What a stirring win by the U.S. Women Tuesday night against top-ranked Germany in their Women's World Cup semifinal. The U.S. will play for the championship on Sunday in Vancouver, against either Japan or England, who are playing in the other semifinal as we go to press Wednesday.
The U.S. defense has been stifling: five shutouts in a row, and they haven't allowed a goal since early in their first game. In addition, though, something seems to have clicked on the offensive side, just in the past two games – a dominating quarterfinal win over China, and then the 2-0 win over Germany. I hate to think it's benching Abby Wambach that's made the difference, but the team suddenly seems much more mobile and creative.
Megan Rapinoe won her individual battle on the flank against German right back Leonie Maier, who was my pick for player of the tournament coming into this game. Alex Morgan created chance after chance; her scoring touch is still missing or she could have had a hat trick. Julie Johnston had one bad moment that could have earned her a red card, but aside from that moment of folly, was again the best center back in the game. Meghan Klingenberg created both goals from her left back position. Carli Lloyd had a goal and an assist... There were stars all over the field (including Wambach, who had a hand in the second goal after coming on as a late sub). One more game to go.
Third Place (Germany vs. Japan/England loser): Sat., July 4, 3pm, Fox Sports 1, NBC Universo
Championship Final (USA vs. Japan/England winner): Sun., July 5, 6pm, Fox Sports 1, Telemundo
It'll be Argentina against host Chile in the Copa America final, Sat., July 4, at 3pm on BeIN Sports. Argentina trounced Paraguay in the semifinals to get there, with Lionel Messi setting up five goals, by five different players.
The Austin Aztex are on the road the next two weeks – at Colorado Springs this Fri., July 3, 8pm, then at Salt Lake City Sat., July 11 – needing some results to stay in the playoff chase as they head into the second half of the season. Last Saturday's scoreless draw against division leading Sacramento was another strong performance, but left the Aztex with just five points in their last seven games. Now they face a Colorado Springs team they beat twice earlier in the year, but who are now riding a five-game win streak.
Four top-level Mexican Liga MX teams are coming to town: This Thursday is a 2015 SocioMX Cup semifinal match at UT's Mike Myers Stadium, between Monterrey and Morelia. Kickoff is at 7:30pm July 2; tickets are $20-75 at www.texasboxoffice.com. More info at www.socio.mx. And the "Clash of Champions" between Pachuca and Chivas of Guadalajara, is set for 7:30pm Tue., July 14 at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. Tickets ($33-$55) at www.roundrockexpress.com.