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World Cup nets a local following

Fans, coaches watch U.S. advance to final match
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Placer United Soccer Club coach Danny Cruz will be watching the World Cup final on Sunday with rapt attention. After all, he coached two of the players on the current U.S. women’s national team — defender Stephanie Cox from Elk Grove and midfielder Megan Rapinoe from Redding. “It has been an absolute joy to watch these two young women be so incredibly successful, and to see what they have done for the U.S. team,” Cruz said. The U.S. will compete against Japan in the championship game in Germany, concluding a tournament that has been rife with drama and excitement for the Americans. The U.S. team came close to an early exit from the tournament after falling down 1 to 2 against Brazil during a quarterfinal match on July 10. Only a few minutes remained in extra time — at the end of overtime — and a loss for the Americans looked imminent. Then, in a game that will likely go down in history as one of the most exciting World Cup matches ever, the U.S. team launched a comeback. They tied the Brazilians with a last-minute header goal by forward Abby Wambach and went on to win 5 to 3 in a penalty kick shootout. U.S. goalie Hope Solo made a brilliant save to secure the win. Rocklin High School soccer coach Paul Morrison has intently watched the U.S. team as they’ve advanced through the World Cup — and that quarterfinal game tops his chart of exciting games. “In soccer, it’s so hard to score at times that when things work out that way in the end it’s extremely thrilling because it’s against all odds,” Morrison said. “Everything made it increasingly dramatic and brought me out of my seat and had my whole family whooping and yelling at the win. One of the best games I’ve ever seen.” Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.