The Top Ten in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

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Following Round 6 of league play, here are Nos. 1-10 in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS quality rearrangement.

(Nos. 11-19 are here)

10. Columbus – Robert Warzycha’s team seems to have some helpful elements in place But two draws in two home matches is not the way to make the playoffs in Major League Soccer.  Heck, they needed a second half goal last week just to manage the draw in Ohio against a young bunch from Philadelphia.

9. Vancouver Whitecaps – Thanks to a shoe fiasco, Vancouver was able to grab a road point at San Jose. Lost in the wildness of it all was that Corey Hertzog, member of the 2011 Generation Adidas class, scored in his first Whitecaps’ start.

8. San Jose Earthquakes – How many “Law 4” jokes are careening through the Buck Shaw locker room this week. Oh, well. No time to dwell. Not with a visit into Jeld-Wen Field ahead. Steven Lenhart got back on the field, doing his hustle and bustle thing for 21 minutes in the draw with Vancouver. And Alan Gordon got his first start of 2013.  

7. Real Salt Lake – Having lost over the weekend at Colorado, Jason Kreis will hope to get something from the road trip as the club visits Vancouver for a Saturday afternoon contest.

6. Montreal Impact – Another of the handful of teams that were idle for Round 6. The Impact hosts Columbus this week. In the meantime, striker Marco di Vaio says he’d like to finish up his playing days in Montreal. I’m sure they’ll be happy to have him. Well, at the right price, of course.

5. Houston Dynamo – Houston could always win at home. On the road? Well, they tend to do great in the playoffs, but not nearly as well in the regular seasons. Dominic Kinnear’s team has not managed more than three road wins over any of the last three seasons. They’ve traveled twice this year with two losses, including last weekend’s 2-0 defeat in Portland.

4. Chivas USA – After wowing in March, Jose Luis ‘Chelis’ Sanchez Sola and his team had the first weekend of April off. They’ll be at the Home Depot Center again Saturday – the Goats have traveled just once so far in MLS action – against Oscar Pareja’s injury-smacked Colorado Rapids.

3. FC Dallas – The team is surely unhappy about blowing a two-goal lead Saturday at Toronto. On the other hand, most teams will take four points from consecutive road matches (including last week’s win at New England) and go skipping happily away. Blas Perez hit another one Saturday; the man can score so long as he stays on the field.

2. Sporting Kansas City – Claudio Bieler (pictured above) looks like the very man needed around Sporting Park, someone who can’t just score goals, but can score important ones. His late strike against D.C. United helped Peter Vermes’ team take all the points in a 1-0 win Friday … and pushed the reigning Easter Conference champs up the charts here.

1. LA Galaxy – They’ve played just four matches, but LA is the league’s only unbeaten side. Bruce Arena’s team had the weekend off from MLS, the better to prep for Wednesday’s big task down in Mexico. They take a 2-1 deficit into Monterrey, and making up the gap won’t be easy. Omar Gonzalez (Is a DP deal in the works?) and his boys get back to MLS biz on Saturday in a match at FC Dallas on NBC Sports Network.

Conte names Gary Cahill new Chelsea captain

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As expected, Gary Cahill has been named Chelsea’s next skipper following the departure of long-time talisman John Terry this summer.

[ MORE: Mourinho rules out speculation of Bale joining Man United ]

While Cahill is no stranger to captaining his side — which he did for much of last season — the honor has been bestowed upon him on a full-time basis now by manager Antonio Conte as Chelsea prepares for the 2017/18 Premier League campaign.

Conte insists though that while Cahill is the man to wear the armband going forward that the rest of the squad’s elder statesman must also take on leadership roles to help guide the club as they pursue back-to-back PL crowns.

“I think also we can have other captains in our team, it could be [Cesar] Azpilicueta, [David] Luiz, and also, in the future, it could be Thibaut Courtois, Cesc Fabregas,” Conte told the Evening Standard.

“I think every single player must improve in this [being personalities in the dressing room] and take more responsibility because we lost big players and we need now to find these new players to create this fundamental for Chelsea. It is very important for our future success to create this base.”

Transfer rumor roundup: Man United to swoop for Verratti?

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With the Premier League season lurking, several of England’s top clubs are looking to put the finishing touches on their summer with quality last-minute signings.

Manchester United has been in the market for a holding midfield this transfer window, with Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic and Eric Dier of Tottenham long linked to the Red Devils, but now another name could be made available to Jose Mourinho.

Marco Verratti is reportedly growing more and more tired at PSG, and while the Italian does still wish to move to Barcelona this summer, he would be open to signing with United if the Blaugrana don’t come calling.


Chelsea could be closing in on another young Brazilian talent, and Blues will be looking to beat out Man United and others for his services.

Fluminense forward Richarlison is the player of interest, and the Blues are prepared to duel with the Red Devils and AC Milan in order to secure the 20-year-old’s signature.


Meanwhile, Juventus is looking to Liverpool’s Emre Can to help out in the midfield after a strong season for the Reds in the Premier League.

Mourinho rules out speculation of Bale joining United

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Jose Mourinho has certainly done his best to help revamp Manchester United this summer with the additions of Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof, however, one name can be ruled out from joining the Red Devils at this time.

[ MORE: West Ham signs Arnautovic for club-record fee ]

There’s been speculation for some time that Gareth Bale would return to England — and likely to United if he did make a comeback in the Premier League — but the Portuguese boss has slammed the door on those talks.

“The same [as Ronaldo],” Mourinho said when asked about Bale’s availability. “You have contacts and feelings, you understand things, and it was clear that Bale likes Madrid, the challenge and situation.

“They are in a very good situation now and I never felt a desire for him to leave, so why waste time on it? No.”

While Bale — and Cristiano Ronaldo — appear off the radar of Mourinho and Co. for now, the second-year United manager has suggested that he would like one or two more signings to be made available to him heading into the season.

Players like Nemanja Matic of Chelsea and Tottenham’s Eric Dier continue to be linked to the Red Devils, while Ivan Perisic has also been rumored to be closing in on a deal to Old Trafford.

“Names is difficult for me, the players belong to clubs and are in preseason,” he said. “The managers and owners are not happy if players talk about them — I’m the same.

“My plan for the evolution of the team, my second transfer window, was to get four players and get balance and make a better squad.

“But with the development of the market, I was getting the feedback from Mr Woodward and I repeat, the market is very difficult.

“If the club has no chance to give me the four players, I like my group and I go with them, but I still have the hope I can have a third player, and maybe a fourth.”

El Salvador players face bans after biting USMNT’s Altidore, Gonzalez

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While the USMNT booked its place into the Gold Cup final on Saturday night, the team’s quarterfinal opponent was punished for the actions of some of its players.

[ MORE: Player ratings from USMNT’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica ]

The U.S. knocked off El Salvador, 2-0, on Wednesday night, but it was the malice committed by the losers that proved to be so disappointing to watch.

Americans Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez were each bit by El Salvadoran players during the match, with both incidents going unnoticed during live action by the referees.

Henry Romero was given a six-match international ban, while Darwin Ceren of the San Jose Earthquakes was handed a three-match suspension for his role.

According to CONCACAF, the duo will only have to sit out “official matches,” and with El Salvador out of the running for qualification into next summer’s World Cup, the Central Americans will have some down time.