Of course, hockey season is over, and football season hasn't begun, so professional sports in Pittsburgh are suffering the summer doldrums that we've come to expect. The PG needs to put something interesting in print. And the paper is running wire service coverage; no one on its sports staff knows anything about soccer (if they do, they're not writing about it). And the prominence of the coverage owes more to bandwagon jingoism than anything else. When the US got unexpectedly bodyslammed by Brazil earlier in the tournament, the paper carried a note, but nothing significant.
Still, I'll take what I can get, and maybe this bodes well for the rest of the summer. It would be nice to see more attention in the local media to international dimensions of this about-to-host-the-G20 summit city. When I'm writing about soccer here, I'm writing about it partly because I'm a fan, but partly because of what it says about the region. Right now, the indicators are modestly positive.
As a fan, I'll make a prediction for Sunday's final. I've seen the US play Brazil, in person (1994), and I know that the Americans can bring it when they need and want to. But don't be distracted by Kaká and the samba offense. The Brazilians are fierce in the back, even if they sometimes lack discipline. The US scores first, but Brazil scores last. O Jogo Bonito 2, Americans 1.