Ron Agostini

Ron Agostini: Soccer crowd migrating north for Women’s World Cup final

Reading time, two minutes:

▪ Twenty-four hours before the World Cup final, and can you feel the entire West Coast soccer crowd migrating to Vancouver, B.C.?

▪ Team USA’s only fear: That it reached its peak one game too soon.

▪ The 1999 team is an unfair barometer for the current team. Back then, it all went right: At home, the perfect mix of marketing and performance, young women everyone could admire.

▪ This year: An uneven buildup, on-the-field issues, Hope Solo, etc.

▪ But also true: The 2015 team may be more athletic and, without question, deeper.

▪ The Americans remember how they lost to Japan four years ago, but revenge seems so narrow. There are better motivators than just getting even.

▪ Germany and the USA shared the same hotel before the semifinals. Makes no sense until you consider the source: FIFA.

▪ FIFA published a story on Alex Morgan that described her physical appearance. Funny, but I haven’t yet read that rating-their-looks piece on Messi or Ronaldo.

▪ A connected idea: Sepp Blatter, the scandal-scarred FIFA president, suggested in 2004 that women should wear tighter shorts.

▪ Soccer, like all sports, can break your heart – England’s Cinderella story ends with an own goal.

▪ Fate: Former Santa Clara star Julie Johnston dodged her World Cup mistake. Laura Bassett didn’t.

▪ To Bassett: The Brits woke up to women’s soccer, thanks to you and your teammates. Remember that.

▪ Devin Aye, the son of former Columbia basketball coach Denny Aye, turned around Lassen’s basketball program. He’ll inherit a strong program built by James Giacomazzi at Cosumnes River.

▪ Not getting enough attention: The incredible performance by Tom Watson, 65, at the U.S. Senior Open last weekend in Sacramento (led for two rounds, tied for seventh).

▪ As time ticks forward: Rafael Nadal again loses early at Wimbledon, Roger Federer approaches his 34th birthday and Serena Williams keeps winning.

▪ The Dodgers spent $20 million, more than any other MLB team, during the new international signing period’s first day. I’m doubled-over in shock.

▪ It took the Kings years to dig this hole. It might take as long to shovel themselves out.

▪ Rajon Rondo would have been a great pickup for the Kings...in 2012.

▪ Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh refused to engage with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd this week, while every media person in the Bay Area empathized.

▪ At some point, it became OK for the powerful in sports to – when it suited their agenda – diss the world. And the world became a worse place.

▪ A sign of the times: Steph Curry’s jersey has passed LeBron James’ as the most popular in the NBA.

▪ The next three, in order: Derrick Rose of the Bulls, Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers and the Warriors’ Klay Thompson.

▪ Conclusion: The Splash Brothers go cha-ching!

▪ Comcast has found a fascinating talent in former Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery. Super mix of insider information and strategy.

▪ The Giants insist that they have seven starters. For the moment, I count two: Madison Bumgarner and Chris Heston.

▪ A growing reality: Oakland will keep the Raiders or the Athletics. Not both.

▪ The Spurs’ Tim Duncan will return for his 19th season and chase a sixth NBA title. The Big Fundamental still can play.

▪ The best World Cup trend for the Americans: They haven’t allowed a goal in 513 minutes.

▪ Another thing: England outshot Japan 15-7. It’s doable.

▪ Bottom line: Veterans like Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Shannon Boxx, Heather O’Reilly and Abby Wambach deserve a World Cup title on their résumé.

▪ Add one more: Christy Rampone, the only remaining player from 1999. What a bookend it would be.

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