Tourney penalty kicks, Tour de France update and a new Netflix option

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Good morning! Try not to stutter step your way through the day.

Cupdates: The soccer is good, folks

Over the last two days, it felt like every soccer match we flipped on ended in a shootout. And to be fair, it was a whopping five out of eight! That’s three out of four Copa America quarterfinals — which, reminder, go straight to PKs after regulation — and two in the Euros.

We can debate the merits of skipping extra time all day, but given the pressure on players during penalties and how often they completely whiff, it’s hard to argue against the entertainment value. (Our only request: Can we cool it with the stutter steps?)

Thus our Summer of Soccer is chugging along, with the semifinals set in both brackets. Stateside, it’s going to be another great week of daytime games:

Quickly, some notes:

  • France is making this run despite scoring zero goals from open play in five games. What?
  • Colombia beat Panama FIVE to nothing. The USMNT, which fell 2-1 to Panama, looks even worse now, right?
  • Canada now has its signature win, beating Venezuela on penalties, and showed there is more to their program than Alphonso Davies, as Josh Kloke wrote. (Did ya hear their coach is American?)
  • And, finally, pour one out for this one-of-a-kind Venezuela goal in a losing effort:

News to Know

A big swing by Sacramento

The Kings saw the major free agency moves in the Western Conference and wanted in on the action. DeMar DeRozan is finalizing a three-year, $76 million sign-and-trade deal to join the team, The Athletic reported last night. He’s the most accomplished free agent to join Sacramento … ever? The vibes were immediately good at the Golden 1 Center. We’ll have plenty more on this on the site in the coming days, as well as in Monday’s edition of The Bounce. Tune in.

Tour de Pulse

The Tour de France is through its first week, and storylines abound. In an early emotional moment, veteran Mark Cavendish — riding in his last Tour — made history with a record 35th stage win. Meanwhile, Biniam Girmay became the first Black African cyclist to win a stage at the Tour — then did it a second time yesterday. The general classification race is playing out largely as expected, with two-time winner Tadej Pogacar in the lead, but two-time defending champion Jonas Vingegaard and Belgian star Remco Evenepoel are close behind. Also: A French cyclist was fined for stopping to smooch his wife and son during an emotional homecoming in Stage 7. Huh.

Clark’s historic feat

Caitlin Clark became the first rookie in WNBA history — and the first Fever player, period — to record a triple-double as she lifted her team to a 83-79 upset over the Liberty yesterday, putting up a 19/13/12 line. Indiana erased a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to take down the league leaders (and despite a rough May, the 9-13 Fever are currently on pace to make the playoffs). Clark, who owns the second-most triple-doubles in women’s NCAA history, has now recorded at least a double-double in four of her last seven games.

More news

What We’re Watching: Track fans, get in formation

The Pulse is welcoming in Hannah Vanbiber, an editor at The Athletic, for the occasional pop culture review. Take it away:

Before watching Netflix’s new sports docuseries, “SPRINT,” I was excited for the Olympics. After watching it, I’m what a therapist might call “wildly enmeshed.”

The six-part docuseries highlights the fastest sprinters in the world, including Americans Sha’Carri RichardsonNoah LylesGabby Thomas and Fred Kerley as well as other global stars — most of whom have qualified for Paris 2024.

Let’s review the case:

  • Why watch? To get emotionally entangled with to know some of the biggest players at Paris 2024! These are sparkling people with compelling stories, and you get to see their personalities, hopes, ambitions and what it took to get them here.
  • How it stacks up against the competition: One of my faves. “SPRINT” is less of a deep dive into family life and more an examination of the mental, emotional and physical strain of becoming the fastest people in the world. (Of course, that means things get personal fast.)
  • Breakout star? Lyles’ mom, Keisha Caine Bishop, a decorated runner in her own right, and a person I would love to get a drink with.
  • Top quote: ”Once the gun go off, that’s it. That’s the gravy, that’s the entree right there, and you gotta be ready to eat. If you ain’t ready to eat, you’re gonna starve. I want to clean the plate.” -Richardson

👩‍⚖️ The verdict: It’s a rare and precious peek behind the scenes of this thrilling sport that rises to global attention every four years. 9.5/10 medals.

🗓️ Next up: “Simone Biles Rising” comes out July 17.

