ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

Leave a comment

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

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

19. D.C. United – Finally, a little spoonful of good news: Chris Pontius’ injury does not seem as bad as first feared. And, uh … no, that’s about it on the “good news” front. A 3-0 setback in Columbus is the latest brick in the wall of pressure mounting on the decides around RFK Stadium.

18. Chicago Fire – One step forward (last week’s win at home) and one step, well, not exactly backward. A loss in Montreal isn’t the worst thing, but it’s not what the Fire need to get out of this early season hole.

17. Seattle Sounders – That odd-duck MLS scheduling got the Sounders last week. Just when Sigi Schmid’s team was building a little momentum, Seattle had the weekend  off. They face the Union at PPL Park outside Philadelphia in Round 10.

16. Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen’s team was missing some zip in a 2-1 loss to New York at BMO Field. It’s not easy on the Reds (or the other teams from North of the border) with these important Canadian Championship matches sandwiched in between MLS weekends.

15. New England Revolution – Perhaps no MLS team needed a Week 9 result like the Revs. With Juan Toja back on the bench, Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen played closer to the middle in a 4-1-4-1, and it worked swimmingly in a 2-0 win over Philadelphia.

14. Colorado Rapids – The Rapids nearly did something special in Houston, leading the Dynamo for a spell before splitting the points on Giles Barnes’ second-half equalizer. Veteran center back Drew Moor (pictured above) is back in the starting lineup for Oscar Pareja.

13. Philadelphia Union – Might there finally be movement on Bakary Soumare’s trade request, which goes back to March? He does seem like surplus goods around Chester, PA.

12. Chivas USA – A 2-2 draw at home against San Jose left the Goats winless in April. A trip this week into Sporting Park to face an angry Kansas City bunch is hardly a recipe for a fast start to May.

11. Columbus – A home match against reeling D.C. United worked out about as you would expect, a fairly comfortable 3-0 result against the Black and Red. But who expects the scoreboard to catch on fire?

Three seriously injured, 120 detained in Bruges hooligan riot

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BRUSSELS (AP) Authorities are investigating a hooligan riot which seriously injured three people and forced Brugge police to detain 120 following the match between Club Brugge and Antwerp.

[ MORE: Mbappe wins Golden Boy ]

Local police chief Dirk Van Nuffel says one policeman was among the seriously wounded as authorities sought to contain a brawl between Belgian fans reinforced by others who had come from the Netherlands.

By Monday morning all were released but investigators were still seeking to see who was at the core of the fighting. Van Nuffel says such hooligan fighting “hadn’t been seen for years.”

Everton fires Ronald Koeman

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
1 Comment

A 5-2 home loss versus Arsenal sent Everton into the Premier League drop zone, and that’s apparently a bridge too far for the Toffees when it comes to their managerial position.

Ronald Koeman is out at Goodison Park.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

Everton sits 18th in the Premier League with eight points, it’s minus-11 goal differential second-worst in the top flight. Its 18 goals conceded are third-worst, and only three clubs have scored fewer goals than its seven.

The Toffees won two rounds in the Europa League, beating Ružomberok and Hajduk Split, but have lost to Atalanta and Lyon while drawing Apollon Limassol in Group E play.

Everton faces Chelsea in League Cup play on Wednesday before a critical early season match at Leicester City on Sunday.

Follow @NicholasMendola

The Best: Neymar, Ronaldo, Messi — Is there a front-runner?

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Leave a comment

While France Football has its Ballon d’Or winner somewhere on a 30-man shortlist, FIFA’s “Best” men’s player is down to an unsurprising three ahead of Monday afternoon’s ceremony.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are up for the award, and there was no major summer tournament outside of the Confederations Cup — only Ronaldo participated — to help tilt the scales in one’s favor this summer.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

Of course, Ronaldo claimed another UEFA Champions League crown, but was far from the simple standout of the club. In international play, both Ronaldo and Messi’s World Cup qualifying campaigns came down to the wire while Neymar captained Brazil’s dominant ride through CONMEBOL.

The award, which is said to be for on- and off-field behavior, was voted on by national coaches, national captains, select members of the media and fans.

Ronaldo is the favorite according to hardware, while Messi’s numbers and Neymar’s playmaking both can lay claim to the throne.

Stats since start of 2017

Lionel Messi

Club goals: 46
Club assists: 16
Country caps: 6
Country goals: 4
Accolades: World Cup qualifier, Copa Del Rey winner

Neymar

Club goals: 24
Club assists: 21
Country caps: 6
Country goals: 2
Country assists: 3
Accolades: World Cup qualifier, Copa Del Rey winner

Cristiano Ronaldo

Club goals: 31
Club assists: 7
Country caps: 11
Country goals: 11
Country assists: 4
Accolades: Confederations Cup semifinal, World Cup qualifier, Champions League winner, La Liga winner

Follow @NicholasMendola

Mbappe wins Golden Boy over Rashford, Pulisic, Gabriel Jesus

AP Photo/Christophe Ena
Leave a comment

Paris Saint-Germain, France, and (former) Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe has claimed the Golden Boy Award over Ousmane Dembele, Christian Pulisic, and others.

[ MORE: TFC sets MLS record ]

The Golden Boy is chosen from the top Under-21 players in Europe, and the short list had the above names and 22 more including Gabriel Jesus, Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Marcus Rashford.

Mbappe, still 18 until Dec. 20, has four goals and four assists this season for PSG after scoring 26 goals with 14 assists for Monaco last season. He also has a goal for France.

The teenager likely played the biggest role at the biggest club last season, though Donnarumma was exceptional at Milan, Jesus’ injury conspired against him at Man City, and Marcus Rashford was very good for United.

Follow @NicholasMendola