Chelsea v Hull City - Premier League

Chelsea – 2 Hull City – 0: Blues cruise thanks to Lampard, Oscar (Video)

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It was total domination by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side as newly promoted Hull City had no answer, falling 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard made the difference on the scoresheet, but it was a team showing for Chelsea who controlled the pace and dictated attack after attack.

Brilliant passing and buildup by Blue shirts up front caused the Hull City squad to tire quickly, leaving them gassed and unable to offer anything on the attack.

Early on Hull City keeper Allan McGregor conceded a silly penalty inside six minutes after coming out of goal to challenge Fernando Torres, catching the striker late on the face with his arm.  McGregor made amends though, as he saved Frank Lampard’s spot kick.

Eden Hazard then had a brilliant chance with space in the box in the 10th minute but whiffed at his first attempt and drilled his second into a defender.

source: Getty ImagesOscar grabbed the lead for Chelsea three minutes later as Eden Hazard found Kevin De Bruyne who settled and expertly played the Brazilian through for the short tap-in. De Bruyne had a fantastic match, as the 22-year-old hardly put a foot wrong and found teammates in space all over the attacking half.

The Blues continued to threaten as McGregor was forced into a wonderful save on a rocket off the foot of Frank Lampard.  That right foot would surface again, as Lampard thundered in a sensational 35-yard swiveling free kick for Chelsea’s second score. Hull City finally managed their first good attack in the 42nd minute, which resulted in a long-range blast on goal by David Meyler that clocked John Terry in the chest at high speed.

Branislav Ivanovic launched a bullet of a header towards McGregor’s goal in first-half stoppage time, and with the naked eye it looks like an obvious goal, but the first test of the brand new goal-decision system proved its use.  The replays and use of the technology showed part of the ball still not over the line on a brilliant double-save by the Hull keeper, who parried it upwards before palming it out.

Chelsea had 18 goal-attempts to Hull City’s two at the half, and the second period was no different. Ivanovic made a run down the right side of the box in the 64th minute, and he went down on a challenge from Robert Brady, who was quite fortunate to not give away a penalty.

The substitute additions of Hull new boys Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone helped them gain a little more possession and a bit of a foothold into the match, but it was nowhere near enough.  Chelsea went to sleep somewhat in the final 15 minutes and it allowed Hull to work in the attacking half but they still hardly got a sniff on goal as they worked towards the goal.

It’s a wonderful start for Mourinho, who will be disappointed with anything but a championship this season.  The decisive win, coupled with those by Manchester United and Tottenham, will put lots of pressure on Manuel Pellegrini to get a result Monday against Newcastle.

Lineups

Chelsea: Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, John Terry; Ramires, Frank Lampard; Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne (Andre Schurrle, 67′), Eden Hazard; Fernando Torres (Romelu Lukaku, 75′).

Hull City: Allan McGregor; Maynor Figueroa, James Chester, Curtis Davies, Ahmed Elmohamady; David Meyler (Tom Huddlestone, 59′), Robert Koren, Robert Brady; Yannick Sagbo, Danny Graham (Jake Livermore, 59′), Sone Aluko.

Morgan, USWNT cruise past Costa Rica 5-0 behind early flurry of goals

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The U.S. Women got off to a flying start in Olympic qualification Group A play by torching Costa Rica 5-0, including goals from Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Crystal Dunn.

Morgan led the way with a double, including one in the opening 12 seconds – only six passes off the opening kick – that set the record for quickest goal in U.S. Soccer history. Lloyd and Dunn both struck in the opening 15 minutes to make it 3-0 before Costa Rica even had time to blink. Lloyd’s came on a penalty after Dunn was felled for the captain’s 83rd international goal, and then the latter bagged one of her own minutes later on a rebound off a shot by Morgan.

[ VIDEO: Alex Morgan caps off a 12-second, six-pass goal ]

The visitors were able to make it Morgan scored her second after the hour mark to cap the goal tally. Jill Ellis completed her trio of substitutions after the fourth goal and the U.S. saw the game out easily.

The fifth came late on a cross from Tobin Heath that fell to Christen Press in the box. With her back to the goal, the 27-year-old produced a simply stunning first touch, back-heeling the ball down before whipping around the opposite direction to lose her defender and firing home the fifth goal.

With the final whistle, the United States improved their record against Costa Rica to a perfect 13-0. The U.S. will play Mexico next on Saturday before finishing out Group A play against Puerto Rico on Monday, February 15.

VIDEO: Alex Morgan scores goal against Costa Rica in 12 seconds

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The United States got off to a historically roaring start in Olympic qualifying. Taking on Costa Rica in Frisco, Texas to begin Group A play, Alex Morgan opened the scoring in just 12 seconds, taking just six passes to complete the masterpiece.

According to the USWNT twitter account, the goal is the fastest in U.S. Soccer history.

According to CONCACAF, the goal is also the quickest in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, breaking Abby Wambach’s of 35 seconds in a 14-0 domination of the Dominican Republic in 2012.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The United States scored three goals in the first 15 minutes against Costa Rica tonight. They will take on Mexico and Puerto Rico across the next five days.

Watch Live: USWNT vs Costa Rica in Olympic qualifying

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 23:  (L-R) Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States is congratulated by teammate Alex Morgan #13 after a goal against Ireland at Qualcomm Stadium on January 23, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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The United States women are set to begin Group A play in Olympic qualification, taking on 36th ranked Costa Rica at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The game takes place after a 17-day camp at the national training camp in Carson, California.

[ WATCH LIVE: USWNT vs Costa Rica live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Other teams in the group include Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Mexicans dominated Puerto Rico 6-0 in the first game.

LINEUP

United States: Solo; Krieger, Johnston, Sauerbrunn, Klingenberg; Brian, Horan, Dunn, Lloyd, Heath; Morgan.

Columbus, NYCFC release new kits to mixed results

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New York City FC
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Two Major League Soccer clubs have put their kits out there for the 2016 season. They’ve received a mediocre welcome at best.

Columbus was the first, and their kit makes a bold statement moving away from the traditional yellow and black that so often adorns their regular shirts. Instead, the kit incorporates the Columbus flag onto it. The release has seen quite a negative reaction on social media.

The kit was unveiled at the Columbus City Hall on Wednesday, featuring the traditional adidas stripes, although instead of the usual placement on the shoulders, the stripes come down the side of the torso. Recently, adidas has the tendency to copy general jersey patterns across its multiple properties, so look for this design with other clubs in the near future.

The negative reaction to the Columbus release isn’t terribly surprising considering fans often enjoy sticking to tradition, and backlash is common when clubs deviate from the norm. As an additional hurdle, the color contrast between red and yellow is somewhat stark, lending to the difficult reception. Add in the bright pastel blue shorts and…yikes.

While the club didn’t describe how they will utilize this kit during the season, it’s likely to be the primary (at least for now) as the club release says the kit portfolio also includes last year’s black kit, which is traditionally the away kit.

NYCFC’s release of their secondary kit was more positive, receiving a mixed response on social media.

As you can see, adidas again copied their general outline with the stripes down the side of the torso. However, the German clothing manufacturer did much better with the general design of these kits than the Columbus ones. I will give a bit of personal opinion here: I absolutely love these kits. The ripple effect accentuates the crest with a near-3D effect, and the colors mesh perfectly which serves to assuage the eye from being overwhelmed by a busy design. If there’s any criticism, it’s that without an outline, the Etihad logo tends to get in the way a bit, but that’s nitpicking. Well done NYCFC. Columbus…I’ll leave that one to you all.