Montreal Impact v Houston Dynamo

Top matches on MLS Saturday: San Jose at Houston

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Major League Soccer’s fifth round is an all-Saturday affair, with eight matches set for kickoff over about nine hours later today. Among the top matches … :

San Jose at Houston (8:30 p.m. ET):

First things first: Should this one have been part of MLS Rivalry Week earlier this month?

This one certainly seems more combustible than some of the, uh, “rivalries” presented on that MLS day of festive and feisty.

But here we are, and this one looks like a dandy. You cannot talk about San Jose, obviously, without mentioning Chris Wondolowski, the league’s scoring standard bearer since 2010. (Seriously, it’s like royal decree that you cannot talk about San Jose without mentioning about the fabulous marksman.)

“Wonder Wondo” has two goals through four matches this year, upping the career total to 70. But you just know the big breakout is coming. Four of his goals came while he was in Houston, a little know reservist back then.

Wondo’s links to Houston are just a small slice in this big pie of shared history. Houston was San Jose before San Jose was San Jose. (If that doesn’t make sense, study ye your Houston Dynamo history.)

The coaches are old chums, too. Houston’s Dominic Kinnear (pictured) mentored under San Jose’s Frank Yallop some years ago, then took over for his boss for a while at San Jose (before the club moved to Houston).

(MORE: Other top MLS matches – Galaxy at Toronto)

(MORE: Other top MLS matches – Philly at New York)

As for what’s going to happen today at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston:

The big news around Dynamo Land is this profitable streak of home games. Kinnear’s men can equal a league record all-time regular-season home unbeaten run. Real Salt Lake set the current mark (34 games) from 2009-11.

Several Houston players are coming off international duty, so we’ll see how much they have in the tank. Plus, former Colorado Rapids speedster Omar Cummings is available now for the Dynamo, finally having beaten the injury bug enough to get his career relaunch efforts goings.

San Jose has been admirable through its early injury crisis, still missing Mehdi Ballouchy, Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart, Steven Beitashour and Marvin Chavez. It didn’t seem to bother the Earthquakes much in a nice win over Seattle last week. (Hit that link to see Wondolowski’s latest strike, a darn good one.)

The full match preview is here. It’s stacked with facts.

A video preview from CSN Houston is below …:

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Vardy joins chorus of Leicester players lauding Ranieri

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri congratulates Jamie Vardy of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle and Leicester City at St James Park on November 21, 2015 in Newcastle, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images)
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images
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Jamie Vardy has joined several Leicester City voices in refuting claims that he helped usher in the dismissal of championship-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.

Vardy led the Foxes in scoring during last season’s run to the Premier League title, but has struggled to follow that success this season. He has five goals in 22 matches.

[ MORE: Ranieri – “My dream died”

Ranieri was fired this week with Leicester on the verge of dipping into the relegation zone, where they now sit ahead of Monday’s match against Liverpool.

Vardy wants the world to know this wasn’t his preference, saying, “There is speculation I was involved in his dismissal and this is completely untrue, unfounded and is extremely hurtful!”

WATCH: Kane’s first half hat trick includes gorgeous volley

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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Harry Kane spent the first half hour of Sunday’s tilt versus Stoke torturing the visiting Potters.

Kane opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Christian Eriksen bobbled Dele Alli‘s pass into the 18, but Ryan Shawcross‘ barely hit his clearance and Kane took a touch before belting home for the advantage.

[ WATCH: Spurs-Stoke live, replay ]

His second was lovely, bounding a low volley between the legs of Victor Wanyama and by a diving Lee Grant.

The third carried a bit of luck, with his low free kick taking a turn off the leg of wall end Peter Crouch to elude a lunging Grant. 3-0.

Here are the first and third, too:

Liverpool, Southampton lead EFL Cup Team of the Tournament

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The EFL Cup has named its team of the tournament ahead of Sunday morning’s final between Southampton and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.

Liverpool and Southampton lead the way with two players each, while finalists Manchester United have just one player in the team.

[ MORE: Whitecaps acquire Brek Shea ]

That’s Ander Herrera, who joins a midfield with Sofiane Boufal (Saints), Mohamed Diame (Newcastle United), and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).

Up top are Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, the latter for his work at Bristol City.

The back four is led by Saints’ Maya Yoshida and Hull City’s Harry Maguire, with Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) and Matty Pearson (Accrington Stanley) joining the unit.

The backstop is Leeds United’s Marco Silvestri.

Watch Live: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Stoke City (Lineups, Stream)

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Wifried Bony of Stoke City and Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur battle for possession during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at Britannia Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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The penultimate Premier League match of the weekend pits Stoke City against third-place Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Jan Vertonghen is back alongside Toby Alderweireld in the heart of Spurs’ back line, and it’s no surprise that PL Download stars Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris also start.

Geoff Cameron‘s four-month layoff appears to be reaching its end, as the USMNT back is on the subs bench for Stoke City. He last played on Oct. 22.

LINEUPS

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Kane. Subs: Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Winks, Sissoko, Son, Janssen.

Stoke City: Grant; Bardsley, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Whelan, Adam; Arnautovic, Allen, Ramadan; Crouch. Subs: Given; Muniesa, Berahino, Afellay, Diouf, Cameron, Imbula.