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U.S. women’s coach Sermanni is fired after team wins match

On Sunday afternoon, Tom Sermanni coached the U.S. women’s team to a 2-0 exhibition victory over China in Commerce City, Colo. By Sunday night, Sermanni was out of a job.

U.S. Soccer fired the 59-year-old Sermanni, whose team went 1-2-1 last month at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.

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“We want to thank Tom for his service over the past year and half, but we felt that we needed to go in a different direction at this time,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a release. “We will begin looking for a new coach immediately to guide our women’s national team toward qualifying for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

Jill Ellis, director of development for U.S. Soccer, will be the interim coach — a familiar role.

Sermanni was hired in October 2012, but Ellis served as interim coach until he took over in January 2013. Sermanni made his debut for a 4-1 victory over his native Scotland on Feb. 10, 2013.

Lauren Holiday scored in the first half against China and substitute Megan Rapinoe scored in the 78th minute. The Americans held China to one shot on goal while running their unbeaten streak on home turf to 81 matches (71-0-10).

U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo wasn’t challenged in the first half and Jill Loyden took over in the second, making the lone save for the Americans. The United States had a 23-1 advantage in shots.

Rapinoe and Solo, a former Washington Huskies standout from Richland, play for Seattle Reign FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Galaxy blanks Chivas USA

Robbie Keane, Stefan Ishizaki and Baggio Husidic scored as the Los Angeles Galaxy beat rival Chivas USA 3-0 in a Major League Soccer match in Carson, Calif.

Liverpool takes league lead

Steven Gerrard scored twice on penalty kicks to give Liverpool a 2-1 victory over host West Ham in the English Premier League.

Liverpool, which has won nine matches in a row, leads the league with 74 points after 33 games. Chelsea has 72 points after 33 matches and Manchester City has 70 points in 31 matches.


Burleson to play for Cleveland

The Cleveland Browns plan to give Nate Burleson plenty of responsibilities. One of them probably won’t be delivering pizza.

A free-agent wide receiver with 11 years of pro experience, Burleson has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Browns.

Burleson, who has made 103 career starts and played in 135 games since he was drafted by Minnesota in 2003, finished last season with 39 catches for 461 yards with Detroit. He missed half the year after breaking his left arm in a car accident when he said he tried to stop pizza boxes from sliding off the passenger seat of his car.

Burleson, 32, celebrated a touchdown catch in his first game back from the injury by holding the ball aloft as if was a freshly made pizza.

Burleson, a former Seahawk who graduated from O’Dea High School in Seattle, spent four seasons with the Lions, who released him in February in a salary-cap move.

Burleson played in 46 games for the Seahawks from 2006 to 2009, catching 136 passes for 15 receiving touchdowns.

De la Puente to sign with Bears

Free-agent center Brian de la Puente has agreed to a one-year contract with Chicago.

De la Puente, 28, played for New Orleans the past three seasons.

College athletics

NCAA’s Emmert speaks out

NCAA President Mark Emmert called an effort to unionize players a “grossly inappropriate” way to solve problems in college sports while insisting the association has plans to change the school-athlete relationship.

Emmert, previously a University of Washington president, said the NCAA wants to allow the major conferences with moneymaking teams to write their own rules and added those changes could solve many athletes’ complaints more effectively than unionization.

“To be perfectly frank, the notion of using a union-employee model to address the challenges that exist in intercollegiate athletics is something that strikes most people as a grossly inappropriate solution to the problems,” Emmert said at a news conference in Arlington, Texas, site of Monday’s NCAA men’s basketball title game.

A National Labor Relations Board director has ruled Northwestern football players should be able to form a union.

Emmert said unionization would “throw away the entire collegiate model for athletics.”


Andrea Petkovic of Germany beat Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 7-5, 6-2 in the Family Circle Cup tennis final in Charleston, S.C.

The 26-year-old Petkovic, ranked 40th in the world, won her third singles title. Cepelova, 20, is ranked 78th and was competing in her first WTA Tour final.

• Switzerland, Italy and France advanced to the Davis Cup tennis semifinals. All three trailed 2-1 in the best-of-five format before sweeping reverse-singles matches on the final day.

Switzerland beat Kazakhstan, Italy knocked off Britain and France defeated Germany.

• Three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia won the Paris Marathon in his debut at the distance. He covered 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 4 seconds. Bekele has two Olympic gold medals at 10,000 meters and one at 5,000.

Flomena Cheyech of Kenya won the women’s title in 2:22:44.

• Trek Factory cyclist Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland won the Tour of Flanders in Belgium for the third time. Garmin-Sharp rider Tyler Farrar of Wenatchee was 47th.

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