The Sports Report: U.S. gets lucky against Spain

United States’ Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring her side’s first goal from the penalty spot du
Megan Rapinoe
(Thibault Camus / Associated Press)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and I’m back from vacation (stop booing). I would like to thank John Cherwa for filling in for me for the last couple of weeks. We like to allow former Times employees to come out of the retirement center and work for a handful of days a year. Helps keep their mind sharp, but you have to listen to all the old “In my day” stories. But, John’s new teeth are ready, so he’s happy.

Women’s World Cup

Many have picked the U.S. to win the women’s World Cup. They almost didn’t escape the round of 16.

The U.S. never trailed Spain in a 2-1 victory, but for 74 minutes the game was even until Megan Rapinoe scored on a penalty kick to put the U.S. in front for good. Their first goal came on a Rapinoe penalty kick too.


“This game was really important for us,” said Alex Morgan, who was pounded by a physical Spanish defense. “A lot of teams have had that struggle match in group play. We didn’t. So coming in and being challenged and being even throughout most of the match, it was really important for us to get this game behind us moving forward to France.”

Coach Jill Ellis said, “Most of our veteran players have been in the pressure cooker in huge moments. Tonight there was a lot of grit, a lot of resolve. That mental piece, you can have all the tactics in the world but that essence of self-belief, that’s critical. And these players have that.”

There was some controversy surrounding the final penalty kick, but what’s soccer without a little controversy?

When Rose Lavelle fell to the ground after being brushed by Spain’s Virginia Torrecilla in the 71st minute, Hungarian referee Katalin Kulcsar blew her whistle and pointed to the spot.


The video assistant referee then called down to Kulscar and advised her to have another look at Torrecilla’s challenge. And after reviewing the play at least a dozen times from multiple angles during a four-minute delay, Kulscar confirmed her call and Rapinoe scored.

Asked what happened, Lavelle replied sheepishly.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I got a little kick in the shin and she called it. I was a little surprised [it was called] because it was definitely a physical match but at the same time, a foul’s a foul.

“I did get kicked. I didn’t flop.”

The Spaniards saw things differently, saying the penalty was a soft call.

“I actually think we deserved more,” said midfielder Vicky Losada, who left the field with a blackened right eye, the result of an elbow from a U.S. player that wasn’t ruled a foul. “But you know, sometimes football is like that.”

Up next for the U.S.: France. The host country. So, no pressure there.

Meanwhile, Times columnist Helene Elliott takes a closer look at Rapinoe. Click here to read.


Round of 16 games (PDT)

Saturday’s results

Germany 3, Nigeria 0

Norway 1, Australia 1 (Norway wins on penalty kicks)

Sunday’s results

England 3, Cameroon 0

France 2, Brazil 1

Monday’s results


United States 2, Spain 1

Sweden 1, Canada 0

Today’s schedule

Italy vs. China, 9 a.m., FS1

Netherlands vs. Japan, noon, FS1

Quarterfinal schedule (PDT)


Norway vs. England, noon, Fox


France vs. United States, noon, Fox


Italy/China winner vs. Netherlands/Japan winner, 6 a.m., FS1

Germany vs. Sweden, 9:30 a.m., FS1

The rest of the schedule (PDT)

Semifinal game, July 2, noon, Fox

Semifinal game, July 3, noon, FS1

Third-place game, July 6, 8 a.m., Fox

Final, July 7, 8 a.m., Fox


You know how most Lakers fans are as confident in Rob Pelinka as they are in Barney Fife performing brain surgery (yes, that’s a reference to an almost 60-year-old TV show)? Well, one prominent Lakers fan has “100% confidence” in Pelinka. Her name is Jeanie Buss.

“I’ve always had confidence in Rob, whatever the speculation is out there,” Buss said. “We don’t need outside media to validate the things that we do. I’m very happy and I think we’re on the right path…. I have 100% confidence in him in running his basketball operations. He’s brought us a great new head coach in Frank Vogel, whose teams have had a lot of success in the playoffs and who have played consistently ranking high in defense, which means not only does he emphasize defense but the players buy into his defensive schemes.”

And what about Magic Johnson quitting via media without even telling her?

“As surprising as it was, it kind of reminded me of back in 1981 when he asked to be traded after winning a championship with the Lakers because he wasn’t happy with the way the offense had changed,” Buss said. “That led us to getting Pat Riley as our head coach. He’s got good instincts. He’s gotta stay true to who he is and do what’s right for him. I wish I would’ve had a little bit more notice but I think we’re gonna be just fine.”

Very subtle, reminding fans of a time when Magic became very unpopular for a while, and making it sound like he wanted to be traded right after winning a title instead of the season after losing in the first round of the playoffs. I also liked how she said outside media isn’t needed to validate things and ignoring the fact Magic got the “Rob Pelinka can’t be trusted” ball rolling.

Yep, the Lakers are a family. Like the Ewings. Or the Carringtons.


Clippers guard Lou Williams received the NBA’s sixth man of the year award for the second consecutive season and third time overall, tying Jamal Crawford’s all-time record.

“I came to L.A. and I was in an environment where I felt revitalized,” Williams said. “I felt I had something to prove.”

Williams, 32, averaged 20.0 points in 26.6 minutes for the Clippers last season.

“I kind of went into this season wanting this one,” Williams said. “In years past I just played and lived with whatever happened. I wanted this one. I felt like this one was going to be a legacy piece. If I was going to go out of the game and be considered a sixth man and have that be my M.O., I wanted to tie Jamal. I wanted to be at the top of Mount Rushmore with him. This year it was more focused on going out there and getting this one.”

Other award winners:

Most valuable player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Defensive player of the year: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Coach of the year: Mike Budenholzer, Bucks (Doc Rivers finished second)

Most Improved player: Pascal Siakam, Raptors

Rookie of the year: Luka Doncic, Mavericks

Odds and ends

Dodgers plan to extend protective netting in wake of fan injuries…. Dodgers lose to Diamondbacks, 8-5…. Bill allowing horse racing to be suspended approved by California Legislature…. Rookie Luis Rengifo looks like the Angels’ future second baseman…. L.A. doesn’t pay to build sports stadiums, but billions are generated from them anyway…. Mayor Eric Garcetti projects $1-billion profit for 2028 L.A. Olympics…. Two Italian cities win vote to host 2026 Winter Olympics.

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Monday’s local sports schedule

Dodgers at Arizona, 6:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Cincinnati at Angels, 7 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Born on this date

1942: NBA player Willis Reed

1949: Sportscaster Phyllis George

1958: Volleyball player Debbie Green-Vargas

1963: NHL player Doug Gilmour

1964: NBA player Dell Curry

1966: NBA player Dikembe Mutombo

Died on this date

1992: NFL player Jerome Brown, 27 (car accident)

And finally

Willis Reed’s dramatic NBA Finals Game 7 moment. Click here to watch

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.

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