The Gold Cup semifinal surface in a word: terrible

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ARLINGTON, Texas – You can spend a billion dollars on a stadium, but you cannot buy your way around Mother Nature.

The field outside Dallas, where the United States will play its Gold Cup semifinal Wednesday against Honduras, is terrible.

Not that this should surprise anyone. The surface has always splotchy at very best when games have been staged here previously at Cowboys Stadium outside of Dallas. (A place referred to locally as the Death Star; I mean, you’ve seen it, right?)

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent $1 billion on the facility, which should be sold out for a Wednesday Gold Cup doubleheader that includes Mexico. But lack of natural sunlight and circulating air means grass just doesn’t grow here.

So while the temporary surface put down over artificial turf in Baltimore for Sunday’s quarterfinal was imperfect but passable, this one is full of seams, bumpy, hard and too small.

Let’s hope nobody gets hurt and that the game isn’t impacted too badly. And let’s especially hope no one hurts themselves badly in corners areas that are way, way too close to the retaining walls.

One more time: domestic soccer should be past this. There are enough stadiums around, facilities of all kinds of size, that have lovely natural grass fields.

West Brom 1-2 Huddersfield Town: Terriers climb

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  • Van la Parra gives Terriers lead
  • Mounie makes it 2-0
  • Dawson pullback not enough

Rajiv Van la Parra and Steve Mounie scored second half goals to boost Huddersfield Town four points clear of the drop zone with a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Craig Dawson scored to give the Baggies hope of a comeback, but it was deflated and West Brom is now seven points back of safety with 10 matches to play.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Brom saw an early chance fall to Salomon Rondon, but the Venezuelan blazed over the bar.

Huddersfield were unlucky with a chance produced by Florent Hadergjonaj, as an Alex Pritchard shot caught a teammate in the face and the Terriers couldn’t clean up the loose ball.

Matt Phillips provided a typical fine cross to James McClean near the halftime whistle, but the Irish attacker belted it high.

Town took the lead after halftime, as Van la Parra’s mishit cross was rescued by Collin Quaner and sent into the goal by the same man who bungled the cross.

And Mounie made West Brom’s short-term and long-term fate look dim by putting down a second Town marker off an assist from club record signing Pritchard.

Hold on, though.

Dawson had an answer for the hosts off a Chris Brunt cross, and it was nearly level when Jonas Lossl denied Brunt late on.

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Burnley 1-1 Southampton: Gabbiadini to the rescue

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  • Burnley without a PL win in 11
  • Saints with just one win in their last 15 games
  • Gabbiadini’s first goal in 17 games

Southampton struck late to grab a 1-1 draw against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Ashley Barnes bundled home in the second half to give Burnley the lead but Sean Dyche‘s side succumbed to a predatory finish from Manolo Gabbiadini who jumped off the bench to grab a valuable point for Saints.

With the draw Burnley move on to 37 points and back up to seventh, while Southampton move out of the bottom three and have 27 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Saints had a decent chance on the break early on as Dusan Tadic, making his 150th appearance for the club, drilled a low effort towards the far corner which Nick Pope saved superbly.

Burnley were dangerous when crosses flew into the box but Saints had another chance to go ahead but Nathan Redmond‘s shot from outside the box was saved by Pope.

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The home side improved drastically before half time as they pinned Southampton back but failed to really generate any clear-cut chances.

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In the second half the encounter continued to be a tight, tense affair as Ashley Barnes nodded wide and Southampton struggled to get going in attack.

Burnley took the lead as Barnes bundled home from close range following a cross from Aaron Lennon on the left which initially saw Alex McCarthy save well form Gudmundsson but then Southampton’s defense stood still and allowed Barnes to score.

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Substitute Josh Sims then thought he had equalized as the youngster cut in, smashed on goal but Pope tipped the ball onto the post with a magnificent save.

