Asides: The U.S. team in Brazil, new Penguins coach

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THE U.S. TEAM has advanced to the next round of soccer’s World Cup, much to the delight of Americans, including in Pittsburgh, which has a proud soccer tradition despite the fact that the footballs most favored here are — geometrically speaking — prolate spheroids. But the round balls used in the 2014 FIFA World Cup have a Pittsburgh connection that may be missed by the crowds watching the games. As the Post-Gazette’s Rocio Labrador reported last week, Bayer MaterialScience in Robinson contributed to the creation of the specially designed balls being used in Brazil. The firm, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, also had a role in producing the materials used in footwear soles and team uniforms. And if the World Cup shouting gives fans a headache, they can always take a Bayer aspirin.

WHEN IT COMES to scoring goals, Pittsburghers like their players on ice with Penguins on their jerseys. The cause for cautious celebration last week was the announcement that Mike Johnston is the new head coach of the Penguins. A former coach for Team Canada, Mr. Johnston, 57, has spent the last few years with the Portland Winterhawks, a Western Hockey League junior club. He has never been an NHL head coach until now. Will he be the one to lead the Penguins from good to excellent? Stay tuned. The World Cup does not have a monopoly on excitem


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