ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

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Here are Nos. 11-19 of ProSoccerTalk’s weekly countdown following six rounds of regular season play.

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

19. Seattle Sounders – Sigi Schmid’s Sounders are the lone, winless MLS club. Ain’t that something? They could do a lot to vent pressure and get the cart generally out of a ditch by overturning a 1-0 deficit in CONCACAF Champions League semifinal play tonight in Mexico. Don’t bet on it, though.

18. Chicago Fire – One win was just enough to get Frank Klopas’ team off the bottom of the stack … but there’s still reason to be suspicious about this lot. The Fire needed two late goals from Maicon Santos off the bench in order to grab its first win of 2013 – and New York’s shoddy defending and goalkeeping had something to do with it. Still, a win’s a win. For now.

17. Colorado Rapids – Nice to see Edson Buddle back on the field as the Rapids slowly begin to get some important veterans back on the field. Center back Drew Moor should return this week as well following his two-game suspension. Coming off a win over rival Real Salt Lake (the Rapids’ first “W” of 2013) Oscar Pareja’s team travels to meet Chivas USA this week.

16. Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen’s club is getting closer to where the rookie manager wants it to be. Last year, TFC lost leads. Heck, TFC has pretty much always been the team to lose the leads. Could it be that this year, the club can actually erase them? The Reds did just that on Saturday thanks largely to Darel Russel’s awesome, late strike in a 2-2 draw with Dallas.

15. New England Revolution – One of a bunch of teams that had the weekend off for Round 6. They needed it to steel themselves for telling trips into Seattle (this weekend) and New York over the next two weeks. Of course, the big news – much more important than soccer – is Kevin Alston’s leave of absence for leukemia treatment.

14. D.C. United – United has just two goals in five matches; here’s one reason. Dwayne De Rosario’s health and ability to get back on the field will be a big talker prior to this week’s visit from the rival Red Bulls.

13. New York Red Bulls – Luis Robles, who rescued a wobbly goalkeeping situation around Red Bull Arena last year, just hasn’t been the same in 2013. Of course, he wasn’t getting much help at the end Sunday in Chicago, was he? None of the Red Bulls covered themselves in glory in this one, conceding an early lead and then allowing two near the end in a loss at Toyota Park. Thierry Henry had to come off the bench once again for New York.

12. Portland Timbers – Without question, Saturday’s 2-0 win over Houston was the best front-to-back Timbers’ outing so far under Caleb Porter. Good performances were all over the field, including Jack Jewsbury, who returned once again to right back. Mikael Silvestre seems to have found his feet. The big show-stopper, of course, belonged to PST Player of the Week Diego Chara.

11. Philadelphia Union – It’s not always the loveliest work, but John Hackworth has certainly taught his team how to grind out results. Last week’s 1-1 draw in Columbus is the latest example. By the way, anybody have Jack McInerney (pictured above) in the pool as MLS top scorer? Because the young striker is currently tied for third with three goals this year.

Wasteful Poland snatches late 2-1 win at Montenegro

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Poland was in control for much of the game, but failed to finish in front of net until Borussia Dortmund full-back Lukasz Piszczek found the winner with eight minutes to go as the visitors increased their lead at the top of World Cup qualification Group E.

Robert Lewandowski put Poland in front five minutes before halftime with a brilliant free-kick that left Montenegran goalkeeper Mladen Blozovic completely baffled, but Montenegro looked sturdy at the back for much of the game and dangerous on the counter. They’d hit just past the hour mark as Stefan Mugosa headed in to level the score.

Lewandowski had a pair of massive chances in the second half, but couldn’t get either to go down as Blozovic was there to turn him away, and Montenegran defenders cleared off the line as well. Luckily for Poland, they had Piszczek who burst down the right to beat Aleksandar Sofranac, and he produced a stunning finish looped over the closing Blozovic from a tight angle, dinked off the far post, and into the back of the net.

That would do it for Montenegro who had little attacking ability outside of their countering abilities, and with Poland happy to ease out the clock, the hosts didn’t have enough.

The win pushes Poland six points clear at the top of Group E, a sizeable lead with five matches remaining. The battle for the second-place spot is tight, with Montenegro still in command on seven points, level with Denmark but ahead on goal differential. Armenia and Romania are even with six points each.

Netherlands manager Danny Blind fired after Bulgaria loss

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The Netherlands are in real trouble, and the manager has paid the price.

The Dutch national team has parted ways with Danny Blind the day after a 2-0 loss to Bulgaria left the Dutch fourth in their World Cup qualification group halfway through.

The move garnering all the headlines from Saturday’s loss was Blind’s decision to start 17-year-old defender Matthijs de Ligt. The Ajax youth product, who has just two Eredivisie starts to his credit, made two crucial errors and yanked at halftime, but the damage had been done. Spas Delev scored twice in the opening 20 minutes for Bulgaria, and that was all the home side needed as the Dutch offered little in front of goal.

Blind was also criticized for not getting Memphis Depay on the field as they chased the game. The Netherlands held 74% possession, but could only manage 3 shots on target. Depay has been in good form since his January move to Lyon, with five goals in his 10 Ligue 1 appearances.

This decision was something Blind saw coming. He told national broadcaster NOS immediately after the Bulgaria loss, “I blame myself. It can’t go on like this. Things have to change.”

“I need to think about [my future]. I do not throw the towel in here. I’m incredibly disappointed, especially since I had a good feeling about this match. It makes sense that I put myself in front of the mirror.”

However, the problems for the Dutch go far deeper than Danny Blind. They missed out on Euro 2016 largely thanks to the failed 2nd tenure for Guus Hiddink. His assistant Blind took over, but the results have been equally as poor. The Netherlands sit fourth in UEFA World Cup qualification Group A, with losses to Bulgaria and France plus a draw with Sweden. It’s not over for them though, as they sit three points back of a second place spot with five matches to go, and three of those five at home.

With the Netherlands still yet to play their friendly against Italy this coming week, former goalkeeper Fred Grim takes over on an interim basis. Grim collected 101 caps for the Netherlands, and has served as the Netherlands U-21 manager for the last two years. Before that, he took charge of his first full managerial job as head man of Dutch 2nd-tier club Almere City.

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

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The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.