Holloway disappointed with Crystal Palace, slams officiating

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LONDON — Despite seeing his Crystal Palace side push Tottenham all the way in their opening Premier League game, Ian Holloway wasn’t impressed at all.

Spurs hung on, after a late flurry of chances for Palace, to claim a 1-0 win at a packed Selhurst Park in South London.

Holloway’s side got stuck in and battled hard to try and break down Spurs. But they lacked creativity and the Crystal Palace manager felt his side didn’t acquit themselves properly in the first half.

“Bit disappointed to be honest. Thought we normally play a bit better and quicker and sharper than that with the ball. Did we get to grip with it quick enough in the first half?” Holloway mused. “You know. I was disappointed with our lack of belief and our movement and passing really.”

Holloway then went on to talk about the decision to not award a free kick when Steven Dobbie was shoulder barged off the ball on the halfway line. Spurs then broke towards Palace’s goal and won the penalty kick that handed them all three points.

(MORE: Tottenham’s new look midfield still a work in progress)

The eccentric 50-year-old manager was not happy with the handball decision given against Dean Moxey after Aaron Lennon’s right-wing cross hit his arm.

“We get a break into their half. Unbelievable shoulder barge on Dobbie and nothing was given. I was going crazy then. And then it lead to a completely, unbelievable, dubious handball,” Holloway said. “Was it deliberate? I didn’t think he had a chance. Yes his arms came up but he was diving on the floor. You ask anybody, if you’re falling what happens to your arms? I’ve never seen anybody fall with their arms by their side.”

(MORE: Crystal Palace 0 – Tottenham 1; Soldado’s penalty kick seals Spurs win)

Holloway had been extremely late to his post-match press conference, after staying behind to speak to the referee about the penalty decision.

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Holloway felt his side “lacked confidence” on the ball.

“Yeah, why do you think I’ve been so long?” Holloway said after the gathered media waited for well over an hour. “It’s not really the referee’s fault is it. It should be the bloke stood right where I was. The linesman. We’ve got professional referee’s but we haven’t got professional linesmen. I can’t believe he didn’t see it.”

And Holloway’s rant continued, as he revealed his discussion with the referee about the penalty decision.

“They’re [referee’s] always right aren’t they,” Holloway said. “I’ve got no problem with the referee. I don’t want to get into trouble. It’s my first game back. If you didn’t see a foul there, if you think this is sour grapes then fine.”

No matter what you think about Holloway’s comments post game, it was certainly surprising to hear him expressing his disappointment about his sides display. The former Blackpool manager, who played an attacking brand of soccer when the Tangerines were in the Premier League in 2010-11, conceded that his side will have to play more defensive to try and get wins this year.

Lacking in creative nous and pace, Holloway added that he wants to bring in new signings with attackers the main focus.

Holloway, typically, had a clever quip about that. “I’m going to try [and bring in signings] ask Mr. Wenger if he’s confident of getting some signings. It’s not easy for any of us, however much you’ve got.”

Whether or not Holloway can bring in much needed new faces remains to be seen. His side have plenty of defensive stability and commitment… But that will only get you so far in the Premier League.

Holloway wants belief and confidence from his players and he needs that sooner, rather than later.

AT HALF: Lletget, Bradley, Dempsey spur USMNT to 3-0 lead

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The United States men’s national team’s bid to recover their 2018 World Cup hopes is off to a flying start.

As it stands, the 3-0 halftime lead provided by Sebastian Lletget, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey has the Yanks up from sixth to fourth in the Hex table.

Sebastian Lletget scored a fifth minute goal to ease the tensions of the Avaya Stadium crowd in San Jose, though he’d leave the match with injury before the match was 20 minutes old.

Sloppy Honduran defending caused a turnover outside the 18, and Jozy Altidore played Christian Pulisic in on goal.

[ LIVE – Play-by-play via @USSoccer ]

Keeper Donis Escober got a piece of Pulisic’s shot, but no one followed Lletget to the back post and the ex-West Ham and current LA Galaxy man quickly put the Yanks up 1-0.

Then it was the captain who doubled the lead, as Honduras inexplicably gave him the room to walk across the arc of the 18 to rip a shot across goal. 2-0.

It was Clint Dempsey’s turn in the 33rd minute, after an otherworldly scooped pass from Pulisic.

What. A. Pass. Kid.

LINEUP

USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Brooks, Cameron; Bradley, Lletget (Bedoya, 18′), Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore.

Goals: Lletget (5′), Bradley (27′), Dempsey (33′)

LIVE – USMNT looks to right ship vs. Honduras

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The United States starts to make amends for its 0-2 start to the final round of World Cup qualifying with a match against Honduras on Friday in San Jose.

Losses to Mexico and Costa Rica cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job and Bruce Arena will try things differently

[ LIVE – Play-by-play via @USSoccer ]

Most importantly for Arena, Geoff Cameron and Tim Howard are available this time around.

Cameron starts at right back, with John Brooks and Omar Gonzalez in the center of the back four. Jorge Villafana slots into the mix at left back.

Captain Michael Bradley will sit atop the midfield, with Darlington Nagbe, Sebastian Lletget, and Christian Pulisic in the midfield.

Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore are the forwards. Kickoff is set for 10:55 p.m. EDT from Avaya Stadium.

Minnesota’s Molino lifts Trinidad and Tobago to big win (video)

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Minnesota United attacker Kevin Molino has given Trinidad and Tobago life in the race to win a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

Molino’s 37th minute goal gave hosts T&T a 1-0 lead against visiting Panama at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday, and the Soca Warriors held on to win its first points of qualifying.

Panama had a Luis Tejada goal controversially ruled offside as Los Canaleros nearly pulled their fifth point of the Hex. Panama faces the USMNT on Tuesday in Panama City.

[ WATCH: Zaha scores wonder vs. Russia ]

Molino fooled long time LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with a low shot across the body. The Panama backstop couldn’t get low enough or far enough with his dive to stop the shot.

The win has T&T in fifth place on the Hex table, behind Honduras on goal differential and three points ahead of the last place USMNT.

The U.S. needs a two-goal win to pass T&T, and a three-goal win to climb above Honduras.

WATCH: Zaha drives Russia nuts with mazy dribble goal

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Wilfried Zaha combined balance, deft touch, and breakneck speed to score his first international goal for the Ivory Coast.

With his side leading Russia 1-0 on Friday, the Crystal Palace winger worked his way through four defenders before burying his shot.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Zaha especially fooled with Ilya Kutepov, a harsh cut nearly tipping both to the field.

He’s just 24, and it seems much longer ago that he made his failed move to Manchester United in 2013.

Failed may be a rough verb considering it all contributed to making him the player he is for Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast today.