Southampton 0-0 West Ham: Home side clearly on top but no breakthrough in physical battle (Video)

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Southampton battered and bruised the visiting back line all afternoon in the rain and wet, but could not find a way through as the two sides played to a 0-0 draw at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

The Saints came oh-so-close on numerous occasions, but the experienced Jussi Jaaskelainen denied them time and time again to earn a point for West Ham.  Adam Lallana, Pablo Osvaldo, and Morgan Schneiderlin all impressed in front of their home fans but it was the 39-year-old keeper’s day.

West Ham begun by pressing the midfield and it worked for the first 10 minutes, not allowing Southampton to build a single play into the attacking third.  It only took the Saints until after those first 10 minutes, however, to settle in and begin to piece together attacks.

New striker Osvaldo had the first real chance of the game, and most certainly should have scored.  Jay Rodriguez worked the ball down the left edge of the box before cutting it back into the middle of the penalty area, where Osvaldo was waiting.  The Italian pounced with tons of space, but he struck his shot into the dead center of the net, and Jaaskelainen stood strong to save.

The wet pitch played a part as well in the 23rd minute as two West Ham defenders slipped and gave Rickie Lambert a chance. The English international touched to Osvaldo and then found space, and when Osvaldo passed it back he had an opening, but his shot towards the bottom left corner was weak and Jaaskelainen saved well again.

Southampton’s passing became more and more precise as the game built on, and it began to dishearten the West Ham midfield. A silly foul out of clear frustration brought out the game’s first yellow card to Mohamed Diame in the 29th minute.

source: Getty ImagesThings got a bit chippy before halftime, with Schneiderlin making a very hard, possibly studs-up challenge on Diame that angered West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, but referee Andre Marriner refused to show him any discipline.  A dangerous free kick for the Saints a few minutes later resulted in obvious offsides but the linesman failed to call it as Rodriguez’s header flashed over.

The second half proved just as physical as the first. Victor Wanyama fired a venomous shot from long range in the first five minutes of the period, but Jaaskelanian parried it over.

Southampton again had a glorious chance go awry when Osvaldo threaded through Lallana all on his own, but the midfielder’s first touch was too heavy and Jaaskelanian collected.  Minutes later Rickie Lambert rattled the post with a header off a corner.

Southampton got acrobatic in the 61st minute as they searched for the opener. Rickie Lambert fired a long ball forward for Jay Rodriguez on the right edge.  The 24-year-old Englishman then cut it back for Osvaldo whose original shot was blocked.  The ball popped up in the air, and Schneiderlin attempted a bicycle kick which was on target but only found Winston Reid’s head as he nudged it over the bar.

A yellow for Joey O’Brien in the 70th minute for a tackle from behind brought the teams towards their boiling points, but again referee Marriner let the offender off relatively easy.

James Collins nearly grabbed three sneaky points for the visitors in a moment of chaos in the Southampton box on the 84th minute.  The only bit of real West Ham pressure in the entire match saw the ball fall to Collins with acres of space but he blasted it well over.

The draw means Southampton’s impressive yet frustrating start to the campaign continues.  They have looked a quality team in all three of their previous matches, one each of a win draw and loss, but the results are clearly varied.  For West Ham, it’s a key point but they looked to lack any kind of stake in the game and going forward that may not fly against more consistent sides.

Lineups:

Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovern, Shaw (Chambers, 77′); Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Lallana (Ward-Prowse, 72′); Rodriguez, Osvaldo, Lambert.

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen; Demel (Rat, 62′), Collins, Reid, O’Brien; Diame, Noble, Nolan, Jarvis, Morrison (Taylor, 77′); Maiga (Vaz Te, 68′).

Rashford’s childhood hero played for USMNT (Take one guess)

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But can he grow a beard?

Manchester United attacker Marcus Rashford is known for his darting runs and clever finishes, but he grew up begging to get between the sticks with a lot of love for an American.

“Howard was my idol. I used to have a little Tim Howard shirt.”

[ MORE: Dempsey still wants USMNT role ]

Rashford said he’d ask his youth coach to allow him to play goal so he could mimic his hero, who at the time was the Manchester United backstop and now USMNT legend.

The 20-year-old was nine when Howard left Old Trafford, but it hasn’t changed his enjoyment for tending goal. Rashford joked that he’s got to be the choice to replace David De Gea in case of a post-sub emergency.

Watch Live: Watford vs. West Ham United

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David Moyes‘ first match in charge of West Ham United sees a striker change at Vicarage Road against testy Watford (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Andy Carroll will be up top, and Andre Ayew is hurt to boot.

Marco Silva leads Watford’s hosts with Adrian Mariappa, Christian Kabasele, and Miguel Britos at the back of a 3-5-2.

LINEUPS

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenía, Cleverley, Doucouré, Zeegelaar; Hughes, Richarlison; Gray. Subs: Karnezis, Prödl, Holebas, Capoue, Pereyra, Carrillo, Okaka.

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Obiang, Arnautovic, Lanzini, Carroll. Subs: Adrian, Masuaku, Rice, Fernandes, Quina, Sakho, Martinez.

Dempsey still happy to accept USMNT role (which is good)

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Clint Dempsey is tied with Landon Donovan for the most goals in USMNT history, and seems set to continue with the side in some capacity as he threatens to stand alone in American history.

[ MLS: Steve Bruce to Miami? ]

The 34-year-old striker spoke with Steve Zakuani on the Sounders’ web site (video below) and said he’s happy to accept continued call-ups should they arrive from USSF headquarters.

From SoundersFC.com:

“We’ll see what happens,” Dempsey said.” I mean, in terms of what I’ve been able to accomplish with the national team, I’m at peace with it. It’s not really about me. It’s about a group of guys that want to be moving forward.

“If there’s an opportunity that comes where you get to play a role and try to help and I’m feeling good and I’m playing well, then yeah, you’ll never say no. But you know, if the call never comes I’m still happy, still at peace, and focused on being here and trying to make the most of the time I have left.”

There are a number of players whose national team futures should be in question, but Dempsey is in a different class. No one has debated his motor or fuel, and his engine is still there (to complete the Springsteen-esque car comparisons, he remains one of the only things that qualifiers as chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and steppin’ out over the line).

If anything, he plays too close to the edge. That’s not something I see as one of the Yanks’ problems right now, so perhaps Dempsey needs to be viewed like Cuauhtemoc Blanco or Carlos Ruiz as a CONCACAF guy who’s around as long as he wants to be a part of it.

I mean, shoot, if Dempsey wants to keep passing the fire to Christian Pulisic and now Weston McKennie, there are far worse ambassadors for the program. He’s the most accomplished field player in recent history, and will be able to share so much when it comes to balancing club and country.

Heck, maybe he needs to be the late era Ryan Giggs of the 2018-2022 USMNT.

Beckham reportedly wants Steve Bruce in Miami

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He’s got the same initials as South Beach, you know?

Steve Bruce is being tipped to be the first manager of David Beckham’s Miami MLS outfit, according to The Sun.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup ]

It’s going to be some time before Bruce would have the opportunity. The 56-year-old former Manchester United star has Aston Villa in a Football League Championship promotion push, and Miami does not even have a start date for life on an MLS pitch.

Of course, managerial life tends to be short, so there’s no guarantee Bruce will have a job at any point during the build-up to Miami in MLS. And several expansion clubs have named their coach very early in the team building process (Jason Kreis and Bob Bradley amongst others).

Bruce on MLS’ parity-driven playing field, if not as one of the big spenders, would be intriguing to watch. He’s a terrific man motivator and has the connections to combine with Beckham to make something special happen in terms of personnel.