U.S. wins last pre-Olympic women’s soccer match, reaches second-longest win streak

Mexico v United States
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EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Tobin Heath scored her second goal in as many games and the United States defeated Mexico 4-0 on Monday in the American women’s final match before the Olympics.

The United States is now undefeated in 44 straight matches, the second-longest unbeaten streak in team history. The Americans also extended their winning streak against Mexico to 15 games and improved to 39-1-1 overall. The lone U.S. loss in the series was in a 2010 World Cup qualifier.

U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski continued to fine-tune his lineups in advance of the Olympics later this month. The United States, a four-time gold medal winner, is aiming to become the first team to follow a World Cup title with an Olympic gold medal.

Heath started after coming off the bench and scoring in the United States’ first send-off game against Mexico on Thursday, when the Americans also won by a 4-0 score. She hadn’t played for some six months because of injury.

Carli Lloyd got the start Monday in place of Alex Morgan, and midfielder Rose Lavelle got the nod while Kristie Mewis and Megan Rapinoe were available off the bench.

Rapinoe, Mewis and Morgan all started the second half.

The United States scored all its goals in the first half. Horan scored on a volley in the sixth minute, followed by Lloyd’s diving header in the 11th.

After an own goal in the 37th minute, Heath scored in the 39th.

Next up for the United States are the Tokyo Olympics. The Americans play Sweden — the team that knocked them out of the 2016 Games in the quarterfinals — to open the tournament in Japan on July 21.

Mexico did not make the field of 12 teams for the Tokyo Games.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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