07.01.19: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

black 1Even if the Women’s World Cup isn’t getting any easier for the U.S. Women’s National Team entering Decision Week, it’s definitely getting more compelling on top of more complicated.
Franklin Foer writes in The Atlantic that he finds himself “more wrapped up in this team than any World Cup squad I can remember. In part, it’s the unmistakable sense of camaraderie they possess –and how the team’s success is inseparable from its sense of moral purpose. …
“No women’s team has ever repeated a World Cup—as the U.S. is poised to do—and certainly no team has prevailed while its co-captain rhetorically jousts with its president and the squad battles its boss for equal pay. This team has flourished in the face of all this, and actually seems intent on milking the experience for all the pleasures it can provide. A day after Donald Trump denounced her, Megan Rapinoe played perhaps her best game in the American jersey. This is history in the making, folks. The movie version won’t be nearly so good.”
Watch it live, then, as the USWNT faces England in the semifinals in Lyon, France — Tuesday, noon, Channel 11. The second semifinal comes Wednesday (noon, FS1) with Sweden vs. the Netherlands. That funnels into Sunday’s title game (Sunday, 8 a.m., Channel 11, replayed at 1:30 p.m., FS1), or the third-place game (Saturday, 8 a.m., Channel 11).
And then when they come home, we’ll see about a White House visit.
More info: www.fifa.com/womensworldcup


In the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the semifinals are already confirmed:
Mexico vs. Haiti: Tuesday, at Glendale, Ariz., 7:30 p.m., FS1
U.S. vs. Jamacia: Wednesday at Nashville, Tenn.,  6:30 p.m., FS1
The USMNT 1-0 win over … who was it again? … is hardly something that leads to a confident trip into this stage of the event that finishes up Sunday (at Soldier Field in Chicago, 6 p.m., FS1)
More info: www.goldcup.org


black 2Before the All-Star break arrives, a few weeks beyond the actual mid-point in the season, the Dodgers have a chance to clean up on more NL West leftovers and the Angels have another chance to eat up some ground on the top two teams in the AL West.
How the week lays out this week for the Dodgers, 57-29, 12 games up in the NL West, coming off a series loss and a series split, yet still No. 1 in the ESPN Power Rankings for Week 13:
* vs. Arizona, at Dodger Stadium: Tuesday (Taylor Clarke vs. Ross Stripling) at 7:10 p.m., Wednesday (Merrill Kelly vs. Walker Buehler) at 7:10 p.m.
* vs. San Diego, at Dodger Stadium: July 4 Thursday (Chris Paddack vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu) at 6:10 p.m.; Friday (Joey Lucchessi vs. Clayton Kershaw) at 7:10 p.m.; Saturday (Logan Allen vs. Kenta Maeda) at 7:10 p.m.; Sunday (Matt Strahm vs. Ross Stripling) at 1:10 p.m.
All on SportsNet LA

How the week lays out this week for the Angels, still trying to stay above .500, dropping to 42-43 after a three-game losing streak, 11 back in the AL West, and moving up in the ESPN Power Rankings from 19 to 18:
* At Texas: Monday (Jose Suarez vs. Mike Minor) at 5:05 p.m.; Tuesday (Griffin Canning vs. Ariel Jurado) at 5:05 p.m.; Wednesday (TBA vs. Lance Lynn) at 5:05 p.m.; Thursday (Tyler Skaggs vs. Adrian Sampson) at 5:05 p.m. All on FSW
* At Houston: Friday (Andrew Heaney vs. Justin Verlander) at 5:10 p.m., FSW; Saturday (TBA vs. Gerrit Cole) at 4:15 p.m., Channel 11; Sunday (Griffin Canning vs. TBA) at 11:10 a.m., FSW


