ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings – Part II of III

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Who in the world would have recently predicted Sporting Kansas City would be a Part II side? They’ve been money as part of the weekly Money Shot all along!  Anyway, here’s 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. Montréal Impact – Things aren’t going badly at all for the expansion side, which is about a month from getting into its renovated stadium. Last week a Canadian pro soccer record 60,860 watched Montreal’s 1-1 draw at Olympic Stadium. The central defensive pairing that coach Jesse Marsch thought all along could be so strong, Matteo Ferrari and Nelson Rivas, is healthy and looking strong. It took a wonderful David Beckham free kick to breach the back line and snap the Impact’s shutout streak, which had advanced to 259 minutes.

11. Los Angeles Galaxy – David Beckham’s up-and-down season was back up in Montreal, where the Galaxy peppered the expansion hosts but ultimately split the points.  Beckham’s free kick goal was quite nice. Plus, it gives the L.A. players and staff something to talk about with Barack Obama as the team meets the President today.

10. Colorado Rapids – More wacky scheduling from the league: Colorado doesn’t play in Round 10 but now kicks off twice over four days, with travel in between. First up is a visit to Washington, D.C.  The Rapids are, at least, catching United at a potentially vulnerable time. “We know they played in a big emotional game on Saturday against Houston in the new stadium and had to travel back,” center back Drew Moor said. “We’re definitely going to look to take advantage of that, and we’ve had a little time off now.”

9. Vancouver Whitecaps – Everyone is entitled to a stinker. But the 4-1 loss at New England underscores a couple of points. First, when Vancouver’s defense isn’t up for the job, results just won’t be possible. Because the ‘Caps attack continues to under-produce. Second, when the team’s first-choice center backs aren’t available, bad things aren’t far away.

8. Chicago Fire – Frank Klopas’ men keep leaving it for late. Like Saturday’s thriller over Sporting Kansas City. This time it was Dominic Oduro (pictured) striking after the 80th minute in a 2-1 win, one that helps the Fire stay connected to the Eastern Conference leaders. Rafael Robayo is finding a comfort zone in the Fire midfield, which is good. Not so good is the hamstring injury to defender Arne Friedrich; the veteran’s ability to stay healthy will determine whether this risky signing works out.

7. Sporting Kansas City – Sporting Kansas City was the talk of MLS for 7 or 8 weeks for all the right reasons. Don’t make us label you “Talk of the MLS – for all the wrong reasons.” Saturday’s loss at Chicago makes it three “Ls” in a row, a truly unnerving turn after such a good opening sprint. And no matter what SKC manager Peter Vermes says about Roger Espinoza’s red card on Saturday, it sure looked like the Sporting midfielder was doing some head hunting.

Australian women beat US 1-0 in Tournament of Nations

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SEATTLE (AP) Tameka Butt scored in the 67th minute and Australia beat the United States for the first time in the 28-game series, 1-0 in the Tournament of Nations on Thursday night.

The Matildas also snapped the Americans’ four-game winning streak.

Just moments after Butt’s goal got past goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, Carli Lloyd blasted a cross from Megan Rapinoe at Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who made a fantastic save. Lloyd had another chance that sailed just over the net.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Japan and Brazil played to a 1-1 draw in the tournament’s opening game in the afternoon at CenturyLink Field.

Each of the four teams in the tournament is in the top 10 of the FIFA rankings. The top-ranked United States went into the game with a 25-0-2 record over the seventh-ranked Matildas.

Rapinoe, who plays for the NWSL’s Seattle Reign, had a good chance early on in the game but the Americans were unable to break through. Rapinoe has 12 goals to lead the NWSL in scoring this season.

The Matildas have been on the rise of the past several years, with quarterfinal appearances in both the 2015 World Cup and the Olympics last year.

Following the stop in Seattle, the tournament shifts to San Diego on Sunday before wrapping up in Carson, California, on Aug. 3.

U.S. Soccer is looking to host a Tournament of Nations each summer that there isn’t World Cup or Olympic competition.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.