Germany's defender Arne Friedrich is pic

The Top Ten in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

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It’s all going right for San Jose, which retains top spot in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS quality rearrangement:

(MORE: Nos. 11-19 in the weekly countdown are here.)

10. Vancouver Whitecaps – These are bold moves being made at BC Place, rearranging the offensive personnel as they are. Yes, the goal production needed a boost. But to rejigger a second-year club (so long, Davide Chiumiento and Sebastien Le Toux) that was en route to the playoffs? Looks mighty risky.

9. Seattle Sounders – No sooner did Alvaro Fernandez get forward to hammer home an important goal in the club’s 2-2 draw in New York than stories began to circulate of his potential departure or loan to Colombia’s Deportivo Cali. Fredy Montero came off the bench to net the second-half equalizer. He seems OK coming off the bench. For now.

8. Houston Dynamo – Hard to know what to make of Sunday’s big walloping of D.C. United, which had so much to deal with after going down a man midway through the first half. Will that 5-0 result be Geoff Cameron’s last match? (If so, it sure was a good one for him.)

7. Chicago Fire – The Fire has reason to be upset about defender Arne Freidrich’s ejection (and subsequent suspension). The man in the middle seemed to tag the wrong offender on the play in question. Still, Pavel Pardo’s pinpoint free kick and some good defending late got Chicago back in the win column after last week’s loss to Los Angeles.

6. Los Angeles Galaxy – The national TV ratings were strong for Saturday’s 5-3 win at Portland, and what a crackerjack match they saw. (Defense? Let’s go with “optional.”) David Beckham struck two beauties and Landon Donovan’s 100th assist left the U.S. international in very exclusive company.

5. New York Red Bulls – What you have to ask yourself about this team: Is holding serve acceptable while they get a little healthier? I say that Hans Backe’s boys are doing fine. Others may see a team that’s collected 6 of a possible 15 points lately and want more. One thing is certain: Kenny Cooper is doubly as effective when Thierry Henry is buzzing around. Then again, who wouldn’t be?

4. Real Salt Lake – Consider this troubling scene: You go on the road, facing a quality side, you lose an important player and get stuck behind the 8 ball with just 10 men. Things get away from you and before anyone knows it, you’re just some poor schmoe on the business end of a back alley beating. The Utah club fell hard at San Jose (5-0) and now faces rival Colorado without the suspended Kyle Beckerman.

source: Getty Images

3. D.C. United – That thing I just said about RSL, well, there’s a lot of it going around. Ben Olsen was upset that his team didn’t show more fight in a 4-0 loss to Houston. But, honestly, playing 70 minutes a man down in muggy Houston – that’s just never going to end well. United has lost two of three.

2. Sporting Kansas City – The boys of Livestrong are unbeaten in their last three after professionally nursing home a 2-0 win at Columbus. Isn’t this about where Sporting KC started gaining real momentum last year? Their tough week in Round 20 starts Wednesday in Houston.  Roger Espinoza (pictured), playing so well and perhaps SKC’s best midfielder this year, will miss as much as a month while on Olympic duty with Honduras.

1. San Jose Earthquakes – The big showdown with Real Salt Lake was a 1-0 match until the visitors went a man down. Chris Wondolowski (a hat trick gives him 17 for the year) and the rest of the Earthquakes took full advantage, running away with an eye-catching 5-0 result. After a little hiccup two weeks ago in Portland, it’s all going right once again with the boys from Buck Shaw.

EFL Cup Tues. preview: Spurs-Reds, plenty of non-PL participants

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Sixteen teams remain in the battle to clinch the Premier League’s first European place of next season’s tournament, and we have some tremendous battles on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday in the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup).

Today we focus on the 24 hours ahead of us, focusing on Tuesday’s five matches and allowing the Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, and Southampton-Sunderland to percolate a bit.

[ MORE: Finland’s “Leicester” gets it done ]

That’s not to say we don’t have a pair of giants dueling on Tuesday. Liverpool is three wins away from a return to the final, where the Reds fell in penalties last season. Standing in their way is Tottenham Hotspur, a deep squad which won’t have to worry much about a quick turnaround from Saturday.

That said, the Reds didn’t have to play at all last week, while this will be Spurs third match in a week. Spurs have been to the EFL Cup final thrice since 2008, and one of two teams (Chelsea) to make three finals this decade. Liverpool will start Simon Mignolet between the sticks.

The remaining four EFL Cup matches include at least one team outside the Premier League.

Arsenal will host USMNT midfielder Danny Williams and Reading.

— Hull City is off to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.

— Newcastle United is leading the Championship, and will get a visit from Preston North End in the first of two matches between the two sides this week.

— Norwich City will pay a visit to Elland Road and Garry Monk‘s Leeds United.

FC Dallas gave injured Mauro Diaz a home champagne shower (video)

FRISCO, TX - APRIL 12:  Mauro Diaz #10 of the FC Dallas controls the ball against the Seattle Sounders FC on April 12, 2014 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
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FC Dallas has two jewels of its triple crown all set, having claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

One of the key reasons the club was able to sustain its pace this season was Mauro Diaz, 25, who shone even as Fabian Castillo shockingly left the club before the stretch run.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

A River Plate product, Diaz gave FCD seven goals and 15 assists over 32 appearances before tearing an achilles tendon last week.

Diaz underwent season-ending surgery, but his teammates made sure he was a part of the champagne celebration by heading to his very nice-looking house for an early morning visit.

[ MORE: Pre-playoff power rankings ]


VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast