Philadelphia Union v DC United

ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)


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

19. Toronto FC – Woe is the team that cannot win over Portland at home. TFC managed only a draw with Portland at BMO Field.  Darren O’Dea looked good  in his TFC debut, but his entrance into the center of the defense wasn’t enough in a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City.

18. Portland Timbers – Owner Merritt Paulson is feeling the heat (yes, even more of it than before) over his ongoing support for manager Gavin Wilkinson, who did have a pretty good week. Unfortunately, a draw and a close loss on the road qualifies as a “good week” these days for the beleaguered Timbers, who are winless in their last eight. At least there’s a rivalry match this week; Vancouver comes to Stumptown.

17. Colorado Rapids – Yes, Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy had a lot to say about this one, with more of his good work helping contain the Rapids in a 1-1 draw outside Denver. If they have a big run in them, this weekend’s match is a pretty hard place to start one; Oscar Pareja takes his team into San Jose to meet the current league leaders.

16. New England Revolution – It’s all about 2013 now around downtrodden bunch from Gillette Stadium. Maybe that’s why Benny Feilheiber started on the bench for last week’s 2-1 loss to Chicago.  A controversial penalty kick called against the Revs highlighted that one.

15. Philadelphia Union – A 1-1 draw at D.C. United has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Philadelphia was quite good in the first 45 and then just barely good enough after the break. Danny Cruz (pictured above) started and had a useful outing before needing to be relieved midway through the second half. He already looks like a nice addition around PPL Park.

14. Chivas USA – Juan Pablo Angel, now coming off the bench, struck at DSG Park as Chivas stole a point out of Colorado. A big mistake from newly arrive Shalrie Joseph put the Goats in a hole. Robin Fraser’s team is 7th in the West now, having been lapped by Dallas last week. Thing to remember about Chivas: they have four or five games in hand over most of the teams it is chasing in the Western Conference playoff race.

13. Vancouver Whitecaps – Barry Robson was pulled off the available list less than 24 hours before kickoff in Seattle. Tsk, tsk, MLS.  Would the Scottish midfielder have made a difference Saturday? We’ll never know; Sounder by 2-0 in that one. Robson didn’t help much in the Whitecaps’ loss at home to Dallas three nights earlier. That’s the same Dallas side that is now five points south of Martin Rennie’s team for the final playoff spot.

12. FC Dallas – What Montreal has done in the East, FC Dallas is doing in the West – even if the side from Texas is behind the curve. Dallas is 5-2-2 lately with David Ferreira in the starting lineup. Imagine if they can ever get Blas Perez back on the field. George John’s big play in the back has been overlooked in all the hubbub over Ferreira’s return and Brek Shea’s enlivened play. The question, of course, is this all too late?

11. Montréal Impact – Jesse Marsch for mayor of Montreal? Of course, it’s really about the players. Patrice Bernier keeps scoring and setting up others and Marco Di Vaio just hit another one as he gets his MLS feet beneath him. Veteran center back Alessandro Nesta had to sit out last week’s big win (3-1) over San Jose with a knee sprain.

Ancelotti rules himself out of Liverpool job

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid CF
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Carlo Ancelotti will not be the next manager of Liverpool, if you’re not so cynical that you don’t believe Mr. Ancelotti himself, that is.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Ancelotti, who this summer was fired one season after winning the UEFA Champions League at Real Madrid, has been widely reported a top-two candidate for the Premier League club’s vacant managerial position ever since Brendan Rodgers was fired on Sunday.

While he may very well have been one of Liverpool’s top choices, to hear Ancelotti tell it, he’s not interested in taking the job, nor any other job anywhere in the world this year.

[ MORE: “Super computer” predicts final Premier League standings ]

Ancelotti, speaking at the National History Museum in London on Tuesday — quotes from the Guardian:

“I enjoy my time now but, of course, I want to come back to manage – to work – because it is my passion. I want to take my time to rest, but next season I am ready.”

“Why not [return to Paris Saint-Germain]? I have very good memories of Paris, PSG, I have good relations with everyone, with Nasser [al-Khelaifi, the PSG president].

“But I’m thinking about other things and PSG has a very good coach in Laurent Blanc. I hope he will continue and shine in the Champions League.”

Of course, with Jurgen Klopp reportedly all but officially announced as Liverpool’s new manager, Ancelotti is probably doing two things by ruling himself out until next season: 1) saving a bit of face, given that he was pretty clearly not Liverpool’s first-choice candidate; 2) letting every Ancelotti-sized club know that he’ll be available come this spring and summer, just in case they’re considering firing their current manager and need a bit of assurance an elite candidate will be available.

[ MORE: Klopp expected to be named new Liverpool manager this week ]

For instance, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG and Juventus immediately come to mind. A manager of Ancelotti’s quality will always have options and offers, and that’s something he clearly understands. Ancelotti has earned the right to enjoy a year-long sabbatical and to be picky when choosing his next job.

Report: FIFA provisionally suspends Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president

Sepp Blatter could, finally, be frozen out by FIFA.

The 17-year leader of world soccer’s governing body has reportedly been suspended for 90 days after FIFA’s ethics committee met on Wednesday to discuss allegations against both Blatter and his close ally Michel Platini.

[ MORE: Chung to sue Blatter ]

Reports suggest that the decision to suspend the Swiss official still needs to be formally ratified by the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee, but it is highly likely that Blatter will be suspended until January 2016.

Blatter, 79, has been at FIFA for over 40 years but under his stewardship the organization has been riddled with allegations of corruption as current investigations from both the U.S. and Swiss authorities continue. The longtime FIFA official is suspected of “criminal mismanagement or misappropriation” by the Swiss authorities after a payment of over $1.9 million is linked to Blatter and the current president of UEFA, and FIFA presidential candidate, Platini.

[ MORE: How will USA line up vs. Mexico? ]

Klaus Stoehlker, who formerly advised Blatter, has told Sky News that the ethics committee “made the ruling pending further investigations by the Swiss attorney general” and the verdict was “pending”  but that “no negative finding had been made against the head of world football’s governing body.” It is believed that the 90-day suspension is the maximum amount of time the ethics committee can suspend any individuals while an investigation is ongoing.

It has been reported that the head of FIFA’s ethics committee, Judge Hans Joachim-Eckert, has told Blatter of his suspension.

The leader of FIFA, who will stand down following the next presidential elections on Feb. 26, 2016, has been defiant in recent weeks despite growing pressure from corporate sponsors of FIFA for him to resign.

On Wednesday he spoke out and denied he will quit, while at the Leaders’ in Sport Summit in London another presidential candidate ,Chung Mong-joon, declared that he will sue Blatter for “at least $100 million” and believes the FIFA president and his “cronies” are deliberately sabotaging his own presidential campaign.