Women’s World Cup Video update: USWNT star Abby Wambach tells NBC News that playing on artificial turf in Canada is a “nightmare”

The pretournament fears of USWNT stars have come true, according to an NBC News report:

“All the tournament’s fields — six surfaces in six cities — are made of turf. Wambach and players from Germany, Brazil and Spain filed a lawsuit in Canada last year that demanded FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association install natural grass in the arenas, but the players said they dropped the suit earlier this year because they had filed it too late and FIFA wouldn’t budge.

“Professional sports like baseball and football are played on forms of turf, and it has also been installed in thousands of playgrounds. In a series of on-air and on-line reports, NBC News investigated the safety of artificial “crumb rubber” turf, and whether the playing surface, which is made of recycled tires, has been adequately tested. A soccer coach in Seattle has been collecting anecdotal information about goalies and other players who played on the surface and now have various forms of cancer, but no research has linked turf to cancer or any other disease.

Turf fields are also much hotter than natural grass fields. The surface at this Saturday’s cup opener in Edmonton, in which Canada beat China 1-0, reportedly reached 120 degrees an hour before kickoff. At Sunday’s games in Ottawa, the field temperature reached 130 degrees.

Wambach calls turf a “gender issue through and through,” and embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who announced his resignation last week, has made controversial comments about female players in the past. He once suggested female soccer players wear “tighter shorts.”

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Video highlights: Christen Press of Palos Verdes Estates scores winner for U.S. in World Cup opener against Australia

WCPressWorld Cup winner: Christen Press and Australia’s Caitlin Foord battle for the ball Monday during a FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer match in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Photo by John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP).

Game story.

From the U.S. Soccer press release:

In the other Group D match earlier in the day, Nigeria and Sweden played to an exciting 3-3 draw that saw Nigeria erase an 2-0 deficit in the second half and then equalize late in the game after the Swedes had made it 3-2. Following today’s matches, the USA sits in first place of Group D with three points, followed by Nigeria and Sweden with one apiece, and then Australia with zero.

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USA plays Australia in Women’s World Cup opener live at 4:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1

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Reporter Elliott Almond of sister newspaper The San Jose Mercury News profiles forward Alex Morgan ahead of today’s USWNT World Cup opener against Australia. But will she be fit enough to play?

Meanwhile, the Hope Solo train wreck continues.

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MLS Monday Video Rewind: Punchless LA Galaxy surrender home undefeated streak to Vancouver Whitecaps

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The Galaxy fail to hit a single shot on target and can’t score; Vancouver took one shot that hit the frame, scored and won the game. Pretty simple game, huh? Still, let’s point out in fairness that once again LA were forced to put out a different starting XI as injuries and international absences have forced the club to do every MLS game this season.

Still, it took stamina to watch soccer of this quality after the enthralling UEFA Champions League final earlier in the day.

Game story.

Check out why Omar Gonzalez never did make a big-money move to a top European club in the clip below:

Quotable:

“We should have shot a few more times,” said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena.

“We’re doing the best we can,” he added. “It’s been a little bit of a patchwork job (up front) in the first half of the season,” he added. “That’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes. No excuses, but we’re a little bit short handed in a lot of the spots on the field and it shows with some of our quality.”

Notable:

The Galaxy are clinging onto the final Western Conference playoff spot by the slimmest of margins (good thing MLS expanded the post-season field!).

Tweet Time:

Next for the 5-5-6 Galaxy: At 4-6-4 Columbus 4:30 p.m. Saturday

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FIFA Women’s World Cup Video Profile: Veteran midfielder Shannon Boxx of Torrance has one more shot at winner’s medal as retirement beckons

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This reporter/blogger has followed the international career of Shannon Boxx from the beginning, so it was fitting to write what may be the final story on the eve of the U.S. Women’s National Team opener in Winnipeg against Australia.

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Complete FIFA Women’s World Cup Fox Sports Game Schedule

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From the Fox Sports press release:

Combining games with anticipated pregame, postgame, bridge shows and complementary programming, FOX Sports is expected to provide almost 200 hours of coverage from FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ averaging between six and seven hours a day over the month-long tournament.

No broadcast network has ever televised 16 FIFA Women’s or Men’s World Cup matches in a single tournament, and the 2015 event marks the first time since 2003 that any FIFA Women’s World Cup™ matches are scheduled for over-the-air broadcast in the U.S. In addition to the 16 matches committed to FOX, five of which are in primetime and include one semifinal, the third place match on July 4 and the final on July 5, FOX Sports 1 carries 29 matches, including all eight in the round of 16, two quarterfinals and one semifinal. The remaining seven games are slated for FOX Sports 2.

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Video: LA Galaxy star Gyasi Zardes of Hawthorne scores first international goal as U.S. comes from two goals down in stoppage time to beat the Netherlands 4-3

USA’s Gyasi Zardes, right, scores the 1-1 goal past Netherlands’ Daryl Janmaat during an international soccer match between Netherlands and the US at ArenA stadium in Amsterdam, Friday, June 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)

USA’s Gyasi Zardes, right, scores the 1-1 goal past Netherlands’ Daryl Janmaat during an international soccer match between Netherlands and the US at ArenA stadium in Amsterdam, Friday, June 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)

The real excitement came at the end of the game as the U.S. came from behind with two goals in as many minutes to overhaul a classy opponent, but Gyasi Zardes will be well pleased with scoring the (first) equalizer with about 30 minutes gone.

Zardes’ first U.S. goal came in his seventh international appearance.

Twitter Reaction:

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Five cool places to watch the UEFA Champions League Cup Final Saturday between Barcelona and Juventus in Los Angeles

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*Alpine Village near Torrance:

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*Guinness will host a watch part at Hennessey’s Tavern in Hermosa Beach on Pier Plaza. There will be International Champions Cup ticket giveaways, swag and specials on select Guinness drinks.

*Cock ‘n” bull Pub, Santa Monica.

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Weekly Soccer Column: Meaningless LA Galaxy-Barcelona showcase overshadows MLS games

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At the same time the Galaxy were drawing a meager 13,391 and 20,195 for their last two home MLS games against Real Salt Lake and the Houston Dynamo respectively, they were selling out the vast Rose Bowl for an exhibition game against Barcelona.

Coincidence?

I think not. Read more in this week’s soccer column.

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