ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

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Toronto keeps its spot at the bottom, but for how much longer? New manager Paul Mariner seems to have the Reds moving in the right direction. Here are Nos. 11-19 in the ProSoccerTalk’s rankings countdown.

(Nos. 1-10 are on deck …so check back)

19. Toronto FC – Signs of life? No wins to report during Paul Mariner’s second and third matches in charge along Exhibition Place. But no losses either!  The Reds did cough up two-goal leads in both Round 16 contests, but a draw at Houston and at home against New England does represent progress.

18. FC Dallas – Dallas dominated Chivas USA at home but failed to find the goal in a 0-0 draw – in a match the home team absolutely had to have. Brek Shea was back from injury and represented Dallas’ best threat.

17. Philadelphia Union – Things are looking up at PPL Park, where interim coach John Hackworth hit the right buttons in a 4-0 win over Sporting Kansas City. Yes, a 4-0 win, the second four-goal margin in the club’s brief history.

16. Portland Timbers – Did head coach John Spencer rescue his employment with a massive win over rival Seattle? Only owner Merritt Paulson could say for sure. Either way, goals by Kris Boyd (pictured) and David Horst helped make things temporarily right in Portland as the Timbers made memories with a win over rival Seattle.

15. Chivas USA – Robin Fraser’s men quietly made headway in the Western Conference standings last week, winning at home over Montreal and earning a draw on the road. The problem is that Los Angeles made a little more of it.

14. Colorado Rapids – Rapids defender Drew Moor, after his team let one get away as San Jose scored two late to smite the home team: “I’ve been here for a little bit now, and this one stings as much as any loss I’ve ever had. It has nothing to do with coaching, tactics, formations, it’s just guys digging deep on the field and grinding out results.”

13. Montréal Impact – Jesse Marsch’s team has won two of its last three, including worthwhile wins over Seattle and Houston at Stade Saputo. Saturday’s 4-2 margin over the Dynamo may have been the team’s last match without newly signed Designated Player Marco Di Vaio, who looks ready to go Wednesday at home against Toronto. That’s exciting stuff.

12. New England Revolution – Jay Heaps’ men fell behind early but came roaring back at Toronto. Chris Tierney’s stoppage time header helped rescue a point – not a bad result, at all, considering the Revs were without top man Shalrie Joseph. Benny Feilhaber came on strong, late in this one.

11. Columbus Crew – The men in yellow had a man advantage for the last half hour at Chicago but couldn’t overcome an early deficit. They’ll need to correct some of the hurtful sloppiness with Real Salt Lake coming in town this weekend.  If every Crew starter can be as productive as midfielder Tony Tchani (perhaps his best outing yet in Columbus), things will improve quickly.

Klopp talks politics: “Brexit makes no sense”

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Jurgen Klopp isn’t a fan of Brexit and he doesn’t care who knows it.

Liverpool’s German manager has spoken in the past about his disdain towards the vote by British citizens to leave the European Union, with Brexit officially planned for March 2019.

Klopp sat down with the Guardian to chat about a whole host of topics but it was his political views which will get the headlines ahead of Liverpool’s huge UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg against AS Roma at Anfield on Tuesday.

The man who has Liverpool on the cusp of reaching a major European final and comfortably in the top four of the Premier League also admitted that he has a “helping syndrome” and wants to help out everyone and he cares about them greatly.

It is worth letting the words speak for themselves when it comes to Klopp’s comments on Brexit as it is clearly something else he cares a lot about.

Take it away, Jurgen…

“When Mr [David] Cameron had the idea [of a referendum] you thought: ‘This is not something people should decide in a moment.’ We are all influenced by the way only some of the argument is given, and once the decision is taken nobody gives you a real opportunity to change it again. The choice was either you stay in Europe, which is not perfect, or you go out into something nobody has any idea how it will work.

