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Major League Soccer positional Top Tens: LEFT BACKS


Major League Soccer’s full backs may be evolving, but particularly at left back, the pool’s a bit shallow. Three of the first six players in our Top 10 are the get forward types that weren’t part of the game in previous seasons, but the list falls off quickly.

One of the top players shot up the chart over the last year. Another was recently left exposed in expansion. One player spent a lot of time in midfield last season, while another no longer starts for his team. Our Top 10 list may not have much depth, but at left back, one California team certainly does.

Yesterday is was the right. Today, it was the left, with a crowded field at the bottom of our ranking sure to inspire debate among MLS hardcores.

Here are our Top 10 Major League Soccer left backs.

1. LA Galaxy’s Todd Dunivant (pictured)
2. San Jose’s Justin Morrow
3. Real Salt Lake’s Chris Wingert
4. Sporting KC’s Seth Sinovic >

Sinovic was a free agent in May of 2011 and was exposed in expansion later that year. Now he’s one of the top four left backs in the league? It’s hard to argue he should be much lower than this.

5. Toronto FC’s Ashtone Morgan >

You can’t help but think Morgan would be higher on this list if the situation at Toronto FC has been more stable last season. Maybe Ryan Nelsen starts tapping into his potential. He’s still probably going to be TFC’s highest ranked individual player, and he’s only fifth.

6. Houston’s Corey Ashe
7. San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales >

He’s been around since 1996, and if it wasn’t for the emergence of Justin Morrow, he’d still be in Frank Yallop’s starting XI. When healthy, he still finds plenty of playing time between defense and midfield. A lot of other teams in the league (good ones) could use the 35-year-old.

8. Vancouver’s Alain Rochat
9. Chicago’s Gonzalo Segares
10. D.C. United’s Chris Korb

(MORE: the entire roster of ProSoccerTalk’s Major League Soccer previews and predictions)

Everton’s John Stones out of England squad with injury

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: John Stones of Everton clears during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on September 12, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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John Stones has been ruled out of England’s upcoming EURO qualifiers after suffering a knee injury while playing for Everton.

The 21-year-old center-back has missed Everton’s last two Premier League matches, and was unable to recover in time for England’s qualifiers this weekend.

Manager Roy Hodgson has called in Tottenham’s Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker as replacements for the absent Stones.

[ REPORTS: Klopp, Liverpool making quick progress ]

England has already qualified for EURO 2016 with a perfect record in Group E, winning all eight of their matches. With upcoming games against Estonia and Lithuania, Hodgson has said he will experiment a bit with some new players, which lessens the impact of Stones’ injury.

Despite the match being meaningless in terms of a result, players will still be eager to impress the manager in an effort to lock up a spot on the final roster for the tournament in June.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw is out for an extended period of time after breaking his leg in the Champions League, while Everton’s Leighton Baines hasn’t played since August after undergoing ankle surgery.

[ RELATED: Samir Nasri rules out a return to France squad, hints at MLS move ]

Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand has been recalled to the side, and said he will try to grab the left-back position “by the scruff of the neck.”

Liverpool’s Danny Ings was given his first call-up and Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey returns to the fold, although both players missed training with injuries and their status moving forward is uncertain.

Landon Donovan: Klinsmann should be fired if USMNT loses to Mexico

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 04: Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of the United States looks on before playing Peru during an international friendly at RFK Stadium on September 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Landon Donovan and Jurgen Klinsmann haven’t had the rosiest of relationships.

Since being left off of the 2014 World Cup roster and retiring from the game, Donovan has often been critical of Klinsmann and his tenure with the USMNT.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Ahead of Saturday’s CONCACAF playoff match against Mexico, Donovan said he believes Klinsmann should be fired if the United States loses.

Speaking to ESPN FC:

Around the world, if a player plays poorly and a player has a bad string of results, they get dropped from the team.

Jurgen said many times he wants our players to feel pressure — so if they lose a game they can’t go to the grocery store the next day. If they lose a game, they are getting hammered in the press.

Well, the same holds true for the coach, and so we had a very poor summer with bad results in the Gold Cup. The last game against Brazil was probably the worst game I’ve seen them play under Jurgen.

The reality is that now, anywhere else in the world, if this coach had those results, and they lose this game against Mexico, they’d be fired.

I think if Jurgen wants to hold all the players to that standard, then he has to be held to that standard too.

Heading into the Gold Cup this summer on the heels of some great wins over the Netherlands and Germany, the United States’ performance was wildly disappointing, losing in the semifinals to Jamaica and finishing in fourth place.

[ RELATED: Top moments from USMNT vs. Mexico ]

President of U.S. Soccer Sunil Gulati has shown great faith in Klinsmann, giving him a contract until 2018 as both manager and technical director of the program. However, pressure has been building after a string of poor results.

For Klinsmann, this is arguably his biggest match in charge of the USMNT. Not only does it have implications for the Confederations Cup in 2017, but it is also against Mexico, which always puts added pressure on a manager. If the U.S. loses, more people than Donovan will be calling for a change.