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?

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

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Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

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On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET