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Player ratings from another head-shaking USMNT loss

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Forget the World Cup: The U.S. is getting waxed by CONCACAF.

The United States’ experimental lineup put forth very little to like in a 1-0 home loss to Costa Rica on Tuesday.

The Yanks were thoroughly out-played by Los Ticos, with very few clear-cut chances coming for the home side and Tim Howard under duress if not shots from the visitors.

[ MATCH RECAP: USMNT 0-1 Costa Rica ]

Who fared well? Not too many. Let’s dig into the sadness.

Starting XI

Tim Howard — 7 — He’s flat out better than Brad Guzan. Not saying we’re talking Confederations Cup if the plays Gold Cup — or even Saturday — but Tim Howard is your starting goalkeeper. Period. Shame he took a hiatus.

Tim Ream (Off 64′) — 8 — Perhaps the most effective Yank in a bad team first half, the steady Fulham man again impressed for his country.

Michael Orozco — 4 — It would’ve been hard not to look like an upgrade over Matt Besler after Saturday night, but Orozco struggled despite a few good tackles and recoveries. Work on the goal was poor.

Geoff Cameron (Off HT) — 6 — Nothing outstanding, nothing poor. Steady GC stuff.

Brad Evans — 7 — Saved a pair of goals and accounted for himself really well. Not a guy to help possession on the night, but baby steps.

Brek Shea (Off 73′) — 5 — Good free kick late in the first half, and was one of the few to play lively. If you can believe it, he — gasp — won a few free kicks himself with aggressive play.

Danny Williams — 2 — Looked rusty, giving the ball away in the middle of the pitch and having an all-around night to forget. Two might be generous.

Jermaine Jones (Off HT) — 4 — Screamed at Brad Evans at one point and picked up a yellow card at another, but mostly was average.

DeAndre Yedlin — 5 — Needs more playing time for club and country. Still a massive prospect but looks a bit out-of-control at times.

Gyasi Zardes (Off 73′) — 4 — You need someone to give you the ball to play well with it. Zardes barely saw it. Still needs to up his game to be the instant starter Klinsmann seems to think he has in the Galaxy man. 

Jozy Altidore (Off HT) — 3 — Really bad giveaway about 12 minutes in was his first true statement of the match. What happened to the guy who seemed to be putting it together ahead of World Cup 2014?

SUBS

Ventura Alvarado (On HT) — 4 — Beaten behind for the goal. Not a hero in distribution.

Bobby Wood (On HT) — 7 — Hey, a player with energy!

Mix Diskerud (On HT) — 5 —  Possessed the ball more than the first half center mids, but that’s not saying much.

Jonathan Spector (On 64′) — 5 — Nothing special on the night, but nothing horrific.

Andrew Wooten (On 73′) — N/A — Congrats on the debut kid.

Lee Nguyen (On 73′) — N/A — Works better as the focal point for a team, but does he have the quality to be an international focal point? At New England, it’s obvious.

Sir Alex’s son in trouble for saying he’d “shoot” refs

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LONDON (AP) It clearly runs in the family.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was known for having an explosive temper during his nearly 27 years at Old Trafford, and it seems he has passed it down to his son.

Darren Ferguson, who is the manager of third-tier English team Doncaster, is in trouble for saying he would “shoot” referees because of what he perceived as their poor standards.

Ferguson was charged by the English Football Association on Wednesday for remarks that “were improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.”

The 45-year-old coach has already apologized, saying it was a “tongue-in-cheek comment” and that “I do not advocate violence against officials.”

Ferguson was unhappy his team was denied a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Plymouth on Saturday.

“The referees are part-time and the standard is appalling, their fitness levels are a disgrace, I’ve had enough of it,” Ferguson said after the match.

“What can I do? Shoot them, it would be a good idea.”

Follow Live: Chelsea, Swans, Cherries in FA Cup replays

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Chelsea, Swansea City, and Bournemouth look to avoid upsets in replays of their third round FA Cup matches.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

All three matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

The Blues tangle with former Premier League peers Norwich City, this time at Stamford Bridge, in a bid to host a fourth round match with Newcastle United.

Antonio Conte‘s not messing around (too much) with the XI.

Swansea City and Wolves, meanwhile, are arguably battling for a bid in the fourth round, as a trip to Notts County is on the docket for the winner of Wednesday’s replay at the Liberty Stadium.

Bournemouth is at Wigan Athletic for a replay with the third-tier Latics, with the victor hosting West Ham United on Jan. 27.

Benevento captain Lucioni banned one year for doping

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ROME (AP) Benevento captain Fabio Lucioni has been banned one year for doping.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

Italy’s national anti-doping organization made the decision Tuesday after the steroid clostebol was found in a sample taken after Benevento’s 1-0 loss to Torino in September.

Benevento team physician Walter Giorgione was banned for four years for administering the steroid to Lucioni in a spray.

Both Lucioni and Giorgione plan to appeal.

The 30-year-old Lucioni joined Benevento in 2014 and the defender helped the team move from the third division up into Serie A this season for the first time.

Benevento is last in Serie A with only two wins in 20 matches.

The ban is back-dated to October, meaning Lucioni can return early next season.

Everton completes move for Walcott: “I’m dead excited” (video)

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Everton continues to supply its managers with top-end talent, adding Theo Walcott to its expensive season of boys which includes Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Cenk Tosun, Jordan Pickford, and Michael Keane.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

The deal is reported to be near $28 million for Walcott, who’s made only a half-dozen Premier League appearances this season but did nab three goals in five Europa League matches.

Walcott, 28, scored 108 goals in 397 appearances for the Gunners. His 19-goal campaign last season was his second-best — he scored 21 in 2012-13 — but Walcott dipped down Arsene Wenger‘s depth charge and is leaving to pursue regular football.

And his comments will be lapped up by the #WengerOut brigade at his now former club:

“The Club has won trophies but I want them to win trophies now. The manager is very hungry and it’s just what I need. I’ve had a couple of chats with him and straightaway I felt that hunger and that desire that he wanted from me. I need that and I wanted that

The move is another exciting one for Everton, which has underachieved under Ronald Koeman and now Sam Allardyce. And it’s another sale from Arsenal which gives pause: Are the underperforming Gunners going to regret the move?

In the 2005-06 season, Walcott made his Southampton debut in the Football League Championship at the age of 16, and moved to Arsenal the next season.

Walcott has eight goals in 47 caps for England, and won two FA Cups at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Montreal nabs Algerian DP ]

Here is a useful quote from Sam Allardyce:“His physical output is excellent, he would be one of our top players in that area as well, which will hopefully bring us a lot more excitement and more ability to get forward quicker and create.

And here is an utterly useless one: ““If you analyse his goal record, then we are looking at a player who contributes goals on a regular basis.”

You don’t say. To paraphrase: If you look at all his goals, he regularly scores goals. Here’s more from the player on his move.