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Atlanta United wins MLS Cup, beats Portland 2-0

The Kings of the South are the Kings of MLS.

>> Watch the news report here

Behind goals from Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar, Atlanta United defeated Portland 2-0 to win the MLS Cup in front of record announced attendance of more than 73,000 on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

>> On AJC.com: PHOTOS: Atlanta United brings home the MLS Cup

No one, from owner Arthur Blank to the players, were shy in the past few weeks about expressing their ambition to win the MLS Cup for manager Gerardo Martino, who is leaving the club, for themselves and the supporters. It was the 17s, as the team nicknamed its supporters, who embraced the Kings of the South nickname and who turned their home into a cauldron of noise throughout the season by setting numerous attendance records.

>> On AJC.com: Atlanta United victory parade planned for Monday

“These are always special moments, to culminate this amazing process we’ve had in Atlanta,” Martino said.

The city pulsed with anticipation throughout the week about the opportunity to break a title drought in the major pro sports leagues dating to the Braves winning the 1995 World Series.

The crowd was whipped into a frenzy early by Blank, who hammered the Golden Spike in the ceremony that Atlanta United performs just before the start of every home game. 

By kick-off, the stadium was packed. Those in the Supporters’ Section swayed back and forth while singing “We Ready” by Archie Eversole, who was on hand to lead the vocals.

The game started slowly.

As expected, Portland focused on defense, trying to absorb Atlanta United’s pressure in order to counterattack.

Atlanta United thought it had a case for a penalty kick in the 16th minute after Martinez appeared to be tripped by Larrys Mabiala, but referee Alan Kelly consulted with the Video Assistant Referee and denied the pleas.

Miguel Almiron put a charge into the crowd in the 29th minute when he attempted a flying side volley off a cross from Greg Garza. His shot, which wasn’t hit as well as he would have liked, was palmed away by Jeff Attinella.

>> On AJC.com: Euphoric fans: ‘We did it. We really did it.’

Atlanta United broke through in the 39th minute on a goal by Martinez. The play started with a sliding tackle by Michael Parkhurst of Jeremy Ebobisse that forced the ball back toward Portland’s goal. Parkhurst said that Brad Guzan told him that when Ebobisse moves toward the ball, he likes to go to his right to set play inside of his left foot. Parkhurst said he saw him starting to do that, so he slid to try to bock the pass.

“Josef did the rest from there and did what he always does and it ended up in the back of the net,” Parkhurst said.

Timbers centerback Liam Ridgewell reached out his right leg to try to stop the ball from rolling past but couldn’t. As he has done often the past two seasons, Martinez pounced. He dribbled to his right and waited on Atinella to commit before taking one more dribble to his right and scoring with his right foot. It was Martinez’s 35th goal this season, extending his MLS record for scoring.

As they have done throughout the playoffs, the Timbers fought back and almost tied the score in the 42nd minute, but Brad Guzan dove to his right to stop Ebobisse’s point-blank header in the 42nd minute.

Portland kept applying pressure, but it was Atlanta United which broke through for a crucial second goal.

A free kick whipped in by Almiron skimmed off the top of Martinez’s head and to the foot of Escobar, whose sliding one-timer gave the Five Stripes a 2-0 lead in the 54th minute. It was Escobar’s second goal in the playoffs and third this season. Almiron and Martinez were given assists. Martinez was named the game’s MVP.

“You started to sense that they tossed in the towel a little bit,” Guzan said. “The first goal is always going to be massive one way for another. To get the first one was big. To get the second one, the second one really broke their backs.”

>> Read more trending news 

The title was secured by a dominating series of performances in the playoffs, culminating with Atlanta United’s third shutout in five postseason games. The team finished the season by going 11-2-4 at home during the regular season and 3-0-0 in the postseason with just two goals allowed.

“We never suffered, we were never uncomfortable,” Martino said. 

Atlanta United’s players sensed that the Timbers weren’t going to be able to recreate the road magic that carried them in the knockout round game at Dallas, and the series against Seattle and at Sporting KC.

