Mohamed Diame

West Ham 3-0 Fulham: Hammers heap more misery on Jol after emphatic win (video)

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You could hear the huge sigh of relief around Upton Park on Saturday, as West Ham United clinched their first home win since the opening day of the season with a resounding 3-0 victory against Fulham.

An even first half saw both teams battling for their lives but just after the break West Ham went ahead as Mohamed Diame’s deflected effort sent Marteen Stekelenburg the wrong way. Fulham tried to get back into the game but two goals in the final 10 minutes from substitutes Carlton Cole and Joe Cole sealed the win for the Hammers and condemned Fulham to their sixth straight loss in all competitions.

This latest defeat could spark the end of Martin Jol’s time in charge of the Cottagers, as Fulham remain in the drop zone on 10 points and are now three points adrift of safety. West Ham move up to 15th with the win and have 13 points from their 13 game so far.

The Hammers started the game well and put Fulham on the back foot as a raucous home crowd saw their side dominate possession.

Adel Taarabt went on a jinxing run from inside his own half after five minutes and Darren Bent almost got in on goal for the Cottagers who looked content to attack on the break.

West Ham came extremely close to taking the lead after 10 minutes as Mark Noble’s cross found Modibo Maiga who saw his header deflected onto the post and out to safety. Then in the 18th minute another good cross from the right found James Collins unmarked in the six-yard box but the West Ham defender headed wide.

Wave after wave of West Ham attack then piled forward as left-footed winger Stewart Downing cut in from the right and drilled a low shot on target that Stekelenburg saved well. For the rest of the first half a battle ensued as both struggling sides looked to gain an advantage by winning the midfield battle. That resulted in five yellow cards being brandished as passion, commitment and late challenges ruled the rose.

Just before the break came another golden chance for the Hammers as Matt Jarvis found Kevin Nolan with a delightfully chipped pass to the back post and the West Ham skipper swiveled and acrobatically smashed a volley in on goal that Stekelenburg saved.

source: Getty Images
Joe Cole jumped off the bench to seal the win as West Ham impressed in the second half.

After the break it took just over a minute for West Ham to take a 1-0 lead as Diame scored his first goal since April as his effort on goal was horribly deflected by Fernando Amorebieta and into the back of Fulham’s net. Those are the type of things that happen to you when you’re down the bottom as Jol’s side will bemoan their bad luck.

But that goal sparked Fulham into life and Patjim Kasami almost got in around the back after Bent’s knock down found the Macedonian who spurned the chance to put the Cottagers level.

West Ham had a good chance to make it 2-0 but Downing smashed his effort instead of going for placement and a barrage of corners midway through the second half saw the home side push for an all-important second goal. But Fulham almost caught the home side napping as a sloppy giveaway allowed Kasami to send a snapshot towards goal which flew inches past Jussi Jasskelainen’s left post.

Two late goals sealed the win as Sam Allardyce’s substitutes worked their magic as the two Cole’s both grabbed a goal.

In the 82nd minute Carlton Cole stabbed in at the back post after Downing’s great cross after the big striker had only been on the pitch for 55 seconds. Cole’s fellow sub, Joe Cole, then finished off the scoring as he tucked away the Hammers third goal following great work from another second half sub Ravel Morrison.

West Ham had only scored nine goals all season before this match but banged in three when it mattered to condemn the Cottagers to yet another demoralizing defeat.

LINEUPS

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, McCartney, Nolan (Morrison, 77), Tomkins, Jarvis (Jarvis, 68), Maiga (Cole, 81), Noble, Collins, Demel, Diame, Downing

Goals: Diame (46), C. Cole (82), J. Cole (86)

Fulham: Stekelenburg; Zverotic, Hughes, Amorebieta, Richardson (Dembele, 83); Duff (Ruiz, 65), Sidwell (Karagounis, 78), Parker, Kasami; Taarabt; Bent

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

NYCFC
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.