have been priority, too but its true, unmitigated hope of positive direction thats been desired. Progress. Commitment. Hope. Hope has been fleeting before. Julian de Guzman, the clubs first designated player brought hope as did the addition of hometown hero Dwayne De Rosario. Toronto FC turning orange, the Dutch total football revolution under Aron Winter brought hope as well. But thats about it. Spare me hype surrounding some unknown international prodigy that has come and gone, or the legendary Mista. Genuine belief has been temporary and few and far between. Unfulfilled promise. Pandering of false hope. Rinse, wash, repeat. Then Wednesday happened. True hope came calling. As often the case may be, good things came in three; each story bigger in importance, potential impact and surprise. De Rosarios return to Toronto was publicly confirmed with a Thursday press conference ahead. My colleague Luke Wileman reported coveted Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe will land in Toronto this weekend with an expected Monday introductory press conference to follow, unveiling the prized acquisition. The bells and whistles surrounding Defoes arrival are said to be impressive. Lastly, the most audacious, unexpected news of all; a deal all but done to bring 26-year-old US international midfielder Michael Bradley to TFC in the absolute prime of his career. Surprised? Yes we are. Three signings dont get much bigger than this in MLS. Make it four with last months arrival of Brazilian Gilberto. If no curveballs are thrown and once the ink is dry, just like that, the inferior, miserable, beaten down landscape of Toronto FC forever changed. Toronto FCs new promo campaign, Its A Bloody Big Deal! – 01.13.14 couldnt ring more true. The YouTube video shows a bald-headed man spit take in shock, presumably about Defoes arrival. Well add another spit take for Bradley; the kind of choke on your coffee and have it pour out your nose sort of disbelief. In North American soccer circles, this is the kind of impact and magnitude were talking about. Defoe entering the fray isnt much a secret. The 31-year-old English international had fallen out of favour at White Hart Lane. The crafty forward still has pace and ability and could have a similar impact in MLS to Robbie Keane. Toronto FC spared no expense to convince Defoe Toronto was right for him. Flights, houses, family considerations - Toronto bent over backwards, realizing treatment and paycheck would be sufficient to supplant a Premier League caliber talent and bring him to Canada. Many expect Defoe to score 30 goals in Major League Soccer. Along with on-field expectations, off-field ambassadorship is expected. Defoe instantly becomes one of MLS top players. Ditto for Bradley. A work engine in the central midfield, the current AS Roma player is a warrior. The ferocity of Bradley, with ability to move forward in attack, would make him a special breed in MLS, where most central midfielders are either preferred attacking options or stay at home, hold the shape kind of players. Bradley is an all-action type player, and all-important for the US Mens National team and a move to MLS comes at a peculiar time with World Cup preparations first and foremost. US Mens National team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was critical of Clint Dempseys move to Seattle last fall. So a return to North America comes as a shock. The story behind the potential move has yet to be revealed, but considerable dollars are at play. A rumoured salary ballpark of $6.5 million per year would do the trick, roughly six times his current salary. Playing time is also an issue. The arrival of Kevin Strootman last summer, along with last weeks signing of Radja Nainggolan put the writing on the wall at Roma: Bradley must leave. Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star reports upwards of $100 million is being committed to Defoe and Bradley in transfer fees and salary. Its an incredible commitment for soccer in this city. These kinds of dollars cannot be justified by pure economics of the game alone. The MLS salary cap for 2013 before designated player commitments sat at just shy of $3 million. MLSE obviously has the funds but to make this kind of financial commitment to soccer and a team that had operating revenue in the ballpark of $4.5 million last season (according to Forbes) shows true ambition. This is what it takes to compete. For Bradley, whose father Bob is a former US National team coach, to choose a Canadian club no less over