ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

1 Comment

Philadelphia just keeps climbing after another win under John Hackworth. Meanwhile, Portland drops to the bottom after conceding a five-spot at home. Here are Nos. 11-19 in the ProSoccerTalk’s weekly rankings countdown.

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

19. Portland Timbers – The bold managerial change is off to a bad start: No matter the opposition, giving up five goals at home is just brutal. (Portland fell to the L.A. Galaxy, 5-3.)

18. FC Dallas – The team went into Denver and left with its first win since April, a full 13 games back. David Ferreira’s presence makes a world of difference, especially to players like speedy winger Fabian Castillo; now, if they can just get Brek Shea straightened out.

17. Montréal Impact – Italian defender Alessandro Nesta can’t get on the field fast enough. You have to wonder if Montreal could have held the 1-1 draw Saturday at Philadelphia with an old hand like him around to steady the ship. (Philly scored on a last kick to take all the points.)

16. Toronto FC – Just when things looked so swell under Paul Mariner, the Danny Koevermans’ injury news land with devastating effect. The Dutch forward is out for the season with a serious knee injury picked up in Saturday’s win at New England. Ryan Johnson (pictured), you are on the spot.

15. Colorado Rapids – Goalkeeper Matt Pickens, whose team has lost five of six, including Saturday’s home setback against FC Dallas: “It’s pretty damn embarrassing. This is the toughest stretch I’ve ever been on as a soccer player. But you can’t do anything but get back on the field and keep working.”

14. Chivas USA – The Goats had a much-needed week off; Juan Pablo Ángel, Juan Agudelo and Nick LaBrocca are among the still-healing set. This week turns busy with a mid-week visit from Portland followed three nights later by the next L.A. SuperClasico vs. the Galaxy.

source: Getty Images

13. Philadelphia Union – Interim manager John Hackworth is making a great case to keep the job at season’s end, as Philly has won four of its last five. The latest was thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Carlos Valdes. Another error from young goalkeeper Zac MacMath nearly turned disastrous; it’s just what you get with young ‘keepers.

12. Columbus Crew – A loss in Ohio to Sporting Kansas City was Columbus’ second in a row and third in four matches. This week’s home match against D.C. United looms large. Dilly Duka’s second half entrance was a bright spot Saturday, at least.

11. New England Revolution – Saturday’s tough loss at home to Toronto snapped a five-game unbeaten streak. Jay Heaps’ team will try to regain the momentum this week at Montreal – but won’t do so without some better finishing. Three nights later, they are in Kansas City.

Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

Twitter/@talkSPORT
Leave a comment

WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.

The 2 Robbies podcast: PL sides in the UCL, Pulis sacking and more

Twitter/@SkyFootball
Leave a comment

In today’s Euro Pod Edition, the Robbies breakdown the latest Champions League action. Man United lose at Basel, Chelsea cruise at Qarabag, Spurs impress against Dortmund, Man City continue to win, Liverpool surrender a 3-goal lead against Sevilla. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Oumar Niasse ban for diving and the Tony Pulis sacking.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Europa League preview: Arsenal looks to wrap up Group H and more

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

While several teams have already booked their place in the knockout phase, the Europa League reaches its penultimate round on Thursday with many big matches in hand.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training ]

Of the two Premier League sides in the competition, only one will advance to the Round of 32, as Arsenal have all but assured themselves of the top spot in Group H. The Gunners can do so tomorrow with a win over Koln or a Red Star Belgrade defeat.

The other end of the spectrum features Everton, who has already been eliminated from reaching the next round after acquiring just one point in its first four matches.

European giants AC Milan can lock up a spot in the knockout phase on Thursday despite the club’s ongoing struggles in Serie A, while fellow Italian side Atalanta can move a step closer to the Round of 32 in Group E along with Lyon.

Here’s the full rundown of Thursday’s UEL matches.

Astana vs. Villareal — 11 a.m. ET
Konyaspor vs. Marseille — 1 p.m. ET
Rosenborg vs. Real Sociedad — 1 p.m. ET
Lazio vs. Vitesse — 1 p.m. ET
Viktoria Plzen vs. Steaua Bucuresti — 1 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv vs. Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit vs. Vardar — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Vitoria — 1 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Hertha Berlin — 1 p.m. ET
BATE vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Ostersund vs. Zorya — 1 p.m. ET
Koln vs. Arsenal — 1 p.m. ET
Nice vs. Zulte Waregem — 1 p.m. ET
Lugano vs. Beer-Sheva — 1 p.m. ET
Ludogorets vs. Istanbul — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Hoffenheim — 3:05 p.m. ET
AEK vs. Rijeka — 3:05 p.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Austria Wien — 3:05 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Apollon — 3:05 p.m. ET
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Slavia Praha — 3:05 p.m. ET
Sheriff vs. Zlin — 3:05 p.m. ET
Partizan vs. Young Boys — 3:05 p.m. ET
Skenderbeu vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:05 p.m. ET
Everton vs. Atalanta — 3:05 p.m. ET