Cardiff City v Stoke City - Premier League

Cardiff City 1-1 Stoke City: Tale of two penalties in fiery draw (video)

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Cardiff City drew 1-1 with Stoke City in the Welsh capital on Saturday, as the Bluebirds missed a great opportunity to draw level on points with teams outside the drop zone.

Stoke went ahead on the stroke of half time as Birthday boy Marko Arnautovic scored a penalty after Kim was harshly adjudged to have brought down Cardiff old-boy Peter Odemwingie in the box.

Five minutes after the break Howard Webb then awarded Cardiff a PK, as Steven Nzonzi fouled Fraizer Campbell in the box and Peter Whittingham scored the penalty to make it 1-1. Late on Stoke had all the play and the Bluebirds had ‘keeper David Marshall and the woodwork to thank for grabbing a point.

With the draw Cardiff are now on 30 points, just two points behind 17th placed Norwich, while Stoke remain in 10th place on 44 points.

(Premier League Roundup: Chelsea blow it, Swansea, Spurs and Palace win)

Early on Cardiff started brightly and Mutch was found in the box after a good run from Mats Moller Daehli, but Cardiff’s top scorer side-footed a weak effort straight into the hands of Asmir Begovic. In the 15th minute Stoke got going and a set piece from the right just evaded Peter Crouch at the back post, who argued he was being held by a Cardiff defender, as the Bluebirds defended stoutly to keep Stoke at bay.

Cardiff kept putting on the pressure as Mutch dragged an effort wide but Stoke came back into the match as former Cardiff striker Peter Odemwingie cut in from the right after a lung-bursting run and smashed a swerving effort in on goal that Marshall saved superbly to keep the game scoreless.

Just before half time Cardiff almost went in front as Whittingham curled a free kick up and over the wall from 30-yards out but Begovic tipped the effort wide of the post. Then, as first half stoppage time arrived, Stoke won a controversial penalty as former Cardiff striker Odemwingie went down easily in the box following a challenge from Kim. Referee Howard Webb took his time before pointing to the spot, as Arnautovic stepped up to score just his second goal in his last 23 appearances to put Stoke 1-0 up at the break.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Within five minutes of the restart Cardiff were level as Steven Nzonzi brought down Fraizer Campbell in the box. Referee Webb again took his time before making the decision, but pointed to the spot and Whittingham scored the PK to make it 1-1. That equalizer put Cardiff on the front foot as the home fans roared them on and in the 57th minute it looked like the Bluebirds had taken the lead. Begovic made a great stop from close range, then the ball hit the post and found its way back to Juan Cala who scored to send the home fans wild… but the goal was chalked off, correctly, as Cala was offside. Cardiff had Stoke rocking in South Wales.

The Potters then recovered and Stoke should have had a penalty midway through the second half as Cala wrestled Crouch to the ground off the ball during a set piece. The incident was waved away by the match officials, as a tense and fiery encounter unfolded with severla players shown yellow cards.

The away side did all the pressing in the second half as Odemwingie and Assaidi were both stopped by Marshall and Jonathan Walters smashed a late curling effort against the bar as the Bluebirds hung on for a point.

LINEUPS

Cardiff City: Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Cala, Fabio (John, 84′); Medel, Whittingham, Kim (Zaha, 60′), Mutch, Dæhli (Jones, 81′); Campbell.

Goal: Whittingham (50′)

Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters (Muniesa, 29′); Arnautovic (Assaidi, 78′), Nzonzi, Ireland (Walter, 85′), Whelan, Odemwingie; Crouch.

Goal: Arnautovic (45′)

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

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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.