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Week 13 is here and we’ve got ourselves some pretty tasty matchups, after the weekend got off to a fast start on Thursday night when the Chicago Fire downed FC Dallas.
[ MORE: MLS Power Rankings — Week 13 ]
Meanwhile, the match of the weekend likely comes in the form of Toronto FC taking on the Columbus Crew, as Greg Vanney’s side puts their seven-match unbeaten run on the line at BMO Field.
Several other intriguing fixtures, including multiple rivalries, will take place as well, particularly in the Pacific Northwest as the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers do battle.
Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew — 7 p.m. EDT on Friday
It’s been seven straight matches for the Eastern Conference leaders since they last lost and Toronto FC has become the clear favorite to hoist MLS Cup through the opening two months-plus. Of course that can change in the blink of an eye. We’ve seen that with the Crew as of late, who started out hot before losing four out of their last six and falling to fifth in the East.
Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers — 2:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday
There’s nothing like a Cascadia Cup match. Although both clubs aren’t exactly up to par at the moment, it’s still a rivalry match. That has to mean something, right?
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. D.C. United — 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday
The Whitecaps have picked up some steam lately, winning three of their last four, and unfortunately for D.C. they haven’t had any similar fortunes. Ben Olsen’s group are at the bottom of the East, and had it not been for the Rapids there would probably be more attention on how poorly they are playing.
New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution — 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday
Jesse Marsch’s club picked up an important tie against a red-hot Toronto last time out, but now they’ll meet a familiar rival on Saturday as they try to get back to winning ways. Meanwhile, the Revs have played significantly better as of late, scoring six goals in their two most recent outings.
Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting KC — 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday
Simply put, they only good thing the Rapids have on their side is that the match is at home, where the team has captured both of their wins this season. Sporting KC, meanwhile, continues to tear it up at the top of the West.
Minnesota United vs Orlando City — 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday
Orlando has come back down to earth recently, so it’s time for Jason Kreis and co. to reset. Adrian Heath and the Loons continue to suffer through the growing pains of being a new side, something Kreis can relate to from his time in New York, but Minnesota has shown positive signs during the young season.
Real Salt Lake vs. Philadelphia Union — 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday
The Union are looking really good as of late, and the winners of four straight could very well keep it up on the road against RSL, who have struggled to pick up results for much of the season.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy — 10 p.m. EDT on Saturday
The Cali Clasico takes shape at Avaya Stadium as both west coast sides look for bragging rights out west.
Atlanta United vs. New York City FC — 5 p.m. EDT on Sunday
It was Patrick Vieira’s side that got the best of Atlanta when the two clubs met a few weeks back, and it’s bad news for Tata Martino’s men as NYCFC has caught more steam as they continue to rack up positive results in the Eastern Conference.
FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo — 8 p.m. EDT on Sunday
We’ve got ourselves a Texas Derby down in Dallas, and this could be quite the interesting matchup as both sides enter Sunday on a bit of a downturn. It’s evident both clubs have exciting offensive firepower but which side will come out on top?Follow @MattReedFutbol
It was about as good a finish as you’ll see in any season, and Emre Can was properly rewarded by the Premier League for his efforts.
The Liverpool midfielder won PL Goal of the Season on Friday for his audacious and seemingly impossible bicycle kick against Watford.
The goal came off a routine cross from Lucas Leiva into the Hornets penalty area, but what Can did next was simply astonishing as contorted his body and acrobatically finished an overhead kick that was the talk of the PL for the rest of the season.
Can, 23, finished the 2016/17 PL season with five goals in 31 matches for Jurgen Klopp‘s side but none can compare to what he achieved at Vicarage Road.Follow @MattReedFutbol
As MLS heads into Week 13 there are many familiar suspects at the top of the league while some new teams continue their rise to the summit.
Here are PST’s latest MLS Power Rankings as we head into another busy weekend:
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
|TEAM||RANKING (Last Wk)|
|D.C. United: Three consecutive defeats and no goals in that span has spelt some serious trouble for Ben Olson’s side, who sit at the bottom of the East.
Colorado Rapids: With just two wins over the first (almost) three months, the Rapids are scoring less than a goal per game (nine in 11 matches). This club needs to add to its attack over the summer.
Real Salt Lake: The Claret and Cobalt have scored just three goals in their last six matches. They’ve only won one of those matches.
|19 (19)||Montreal Impact: A big win against Portland could kickstart a turnaround for the Impact.|
|18 (7)||Minnesota United: It’s going to be a long season for the Loons if they cannot fix their backline. The good news is the club is scoring more goals to at least make things interesting.|
|17 (16)||New England Revolution: The Eastern Conference side has improved over recent weeks with back-to-back wins.|
|16 (12)||Seattle Sounders: The Sounders got off to a rough start last season, and they won MLS Cup. It may be more difficult to replicate that feat in 2017 given the quality of teams early in the year.|
|15 (9)||Atlanta United: It’s been a series of ups and downs for Tata Martino’s men, but a thrilling effort against Houston last week showed how brilliant Atlanta can be.