“I thought we were the better team,” Atlanta United’s Julian Gressel said. “We were in the game more than Portland was.”

Now, Atlanta United is a champion.

“If I had to choose a way to leave somewhere, this is the best way,” Martino said.

Ex-NFL player Brandon Browner gets 8 years in prison in attempted murder case

Former Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner was sentenced to eight years in state prison after pleading no contest to one count of attempted murder and two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a child in a negotiated plea agreement, KIRO-TV confirmed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday. 

>> On KIRO7.com: Former Seahawks' CB Brandon Browner sentenced to 8 years in state prison

The District Attorney's Office told KIRO that in addition to the sentence, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Bruce F. Marrs issued a 10-year protective stay-away order for the victim and her two children. 

>> Read more trending news 

Browner's arrest

Browner was arrested in July near Azusa, California, and charged with attempted murder, first-degree residential robbery and other counts, according to the La Verne Police Department. 

Police said they originally responded to reports of a male who broke into a residence through a locked window

The 33-year-old Browner was identified as the suspect, and police said he fled the scene before officers arrived. 

"The investigation determined Browner physically forced the victim back into her residence when she attempted to flee. He then physically harmed and made threats to kill the victim while in the residence," according to the La Verne Police Department. 

Police also said Browner took a Rolex watch, valued at approximately $20,000, from the victim before fleeing the residence. 

Browner was located within hours of the incident and taken into custody, authorities said.

Browner's background

Browner, a Los Angeles native, played college football at Oregon State. After going undrafted in 2005, Browner spent the 2005 NFL season on injured reserve with the Denver Broncos. 

From 2007-2011, Browner played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. 

In 2011, Browner returned to the NFL and signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Browner started 36 games for the Seahawks from 2011-2013. 

Browner left Seattle to join the New England Patriots, where he won Super Bowl XLIX over the Seattle Seahawks.

In 2015, Browner joined the New Orleans Saints where he started 16 games at cornerback. 

Browner signed a one-year deal to return to Seattle in April 2016, but he was released during training camp. 

49ers release Reuben Foster after linebacker arrested on domestic violence charge in Florida

Representatives for the San Francisco 49ers announced early Sunday that the team is releasing linebacker Reuben Foster after he was arrested Saturday night on a domestic violence charge in Florida.

Update 10:05 a.m. EST Nov. 25: The announcement came in a brief statement from the team on Twitter.

Police in Tampa said they arrested Foster after a reported domestic incident on Saturday night involving  a woman who he had been in an on-again-off-again relationship with for years. The woman told officers Foster slapped and pushed her during an argument at the Grand Hyatt hotel.

Original report: NFL player Reuben Foster, a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested on a domestic violence charge Saturday night in Florida, Tampa police said early Sunday.

Officers responded to a report of a domestic violence incident involving Foster, 24, and a woman about 9 p.m. Saturday at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Tampa, police said in a statement, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic.

"Reuben Foster and the female victim were involved in a verbal altercation," the statement said. "The victim stated that during the altercation, Foster slapped her phone out of her hand, pushed her in the chest area, and slapped her with an open hand on the right side of her face."

>> Read more trending news 

Tampa police said the woman had a 1-inch scratch on her collar bone.

The pair had "lived together in the past" and "were involved in an on-again, off-again relationship over the past three years," police said.

Foster is facing a charge of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence, police said.

>> Read the statement here

Read more here.

Red Sox nanny to celebrate World Series win with team

A Massachusetts resident and longtime Boston Red Sox nanny will join the team on the duck boats as they celebrate their World Series victory Wednesday.

>> Watch the news report here

Ruth Copponi, a former hospital nurse from Norwood, has been taking care of Sox players' children for 23 years and has become a special part of the families' lives. She and other caretakers watch the children during the games in the Family Room at Fenway Park.

>> On Boston25News.com: Cue the duck boats! Tradition lives on for Red Sox victory parade

"We start one half-hour before the game, and we remain there a half-hour after while the parents pick up the children," Copponi said. "I've enjoyed working there and all these championships that I've seen."

