O'Neill could be one of the next academy stars to rise through the ranks.

The Top Ten in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

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Following Round 11 of league play, here are Nos. 1-10 in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS quality rearrangement:

(Nos. 11-19 are here)

10. Real Salt Lake – RSL fans are seFollowing Round 11 of league play, here are Nos. 1-10 in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS quality rearrangement.eing red over the fact that Marco di Vaio’s important goal was clearly offside. It was the equalizer in a Montreal’s 3-2 draw north of the border.

9. LA Galaxy – After some degree of success last month, attempting to score goals without injured DP striker Robbie Keane is getting increasingly difficult for Bruce Arena’s team. LA has lost two in a row, with just one goal in those 180 minutes. What say you, Landon Donovan?

8. Colorado Rapids – Another week, another well-managed shutout for the men of DSG Park. Let’s talk about them more often going forward, can we? (By the way, in that linked piece, I should have mentioned 19-year-old center back Shane O’Neill (pictured above), filling in so admirably now for veteran Marvell Wynne.)

7. Seattle Sounders – We wondered aloud if this was one of the best weeks in Sounders’ history, with a huge 1-0 road win over Sporting KC and then a resounding 4-0 spanking of San Jose back at CenturyLink? It’s got to be Top Five, at least, right? Based on current form, Sigi Schmid’s team may deserve to be higher in our PST ranking, but we’ll hold off just a bit until, pending just a little larger sample for assessment (and a record of 3-3-3 that still falls under “just OK.”)

6. Montreal Impact – No time to celebrate Saturday’s swell comeback, a 3-2 win at home over Real Salt Lake. Marco Schallibaum’s bunch faces Vancouver at Stade Saputo on Wednesday in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final. The stakes are more than northern bragging rights; there is a CONCACAF Champions League berth at stake, too.

5. Houston Dynamo – Will Bruin sure had a big week, getting a paw on every goal in a 4-0 road win, a fairly rare beast of the MLS jungle. Sporting Kansas City upended the Dynamo’s splashy home unbeaten streak, true enough. But the team from Texas appeared to get the last laugh in the Twitter scrum that followed.

4. Portland Timbers – Like the Cascadia rivals just up the road (Seattle, that is), Round 11 was quite a week for the men of Jeld-Wen Field. Caleb Porter’s possession specialists earned a quality draw in Dallas, and then followed up with a memorable afternoon against Chivas USA. Rodney Wallace as a converted left winger? Yep, that’s working out about as well as it possibly could.

3. New York Red Bulls – Thierry Henry’s spectacular overhead kick saved the day in a highly credible road win at Montreal. But they couldn’t quite replicate the feat in New England, although a 1-1 draw with the Revs (where Mike Petke’s men did rally quickly from a goal behind) surely made Week 11 a success for the Red Bulls.

2. Sporting Kansas City – Sporting Kansas City bounced back from a loss at home (to in-form Seattle) with a gritty, well-earned 1-0 win in Houston. That snapped the Dynamo’s league-record 36-game unbeaten streak across all competitions. Kei Kamara got back on the field for manager Peter Vermes, and that’s a swell addition by any measure.

1. FC Dallas – A 2-1 win over beleaguered D.C. United may not look like a praiseworthy result around FC Dallas Stadium. But Schellas Hyndman rolled the dice by leaving five starters on the bench, including his two best players. So getting all three points to stretch its lead in the West was, actually, a bit of win to savor.

MLS Cup: Toronto FC all about the team

Toronto FC defender Nick Hagglund, center, celebrates his goal against the Montreal Impact with teammates Michael Bradley, right, and Steven Beitashour (33) during the second half of the second leg of MLS Eastern Conference championship series, in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Toronto, Ontario (AP) Team has been the theme for Toronto FC in the buildup to the MLS Cup final.

From boisterous practices to team-first media interviews, the All for One club motto has been plain to see ahead of the championship game Saturday against the visiting Seattle Sounders.

“You don’t get to this point by mistake or by accident. You get here because a group of special guys who have all bought into a philosophy, an identity,” said Toronto midfielder Will Johnson, an MLS Cup winner with Real Salt Lake and Portland.

“I say the same about Seattle. They’re bought into what they’re good at. We’re bought in, very motivated and want to sacrifice and put aside egos to get to a point as a team to compete for the big trophy.”