|14 (22)||Philadelphia Union: After a rough start, the Union have picked up some serious steam as of late, going unbeaten in their last six.|
|13 (18)||LA Galaxy: The Galaxy are looking like the Galaxy we’ve become accustomed to seeing. Let’s see if they can sustain it.|
|12 (7)||New York Red Bulls: Jesse Marsch’s group will look to a familiar foe in the New England Revolution to try to get back to winning ways.|
|11 (15)||Vancouver Whitecaps: The Western Conference side could keep up winning ways this weekend as they face D.C. United.|
|10 (5)||Orlando City: Winless in five, the Lions will travel north to take on an improved Minnesota.|
|9 (4)||Portland Timbers: The Timbers haven’t won in their last four, and their backline is beginning to show signs of weakness.|
|8 (11)||Columbus Crew: One of the top games of the weekend will come on Friday night when Greg Berhalter’s men travel north to face Toronto.|
|7 (10)||San Jose Earthquakes: A draw with Orlando and win over Dallas has the Quakes rising again in the West.|
|6 (14)||Houston Dynamo: With Erick Torres and co., the Dynamo could very well have one of the top attacks in MLS.
|5 (8)||Chicago Fire: Veljko Paunovic’s side kicked off the week with a quality win over FC Dallas, and people should begin to see the Fire how good they truly are.|
|4 (2)||FC Dallas: Back-to-back losses for the reigning Supporters’ Shield holders brings up some questions in Dallas, but ultimately you’d have to imagine this team is going to be alright.|
|3 (6)||New York City FC: The biggest difference between 2017 and past years for this club is the team’s defensive prowess. When you couple that with David Villa and NYCFC’s potent scoring attack, this team is becoming a favorite in the East.|
|2 (1)||Sporting KC: The West leaders continue to play well at home but this weekend could be one of the side’s easier road matchups as they travel to a struggling Colorado.|
|1 (3)||Toronto FC: Seven straight without a loss and Toronto has shown no signs of ending that run in the near future.|
ROME (AP) Francesco Totti has finally announced that Sunday’s match against Genoa will be his last with Roma after an incredible 25-season career with his hometown club.
Whether the 40-year-old Totti will continue playing with another squad remains anyone’s guess.
The 2006 World Cup winner opened his future to questions by releasing a carefully worded statement on Thursday.
[ MORE: Jordan Morris talks to PST ]
“Roma-Genoa, Sunday 28th May 2017. The last time I can wear Roma’s jersey,” Totti said. “I can’t tell you in a few words how much these colors meant, mean and will always mean to me.
“I just feel that my love for football never fades; it’s a passion, my passion. It’s so deep I can’t imagine not fueling it any longer. Ever. From Monday I’m ready to go again. I’m ready for a new challenge,” Totti added.
The first part of Totti’s statement inferred that it wasn’t his decision to end his Roma career but that of the club, by not offering him a contract for next season.
Totti has not hidden his difficult relationship with Roma coach Luciano Spalletti, who has used Totti mainly as a last-option substitute.
However, Spalletti is widely expected to follow former Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini to Inter Milan; while Sassuolo coach Eusebio Di Francesco, a former teammate of Totti’s, could move to Roma.
The second part of Totti’s statement, when he mentioned a “new challenge,” inferred that Totti is considering ending his career with another club.
Miami FC, which plays in the second-tier NASL and is managed by Totti’s former teammate with the national team, Alessandro Nesta, and co-owned by Paolo Maldini – another former Italy teammate – appears to be the most attractive option.
James Pallotta, Roma’s American owner, has offered Totti an unspecified management position.
As for Sunday, Totti is not expected to start.
While the match at the Stadio Olimpico was sold out for Totti’s goodbye, Roma enters the final match of the season still looking to seal second place in Serie A and a direct berth into the Champions League.
Roma is one point ahead of third-place Napoli, which will play at Sampdoria.
Totti has appeared in 785 matches in all competitions with Roma, third all-time in Italy for most games with a single club behind only Maldini (902 with AC Milan) and Javier Zanetti (858 with Inter Milan).
Totti is also second all-time in goals scored in Serie A with 250, 24 short of the record that Silvio Piola established from 1929-54. No other active player has more than 200.
But statistics don’t tell the entire story for Totti, a cultural icon perhaps more linked with his club and city than any other player in Italian history.
Born in the working-class San Giovanni section of Rome, Totti made his debut for Roma at the age of 16 way back in 1993.
In 1998 at the age of 22, Totti became the youngest ever Serie A captain.
At the 2000 European Championship, Totti’s chipped “Panenka” penalty against the Netherlands highlighted his talent and audacity.
A year later, Totti led Roma to its third Serie A title and was the centerpiece of a celebration inside the Circus Maximus attended by a crowd estimated at 1 million.
After a spitting incident with Denmark’s Christian Poulsen at Euro 2004 slightly tarnished his image, Totti regained respect within the national team by returning from a broken leg to help Italy win the 2006 World Cup – playing with a metal rod and about 10 support screws inside his left ankle.
In 2007, Totti led Serie A with a personal-high 26 goals and earned the Golden Shoe award as the top scorer in Europe.
In 2015, Totti scored twice as Roma came back from two goals down to earn a draw with Lazio in the city derby, then took a selfie with Roma’s fans in the background.
A final highlight came in February, when Totti scored in added time to give Roma a 2-1 win over Cesena and a spot in the Italian Cup semifinals.
On Sunday, Totti’s career will be honored with an extensive post-match celebration at the Olimpico.
Whether or not there will be more highlights next season – somewhere – remains to be seen.
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/asdampf