THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
SOCCER: FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP:
U.S. vs. AUSTRALIA
Details/TV: At Winnipeg Stadium, Monday at 4:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1:
After the U.S. team’s final pre-tournament tune up – a scoreless draw against South Korea – the New York Daily News’s Frank Isola tweeted: “A lack of creativity & scoring punch is the least of U.S. women’s problems. That World Cup uniform ….White & black with lime socks? Wow.” It is fashionable to make a snappy first impression on the global stage, right? Before this sends up a red, white and blue flag, apparel maker Nike has come up with a response. “Not every team pays homage to the flag,” said Charlie Brooks, Nike’s VP of communications. “Take Germany’s kit for example, world champions. The German flag is yellow, red and black. The kit is white with black trim on it. I understand people asking about the colors, but there’s also that level of not all national teams have to represent the flag.” Give Nike style points for that retort. Women’s soccer fashion has always been an issue in the FIFA world, as there still hangs in some iCloud that comment made by now-former FIFA president Sepp Blatter — “They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men — such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?” He isn’t blushing about that comment now, is he? So now that this global event has launched, in time-friendly Canada, here goes Team America whether or not they’re worthy of a Vanity Fair team photo on the cover. Of the 23 players head coach Jill Ellis has on her roster, 15 have played in previous World Cups. All but one of those 15 were on the U.S. team that lost to Japan on penalty kicks in the final of the 2011 tournament.
“We fell short, and there was some unfinished business,” midfielder Carli Lloyd has said. Captain and defender Christie Rampone, 39, (right) is the only remaining player from the 1999 title-winning team made famous by Brandi Chastain tore off her jersey after the game-winning penalty kick to expose a Nike sports bra that’s still a best seller. Shannon Boxx, the South Torrance High grad who won gold medals with the United States in the last three Olympics, is back on this team. So is Abby Wambach, women’s soccer’s all-time leading goal scorer. And Alex Morgan. And the irrepressible Hope Solo. All dressed up, with somewhere to go. Keep your shirts on, this thing goes all the way until the day after July 4, when all those red, white and blue shirts will be in the laundry hamper.
Also: The American’s Group D first-round games continue Friday at Winnipeg against Sweden (5 p.m., Channel 11)
ALSO THIS WEEK:
The NBA Finals move to Cleveland for Game 3 (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Channel 7) and Game 4 (Thursday, 6 p.m., Channel 7) with the series tied at a game apiece, thus it needs to circle back to Oakland for Game 5 (Sunday, 5 p.m., Channel 7) … The NHL Stanley Cup Final shifts to Chicago for Game 3 (Monday, 5 p.m., NBCSN) and Game 4 (Wednesday, 5 p.m., NBCSN) as that series is tied 1-1, meaning there will be a Game 5 going back to Tampa Bay (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 4) … UCLA pitcher James Kaprelian and Long Beach Wilson catcher Chris Betts are potential first-round picks when the MLB holds its annual summer draft (Monday, 4 p.m., MLB Network) … The Dodgers find themselves at home against Arizona (Monday-Wednesday) before going to San Diego (Friday-Sunday) … The Angels finish a road trip in Tampa Bay (Tuesday-Thursday) before coming home to face Oakland (Friday-Sunday) … More at this link.