Diego Valeri led Major League Soccer in assists this season but was pulled after 60 minutes in Seattle on Saturday.

ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

Leave a comment

Here are Nos. 11-19 of ProSoccerTalk’s weekly countdown following Round 3.

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

19. Chicago Fire – Who could blame Frank Klopas for parking the bus in Kansas City? The Fire needed a result after two clunkers and got the job done in a scoreless draw at Sporting Park. Chris Rolfe, emerging from a sluggish 2013 start, gave the team just enough offensive threat to keep SKC honest.

18. Colorado Rapids – What a pro debut for Clinton Irwin, who replaced fallen goalkeeper Matt Pickens and got the doggone job done in a 1-1 road draw with Real Salt Lake. Deshorn Brown? Keep an eye on that kid. (He made our weekly Best XI, you know.)

17. Chivas USA – The young Goats are playing hard for manager “El Chelis.”  And if you’re looking for wonderful backstories, check out this one about Carlos Alvarez, who nailed the late equalizer in a dramatic 1-1 draw in the L.A. Derby. That young man has Chivas in his bones!

16. Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen’s team made it tough on Montreal, pressing the home side at the end in a 2-1 loss. Terry Dunfield is far from the most graceful man in MLS, and he’s certainly an unheralded sort, but the guy tends to get the job done.

15. Seattle Sounders – CONCACAF hangover much? None of the teams that played second-leg quarterfinals last week won their Round 3 MLS contest a few nights later. Seattle included, as Sigi Schmid’s men dropped two points in a Cascadia Cup match by conceding a late equalizer to Portland. On the other hand, Steve Zakuani’s curling ball to Eddie Johnson was an absolute beauty.

14. Portland Timbers – Talk about your big leaps forward – and big sighs of relief. After two disappointing results at home, Caleb Porter’s team had to go on the road to grab a slice of MLS success. The moment was big, and Rodney Wallace (pictured) rose to it with his 91st-minute header in a 1-1 draw with Seattle.

13. New York Red Bulls – Thierry Henry will miss this week’s match on the artificial turf of Montreal. Whoa! Who saw that coming? Oh … wait a minute. We kinda did see that coming.

12. New England Revolution – A loss at Philadelphia will be a little easier to stomach thanks to a season-opening win on the road. Jay Heaps’ team opens its 17-game home schedule Saturday – and let’s hope they don’t need the orange balls for this one. C’mon, Spring. You can do it!

11. FC Dallas – Kenny Cooper’s late strike was huge in a 3-2 win over Houston. And Cooper was front and center in the big talker of the weekend, too. Busy lad, that one.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.