Southampton 4-0 Newcastle United: Rodriguez brilliant in commanding win (video)

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Jay Rodriguez was a world-class striker in Southampton’s 4-0 demolition of Newcastle United at St. Mary’s on Saturday, as his brace paced the Saints to a big win and eighth place in the table.

It was no Krul, no Remy, no Debuchy, plenty of problems for Newcastle in an embarrassing, at times listless, 90 minutes on the road. The club had no answers all afternoon as Southampton threatened at will and asserted itself as a bigger threat to move up the table; Southampton surpassed the Magpies for eighth place with the win, earning a two-point lead with 48 points.

Rodriguez nearly opened the game’s scoring in the eighth minute, getting behind Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to collect a tremendous long ball. He fired off the side of the net behind Rob Elliot. A couple minutes later, Rodriguez rose over the same defender but headed wide left again.

(MORE: Premier League Roundup: Chelsea slip up, Man United respond, relegation drama)

Southampton was largely in control of the first half and looked dangerous for the duration. Elliot made a jaw-dropping save just before halftime, when Rodriguez looked to tap home but the fully-extended keeper got pushed it aside.

Moments later, Southampton found its way to a 2v0 — or 1, counting Elliot — which ended with Rodriguez collected a FIFA-style side pass from Rickie Lambert to tap home. It was 1-0 at the half, and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew likely counted his blessings from the stands as he serves a touchline ban; The scoreline probably should’ve read at least 3-0.

The Saints doubled their advantage right after the break when Lambert darted past the Newcastle back line to tap in a lofted ball from Adam Lallana. It was 2-0 in the 49th and, with the way Newcastle was attacking, it looked hopeless for the visitors.

Lallana turned scorer as the clock hit 69, moving at will through open field to try a bending ball that tricked Elliot to leave this one all but finished.

Then, it was a goal post and save from Elliot that denied Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse within seconds, as 4-0 nearly arrived. Rodriguez found the fourth in the 90th minute, dancing around Mike Williamson in the six before firing home.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, S. Davis (Schneiderlin, 70′), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Gallagher, 90′), Rodriguez, Lambert (Ramírez, 83′).

Goals: Rodriguez 2 (45, 90), Lambert (49), Lallana (70)

Newcastle United: Elliot; Yanga-Mbiwa (Santon, 46′), Williamson, Coloccini, Haïdara; Anita, Tioté; Sissoko (Dummett, 79′), Ben Arfa (de Jong, 46), Gouffran; Cissé

CCL: Toronto wins; Wild Herediano comeback

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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On a single-digit Tuesday that severely limited the attendance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC dueled in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Jonathan Osorio’s second half goal put the Reds in front and Sebastian Giovinco had a goal and an assist and the visitors take a 2-0 decision back to Ontario.

The best chance of a preseason quality first half saw Dominique Badji flub the best chance of the stage into the feet of Alex Bono.

Toronto took the lead, nabbing the away goal through Osorio’s header of a Sebastian Giovinco cross. And the Atomic Ant got on the board with a goal of his own off an Auro assist with 17 minutes to play.

[ MORE: Georgia teen heading to Schalke ]

Tuesday’s other first leg saw Herediano and Tigres play to a 2-2 draw in Costa Rica, with the Liga MX visitors taking a pair of away goals but shocked by a pair of stoppage time concessions.

Francisco Meza scored in the 15th minute and Lucas Zelarayan seemingly put it to bed with 15 minutes to play.

But Yendrick Ruiz converted a 90th minute penalty kick before ex-DC United forward Jairo Arrieta did this ahead of the Feb. 22 second leg in Mexico.

Another American heads to Schalke: Zyen Jones

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Schalkamerica?

Bundesliga mainstays Schalke have added yet another American, this one 17-year-old Zyen Jones of Atlanta United. Jones is a forward with the U.S. U-17 national team.

Like Josh Sargent, who signed his deal with Werder Bremen on Tuesday, he’ll head overseas and sign a pro contract on Aug. 25, his 18th birthday.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Jones will join several potential USMNT teammates in Gelsenkirchen, including injured senior team midfielder Weston McKennie and youngster Nick Taitague (19). Forward Haji Wright is on loan at Sandhausen.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”