NATAL, BRAZIL - JUNE 24: Luis Suarez of Uruguay looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil.

Luis Suarez makes CAS appeal, decision to come ‘next week’

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Luis Suarez’s plan to get back on the soccer pitch as soon as he can took a step forward on Friday as the Uruguayan forward gave evidence to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Suarez, 26, was banned for four months from any soccer related activity, plus nine matches for Uruguay, after biting the shoulder Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup. It was the third time in his career that he had bit an opposition player but Suarez has gone to CAS to launch an appeal against FIFA’s lengthy ban.

[RELATED: Suarez banned four months]

The Barcelona forward, who transferred to the Catalan club from Liverpool for a whopping $126 million earlier this summer, was told he should expect a decision next week.

If the ban is overturned it could see Suarez return for the beginning of the new La Liga season which begins in two weeks. The more likely outcome is that Suarez’s ban is reduced by a few months after he has apologized and stayed out of the spotlight since the incident occurred back in June. Despite FIFA President Sepp Blatter and even the man he bit, Chiellini, trying to defend Suarez’s actions and admitting the ban was harsh, it seems as though his appeal to CAS won’t bear much fruit.

Suarez’s hearing lasted for six hours on Friday as he tried to convince a three-man panel that his ban should be altered.

On Friday the international players union group, FIFPro, urged the court to ease the ban and to include rehabilitation, plus other conditions, in the sanction.

“The educative nature of the sanction mentioned by FIFA in the (disciplinary) ruling can be much better achieved by making it partially conditional, including the obligation for Luis Suarez to receive treatment.”

This is all well and good but since the event Suarez has shown little remorse about what happened.

His rather tame and pathetic “apology” was all we have publicly and the fact that he is using a personal trainer in the Pyrenees mountain range to get himself ready to play for Barcelona means he isn’t really suffering total exile. Yes, he is not allowed to meet or practice with his new teammates at Barcelona until October 25, but that’s the consequence when you bit another player.

Suarez needs to learn his lesson the hard way. FIFA’s ban should stand and he has to reflect on making changes rather than trying to worm his way out of yet another ban.

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.