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SPORTS DIGEST: Dodgers advance to National League Championship Series

There’s a lot to write about and not nearly enough room, so off we go:

The Dodgers have advanced.

They swept the Arizona Diamondbacks three games to none n the National League Divisional Series and now await the winner of the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals series.

The Dodgers should have the advantage no matter who comes out of that series, because they have been able to set their pitching rotation, rest Corey Seager’s sore right elbow and give everyone else a few days off.

I would prefer to face the Cubs, because I don’t think the Cubs are as solid offensively as they were last year and their rotation doesn’t appear to be as strong. Those things are a bigger factor in a seven-game series than a five-game series.

The Dodgers offense clicked in the Arizona series and it looks like that 1-16 streak from late August to early September is simply a bad memory.

Look for the Dodgers to roll into the World Series.

A stumbling block.

Just when you thought the Rams could make a statement and take command of the National Football Conference’s Western Division, they committed five turnovers, missed an easy field goal and lost to the Seattle Seahawks, 16-10. The Rams and Seahawks are now tied at 3-2 with the Rams facing three consecutive road games with a bye week in between.

After Todd Gurley had his best game of the season against Dallas Oct. 1, he disappeared again from the offense against Seattle. Tavon Austin scored the Rams only touchdown on a run from scrimmage, but he fumbled away a punt earlier in the game.

If head coach Sean McVay can figure out how to keep both Gurley and Austin involved offensively it would make quarterback Jared Goff’s job a lot easier.

A Chargers win.

It wasn’t pretty, but when you are 0-4 any win is wonderful. The Chargers defeated a winless New York Giants team that almost ran out of healthy wide receivers.

This week, it’s the Oakland Raiders on the road. With E.J. Manuel at quarterback for the Raiders, the Chargers have a chance to go on a winning streak and get back into the playoff race. On wait, they are already four games behind the Kansas City Chiefs.

A trap game.

That’s what the Oct. 14 game in the Coliseum against Utah is for the USC Trojans. The Trojans got back on the winning path Oct. 7 against Oregon State, but didn’t look real good doing it.

Sam Darnold continued to have problems turning the ball over and Ron Jones only had one good run from scrimmage. Tyler Vaughns stepped up as a wide receiver, though.

An embarrassment.

The U.S. men’s soccer team’s elimination from the 2018 World Cup competition Oct. 10 should be a national embarrassment.

The people who run U.S. Soccer need to take a good look in the mirror before moving forward. They need to hire a coach who will install a system that will become our system for international play no matter the age group. And then that system must be coached at all levels until we are turning out world-class soccer athletes who can hold their own in Europe and any other continent.

The U.S. has some young, talented players. Christian Pulisic is only 19, but he is already the best player on the national team. There are other young players ready to step in like midfielder Christian Roldan of the Seattle Sounders.

Roldan, who is from Pico Rivera, made an appearance last summer with the national team. He needs to be elevated permanently so by 2022, the U.S. has a nucleus of young players used to working together.

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