Leading Off: Rapinoe's Elk Grove coach expects U.S. victory

08/09/2012 12:00 AM

08/09/2012 1:38 PM

Like many soccer fans in the area, longtime youth coach Danny Cruz wishes he were in London today for the women's gold-medal match between the United States and Japan.

Cruz – who coached U.S. star Megan Rapinoe when she commuted from Redding to play for the Elk Grove Pride – plans to drive up north and hang with the local folks to watch the 11:45 a.m. match (live on NBCSN)

"This is one of those great stories," Cruz said. "It was so rewarding to see Megan the other day against Canada playing the way she did. She busted her butt to come back after tearing two ACLs in college, and she still wasn't 100 percent last summer in the World Cup. I don't know if people fully appreciated that.

"But now everyone's getting a chance to see the type of player (Megan) is when she's healthy, and she's incredible. All the weight has been on Abby (Wambach) and Alex (Morgan), but if Megan doesn't score those first two goals (in the semifinal against Canada), that ending never happens."

Cruz predicts another epic finale: "I think Japan is underrated. They don't have our size, but they have skill and speed. And they want to prove that their win over us last summer wasn't a fluke."

His prediction?

He's sticking with the local girl.

Tonight's prime time

Ch. 3, 8 p.m.-midnight

Track and field: Finals in men's 200 meters, 800 meters, triple jump and decathlon

Diving: Women's platform final

Beach volleyball: Men's final

Cycling: Men's BMX quarterfinals

Locals watch

Derek Miles, Citrus Heights, track and field: The pole vaulter, who finished fourth in Beijing in 2008, scratched on all three of his attempts in Wednesday's qualifying, failing to advance to Friday's final.

Medal leaders

Team	G	S	B	T	

U.S. 34 22 25 81

China 36 22 19 77

Russia 11 19 22 52

Britain 22 13 13 48

Germany 7 15 10 32

Today's poll

Which kind of volleyball do you prefer to watch?

Beach

Indoor

Neither

Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday's results

How much of Olympics are you watching daily?

None: 28%

1-2 hours: 39%

3-4 hours: 24%

More than 4 hours: 9%

Total votes: 238

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