Saints were charged on Tuesday for the unsavoury scenes that followed referee Mark Clattenburg’s decision to award a penalty for a Luke Shaw foul on Grant Holt. Artur Boruc kept out Holt’s subsequent spot-kick but Saints’ players continued to protest after the 0-0 draw and were joined on the pitch by manager Mauricio Pochettino. It is believed that Southampton, while accepting the charge, highlighted to the FA that such behaviour is not a regular occurrence and that it was the first time they had faced such a charge. Saints also pointed to the circumstances surrounding what they felt was an unjust penalty award by referee Clattenburg. Speaking before the charge was accepted, manager Pochettino said: “I don’t really feel bad about it because I had full respect for the referee. I went to speak with him and perhaps I should have waited until he came to the dugout to speak to him, but I was always on speaking terms. “That is the kind of person I am – a spontaneous person. I could be at fault a little bit for actually entering the field, but I must say I was on speaking terms with the referee. He spoke back to me and there was never anything above that. Perhaps I should have waited for him to come back to the dugout but I was defending the interests of my club and he was defending his job as well.” Southampton will want to quickly move on from the incident and have the perfect opportunity to do so when Liverpool come to St Mary’s. The match will see Pochettino come up against highly-rated Philippe Coutinho, who he worked with at Espanyol last season. Saints were reportedly interested in bringing in the 20-year-old midfielder during the January transfer window, only to be beaten to the signing by Liverpool. Pochettino was coy when asked whether he had tried to lure Coutinho to the south coast, but more forthcoming when asked about the quality of the player in line to start at St Mary’s. “What has happened in the past, happened in the past,” Pochettino said. “We can’t change it or do anything about it. Actually, talking about it is not going to do anything positive either. “Philippe is a Brazilian player and, as it happens with most Brazilians, he has a special magic in his feet. Aside from the magic that he has, he also has an amazing work rate and that makes us doubt whether he fits the mould of a typical Brazilian player or a European one because his work ethic is outstanding. What is important about him is he is a good lad, a good kid – a great, humble person.” Southampton have been fined £20,000 after they admitted a charge of failing to control their players following the awarding of a penalty to Norwich during last weekend’s match at Carrow Road, the Football Association has confirmed. Press Association
For a team that has faced three ranked teams in three consecutive weekends, hosting an unranked opponent might sound like a welcome respite. But the USC baseball team isn’t counting on any breaks this weekend when it hosts Oregon in a three-game series at Dedeaux Field.Finding a groove · After a strong start against Stanford, junior pitcher Andrew Triggs aims to give USC another solid performance on the hill. – Mannat Saini | Daily Trojan “Oregon can play,” said USC interim coach Frank Cruz. “They’ve been having a bit of a disappointing season, so we expect them to come out strong.”It hasn’t quite been the season the Ducks (16-14, 1-5) were hoping for.In just its third year as a Division-I program, Oregon entered the season ranked No. 14 in the country. The Ducks went 15-9 in nonconference play, but Pac-10 play has not been so kind to them.They were swept by then-No. 5 Arizona State to start conference play, then dropped their first two games last weekend to Washington (10-20, 2-4). Oregon is currently mired in a five-game losing streak, during which it has scored only six runs.“We know better than to take [Oregon] lightly,” Cruz said. “They can pitch right up there with anyone.”The stage is certainly set for some old-fashioned pitchers duels this weekend, as it is the Ducks pitching that defines them.Tonight’s starter, Tyler Anderson, is rated the No. 22 prospect in the country by Baseball America. The junior lefty is 4-1 with a 1.70 ERA in eight starts this year. Opponents are hitting just .193 against him, but perhaps most impressively, he has struck out 65 hitters in 85 and one-third innings while walking just 19.It won’t get any easier for the Trojans (13-9, 4-5) on Saturday. Oregon starter Madison Boer has a 1.87 ERA, and an opponent’s batting average of just .199. Sunday’s starter Alex Keudell has an ERA of 3.00 and an opponent’s batting average of .230.The Ducks pitching staff has an ERA of 2.83. They average more than one strikeout per inning and opponents are hitting just .225 against them.“It should be fun,” said junior pitcher Andrew Triggs. “Both staffs are coming off some pretty decent weekends, and it’s always more fun to pitch in close games.”Triggs went seven solid innings a week ago against Stanford, and the junior seems to be finding his rhythm.He was shown up, however, by junior Austin Wood on Saturday and senior Logan Odom on Sunday.Wood went eight-plus against the Cardinal, allowing just one unearned run while striking out eight in a dominating performance. Odom followed that up the next day with seven shutout innings, also fanning eight Stanford hitters.Odom has been the Trojans’ best pitcher this year with an ERA of 3.06 and an opponent’s average of .202. The team will look to him as an anchor Sunday.“He’s been like a rock this year,” Cruz said. “But seriously, he’s led by example. He’s been our most dependable pitcher and even when he’s not pitching, he’s still very involved in the game, helping people out.”As is often the case in games featuring great pitchers, getting a lead early will be crucial, especially given the Trojans’ history. The Trojans are 10-4 when scoring first this season, and just 3-15 when conceding the first run.“We battle back well,” Cruz said. “But obviously it’s easier if we just hop out in front.”Tonight’s game begins at 6 p.m.