a US-based team speaks to the show me the money type mentality of the modern game. Credit Tim Leiweke. He said he would turn Toronto FC around, and quick. This is beyond the expected. Dion Phaneuf salaries to soccer players in Toronto will never make sense. But MLSE using its financial strength to turn an embarrassment into a pillar of the organization is money well spent. Many south of the border will question what a move like Bradleys says about the growth of MLS. Id argue it has less to do with MLS than it does Leiweke. With a network, resources and desire to win, hes what TFC desperately needed. MLS plays a big role in player acquisition and obviously contracts, which they control. Toronto FC failed to play nice in the sandbox regarding specific targets and team performance in recent years. Squabbling and the perennial disappointment of TFC, whose supporters are credited for league growth and expansion, was a black eye for MLS headquarters. Leiweke was an ideal buffer between club and league. Theres a history and understanding. It then made perfect sense to hire the young and bright Tim Bezbatchenko, an MLS staffer to take over as general manager - a calculated move, facilitating congruence with MLS to provide much needed stability. It has not been disclosed who is funding the transfers. MLSE stepping up assuming the cost would be seen as extending the olive branch. Leiwekes fingerprints are all over these transactions. They signal a donning of a new era for the organization. MLSE has a face. Its Leiweke, and all that comes with him. In a city with too few victories and forced tradition rather than substance, Leiweke is filling a void, one handshake and dollar at a time. These signings are an investment as will a stadium makeover in the coming years. Its part of a bigger plan, where reputation speaks for itself. For MLSE to gain credibility, they need to show they are serious about winning. No more talk; actions. No more wrangling with agents. No more disagreement with the league. No more ostracizing fans. Moves like these wins people over. This is how you win. This is how you sell hope. The cynic will remain. Signings alone dont equal results. Even more work is to be done to the roster. The heavy lifting is near complete. Toronto FC will be able to compete. True hope. Thats all it takes. Its a reasonable thought that the vibe, the fun, and actual winning football can all live simultaneously at BMO Field. We hope. @WheelerTSNgareth.firstname.lastname@example.org Custom Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys . Both sides of the deal have formally announced acquisitions: TFC introduced Jozy Altidore as a designated player on Friday, while their counterparts announced a three-and-a-half-year deal with Jermain Defoe. Paul George Jersey . In mens doubles, Vancouvers Vasek Pospisil and American Jack Sock reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Croatian Mate Pavic and Andre Sa of Brazil. http://www.shopthunderstore.com/Cheap-K ... er-Jersey/. The ongoing funk on penalty kill and an unusually quiet night on home ice for the power play divided the Leafs from the Bruins at the ACC in a rare Sunday night affair. D.J. Augustin Jersey . According to a report from the Hamilton Spectator, Infrastructure Ontario has informed the City of Hamilton and the Tiger-Cats the stadium may not be ready by the June 30 deadline. Ray Allen Jersey . Sixteen teams have moved on. Sixteen teams have gone home.For the third time in UFC history, the promotion will feature an event in cooperation with a U.S. military base for UFC: Fight for the Troops 3. This fight card, which takes place in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, has had a number of changes, including headliner Lyoto Machida replaced by fellow Brazilian Rafael Natal. Once again Jordan Cieciwa (@FitCityJordan) and I (@LynchOnSports) go head to head in our picks for this mid-week event. Last weekend at Bellator 106, my #TeamLynch went a decent 8-3, but a miserable 1-4 on the main card. #TeamJC went 7-4 but was had was better on the main card going 3-2. Let us know which side youre on this week. Either tweet #TeamLynch or #TeamJC. Also feel free to leave your opinions in the comment section below. Tim Kennedy vs. Rafael Natal James Lynch TSN.ca (@LynchOnSports) Crowd favorite and U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Kennedy aims for his second UFC victory, when he is paired with the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Natal. The former Strikeforce title