Soccer

Alex Morgan scores in 2-0 U.S. victory over Colombia

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Alex Morgan scores in 2-0 U.S. victory over Colombia

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- Alex Morgan scored her first goal of the Women's World Cup and the United States advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Colombia on Monday night.

Abby Wambach's penalty kick early in the second half went wide after Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez -- a backup herself -- was ejected for a foul on Morgan. Stefany Castano, who replaced Perez in goal, got a hand on Morgan's shot five minutes later, but couldn't stop the goal to put the United States up 1-0.

Carli Lloyd also scored for the second-ranked Americans, who will face No. 16 China on Friday in Ottawa. The United States is seeking its third World Cup title, but first since 1999.

The Americans have not allowed a goal in 333 minutes.

Colombia has never won soccer's premier tournament, but the No. 28 Las Cafeteras pulled off one of the biggest upsets in any World Cup in the group stage when they defeated third-ranked France 2-0.

Morgan and Wambach started up top for the United States, which used the same starting lineup as it did in the group-stage finale against Nigeria -- a first since Jill Ellis became coach.

It was Morgan's second straight start after working her way back from a bone bruise in her left knee. Morgan came in as a sub in the first two matches of the tournament.

Perez, a 20-year-old junior at Miami, started because regular goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda was serving a suspension for yellow-card accumulation. Sepulveda had six saves in Colombia's win over France. Castano had started in Colombia's World Cup opener, a 1-1 draw with Mexico.

The teams played to a goalless first half, with the United States unable to finish several good chances.

Wambach was ruled offside for her attempt at a rebound goal in the fourth minute. Morgan later had a chance, but her shot bounced in front of Perez, who tipped it up and over the crossbar. Perez made three saves in the first half.

The United States was hurt in the 17th minute when Lauren Holiday got a yellow card, her second of the World Cup. She'll have to sit out the quarterfinal, and it happened again in the 41st minute when Megan Rapinoe got her second yellow.

Perez was sent off at the start of the second half after sliding into Morgan, who was charging toward goal. After Castano took over, Wambach fooled her on the right side but the penalty kick sailed well left of the post.

After Morgan's goal in the 53rd minute, Lloyd scored on a penalty kick in the 66th, Lloyd's first goal of the tournament.

The U.S. had won each of the previous two meetings. When they met nearly three years ago in the London Olympics, Colombia striker Lady Andrade sucker-punched U.S. star Abby Wambach in the eye, drawing a two-match suspension.

In the days before the match in Edmonton, some of Colombia's players said they felt they'd been disrespected by the Americans ever since.

"Because of something that happened three years ago, they've said things that have not been taken by us in the best way," midfielder Yoreli Rincon said. Andrade told reporters she thought the Americans had "belittled" the Colombians.

Colombia, the third-place finisher in Group F behind France and England, was making its second World Cup appearance; it finished in 14th in 2011 in Germany. Colombia had never won a match in the sport's premier tournament until the upset of France.

The second-ranked Americans finished on top of the so-called Group of Death, with victories over Australia and Nigeria and a 0-0 tie with Sweden.

China, the Americans' next opponent, has played in six World Cups, but missed out four years ago. The Steel Roses have never won a title, but they made the final in 1999, losing memorably to the United States on penalty kicks at the Rose Bowl.

MORE SOCCER: Upon further review: Rolfe to the rescue

11.8.19 Rick Horrow interviews Canadian Premier League Commissioner David Clanachan

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USA TODAY Sports

11.8.19 Rick Horrow interviews Canadian Premier League Commissioner David Clanachan

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick interviews Canadian Premier League Commissioner David Clanachan and takes you through the biggest sports business stories of the week.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

1. Kansas City, here we come. Our “Power of Sports” program heads to Kansas City this month, highlighting community outreach programs, culturally significant sites, and people who have made a difference through sports. This month, host Rick Horrow visits the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to speak with President Bob Kendrick about the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Negro Leagues coming up next year and the museum’s role in the celebration and in the community. He also checks in on two of the Kansas City Royals’ youth outreach programs: Royalty Fields grants and a recurring Special Olympics clinic, and hears from James McGinnis, a high school football player from the KC Metro, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and used the Chiefs’ success last season to motivate his recovery. Our Game Changer segment features an interview with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue filmed in early October at a Sport Business Handbook contributor symposium hosted by EVERFI at their Washington, DC headquarters.

 

2. The Orlando Magic have "filed an updated master plan” for their downtown Orlando Sports + Entertainment District that is “expected to more than double” the original $200 million project budget. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the mixed-use district will be built “starting next year on 8.4 acres across from Amway Center.” Magic Chief Communications Officer Joel Glass said the project will now cost “well over” $500 million. The district will “contain nearly 110,000 square feet of retail space, a conference center hotel with 80,000 square feet of event space, offices, apartments and a 2,500-space parking garage.” The updated plan maintains the original concept from 2018 but “increases the number of hotel rooms by 50 and more than doubles the amount of office space from the original 200,000 square feet to 420,000 square feet.” District Director Pat Gallagher said that the office tower “would now rise to 18 stories, which includes the ground-floor retail, multilevel parking structure and commercial office space.” The Sentinel notes the Magic’s new headquarters “would occupy 40,000 square feet in the office tower,” or close to 10%.

 

3. Unsung World Series winner this year:  Palm Beach County, FL.  The most publicized “first” this year involves the visiting team winning every World Series game.  However, maybe one of the most important economic “firsts” is the first time the World Series finalists shared a Spring Training facility:  the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  The 7,700-seat stadium also features six practice fields each for the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.  The 160-acre site also includes a 1.8-mile public walk trail and other facilities.  The Palm Beach County Sports Commission touts the facility as a major economic generator for the county, as it also hosts over 1,400 youth and tournament baseball games each year.  Look for a series of major announcements by the county and sports commission over the next two months.

Washington Spirit vs NC Courage: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

Washington Spirit vs NC Courage: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

With playoffs on the line, the Washington Spirit hosts the NC Courage in a must-win regular-season home finale Saturday night.

NC Courage sits high atop their first-place throne with an icy six-win streak, 14-4--4 record overall leading the NWSL with 46 points, 31 goal differential, 50 goals for and 19 goals against. The struggling Spirit, with one win, one loss and three draws in their past five matches, need to find a way to crack the Courage and tack on another win to keep postseason hopes alive.

Mallory Pugh has made strong moves for the Spirit since returning from injury and will be a key player to breakthrough the Courage defense with nine clean sheets (just one more than Washington) and averaging 0.9 goals allowed per game.

The Spirit cannot afford to lose this game if they want to snag a playoff spot, and that chase continues in Maryland.

SPIRIT-COURAGE GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Spirit vs. NC Courage

Where: Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, MD

When: Saturday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington 

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