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Copponi has received many special gifts from the Red Sox, including a baseball bat with her name inscribed to honor her for 20 years of service. 

But the best part of her job is the children. Copponi has developed life-long friendships with many Red Sox families, including former Sox slugger David Ortiz, his wife and children, who send her Christmas cards.

>> On Boston25News.com: Everything you need to know before the Red Sox World Series parade

"Alex Ortiz and her brother were wonderful, wonderful, and David and Tiffany are wonderful parents," Copponi said.

Also rewarding is seeing Red Sox stars – famous athletes and role models - in their most important roles, as parents – regular people with not-so-regular jobs.

>> Read more trending news 

"All the baseball players are outstanding fathers," Copponi said. "They are so good to their children. They are so concerned. They come in after the games and pick them up and hug them. They are wonderful, wonderful parents."

>> On Boston25News.com: World Series champions: Red Sox beat Dodgers in Game 5 to clinch series

Copponi, who was named Ruth after Babe Ruth, has baseball in her blood. She was born into a family that loved playing and watching baseball, and she raised her own family to love the sport, too.

When she celebrates with the Red Sox in the parade Wednesday, her grandson will join her. It will be her fourth time riding on the duck boats.

"Red Sox won the first World Series [since Copponi's employment with the team] in 2004, and that was unbelievable," she said. "Now they have won four, and this was probably the most wonderful year, because the players were outstanding."

Red Sox get custom WWE championship belt from Triple H for World Series win

The Boston Red Sox played the game well for all of the 2018 season, so it's fitting that "The Game" Triple H would be ready to show some appreciation for the World Series champions.

>> On Boston25News.com: World Series champions: Red Sox beat Dodgers in Game 5 to clinch series

The WWE superstar, who has also been the company's executive vice president of talent, live events and creative since 2013, posted a custom WWE championship belt on Twitter, congratulating the Red Sox on their win. 

>> See the tweet here

>> PHOTOS: Red Sox top Dodgers in Game 5 to win 2018 World Series

"The duck boats are ready for the parade, but you'll need one more thing to celebrate like a champion," Triple H said in his tweet, showcasing the belt with its custom Red Sox sideplates. 

>> Read more trending news 

Triple H, whose real name is Paul Levesque, has New England ties of his own. He was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, and is a Connecticut native, living near WWE's headquarters in Stamford.

>> On Boston25News.com: The Sam Adams Damage Done beer will be very limited

"From the WWE Universe to Red Sox Nation, wear this @WWE Championship with pride! #DAMAGEDONE," he said.

WATCH: Lakers fan sinks half-court shot to win $30K, tries to high-five team

A Lakers fan sank an incredible half-court shot Monday night to win a $30,000 jackpot, then tried to celebrate with some of the players.

Spoiler alert: It didn't work out.

>> Read more trending news 

Video of the hilarious moment before the fourth quarter of the Lakers-Spurs game quickly went viral, with tens of thousands of views on Twitter.

>> Watch the clip here

Here's another view:

The fan, identified as 26-year-old Ali Sabbouri of Anaheim, California, seemed to take the denial in stride, flashing a huge grin as he accepted his check. 

>> See the Instagram photo here

Read more here.

WATCH: Controversial Red Sox-Astros fan interference call sparks debate

For the first time since 2013, the Boston Red Sox are one win away from a spot in the World Series after their Game 4 win against the Houston Astros in the ALCS.

>> On Boston25News.com: Red Sox one win away from World Series after Game 4 win in ALCS over Astros

But Wednesday's 8-6 win, which put the Red Sox ahead 3-1 in the series, didn't come without controversy.

A ball launched from the Astros' Jose Altuve to right field looked like it was about to put the Red Sox in a tough spot, but Altuve was called out on a contentious fan interference ruling involving Boston outfielder Mookie Betts, changing the entire game.

>> Watch the moment here

The call sparked debate on Twitter among fans, sports journalists and celebrities, including Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and supermodel Kate Upton, who is married to Astros pitcher Justin Verlander.