In the 90th minute Saints did equalize as Burnley felt that referee Bobby Madley got in their way in the middle of the pitch, but Redmond found Sims who crossed from the right and Guido Carrillo nodded the ball down to Gabbiadini to swivel and smash home. 1-1.

Liverpool 4-1 West Ham: Reds run Irons ragged

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  • Can opens scoring, 30′
  • Reds build 3-0 lead
  • Antonio scores lone Irons goal
  • Liverpool goes second

Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all scored second half goals as Liverpool went second with a 4-1 win over visiting West Ham United on Saturday.

Emre Can gave Liverpool the lead en route to a 3-0 start, before Michail Antonio answered for West Ham.

The Reds are a point ahead of Manchester United before the Red Devils play Chelsea on Sunday. West Ham is 13th, four points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Salah touched a Firmino pass past flat-footed James Collins, and his 15-yard shot was pushed off the far post by Adrian.

It was Marko Arnautovic chipped Loris Karius but not the cross bar as West Ham looked to answer the bell.

The breakthrough came before the half-hour mark, as Salah settled his blocked corner to help win a second. This time, it was Can heading home a back post offering to make it 1-0.

Arnautovic found even more danger before half, but Karius was there to get the job done.

Salah doubled the advantage in the 51st minute, shooting low past a flat-footed Adrian.

Can set up Liverpool’s third, playing a ball over the top for Firmino to push past a charging Begovic and slide into the goal. 3-0.

Cheikhou Kouyate picked Can’s pocket within minutes to play Antonio down the right for the Irons’ opener, but Mane settled the affair soon after the Liverpool concession.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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Brighton 4-1 Swansea City: Seagulls soar

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  • Murray on 10 PL goals for the season
  • Swansea suffer first defeat in 11
  • Brighton unbeaten in four

Brighton and Hove Albion beat Swansea City 4-1 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday as the Seagulls continue to pull clear of the relegation zone.

Glenn Murray scored in each half to get Brighton on their way, while Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia added a goal each in comfortable second half.

Swansea hit the post in the first half but Carlos Carvalhal‘s men were second best throughout and although Tammy Abraham‘s effort deflected off Lewis Dunk and in, it wasn’t enough.

With the win Brighton move on to 31 points for the season and have won back-to-back PL games for the first time this season, while Swansea remain on 27 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pascal Gross went close early on for the Seagulls but his shot was blocked by Tom Carroll, yet the home side didn’t have much longer to wait to go ahead.

Murray ran into the box and was needlessly hauled down by Mike Van der Hoorn as a penalty kick was awarded and Murray delivered a panenka to put Brighton 1-0 up and continue his fine form.

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Swansea improved after going behind and Van der Hoorn’s shot got two deflections which almost caught out Mat Ryan but he saved well. Carvalhal then made a substitution to try and spark his team into life with Andre Ayew coming on to replace Nathan Dyer and change the formation before half time had arrived.

Shane Duffy hit the crossbar right on half time as Gross’ corner from the right found the center back and he was inches away from doubling Brighton’s lead. At the other end moments later Jordan Ayew hit the post and the ball struck Ryan on the back before bouncing out and Martin Olsson lashed the rebound wide.

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Swansea kept pressing at the start of the second half as Ki had a shot well saved by Ryan and from a resulting corner the Welsh side claimed a handball against Murray at the back post but nothing was given.

Brighton were close to going 2-0 up as Knockaert’s cross towards Murray (in an offside position) missed everyone and crept in… but Murray attempted to get on the end of it and got in Lukasz Fabianski‘s way. No goal.

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The Seagulls did seal the win late on with a fine flowing move. Jose Izquierdo and Gross played a one-two and the former crossed for Murray to slot home his and Brighton’s second at the back post. Game over. Brighton grabbed another late on as Murray flicked the ball onto Gross and he fed Knockaert to prod home a third.

Abraham came off the bench in the second half and his deflected effort was no more then a late consolation for the Swans who conceded again late on with Locadia jumping off the bench to tap home and make it 4-1.