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.

19The Spurs’ ageless Tim Duncan will return for his 19th NBA season.

▪ 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 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.