Three Questions: The actual new Dream Team

Every four years we get a new so-called Dream Team of American basketball stars that, despite a stellar track record, never really inches close to the 1992 crew, which earned the nickname in the first place. This year in Paris, we have a roster befitting the title.

Just look at this list:

A loaded Team USA roster

Player NBA team Major NBA regular-season awards

Bam Adebayo

Five-time All-Defensive

Devin Booker

Two-time All-NBA

Stephen Curry

Two-time MVP, 10-time All-NBA

Anthony Davis

Five-time All-NBA, five-time All-Defensive

Kevin Durant

2014 MVP, 11-time All-NBA

Anthony Edwards

2024 All-NBA

Joel Embiid

2023 MVP, five-time All-NBA

Tyrese Haliburton

2024 All-NBA

Jrue Holiday

Six-time All-Defensive

LeBron James

Four-time MVP, 20-time All-NBA, six-time All-Defensive

Kawhi Leonard

Six-time All-NBA, two-time Defensive PoY

Jayson Tatum

Four-time All-NBA

Our Joe Vardon is covering them Team USA weekend as they open up training camp in Las Vegas, and will travel with the team to Paris later this month. I caught up with him as he was en route:

Training camp started yesterday, and there’s a sense this is the best roster they’ve had since 1992. The one that sticks out to me is 2008 — how close is the comp? 

Joe: The trouble with your comp: All 12 players on the 2024 team are stars. There are two young players in Tyrese Haliburton and Anthony Edwards, but they are All-Stars on max contracts. And as Steve Kerr said, all 12 will be in the Hall of Fame. That 2008 team had one player — Tayshaun Prince — who was never an All-Star and two (Michael Redd, Carlos Boozer) who only had three All-Star selections between them … for their entire careers. Coach K encouraged the ‘08 team to “bring your egos.” Kerr will have to get this team to check some of its ego.

You wrote a great story on why LeBron James should come off the bench. What are the chances this actually happens?

Joe: I don’t think it’s possible, at least early. But he is going to have to do some things he doesn’t like to do in the regular season. He will either have to bang bodies in the post or race out to the perimeter to guard. The USA staff just thinks LeBron passing over people to set up Curry and Durant is going to be too much for any opponent to handle.

Every Olympics, we talk about how good the world has gotten at basketball, but it feels especially true this year. Who’s America’s biggest competition for another gold medal? 

Joe: Canada. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray will apply serious pressure to the U.S. defense, and last summer Dillon Brooks was too much for the Americans to handle. I like France, even though the French don’t have elite guards. They do have size and I love Wemby’s development. Also, Evan Fournier turns into Larry Bird in FIBA play. Serbia with Nikola Jokić is a problem. But Canada, France and Serbia are the huge roadblocks … if the Americans are to be seriously challenged at all. 

Keep up with all of our Olympics coverage here.

Watch This Game

WNBA: Wings at Aces
3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Remember that early-season swoon for the defending champs? It’s extremely gone, as the Aces have won six of their last seven. The top of the WNBA standings is crowded. That’s a good thing.

MLB: Red Sox at Yankees
7 p.m. ET on ESPN
These two teams on a Sunday night feels extremely right. Boston is hot, and the Yankees are not. They’re both chasing Baltimore, but I’m more intrigued by the Sox right now as the trade deadline inches closer. 

Get tickets to games like these here.

Pulse Picks

Meg Linehan caught up with Christen Press, Angel City FC’s first signing, about the potential sale of the club.

Matthew Futterman explained why the slice is the best tennis shot on Wimbledon grass.

We thoroughly enjoyed this lively debate piece that asks: Should USA Olympic roster spots favor veterans like Alex Morgan and Diana Taurasi?

Those somewhat bizarre, slightly unbelievable and absolutely viral photos of Lionel Messi bathing a baby who turned into Spain prodigy Lamine Yamal? We have the story of how and why they exist.

Most-clicked in Friday’s newsletter: Our tweet about Ecuadorian star player Enner Valencia’s atrocious penalty kick.

Most-read on the website Friday: Jayson Stark’s great look at which active MLB players are on pace for the Hall of Fame.

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The Bounce 🏀 | The Windup | Full Time | The Athletic FC | Prime Tire 🏁 | Until Saturday 🏈 | Scoop City 🏈

(Photo: Jerome Miron / USA Today)

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