“So you give people the chance to make this big decision. And then it’s a 51-49 [51.9%-48.1%] vote and you’re thinking: ‘Wow, 49% are not happy with the decision that’s going to change the country.’ For the 51%, I’m sure they realized pretty early after the vote: ‘What have we done?’ The two leaders of the leave campaign then stepped aside. It was a pure sign they were surprised themselves by the vote. OK, that can happen. But then, come on, let’s sit together again. Let’s think about it again and let’s vote again with the right information – not with the information you’ve got around the Brexit campaign. They were obviously not right, not all of them. It makes no sense at all.”

“The EU is not perfect but it was the best idea we had. History has always shown that when we stay together we can sort out problems. When we split then we start fighting. There was not one time in history where division creates success. So, for me, Brexit still makes no sense.”

VIDEO: Napoli fans celebrate Juventus win

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It is safe to say Napoli’s fans were pretty happy with the 1-0 win their team secured at Juventus on Sunday.

Kalidou Koulibaly powered home a header in stoppage as Napoli moved just one point behind Juventus, who sit top of the Serie A table, with four games to go. The title race is well and truly on in Italy.

The scenes across Naples after the game were incredible and when the players arrived back at the airport at around 3 a.m. local time they were greeted by thousands of adoring fans.

Take a look at the video below. Wow.


Preview: Everton v. Newcastle

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  • Everton have won seven of their last eight games v Newcastle
  • Newcastle have won four PL games in a row
  • Wayne Rooney has more goals (15) against Newcastle than any other PL team

Everton host Newcastle United on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Toffees and Magpies both setting pretty in midtable.

[ LIVE: Stream every PL game

The Toffees sit in ninth, with Newcastle in 10th and just one point behind Everton with a game in hand. Rafael Benitez has been lauded for taking his newly-promoted side into the top 10 with defensive solidity, while Sam Allardyce has been lambasted for a defensive style of play despite getting Everton out of a relegation fight following his appointment back in November.

In team news Everton have Mason Holgate and Gylfi Sigurdsson out injured, while Newcastle will be without Christian Atsu but Islam Slimani could make his first start.


What they’re saying 

Sam Allardyce on the job Rafael Benitez has done at Newcastle: “From a difficult period they have managed to recover and get in the Premier League and they have turned it around. They have put together a run of games and we’ll see a better Newcastle than we saw up there [when Everton won 1-0 in December]. Rafa has progressed very well. He has always expressed his disappointment with not enough funds – we can all say we don’t have enough funds. What he has managed with the funds he has, particularly in the January months, has been excellent.”

Rafael Benitez on his Newcastle future: “I want to win games and I want to win trophies and I want to have the tools to be capable of competing. At the same time. I like to improve players, coach players, follow a business plan, a realistic business plan in modern football. I have no problem with that because I did it in the past.”

Prediction
Two teams who are very similar in terms of their style of play should see a bit of a stalemate take place at Goodison. 1-1 draw, which is a much better result for Newcastle and will pile more pressure on Big Sam.

Paul Pogba: “Transfers are not in my head”

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Paul Pogba has been discussing his future at Manchester United beyond this season.

The Frenchman delivered a stunning assist in United’s 2-1 win against Tottenham in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday, with the midfielder now named Man of the Match in each of his last two games after plenty of speculation about his future at United in recent months.

Jose Mourinho left Pogba out of his starting lineup on multiple occasions, while Pep Guardiola claims he was offered to buy Pogba in January and speculation about him joining Paris Saint-Germain, going back to Juventus or heading to Real Madrid continue.

Speaking to French outlet Canal Football Club, Pogba had the following to say about his own future.

“Right now, I am at Manchester United and I am honestly only thinking about the present. Transfers are not in my head. We are in the [FA] Cup final and the World Cup is around the corner,” Pogba said.

Pogba also addressed the rumors regarding his relationship with Mourinho with reports stating that the duo do not get along and United’s manager is fed up with the Frenchman’s attitude off the pitch.

“I don’t have a problem with him, and I don’t think he has a problem with me,” Pogba said. “He’s the coach and he has to make choices. I am a player and I accept them. I have to answer on the pitch.”