Sports Extra

Soccer

America meets Mexico in Ohio in World Cup qualifiers

CHICAGO – The U.S. will play its fourth consecutive home World Cup qualifier against Mexico at Columbus, Ohio.

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the sites of remaining home qualifiers on Thursday, saying it will host Panama at Seattle on June 11; Honduras at Sandy, Utah, on June 18; Mexico at Columbus on Sept. 10; and Jamaica at Kansas City, Kan., on Oct. 11.

After losing 2-1 at Honduras last month in the opener of the final round of North and Central America and the Caribbean, the U.S. meets Costa Rica tonight at Commerce City, Colo., then plays Tuesday at Mexico. The top three nations qualify for the 32-nation field in Brazil next year, and the No. 4 team advances to a playoff, likely against New Zealand.

Brazil seeking UN aid – to help it host the World Cup

SAO PAULO – World Cup organizers in Brazil say they have signed a $17 million deal with the United Nations to help host the tournament.

The U.N. will provide temporary structures outside the stadium to house support services and provide some security services.

Local organizers in Brazil have been under pressure from FIFA and others because of delays in preparations and construction of stadiums.

Tennis

Serena Williams routs, while Sloane Stephens recovers

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Playing again at No. 1, Serena Williams routed Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-1, 6-1 Thursday in the second round of the Sony Open.

This is Williams’ first tournament since she regained the No. 1 ranking at the Qatar Open. Williams lost the Doha final to Victoria Azarenka but later overtook her for the top ranking.

Sloane Stephens was blanked in the first set but beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. Stephens is ranked 16th, the highest-ranked American after Williams.

Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the defending champion who is seeded fourth, defeated Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.

Golf

First day of Arnold Palmer features a Rose in the Wood

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose started out as another guy in Tiger Woods’ group Thursday at Bay Hill. He wound up in the lead.

Rose put on a clinic with the putter and ran off four consecutive birdies late in his round of 7-under 65 in Orlando, Fla. That gave him a four-shot lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational among those who played early in a chilly breeze. It marked only the sixth time in 31 rounds at Bay Hill that Rose broke 70.

Woods didn’t fare too badly in his bid to win Bay Hill for the eighth time. He opened with a 69, despite two out of three bogeys from the greenside bunkers.

A bogey-free walk in the Park at the LPGA Kia Classic

CARLSBAD, Calif. – Jane Park shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 to take the lead after the opening round of the Kia Classic on Thursday at Aviara.

Park, who lives in Rancho Cucamonga and went to UCLA, had a one-stroke lead over Caroline Hedwall and Karrie Webb.

Stacy Lewis, playing her first round since taking over the No. 1 spot in the world from Yani Tseng, who was disqualified after missing her pro-am tee time Wednesday, was four shots off the lead after a round that she called frustrating.

Ski Racing

A record 16 for Mancuso at U.S. Alpine Championships

SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. – Julia Mancuso raced to her record 16th title in the U.S. Alpine Championships, winning the giant slalom Thursday in her hometown.

The Olympic gold medalist beat World Cup slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin by 0.88 seconds in the opening event of the four-day competition.

Tim Jitloff won the men’s giant slalom for his fourth U.S. title.

Associated Press