challenger is on a two-fight win streak, including a successful UFC debut against Roger Gracie. Looking for his third straight win, hell face a stiff test in Natal, who has currently won five of his last six fights. The Gracie Fusion fighter is coming off a "Fight of the Night" performance in a victory over Tor Troeng at UFC Fight Night 28 and looks for his first four-fight win streak inside the octagon. Its no secret the Brazilian has the superior ground game, but will he be able to handle the wresting of Kennedy? The 34-year old Jackson/Winklejohn product showed in his losses to Luke Rockhold and Jacare Souza that hes extremely durable and difficult to finish. With no submission losses on his resume, its unlikely Natal will force the tap in this fight. Expect Kennedy to turn this into a dog fight in front of the military crowd and pull of a unanimous decision victory. Kennedy via unanimous decision Jordan Cieciwa – TSN 1290 Host (@FitCityJordan) I will say about this fight, its not an easy victory for Tim Kennedy. Rafael Natal is an accomplished athlete with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. If they wanted a main event to ensure the ex-US Army Staff Sergeant would win, this is not the one. At 5 1, Tim Kennedy is no stranger to tough fights and some great stand up battles. He has been vocal about pay scales and time off in the industry. Other than that, there are few as focused as Kennedy. He is always ready to go when he steps in the octagon. His opponent is riding a three-fight win streak. Rafaels last fight in September was an all-out war and fight of the night honors went to the battle with Tor Troeng. It will be interesting to see if he has had enough time to recover and put in a solid camp. That fight was 10 weeks ago. A full three round fight like that needs a good three or four weeks of rest. That leaves six weeks to prepare for Kennedy. That lack of rest a preparation is the reason I am giving the nod to Kennedy. Kennedy via unanimous decision Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis Lynch Port Colborne native Davis looks to pull off the upset on Wednesday, when she battles former womens title challenger Carmouche. The 29-year old will be heading into enemy territory as "Girl-Rilla" is an Iraq military veteran and will no doubt have the crowd on her side. A winner of three-straight fights since her loss to fellow Canuck Sarah Kaufman last year, a win over the highly touted Carmouche would certainly propel her into the title picture. Meanwhile the 29-year old San Diego native bounced back from her loss to Ronda Rousey, with an impressive victory over Jessica Andrade at UFC on FOX 8. Both fighters are well versed in all areas of this fight, with Carmouche having the advantage on the feet and Davis having the edge on the mat. No doubt this will be competitive, but Carmouche should outwork the Canadian over three rounds, landing the better shots on route to a unanimous decision victory. Carmouche via unanimous decision JC Id love to see a Canadian win a fight against a Marine at the "Fight for the Troops" I am pretty sure nothing more "un-American" than that could ever happen. With that said, Liz Carmouche gave Ronda Rousey her first scare inside the cage, and she has had a very impressive career so far. Alexis Davis is an impressive fighter, but from what fans have seen from her this far, I dont think her striking or wrestling will match Carmouche. Liz should be able to over power, and out gun Davis. This will be an exciting fight with a lot of pace. Davis always brings a solid fight and her time with Cesar Gracie team will be perfecting her ground game. Davis is a contender in the division, but it will be Carmouches night. Carmouche via unanimous decision Ronny Markes vs. Yoel Romero Lynch The 14-1 Brazilian Markes looks for his eighth straight victory when he battles Cuban Olympic medalist Romero. The 25-year old was originally scheduled to compete on the UFC on FUEL 10 card back in June, but a car accident a day before the fight as he was scheduled to face Derek Brunson.dddddddddddd Romero is coming off a "Knockout of the Night" performance against Clifford Starks at UFC on FOX 7 and looks for his sixth win in his last seven fights. The 36-year old American Top Team fighter should be able to avoid the mat with his wrestling and use his exceptional standup to knockout the Nova Uniao fighter, sometime in the second round. Romero via second round knockout JC Im excited to watch this fight. Im actually expecting a fight of