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Sports in brief: Japan tops U.S. women's soccer team once again



Megumi Takase scored on a 6-yard header off Aya Miyama's corner kick in the 84th minute to give Japan a 1-0 victory over the U.S. women on Monday at Faro, Portugal, in a rematch of last year's World Cup championship game.

The Americans hadn't lost since the World Cup final, an 11-game streak. The Japanese became the first team in more than three years to hold the Americans scoreless and advanced to a matchup against Germany in the Algarve Cup final.

In the final minutes, Megan Rapinoe was wide with a 30-yard free kick and Shannon Boxx put a 10-yard header over the goal.

"I think more than anything, it opens our eyes to areas we can improve in," American midfielder Heather O'Reilly said. "Better now that we have this experience than later during the Olympics. I think we have a lot to learn from and a lot grow from, but we're trying to pull the positives out of it."

The Americans, who had been seeking their third straight title and ninth overall in the annual tournament, finished second in Group B with a 2-1 record and will play Sweden in the third-place game Wednesday.


Drivers address boycott 'nonsense'

Several IndyCar drivers dismissed any notion of boycotting Texas Motor Speedway, and said the entire issue has been blown out of proportion.

"I want to stop all this nonsense discussion about boycotting. It's absurd, it's ridiculous and we are professionals and will race there," Helio Castroneves said at Sebring International Raceway.

Justin Wilson, who serves along with Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan as a driver representative for the series, said a boycott was never discussed. He said Texas was discussed briefly during a Feb. 13 driver meeting in Indianapolis, but the issues centered on pack racing and the fencing at Texas.

Safety has been the dominant topic in IndyCar since Dan Wheldon was killed in the October season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon's car sailed into the fence in a 15-car accident, and his head hit a post in the fence.

Also at Sebring, Ryan Hunter-Reay led the first day of weeklong testing with a lap of 114.334 mph. Ten drivers took the track in preparation for the opener, March 25 in downtown St. Petersburg.

et cetera

Horses: Kentucky Derby hopeful Out of Bounds won't make the race because of a leg injury that will require surgery. Out of Bounds won the Sham Stakes Jan. 7 at Santa Anita and was scheduled to run in the San Felipe Stakes on Saturday. Trainer Eoin Harty said Out of Bounds has a fracture of the left front cannon bone. Harty expects the colt to be out at least 90 days.

Iditarod: A grandson of the trail sled dog race co-founder Joe Redington, Ray Redington Jr., was among the leaders. He and Hugh Neff, who won the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race last month, were among the first mushers into the Rainy Pass checkpoint in Alaska, about 135 miles into the race.

Track and field: Olympic hurdles champion Dayron Robles will skip the world indoor championships in Istanbul this weekend because of a minor leg problem, the Associated Press reported. Robles was to return to Cuba today to recover and continue preparing to defend his 2008 Olympic title in the 110-meter hurdles in London. China's Liu Xiang vs. Robles remains one of the Games' most highly anticipated duels.

Gymnastics: Kevin Mazeika will coach the U.S. men's team at the London Olympics. He was the U.S. coach for the past two Summer Games, and the Americans came away with team medals at both. The silver in Athens and bronze in Beijing was the first time the U.S. men won medals at back-to-back Games.

Times wires

Sports in brief: Japan tops U.S. women's soccer team once again 03/05/12 [Last modified: Monday, March 5, 2012 11:18pm]
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