ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

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

19. FC Dallas – Dallas desperately needed to take four of six points, at the very least, from two home matches last year. But just one goal scored meant two draws, and the Western Conference’s last-place team will surely rue the missed opportunity. At least David Ferreira is back on the field.

18. Portland Timbers – The John Spencer era is over. One question about all this: if the Timbers aren’t going to make a hire until after the season, as it appears, why make a move now? What, exactly, is the purpose of having an interim manager for half the season, especially when playoffs are still in sight?

17. Toronto FC – Things were going so well under Paul Mariner, but a solid thumping at Philadelphia brought things down. Danny Koevermans failed to score for the first time in five games.

16. Montréal Impact – Things are suddenly looking bright and sunny at Stade Saputo after a recent run of yukky performances.  Alessandro Nesta (pictured) is in training and headed toward his MLS debut. Meanwhile, the team rallied from a goal down with two late goals in a win over Columbus.

15. Philadelphia Union – A week of massive accomplishment for John Hackworth, who has the Union playing with a lot of confidence. The result is a win at Los Angele and a solid 3-0 clobbering of Toronto FC back in Philadelphia. Players performing at top rev at the moment: Michael Farfan and Freddy Adu.

14. Chivas USA – The Goats applied pressure aplenty on Vancouver, which needed heroic goalkeeping from Joe Cannon to hold the game to a scoreless draw. Still, if Robin Fraser’s men are to make some progress in the standings, they simply must do better at home. Amazingly, Chivas USA has just five goals in 10 homes matches.

13. Colorado Rapids – Lots of talkers around camp Rapids: they came close to equalizing at the end of a loss to Seattle; Brian Mullan and Steve Zakuani created some closure on their shared, regrettable episode; trusty fullback Kosuke Kimura went to the Timbers for allocation money and an international player slot, and; international reinforcement appears to be on the way. Martin Rivero was strong in the Seattle loss, but he blew a golden opportunity late.

source: Getty Images

12. Columbus Crew – Things looked good after 75 minutes for the Crew to scoop up a big three points on the road. It wasn’t pretty, but three points is three point. Alas, Robert Warzycha’s men threw it away, allowing two late goals for Montreal. Andy Gruenebaum (pictured right) wasn’t among the MLS All-Stars picked by fans (and announced Sunday), but he’ll surely be one of Ben Olsen’s picks this weekend.

11. New England Revolution – Constant pressure finally paid off as New England undressed New York, once again, at Gillette Stadium.  Lee Nguyen keeps finding ways to influence matches, while newly signed DP striker Jerry Bengtson debuted with a scrappy little goal. Meanwhile, Matt Reis’ benching seems to have flown slightly below radar; it was a bold call from manager Jay Heaps.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.