black 3The 133rd edition of The Championships at the All England Club in Wimbledon covers the first 14 days of July this cycle, and the usual suspects are there for the taking. Novak Djokovic is the defending champion, having won four of these since 2011, and is the men’s top seed and, by the time of this post on Monday AM, has already advanced.
Roger Federer, who last won it in 2017 and has eight Wimbledon wins in his career, is seeded second, with Rafael Nadal third and Kevin Anderson, runner-up last year, fourth. The highest U.S. men seeded is John Isner at No. 9, a semifinalist last year.
Federer and Nadal are bracketed for a potential semifinal meeting, with Djokovic possibly awaiting that showdown’s winner in the final.
“You’re looking at to me the three greatest players that have ever lived, playing at the same time, and they’re extremely hungry, which is an amazing quality at that age, and they’ve been — they’ve psyched out opponents, I believe,” John McEnroe said of Djokov, Federer and Nadal. “They’ve gotten in the heads of these (other competitors). Golden State was in the (NBA) finals five years in a row, and a part of you would say, wow, it’s just awesome to see a dynasty, and then there’s another part that says, hey, let’s get some other people in the mix here.”
Serena Williams, with seven career Wimbledon titles, lost to Angelique Kerber in last year’s women’s final. She is seeded just 11th this year and opens against a qualifier, 162nd-ranked Giulia Gatto-Monticone of Italy, then could face another qualifier in the second round. Sister Venus Williams, with five career titles and a runner-up finish in 2017, is scheduled to play 15-year-old Coco Gauff in the first round. Other previous Wimbledon winners in the field are Garbiñe Muguruza and Maria Sharapova.
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty is the top seed ahead of Naomi Osaka, with defending champion Angelique Kerber at No. 5 and American Sloan Stephens at No. 9, coming off a first-round Wimbledon loss a year ago.
“I think you can say the same thing on the women’s side, why Serena dominated — Serena is right up there with Novak, Rafa and Roger and won more than one or two Grand Slams,” said Chris Evert. “You can say the same thing about the women’s game. And it’s just the degree of what kind of a champion these players are, and Serena, Novak, Rafa, Roger are all — they’re all the ultimate champion.
“These other players so far may win a Grand Slam or two, but they’re not up to the same intensity and hunger and consistency as these older players.”
Jack Sock and Mike Bryan are the defending men’s doubles winners, but Mike Bryan is scheduled to reunite with twin-brother Bryan, who had been out with a hip injury, as they’re playing together again and winning a few recent ATP events at age 41.
More info: www.wimbledon.com


black 4You actually think you’re going to spend the Fourth of July at Disneyland trying to wedge into the Galaxy’s Edge?
It would mean giving up the tradition of spending a Fourth of July with a Galaxy fireworks show – it’s their birthright – and they continue the tradition at Dignity Health Sports Park with Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. contest against …
Not New England, because that would be too patriotic …
Not LAFC, because that would be too good …
Would it be inappropriate to invite Canada’s team, Toronto FC, to celebrate our independence? Spectrum SportsNet and TSN will televise it, because TV is where fireworks always look best.
Meanwhile for LAFC:
* at Kansas City, Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., YouTubeTV, KVMD
* vs. Vancouver, at Banc of California Stadium, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., YouTUbe TV, KVMD.


black 5Basketball followers in these parts may be already focused on the NBA’s Summer League. The Lakers are part of the California Classic in Sacramento, which means games against Miami (Monday, 6 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet), Golden State (Tuesday, 6 p.m., ESPN2, Spectrum SportsNet) and Sacramento (Wednesday, 2 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet) before going to the bigger deal in Las Vegas that starts Friday vs. Chicago (4:30 p.m., ESPN). The Clippers meet up with the Lakers in Vegas on Saturday (4:30 p.m., ESPNU) and then take on Memphis (Sunday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2).
But we aren’t going there.
The WNBA gave the Sparks (6-6 after two wins) a week off (after their Sunday win over Chicago) before resuming with a contest against Washington (Sunday, Staples Center, 2 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet) to end a window of three games at home over 11 days.


== Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest airs live again Thursday (9 a.m., ESPN2). Joey Chestnut attempts to break his world record of 74 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Prior to the main event, the women’s championship happens at 7:45 a.m. on ESPN3. More info: nathansfamous.com/hot-dog-eating-contest

Prior to that, catch ESPN’s newest “30 For 30” doc series, “The Good, The Bad, The Hungry,” on Tuesday (5 p.m., ESPN, replayed several times), directed by Nicole Lucas Haimes and telling the story about how Chestnut dethroned six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi in 2007. A trailer: https://es.pn/30RcC0T

== The 106th Tour de France starts with the first stage loop Saturday in Brussells, Belgium before heading south toward Reims and ending up in Paris by July 28. More info: www.letour.fr/en

== UFC 239 from T-Mobile Center on Saturday is schedule to pit Jon Jones against Thiago Santos in the main light heavyweight event at 7 p.m., with a women’s bout featuring Amanda Nunes against Holly Holm as the co-main. It’s a buy-only event on ESPN+. More info: www.ufc.com/event/ufc-239

== NASCAR’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 circles back to Daytona Beach, Fla., under the lights, Sunday at 4:30 p.m., Channel 4. More info: www.nascar.com

== The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships continue through pool play in Hamburg, Germany on Monday before getting to the weekend finals. The gold medal women’s match is Saturday (2:45 live stream, replayed at 4 p.m. on the Olympic Channel and 7 p.m. on NBCSN), with the men’s gold medal match Sunday (7 a.m. on Olympic Channel, replayed at 10 a.m. on NBCSN). More info: hamburg2019.fivb.com

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