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

Star striker Jozy Altidore, no fan of chatting with the media, was downright prickly when a reporter asked him if he had taken time to reflect on his personal journey to the championship game.

“No,” he said definitively. “This isn’t personal, this is a team game. We’re here to try to help Toronto to be a winning team. This has nothing to do with individuals. So it has nothing to do with what I’ve been through. This is what the city’s been through, what the fans have been through, what this club has been through. That’s far more important.”

Fullback Justin Morrow, a seven-year MLS veteran, has never played this deep into the season before.

“Each week we build on top of each other and we get closer as the year goes on. It really feels like it’s a culmination this week,” he said.

[ UCL: Who can Arsenal, Man City, Leicester draw? ]

Coach Greg Vanney has made a point of praising the entire squad, including reserves who function as the scout team in practice. While he has done soccer’s equivalent of shortening his bench for the playoffs, the squad has stayed on point. If anyone has beefs, they have been kept to themselves.

That’s no small feat considering the salaries on the squad range from $7.12 million for star striker Sebastian Giovinco to $51,500 for youngsters Mo Babouli and Tsubasa Endoh.

For Morrow, being part of a tight-knit group allows you to forget that it is your job.

“When teams aren’t doing well, players tend to focus on that – their job and not about the other people on the team,” Morrow said. “And I think when teams are doing well, it becomes about the relationships between the players.”

Report: Atlanta United to acquire Parkhurst; Guardado hopes fading

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 12:  Michael Parkhurst #4 of the Columbus Crew SC controls the ball against against the Philadelphia Union on March 12, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Atlanta United is adding MLS experience to its high-flying international acquisitions.

The expansion side is set to acquire Michael Parkhurst from the Columbus Crew, according to a report from The Sporting News.

[ MORE: Mourinho worried about Zorya pitch ]

Parkhurst, 32, has been a fixture for the Crew since returning to MLS after stints with Nordsjælland and FC Augsburg. The 25-times capped American defender would join a relatively loaded expansion unit that reportedly will also add veteran Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, it seems the first-year club’s hopes of landing Mexican star Andres Guardado are fading.

From Ives Galarcep for The Sporting News:

The club has one remaining designated player slot it is expected to fill ahead of its inaugural 2017 season, but transfer target Andres Guardado appears less likely to be the player to fill that slot, sources have told Goal USA.

The Crew was a massive disappointment last season, failing to make the playoffs one season after making a run to the MLS Cup Final. Is Parkhurst a good gamble for Atlanta?

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Men in Blazers podcast: Conte v. Pep, Cherries comeback, Spurs-Swans

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Rog and Davo relive the tactical battle between Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola, marvel at tiny Bournemouth’s comeback win over high-flying Liverpool and duck-and-cover while recapping Spurs 5-0 Swansea.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Mourinho accepts Zorya compliment, but says best coach “doesn’t exist”

Manchester United's coach Jose Mourinho, centre, attends a training session with his team at Chernomorets stadium in Odessa, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, ahead of Thursday's Europa League group A soccer match against FC Zorya Luhansk. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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On the eve of his side playing Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League, Zorya Luhansk boss Yuriy Vernydub called counterpart Jose Mourinho the best manager in the world.

And Mourinho disagreed.

Well, in principle.

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

The Portuguese was flattered by Vernydub’s compliments and isn’t one to turn down praise. Yet at the same time, Mourinho thinks a coach’s success is year-to-year. There’s no clear best in the sport, according to Mou.

From ManUtd.com:

“He was nice by saying that but I don’t think he is right. I don’t think there is a best coach in the world. It doesn’t exist in my opinion. Every season one has to win the FIFA Gold Ball but I don’t think there is the best. You can say the best of the year and that I agree. Every year there is one with the most important result. So he is just being nice, no more than that.”

That’s almost meta, Mou.

Conceptually we understand, and Mourinho would feel he was the best in the world three seasons ago but not last year or this year (yet). Yet it’s difficult to say that the bodies of work from Pep Guardiola, Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Unai Emery, Antonio Conte, Luis Enrique, and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t be measured against each other, right?

[ MORE: United, Saints advancement scenarios ]

Onto the little picture Mourinho is worried about a potentially rock hard pitch at Zorya affecting the game. This, from the BBC:

“The pitch is very hard, the pitch is very icy,” said United boss Mourinho.

“They are putting warmth on the top of it, but the pitch is very difficult and people cannot make miracles. Let’s hope everything goes well.”

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