Colorado Rapids v Philadelphia Union

ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings – Part II of III

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The mid-pack bunch (Nos. 12-7, counting down) in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS quality rearrangement. (Part I, a.k.a. the “Money Shot” is on deck … ):

12. New England Revolution – The Revs came very close to pulling four points from a road swing out West. As it was, a win over Los Angeles and a gutting, last-second loss to FC Dallas is still plenty for Jay Heaps’ side to build on. But build they must; it will be important to retain some of that April momentum at home this week against D.C. United. The meeting features the league’s two youngest coaches.

11. FC Dallas – Will there be a more important goal at FC Dallas Stadium this year that Ugo Ihemelu’s stoppage time rescue effort last week? It gave Schellas Hyndman’s team a 1-0 win over New England and, more importantly, supplied his club a little breathing room while trying to remove some of the road blocks that keep popping up. Montreal comes in this week, so there’s a big chance to put together an early little streak.

10. D.C. United – In another day, a scoreless draw at home might have been a big ol’ honkin’ deal around RFK, with players-only meetings and red-faced bluster about “not fighting for the shirt” and all that. But splitting the points with Seattle, as Ben Olsen’s crew did last week, is clearly just a misdemeanor offense now. Truly, four points from consecutive matches at home rates “acceptable” at most addresses. Daniel Woolard looks increasingly comfortable at left back.

9. Chicago Fire – Assessments can be made of most teams after five rounds. But Chicago? Tough to say. Frank Klopas’ men opened with a draw at Montreal, followed by hanging on against winless Philadelphia and never really looked threatening in a loss at Colorado. Even this week’s meeting against suddenly depleted Houston can’t tell us too much – unless Houston finds a way to steal a point (or all three). That would say a lot.

8. Vancouver Whitecaps – Well, that long shutout run to open the 2012 season was exciting wasn’t it, going four games and change? But it all came apart as San Jose stuck three past Joe Cannon and Co. at Buck Shaw Stadium in Round 5. Still, the sophomore club is in dandy shape, with 8 of a possible 15 points. And don’t forget, this is all before Barry Robson shows up (this summer) to help stabilize the midfield.

7. Colorado Rapids – ProSoccerTalk is no fan of moving good players into lesser familiar roles. So it was with Drew Moor (pictured), a quality MLS center back, being asked to man a midfield position. Why marginalize talent? But it’s early, experiments can be made with no long-term effect – and last week’s 2-0 loss to rival Real Salt Lake will be so much water washed back into the Colorado River soon enough. That was just an experiment, right?

USA 4-0 Panama: United States top Group A

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 01:  Jordan Morris #9 of the USA celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 1st minute of the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying match against Canada at Sporting Park on October 1, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The United States U-23 team exploded for four goals in the second half to down Panama 4-0, as the U.S. finish atop Group A in Olympic qualifying with a perfect three wins from three matches.

They advance to the semifinals, where they will face either Mexico or Honduras.

Thanks to a 2-2 draw between Canada and Cuba earlier in the evening, the U.S. had already clinched the top spot in Group A before this match began. With the United States’ win, Canada also advances into the semifinals as the second-place team.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

The U.S. had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 11th minute, but Panama goalkeeper Elieser Powell made a higlight-reel save on Gedion Zelalem. Maki Tall moved in and fired a low shot on goal, forcing Powell to dive down and make a stop. The rebound rolled right out to Zelalem, who had the whole goal in front of him, but somehow Powell reached to get a hand on it, deflecting the shot over the bar.

Tied 0-0 at halftime, Andreas Herzog made some adjustments to his lineup, bringing in Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter for Tall and Zelalem. The substitutions paid immediate dividends, as the United States jumped out to a three-goal lead within minutes.

[ MORE: Donovan believes Klinsmann should be fired if USMNT loses to Mexico ]

In the 51st minute, Gboly Ariyibi’s cross took a deflection off Fidel Escobar and into the net, ruled an own goal on the Panamanian defender.

Two minutes later, substitute Jerome Kiesewetter took a pass from Luis Gil and fired a right-footed shot from a tight angle to the far post, doubling the United States’ lead. It was a very clean finish from the German-born Stuttgart product.

Three minutes after scoring a goal, Kiesewetter grabbed an assist as he combined with fellow substitute Jordan Morris to make it 3-0. Kiesewetter ran down the right wing and played a low cross in, where Morris tapped home his third goal of the tournament.

Kiesewetter continued his stellar half, blowing by a defender before doing well to draw a foul in the box. Luis Gil stepped up to the spot and buried the penalty, as the U.S. went 4-0 up in the 71st minute.

With the result, the United States heads into the semifinals with a +11 goal differential, outscoring their opponents 13-2 in the group stage. A win in the semis would guarantee the U.S. a spot in the 2016 Olympics.

Bayern, Germany legend Gerd Muller suffering from Alzheimer’s

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY  01:  Gerd Muller during a media event discussing the Golden Boot comptetition in the FIFA 2010 World Cup held at the adidas Jo'bulani Central in Sandton Convention Centre on July 1, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Dominic Barnardt/Getty Images for adidas)
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Bayern Munich has confirmed that legendary goalscorer Gerd Muller is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Muller’s 70th birthday is in November, and the club published a statement that no celebrations would be held due to his ongoing treatment.

One of the greatest strikers to ever play the game, Muller scored 525 goals during his 15-years with Bayern, the most in club history. Karl Heinze-Rummenigge is Bayern’s second leading goalscorer with 218 goals.

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Rummenigge currently serves as the club’s director, and spoke about Muller’s legacy.

Gerd Müller is one of the all-time greats of world football. Without his goals, Bayern Munich and German football would not be what it is today.

There will probably never be another goalscorer like Gerd, yet despite all his successes, he was always very humble and reserved, which particularly impressed me.

He was a fantastic team-mate and is a friend. Gerd will always enjoy a place in the Bayern family.

After he ended his playing career, he brought his experience as a coach of youngsters to the club, helping define the likes of world champions Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller, and we are also grateful to him for this.

Muller won the Golden Boot at the 1970 World Cup with ten goals, helping West Germany to a third-place finish. That same year he won the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, and helped the West German team capture the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974.

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He is one of the top scorers in German national team history with 68 goals, second only to Miroslav Klose’s 71. However, Muller reached 68 goals in just 62 caps, while it took Klose 137 appearances to reach his mark. His 14 World Cup goals are third all-time to Klose (16) and Ronaldo (14).