West Ham United v Southampton - Premier League

Sam Allardyce slams officials after West Ham “taught a lesson” by Saints

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On Saturday West Ham United took an early 1-0 lead against Southampton. They threw it away and lost 3-1 after a shocking second half display.

Sam Allardyce’s men weren’t quite on top after a lackluster first half but they were ahead. The turning point of the game was Morgan Schneiderlin’s effort just before half time which made it 1-1 as the Hammers squandered their advantage with some sloppy defending.

[RELATED: West Ham 1-3 Southampton]

Saints totally dominated the second half as they bossed possession, had numerous chance to score and eventually banged in two more to seal a comfortable 3-1 win.

After the game Allardyce told reporters he was not happy with Mike Dean’s awarding of a corner, when it should have been a goal kick, in the lead up to Saints’s second goal. Here’s what ‘Big Sam’ had to say.

“We weren’t good enough. Southampton taught us a lesson, we weren’t sharp enough and didn’t retain the ball as well as they did, close down as well as they did and gifted them two goals. As much as they were in control and on top of the game we’ve lost two very stupid goals from set-pieces.

“The big problem I had with the corner [for the second goal] was that it was a goal-kick of course. I’ve had a look at it on the laptop and can the referee see it? Was he blocked and why didn’t he make the right decision? Having looked at it from Mike Dean’s position he’s got it horribly wrong when we don’t need it to go against us.”

Hammers fans will be upset that Allardyce has turned on the officials, when clearly his side weren’t at the races.

Allardyce’s complaints may be just, but Saints had earlier had a clearly legitimate goal chalked off for offside as the Hammers got away with one. Graziano Pelle tucked home at the back post when he was level with West Ham’s defense but the goal was called out for offside. Allardyce seems to have forgotten that fact as things, as they often do in soccer, eventually evened themselves out.

[RELATED: Song arrives at West Ham]

West Ham’s fans aired their displeasure throughout a tepid second half display, as the Upton Park faithful continue their vendetta against Allardyce and his style of play which is branded as ‘one-dimensional’ and ‘long-ball’ by many. In midweek West Ham lost on penalty kicks to League One Sheffield United and after a promising win away at Crystal Palace last weekend, Hammers fans seem to be on their managers back once again.

After a poor season last term where West Ham just about stayed up but failed to impress with their displays, you get the feeling, already, that Allardyce is on borrowed time in East London. That seems crazy to say three games into the current season, but being lambasted by his own fans is nothing new to the former Bolton manager.

He has been criticized for over two years and if his team put in a few more shocking displays like this, West Ham’s fans may get what they wish for. Allardyce out.

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.