Women's World Cup notes: U.S. could get individual honors too

The big prize the U.S. will be looking to claim Sunday is the four-pound Women's World Cup trophy, something the Americans haven't held since 1999.

But that won't be the only piece of hardware the Americans could win. Defender Julie Johnston and midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd are all on the eight-woman short list for the Golden Ball award, presented to the tournament's best player. And Hope Solo is one of three finalists for the Golden Glove, which goes to the World Cup's top goalkeeper.

Johnston, a central defender who didn't join the starting lineup until March, has done such a good job shutting down opposing attackers the U.S. has given up only 13 shots on goal in the tournament — only one of which has gotten by Solo.

Rapinoe has scored twice and served as the Americans' most creative playmaker, while Lloyd, the U.S. captain, has a team-best three goals — including the game-winner in the quarterfinal victory over China and the semifinal upset of top-ranked Germany.

Solo hasn't given up a score in five games and 513 minutes and can match German Nadine Angerer's World Cup record for shutouts with another clean sheet in the final.

Solo won the Golden Glove four years ago.

Hot ticket

The U.S. sold out three of its six World Cup games and came close to selling out two others. Sunday's final with Japan is already a sellout, but tickets can still be had providing you're willing to spend big.

According to SeatGeek, which bills itself as the Internet's largest event-ticket search engine, the median listing price for a ticket on the secondary market has nearly doubled, to $597, since the U.S. qualified for the final by beating Germany on Tuesday. And the average price of a finals ticket sold since Tuesday has risen to $508, making the game the most expensive soccer event in North American in at least five years.

The highest-priced seats, in the lower level along the sideline, are going for an average of $712 while the cheapest, in the upper level behind the goal, are selling for $244. Nearly 90% of the web traffic for tickets to the final is coming from the U.S. — 18% of that from California.

Fox TV ratings

The U.S. team's semifinal win over Germany drew the third-largest American TV audience for a women's soccer game at 8.4 million.

Only the 1999 Women's World Cup final between the U.S. and China (17.9 million), on ABC, and the 2011 final between the U.S. and Japan (13.4 million), on ESPN, attracted more viewers. The U.S.-Germany game was also the most-watched World Cup semifinal — men or women — in U.S. broadcast history, beating the 5.9 million that tuned in for the 2006 men's game between Germany and Italy.

Tuesday's audience, which peaked at 12.1 million late in the second half, made the broadcast the most-watched program on Fox since the April 1 "American Idol" while the 3.0 rating for adults 18-49 was the network's highest since the season finale of "Empire" in mid-March.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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