Kris Boyd

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.

Ronaldo shows no sign of injury while hanging with Conor McGregor

instagram.com/cristiano/
instagram.com/cristiano/
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Cristiano Ronaldo may not be ready for the UEFA Super Cup, but he’s no longer limping around.

To explore the Real Madrid superstar’s Instagram is to see Ronaldo, sometimes clothed, hanging out with celebrities.

In the last couple weeks we’ve seen him with Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, and now his “bro” Conor McGregor.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

Wait, what?

Yeah, Ronaldo is friends with the MMA star, and showed no ill form (and no brace of any kind) in several posed photos with McGregor.

Although admittedly, McGregor’s IG game is a bit better: The Irish fighter posted a photo of himself sunning in his briefs with the caption, “I’m gonna get him on the Forbes list by next year. But I’m gonna get him on the tan by next week.”

Good luck with both, bro.

Great to see you bro!!💪🏽🔝

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on Jul 24, 2016 at 3:48pm PD

Bruce pens letter to Hull fans: “Desperately wanted to make it work”

YORK, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Steve Bruce manager of  Hull City ahead of the pre-season friendly match between York City and Hull City at Bootham Cresent on July 23, 2014  in York, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
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Many Hull City fans didn’t want Steve Bruce to leave the club, and this open letter shows why.

After leaving the club by “mutual consent” on Friday — it was first widely reported that he quit — fans protested at Hull’s game on Monday.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

Bruce may’ve had his problems with Hull’s ownership, but he certainly got his supporters’ feelings right down to the core.

From the Hull Daily Mail:

My biggest regret is having to walk away but it was a decision I had to make for the sake of the club. The last 12 months have been very tough and it felt like the right step for the club to move forward in a different direction and with someone else in charge.

I desperately wanted to make it work this summer and be a Premier League manager again but, sadly, it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, I’ve left Hull City with some fantastic memories that I’ll always cherish, including just eight weeks ago in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Class from the longtime boss, and we imagine he’ll have a job very soon if he wants it.

Report: Everton to activate release clause of Stoke’s Arnautovic

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28: Marko Arnautovic (1st L) of Stoke City competes for the ball against Seamus Coleman (2nd L) and Gareth Barry (1st Rof Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Stoke City at Goodison Park on December 28, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images
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Everton is going to activate Marko Arnautovic‘s $16 million release clause to bring the Stoke City striker to Goodison Park, according to a report out of Austria.

Stoke had been trying to sign Arnautovic to a contract extension, but the player was reportedly prepared to play out the final year of his deal.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

The huge 27-year-old Austrian has been with Stoke since 2013, and broke through with 11 Premier League goals last season.

Arnautovic would give Everton support behind Romelu Lukaku, and insurance in case the Toffees do wind up selling their Belgian striker. Everton also has Arouna Kone as a potential target forward, but Oumar Niasse is expecting to leave after less than a year at Goodison Park.

Chelsea wins the League… of Hate; Bournemouth, Leicester not hated

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium on February 27, 2016 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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A family of English newspapers conducted its annual survey of which teams are the most hated in the Premier League, and there’s a new champion.

Manchester United has dropped to second in the table to Chelsea in what the Manchester Evening News called the “League of Hate”.

[ MORE: Rooney’s England position not set ]

According to the MEN, 10,000 fans were quizzed on their love and hate:

A national survey asked fans of each top flight club which sides they hate, and which they love, and the west London club came out as the most disliked club overall.

United, who won the dubious accolade last year, have been revealed to be the next most reviled side.

It’s no surprise that the league’s more successful sides sit atop the table while newer PL clubs like Bournemouth and Burnley are not reviled. That said, Leicester’s dream story has them 19th. How much more success do they need to have before shooting up the hate table?

Here’s the Top Five, and all results:

1) Chelsea
2) Manchester United
3) Liverpool
4) Manchester City
5) Arsenal