Colombia, Sweden play to 2-2 draw in Manaus

Bruno Zanardo/Getty Images

Four matches played in the first day of competition in the Olympic men’s soccer tournament, and each managed to end in a draw. The latest to do so was the match between Colombia and Sweden, with the Group B sides playing to a 2-2 draw in Manaus.

Colombia carried the run of play early in the first half, and their pressure yielded the first scoring opportunity of the match. Captain Teo Gutierrez, who scored a goal in Colombia’s 3-0 win over Greece in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, calmly put a shot past the Swedish keeper to put the South Americans on the board in the 17th minute. Sweden would slowly work their way back into the match, pulling even in the 43rd minute in what may have been the best strike of the first day of the competition.

Mikael Ishak’s shot from outside of the 18 yard box whistled past Colombian keeper Cristian Bonilla to tie the match at one goal apiece, with the two teams combining to play some entertaining soccer in the first 45 minutes. It took Colombia and Sweden some time to get back into the flow of things in the second half, with the U-23 European champions being the first to do so. Astrit Adjarevic pounced on a rebound given up by Bonilla and put the resulting shot into the back of the net, giving Sweden a 2-1 lead in the 62nd minute. Sweden would hold off Colombia for the next 13 minutes, until defender Joakim Nilsson was called for handball inside the penalty area.

That gave Dorlan Pabon, who assisted on Colombia’s first goal, the opportunity to tie things up and the Monterrey forward took full advantage. Colombia threatened to grab the lead in the 87th minute, but Andreas Linde’s save of a Harold Preciado shot from point blank range kept the score knotted at two goals apiece. Sweden would have one final shot at all three points three minutes later, but Bonilla was up to the challenge and made sure to not allow for a rebound.

Both teams return to the pitch Sunday, with Colombia taking on Japan and Sweden facing Nigeria.

Hilary Knight leads new-look U.S. women’s hockey roster for world championship

Hilary Knight

Hilary Knight headlines a U.S. women’s hockey roster for this month’s world championship that lacks some of the biggest names from last year’s Olympic silver-medal team. Changes have been made as the U.S. looks to end losing streaks to Canada, both overall and in major finals.

The full roster is here. Worlds start Wednesday in Brampton, Ontario, and run through the gold-medal game on April 16.

It was already known that the team would be without stalwart forwards Kendall Coyne Schofield, who plans to return to the national team after having her first child this summer, and Brianna Decker, who announced her retirement last month.

Notable cuts include the No. 1 goalies from the last two Olympics: Alex Cavallini, who returned from Christmas childbirth for the tryout camp this past week, and Maddie Rooney, the breakout of the 2018 Olympic champion team.

Cavallini, 31, was bidding to become the first player to make an Olympic or world team after childbirth since Jenny Potter, who played at the Olympics in 2002, 2006 and 2010 as a mom, plus at several world championships, including less than three months after childbirth in 2007.

Forward Hannah Brandt, who played on the top line at last year’s Olympics with Knight and Coyne Schofield, also didn’t make the team.

In all, 13 of the 25 players on the team are Olympians, including three-time Olympic medalists forward Amanda Kessel and defender Lee Stecklein.

The next generation includes forward Taylor Heise, 23, who led the 2022 World Championship with seven goals and was the 2022 NCAA Player of the Year at Minnesota.

The team includes two teens — 19-year-old defender Haley Winn and 18-year-old forward Tessa Janecke — who were also the only teens at last week’s 46-player tryout camp. Janecke, a Penn State freshman, is set to become the youngest U.S. forward to play at an Olympics or worlds since Brandt in 2012.

Abbey Levy, a 6-foot-1 goalie from Boston College, made her first world team, joining veterans Nicole Hensley and Aerin Frankel.

Last summer, Canada repeated as world champion by beating the U.S. in the final, six months after beating the U.S. in the Olympic final. Canada is on its longest global title streak since winning all five Olympic or world titles between 1999 and 2004.

Also at last summer’s worlds, the 33-year-old Knight broke the career world championship record for points (now up to 89). She also has the most goals in world championship history (53). Knight, already the oldest U.S. Olympic women’s hockey player in history, will become the second-oldest American to play at a worlds after Cammi Granato, who was 34 at her last worlds in 2005.

The Canadians are on a four-game win streak versus the Americans, capping a comeback in their recent seven-game rivalry series from down three games to none. Their 5-0 win in the decider in February was their largest margin of victory over the U.S. since 2005.

Last May, former AHL coach John Wroblewski was named U.S. head coach to succeed Joel Johnson, the Olympic coach.

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U.S. women’s rugby team qualifies for 2024 Paris Olympics as medal contender

Cheta Emba

The U.S. women’s rugby team qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics by clinching a top-four finish in this season’s World Series.

Since rugby was re-added to the Olympics in 2016, the U.S. men’s and women’s teams finished fifth, sixth, sixth and ninth at the Games.

The U.S. women are having their best season since 2018-19, finishing second or third in all five World Series stops so far and ranking behind only New Zealand and Australia, the winners of the first two Olympic women’s rugby sevens tournaments.

The U.S. also finished fourth at last September’s World Cup.

Three months after the Tokyo Games, Emilie Bydwell was announced as the new U.S. head coach, succeeding Olympic coach Chris Brown.

Soon after, Tokyo Olympic co-captain Abby Gustaitis was cut from the team.

Jaz Gray, who led the team in scoring last season and at the World Cup, missed the last three World Series stops after an injury.

The U.S. men are ranked ninth in this season’s World Series and will likely need to win either a North American Olympic qualifier this summer or a last-chance global qualifier in June 2024 to make it to Paris.

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