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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Carlos Balderas qualified for the Olympics nearly nine months ago, and he has been waiting anxiously for his next fight ever since.The American lightweight only has to wait a few more hours after the opening ceremonies in Rio. Balderas fights in the opening session of the grueling, 16-day Olympic boxing tournament on Saturday morning.Its everything Ive been thinking about since November, Balderas said. The only thing thats been in my mind is bringing back a medal.His friend and roommate, light flyweight Nico Hernandez, also fights on a big first day for the eight-person U.S. team. After the American men failed to win any Olympic medals for the first time in London, the new U.S. fighters believe their teamwork can help them exceed relatively low outside expectations in Brazil.Were definitely close, because were all young, Hernandez said. Im the oldest one on the team, and Im 20. Weve all been on the same team since juniors, so weve been traveling together for a couple of years now. Were really close, like family. I think that helps us a lot. We all support each other.Balderas and Hernandez are key parts of the tight-knit core on a U.S. team that has bonded through years of shared competition. All six American men were born less than two years apart.The vibe is really, really cool, Balderas said. Because me, Nico, Tony (Vargas), Shakur (Stevenson), weve pretty much been together since the youth team. We were always around each other. Its not like somebody came out of nowhere and just took a spot. Everybody was always very cool with each other.The U.S. men could use all the good vibes they can get.They havent won a gold medal since Andre Ward triumphed in Athens in 2004. They claimed just one bronze medal in Beijing -- and none at all in London, an embarrassment for the most successful boxing nation in Olympic history.USA Boxing hired veteran Irish coach Billy Walsh last year, but his plans are necessarily focused on Tokyo in 2020. He hopes the current teams talent will be enough to counteract their opponents years of centralized training.Its a massive challenge, Walsh said. There definitely is a skill level that we need to change. Its a Tokyo project.Balderas and Hernandez could have turned pro before Rio, but instead participated in the professional ventures of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to improve their chances of landing a spot in Brazil. Balderas qualified early for the Olympics through his victories in AIBAs World Series of Boxing.They both realize the importance of starting a pro career with an Olympic pedigree. They also wanted extra experience with the particularities of Olympic-style boxing, which can be difficult for American-trained prospects.Neither fighter hails from a particular boxing hotbed, either: Hernandez is from Wichita, Kansas, while Balderas came up from Santa Maria, California.Its definitely not a big sport in Wichita, Hernandez said. It means a lot to me to get here, because not a lot of people that came from there have really made anything of themselves. I want to be the one to inspire other people. I like to say that Im one of the ones that made it from there, because theres not a lot of recognition like there is in California or something.Balderas is a first-generation Mexican-American whose grandfather moved his family north to work the fertile fields of central California.I know regardless of what happens at the Olympics, my family is always going to be behind me, Balderas said. I do feel some pressure, because I feel like I cant let them down, you know? I know that everybody has made sacrifices for me, so I feel like its only right for me to do the same for them.Balderas and Hernandez both train with their fathers and other relatives. Hernandezs parents are leaving the U.S. for the first time to watch their son, while Balderas traveling party is slightly larger -- including uncles, aunts and cousins who were able to book the trip several months in advance because of his early qualification.It kind of makes me feel nervous in a way, but also it makes me just feel happy, Balderas said. I want to prove to them that I can do something big, because we went from the strawberry fields to the Olympic Games. Ish Smith Jersey . "Jeff is a hard worker who was an important special-teams contributor for us last season," said Stamps GM John Hufnagel. 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Teams thirsting for goals and wins could get their star midfielders back from injury when Orlando City SC plays a road game against the Columbus Crew SC on Saturday.Kaka returns for Orlando City (4-5-10) after missing three games with a calf injury. The Lions had a tie and two losses and scored twice in his absence. The Brazilian World Cup player has missed 10 games this season but has three goals and five assists in nine starts.As much as he is a catalyst for Orlando, Federico Higuain orchestrates the Crew (3-7-9) attack with three goals and three assists in 13 matches.The Crew is 0-3-4 in the past seven games, with all but the first coming since Higuain underwent sports hernia surgery on June 15. Columbus scored six times without him.Im not ruling him out, Crew coach Gregg Berhalter said. Hes at a good stage right now. If hes in thee 18 (game-day roster) that means he could potentially start.dddddddddddd We have to evaluate that.Columbus, with one win in 12 games (1-4-7), will have defender Harrison Afful available after his red card vs. D.C. United last week was rescinded.Orlando is struggling as well with two wins in the past 15 matches. The skid cost longtime coach Adrian Heath his job, and Jason Kreis was named coach on Tuesday. Assistant coaches Bobby Murphy and Anthony Pulis will guide the team Saturday before Kreis takes over next week.There are pieces here that are incredibly exciting to build around, Kreis said Wednesday during a press conference. There are some leaders in this group that should be the backbone of this club. Cheap Authentic Jerseys China Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Authentic Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys 2020 Wholesale Jerseys From China Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale Jerseys China ' ' '