The One Where We Explain the Copa America

Fun Fact of the Day: The Golden State Warriors have been rolling through the NBA Finals with runaway victories, but that hasn’t stopped viewers from tuning in to see the Cleveland Cavaliers get crushed!  This is the 2nd highest rated NBA Finals series ever, and Game 1 of the series was the highest-rated Game 1 in ABC’s history.


Today's Rundown

NHL 

So close… Last night the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 to lead the series 3-1. Penguins star Evgeni Malkin got his scoring groove back and goalie Matt Murray rebounded after a shaky Game 3.  The Penguins were mediocre to start the season but they started heating up just in time for the playoffs.  Now, they are just 1 win away from lifting the Stanley Cup!  Unfortunately for the Sharks, who have been waiting forever (literally) to get to the finals, no team has come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the Stanley Cup since 1942.

 

OLYMPICS

Does anyone want to go to Rio?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Yesterday, Golden State Warriors superstar and 2x league MVP Steph Curry announced that he’s going to pass on the Rio Olympics.  Instead, he’s going to rest his recent knee injury and focus on the next NBA season.  San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge must have been picking up what Curry was laying down, because just a few hours later he also decided to duck out of the Olympics, citing a lingering finger injury.  These are 2 more stars on a growing list of NBA ballers that are sitting out the summer games due to injury. Let’s be honest, is that the real reason?  So far, USA Basketball says that none of the players have dropped out due to Brazil-related concerns, but Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol has said he’s heard talk in the locker room from players that are worried about Zika.  For his part, Gasol is trying to decide whether to play on behalf of his homeland Spain because of the disease. 


Spotlight on the Copa America Centenario

Are your hipster friends getting excited and devolving into hooliganism?  It’s probably because of the 100th anniversary of the Copa America!  Have no idea what that means?  Here are the basics:

What is it?  The Copa América is South America’s soccer championship and it is the oldest international soccer tournament in the world.  In the tournament, 10 members of the South American soccer confederation (called CONMEBOL) compete, as well as 6 teams invited from outside the continent.  For this year’s special 100th anniversary, the U.S. and Mexico have been invited to join in the fun and the event is being held in cities all across the U.S.—its first time hosted outside South America.

How do you win?  The first round of the tournament is made up of 4 groups of 4 teams. Each team plays 3 games and the top 2 teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals, where the contest becomes a normal elimination tournament. 

Who’s going to win this thing?  Chile won last year as the tournament’s host country, but they recently lost their coach and are looking iffy. Argentina is one of the favorites.  Superstar Lionel Messi will be back to play in Argentina’s 2nd game after suffering from a back injury and testifying in his tax evasion trial.

What about the good ol’ US of A?  The bad news is that we lost our 1st match last Friday to Colombia.  But the good news is that Colombia is one of the top teams in the tournament, so our next 2 matches against Costa Rica and Paraguay should be easier.

I’m digging this international soccer thing.  Good, there might be more of it on the way.  The CONMEBOL is in talks with the North American, Central American and Caribbean footballing body (called CONCACAF) to possibly merge the Copa America with the CONCACAF Gold Cup and have a joint tournament in the U.S. every 4 years. Stay tuned for updates!


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SOCCER

Copa America CentenarioUSA v. Costa Rica, 8PM ET on Fox Sports 1