ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

Leave a comment

Portland has a little opening this week in its quest to get off rock bottom, a home date against Chivas USA. But for this week … still on the bottom. Here are Nos. 11-19 in  ProSoccerTalk’s weekly rankings countdown.

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

19. Portland Timbers – About the big managerial change: this thing is not working out very well. You really have to wonder where this team’s mind is? Interim manager Gavin Wilkinson called that weekend collapse down in Dallas (a 5-0 loss) “humiliating.”

18. Colorado Rapids – Goalkeeper Matt Pickens (pictured) just re-upped his deal at DSG Park. Otherwise, not much good to say about a team that has lost five in a row. That’s getting to be pretty disturbing total in a league of abundant parity; Losing streaks that go any further usually mean significant player or coaching upheaval.

17. FC Dallas – Is Lady Luck finally starting to look Dallas’ way? The Texans took advantage of Portland’s malaise, taking the Timbers behind the woodshed in that 5-0 beat-down referenced above. Now comes a home date vs. Los Angeles, which is without its top two players, David Beckham and Landon Donovan – quite convenient for Dallas.

16. Montréal Impact – The Impact’s home record doesn’t look much like something an expansion team could cook up, 6-3-2 after last week’s win over Montreal at Stade Saputo. So cheers to you guys for that. But 1-10-1 road mark: blek! New York comes to visit this week, and it looks like a fun one. Can we get that with a side of Alessandro Nesta, please?

15. Toronto FC – Does wily old MLS hand Paul Mariner know how to work a deal in this league, or what? He swiped Eric Hassli from Vancouver for a Canadian song, and now Danny Koevermans injury (unfortunate as it is) doesn’t look quite so devastating.

14. Chivas USA – Losing to L.A. last week had an extra sting; the Galaxy is ahead of Chivas for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Robin Fraser’s team is still hanging around, but at this point they probably have a better chance of reeling in Seattle than Los Angeles, where the DPs have all found their groove.

13. Philadelphia Union – The club has won three of its last five, but the latest test was a forgettable loss to the Red Bulls. Now that the All-Star game has come and gone at PPL Park, we can all go back to wondering about Freddy Adu and what his absence last week was all about.

12. New England Revolution – Saer Sene’s goal-scoring has fallen right into Boston’s Back Bay, and who knows if the divers can recover it? The Revs are winless in three matches, and this week’s trip into PPL Park, home to the much improved Union, doesn’t look like the best spot to upend a spiral.

11. Columbus Crew – Following two consecutive losses, the men in yellow surely needed last week’s three points against D.C. United. Dilly Duka was a first-half beast; his ability to stay healthy and remain in the lineup could be the difference in reaching the playoffs or watching the playoffs.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

@LAGalaxy
Leave a comment

Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.