Everton 0-0 West Brom: Lively match but nothing in goal (Video)

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It was a lively first half…for Everton, at least. By the end of the first 45 minutes, the home side no undoubtedly were hoping for one of those infamous Ben Foster howlers, but the West Brom defense was determined to stand strong. That was about all the Baggies were able to do, however. With Everton controlling the majority of the possession and remaining patient in the build up, West Brom were unable to really threaten Tim Howard’s goal.

Everton were probably also wishing Nikica Jelavic had been properly taught the offside rule, as the forward found himself repeatedly the subject of the whistle as he went toward goal. In the dying minutes of the first half, Jelavic very nearly put his header in the back of the net, but found himself denied by Foster, just seconds after West Brom kept out another header by Leon Osman. The Baggies stayed strong, though, and went into the second half tied 0-0.

Nothing changed in the second half, except perhaps the expression on Roberto Martinez’s face. The new Everton boss was visibly frustrated as his side tried in vain to put the ball in the back of the net. In total the Toffees had 22 shots, including 8 on target, but some sort of voodoo magic had been cast on the West Brom goal — or perhaps the Baggies were simply putting forth a solid defense.

Even Martinez’s double switch, bringing on Steven Naismith and Arouna Kone for Kevin Mirallas and Jelavic for the final 20 minutes, couldn’t rescue a win for his side. Naismith almost immediately set up a shot for Steven Pinaar, but again, West Brom was up to the challenge.

With more than ten minutes left to play, the Baggies suffered a setback when man of the match Ben Foster went down with injury, forcing substitute keeper Luke Daniels to come on in his place. That gave Marouane Fellaini his best chance of the match, with the Belgian beating Daniels in the 82nd minute, but Fellaini’s shot hit the post rather than the back of the net. Again, that voodoo.

Everton have picked up two points from their first two matches, while this goalless draw gives West Brom their first point of the campaign.

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Fellaini, Mirallas (Naismith 73), Barkley, Pienaar, Jelavic (Kone 72)

Subs not used: Robles, Heitinga, Deulofeu, Stones, Anichebe

West Brom: Foster (Daniels 78), Billy Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Dorrans, Long (Brunt 81), Rosenberg (Vydra 67)

Subs not used: Sinclair, Popov, Lugano,  Berahino

Goals: none

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.