the night out of this one. Ronny Markes has looked fantastic in his career to date. At 14-1 he has faced some top tier talent including Paulo Filho and Aaron Simpson. His opponent across the cage is Yoel Romero. His flashy knee KO over Clifford Starks raised some eyebrows. In my opinion its not enough to make the case to beat Ronny Markes. I expect this to be a great fist fight with someone getting tagged early and in exciting style. Markes via second round TKO Rustam Khabilov vs. Jorge Masvidal Lynch In a matchup that could very well take home "Fight of the Night" honors, 16-1 Russian Sambo specialist Khabilov battles former Strikeforce title challenger Masvidal. The 26-year old Jackson/Winklejohn member has made quite the impression since his UFC debut last December. Through two fights, Khabilov has earned two first round finishes over Vinc Pichel and Yancy Mediros. His superior Sambo background has served him well thus far in the octagon, bullying opponents and looking completely dominant while doing so. Facing a 32-fight veteran in Masvidal however, is a big step up in competition. Currently riding a three-fight win streak, the American Top Team product Masvidal has faced his fair share of top talent including Gilbert Melendez, Paul Daley and Raphael Assuncao. Despite the fact all of those were losses, none of those fighters were able to finish the gritty Miami native. Aside from having superior standup, the 28-year old also holds a two inch reach advantage that should serve him well if he is able to neutralize the Russians clinch game. No doubt many pundits will be favoring the decorated Russian in this fight, but Masvidal will prove his critics wrong by pulling off the upset. Masvidal should be able to keep his opponent at bay, and pick away with his shots on route to a unanimous decision victory. Masvidal via unanimous decision. JC How do you bet against Jorge Masvidal in this contest? With 25 wins, 10 by knockout its hard to give anyone else the nod. Hes been in the cage with the champion and has looked excellent in all of his fights. Rustam Khabilov has less than five minutes of cage time in two fights. He debuted in the UFC with an impressive slam/ground and pound win. The fact remains, his level of competition has not been the same as Masvidal. Look for Jorge to use his total arsenal as a veteran to get this win. The reach advantage goes to Masvidal, and Im sure he will use that to stay out of harms way and secure a KO win. Watch for a young, frustrated Khabilov to make a mistake early in the second and get knocked out. Masvidal via second round KO Michael Chiesa vs. Colton Smith Lynch Two Ultimate Fighter winners open up the main card in the lightweight division, as active U.S. Army member Smith battles Team Alpha Male fighter Chiesa. The TUF 16 winner Smith is coming off hard fought loss to TUF: Smashes winner Robert Whittaker at UFC 160. As a result, Smith will be making his debut at lightweight on Wednesday night for a better result. Similarly TUF 15 winner Chiesa is coming off his first pro defeat at UFC on FOX 8, when he was submitted by Jorge Masvidal in the second round. Both fighters have proved to be very durable, but Chiesa will have both a one inch height and five inch reach advantage. In addition, Chiesa has fought half as many fights as Smith, who has only competed five times in the cage. While this fight will be competitive, expect Chiesa to catch Smith sometime in the third round and land in the submission for the win. Chiesa via third round submission JC I dont like Colton Smith. There I said it. The Ultimate Fighter winner gave a glove touch cheap shot to get into the house and that still has left a sour taste in my mouth. Its the reason Im excited to see Michael Chiesa step in and work his submission game. Chiesa had his first big test when he fought Jorge Masvidal; Masvidal won that fight with one second remaining in the second round. This match up favors Chiesa who finishes fights. Hes got two decisions in nine wins. Thats a fantastic record, and one that has me believing hes got a win coming in front of the troops. Chiesa via second round submission Undercard Picks: Lynch: Green, Roop, Bermudez, Nunes, Larkin, Edwards, Baczynski, Brunson JC: Krause, Roop, Bermudez, Nunes, Camozzi, Edwards, Baczynski, Brunson Also be sure to tune into the "Weigh-In" on TSN Radio 1290 Winnipeg every Saturday as myself, Jordan and "Big Marv" Timog go toe to toe discussing the hottest topics in MMA. 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