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.

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

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Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

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This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”