>> Read more trending news 

The Astros fan said to have interfered with the play, Troy Caldwell, told the Houston Chronicle that he "didn't do anything wrong."

Read more here and here.

Ex-West Virginia football star cut by Falcons faces child sex charge

A former college football standout who briefly signed with the Atlanta Falcons was arrested Saturday by police in Columbus, Georgia, for allegedly having sex with a 12-year-old girl, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

Justin Crawford, 23, who played running back at Georgia's Hardaway High School and West Virginia University, faces charges of incest, sodomy and enticing a child for indecent purposes, according to Muscogee County Jail records.

At a preliminary hearing on Monday, Columbus Detective Mark Scruggs said Crawford’s wife, Chakeya, woke up Saturday around 5 a.m. and walked into her living room to find her husband with an erection as he stood over the child, the newspaper reported.

However, she told the Ledger-Enquirer she objected to Scruggs’ account, saying her husband’s penis was exposed but not erect. She said she confronted her husband about it, that he denied any wrongdoing and she decided to go back to bed.

>> Read more news stories 

She took the 12-year-old to the child’s mother later, and that’s when the girl said she had been asleep in the living room when Crawford came in and had her perform oral sex on him before they had intercourse, Scruggs said.

The newspaper reported that Scruggs said Crawford initially denied any sexual contact with the girl to police, but he later admitted to having oral sex and intercourse with her but claimed it was her idea.

Crawford remains in the Muscogee County Jail without bond, according to jail records.

As a senior in high school, Crawford rushed for 825 yards and seven touchdowns, the Ledger-Enquirer reported.

He spent two years at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he rushed for over 3,000 yards and six touchdowns, putting him in the national spotlight. He then transferred to West Virginia, where he rushed for 2,237 yards and 11 touchdowns over two seasons.

Crawford signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent on May 1, but he was among 36 players released in September during the preseason.

He was on the roster for the Atlanta Legends in the new Alliance of American Football league but was suspended by the team after being arrested, according to The Associated Press.

Antonio Brown reported $80K stolen day before he allegedly threw furniture, police say

Someone stole $80,000 and a handgun from Antonio Brown’s Florida apartment, a discovery the Steelers wide receiver made a day before he allegedly threw furniture from the 14th-floor balcony and nearly hit a toddler, a police report said.

>> On WPXI.com: Lawsuits claim Antonio Brown threw furniture from balcony, nearly hitting toddler

A Sunny Isles Beach Police Department report on the theft, which was obtained by WPXI in Pittsburgh, said Brown called police on April 23 to report that the money, which had been in a backpack in his closet, was missing, as was a 9 mm pistol.

>> On WPXI.com: PHOTOS: Take a look inside Antonio Brown's $35,000-a-month apartment

Brown had just returned from an 11-day trip out of town when he found the money and gun missing, according to the report. He had been living in the apartment alone since separating from his girlfriend two weeks earlier, he told police.

The money was put in the bag on April 11, he said, a day before he went out of town. When he returned, he found the apartment had been cleaned and laundry had been washed and put away in the closet, the report said.

Security footage showed three women entering and leaving the apartment on April 13, the report said.

The women were housekeepers who were allowed in by security officers after they called Brown, and someone other than Brown answered his phone and gave the women permission to enter the apartment.

The next day, April 24, police said they responded to a call from Brown, who was "agitated" and saying he believed security officials at the complex "set him up." He allegedly threw furniture over the balcony in anger, which prompted a lawsuit from a family saying he nearly hit a young child in the process, the lawsuit said.

>> Read more trending news 

The owner of the building also has filed suit against Brown to recoup the cost of the damages to the apartment and furniture.

The day after that, April 25, police responded to another call from Brown to say his black Rolls Royce had been stolen. When police arrived at his apartment to take the report, Brown opened the door, said, "I found the car," and closed the door, according to a police report obtained by WPXI.

Further attempts to speak to Brown were not successful, police said.

The Steelers have declined to comment on the lawsuits against Brown.

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