The Top Ten in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

4 Comments

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.

CCL wrap: FC Dallas disappoints; Club America struts (video)

Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas

Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.

Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.

Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America

Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.

Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET

Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.

West Ham to friendly neighbors Dag & Red: “Will help save our club”

Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

English Conference Premier side Dagenham and Redbridge has seen better days, and is getting a hand from a Premier League pal.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

West Ham United will pay a visit to Dag & Red as part of the latter’s #SaveTheDaggers campaign, and the March 21 date will cost fans between $7 and $21 to see a top flight side at 6,000-seat Victoria Road.

Dagenham and Redbridge chairman Paul Gwinn said, “It really will help save our club.”

“So please come on down to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for an additional night of football. Bring a friend, or two, or more and we can use the gate takings to help get us back on track,” reads a press release.

Dag & Red was founded in 1992 and climbed as high as League One in 2011, and plays just 2.5 miles from West Ham United’s training ground. Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among Dag & Red alums in the Premier League.

It’s a terrific gesture from West Ham, and is even more impressive in the United States where the growing club game is increasingly cutthroat (especially between non-synced leagues).

Angry Di Francesco extremely quotable after Roma loss

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Leave a comment

AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco absolutely roasted his charges after i Lupi tossed aside a Cenzig Under-inspired lead to fall 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Di Francesco had praise for Edin Dzeko, who assisted Under’s goal, as well as goalkeeper Alisson, but was mostly enraged by his side.

[ MORE: Recap + Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Rather than construct a narrative, we’re going to point out our five favorite selections from Di Francesco’s post-match talk.

4) “The difference was that in the first half we tried to hurt them while in the second we were looking to hold on – to what? I don’t know.”

— “To what? I don’t know” is hilarious. Di Francesco’s side has posted some serious wins this season, including killing off Chelsea 3-0 at home and coming back from 2-0 to draw the Blues at Stamford Bridge. He doesn’t preach sitting back.

3) “There were far too many schoolboy errors – even by players with a wealth of international experience.”

— Schoolboy errors!

2) “I saw two completely different teams out there today. There were lots of players I should have taken off after we conceded the first goal.”

— Again, one mistake by a number of players on Facundo Ferreyra is enough for Di Francesco. He’s not just happy to be here.

1) “I can’t imagine we’d get arrogant just because we’re winning an important game. It’s not as if Roma are used to reaching the final every year.”

— When you’re willing to essentially rip an entire club’s history — Roma’s been to just two UCL quarterfinals since losing the final to Liverpool in 1984 — you’re putting your footprints in new cement.

Europa League preview: Rating every second leg

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund are one of many teams with their UEFA Europa League fates realistically in the balance come Thursday’s second legs of the Round of 32.

[ MORE: Sevilla 0-1 Man Utd | Mourinho reacts ]

Aside from a sextet of big teams posting blowouts, there’s still hope for the Round of 16 and a step closer to an automatic berth in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League.

Basically done

Atletico Madrid 4-1 Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Sporting Lisbon 3-1 Astana — 1 p.m. ET
Arsenal 3-0 Ostersund — 3:05 p.m. ET
Milan 3-0 Ludogorets Razgrad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Spartak Moscow — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga 0-3 Marseille — 3:05 p.m. ET

In four of these cases, the heavy favorites emerged with multiple goal leads and at least three away goals.

Actually done

CSKA Moscow beat Red Star Belgrade 1-0 on Wednesday to win 1-0 on aggregate.

Unlikely, but big club lurks

RB Leipzig 3-1 Napoli — 1 p.m. ET
Villarreal 1-3 Lyon — 1 p.m. ET

In the case of Napoli, their 3-1 home loss to Leipzig was stunning but it’s impossible to rule out a club with such firepower. Villarreal trails by two to Lyon, but is home and dangerous.

Advantage one side, but anyone’s guess

Lokomotiv Moscow 3-2 Nice — 11 a.m. ET
Lazio 0-1 FCSB — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit Saint-Petersburg 0-1 Celtic — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg 2-2 Real Sociedad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Atalanta 2-3 Borussia Dortmund — 3:05 p.m. ET

Salzburg’s two away goals in a draw feels like a one-goal lead, and the one-goal matches are especially interesting. In the case of Atalanta, 1-0 to the Serie A side could undo Michy Batshuayi‘s first leg heroics for BVB.

Wide open

Plzen 1-1 Partizan Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 AEK Athens — 1 p.m. ET

Yes, nil-nil will get it done for the hosts, but there wasn’t a 0-0 in the entire group of first legs.