At­ten­dance is lack­ing, but U.S. has edge

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Kevin Bax­ter kevin.bax­ter@la­times.com Twit­ter: @kbax­ter11

WIN­NIPEG, Canada — Canada re­mains un­der­whelmed by the women’s World Cup, with a com­bined to­tal of 21,861 fans show­ing up for four open­ing-round games in two cities Tues­day.

The U.S. drew more than that for a friendly with Mex­ico at StubHub Cen­ter last month.

The empty seats were es­pe­cially no­tice­able at Mon­treal’s mas­sive Olympic Sta­dium, where at­ten­dance for a dou­ble­header star­ring Brazil and Marta, its five- time world player of the year, was just 10,175.

At about the same time, a dou­ble­header in which France beat Eng­land and Colom­bia tied Mex­ico failed to fill a 15,000-seat con­verted track and field fa­cil­ity in rainy Monc­ton, New Brunswick.

De­spite a CBC re­port that some ticket prices had been re­duced to $5, the crowd was counted at 11,686.

Four days into the tour­na­ment, only two venues and four games have sold out: Ed­mon­ton’s Com­mon­wealth Sta­dium, where a Canadian-record crowd of 53,058 saw the tour­na­men­topen­ing dou­ble­header fea­tur­ing the host coun­try, and In­vestors Group Field in Win­nipeg, where 31,148 saw the U.S. play Australia. Nige­ria met Swe­den in the other game.

The ma­jor­ity of the fans at Win­nipeg made the drive from the U.S.

“It’s phe­nom­e­nal. It ba­si­cally feels like we’re play­ing at home with the crowd that we have here and the sup­port,” Amer­i­can mid­fielder Tobin Heath said. Pic­ture-per­fect goal

Goal-line tech­nol­ogy was used for the first time in a women’s World Cup on Tues­day, con­firm­ing a firsthalf score by Mex­ico’s Veron­ica Perez.

Colom­bian keeper Ste­fany Cas­tano al­most made the save cleanly, get­ting a hand on Perez’s bend­ing kick from the cor­ner and def lect­ing it to the bot­tom of the cross­bar. A Colom­bian de­fender then cleared the ball away, but not be­fore it had crossed the goal line.

Goal-line tech­nol­ogy is sim­i­lar to the sys­tem used in ma­jor ten­nis tour­na­ments to de­ter­mine whether a shot landed in bounds. In soc­cer, more than a half-dozen cam­eras trained on the goal track the shot and send the data to a com­puter, which then tri­an­gu­lates the ball’s po­si­tion rel­a­tive to the goal line.

In the case of Tues­day’s play, when Perez’s shot crossed the line a sig­nal was sent to ref­eree Therese Neguel, who awarded the goal. The honor sys­tem

FIFA re­quired ev­ery player in the women’s World Cup to de­clare that she is, in fact, a woman.

Thank­fully, FIFA will take their word on that, stop­ping short of gen­dertest­ing ex­ams. But since 2011 teams have been re­quired to sign a “dec­la­ra­tion of agree­ment on gen­der verification” be­fore fil­ing their rosters for the tour­na­ment. FIFA re­quires the same verification be­fore the men’s World Cup as well.

The CBC quoted Ger­man mid­fielder Lena Goe­bling as say­ing she and her team­mates “have all been very amused about the test and have not taken the whole thing so se­ri­ously.”

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