ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

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19. Chivas USA – The Chelis era is over – and wasn’t that ridiculously fast? The first match upon removal of the increasingly erratic club’s charismatic manager didn’t go well, a 2-0 loss at home to Seattle.

18. D.C. United – Don’t be fooled by D.C. United moving out of last place. It really looks like a head-scratcher considering Ben Olsen’s team lost (again, this time to Chicago) to prolong the club record 11-game winless streak. Thing is, Chivas USA just looks worse now.

17. Toronto FC – Some of the writers around Toronto felt the Reds deserved better than a 1-1 draw at home to Philly. Then again, good teams find a way; poor or average teams don’t. Doneil Henry’s needless sending off didn’t help.

16. Chicago Fire – Mike Magee (pictured above) certainly didn’t leave the scoring magic back in L.A.; the former Galaxy man scored his first for Chicago in a 2-0 win over D.C. United.  Meanwhile, they appear to be moving on, accepting life without defensive brain Arne Friedrich.

15. San Jose Earthquakes – Maybe things will go a little better in Champions League, because they just aren’t falling right in league play. (San Jose fell in Utah over the weekend, 3-0.) The ‘Quakes drew Montreal and a Guatemalan side (TBD) in Champions League group play.

14. Vancouver Whitecaps – Kenny Miller scored! Wait a minute, he’s still with the club? A 2-1 win at New York was impressive enough, but then you consider that key men Darren Mattocks, Gershon Koffie and Nigel Reo-Coker all sat out and it becomes more so. (Even if the Red Bulls were reduced to 10 in the second half.)

13. Columbus – Terrible news for the club as midfielder Eddie Gaven, the real glue around Crew Stadium over the last couple of seasons, suffered a season-ending knee injury last week in a U.S. Open Cup match. Justin Meram looks like the man who needs to step in and step up – but it’s a big ask considering all the little things Gaven did.

12. Philadelphia Union – You know, it’s really just cut-and-paste at this point. So here goes: “Jack McInerney scored again.” He’s up to a league-leading 10. Oh, but this part is new: his name was on the 35-man preliminary U.S. Gold Cup roster list.

11. New England Revolution – Hottest club in MLS? Jay Heaps’ Revs have won four in a row and are unbeaten in five straight in all competitions. And they put a five-spot on the champs last week, the first time the club had hit net that often in a match since 2004.

10. Colorado Rapids – Atiba Harris scored both goals in a 2-2 draw with Dallas, but left back Chris Klute was just as impressive as the Rapids remained unbeaten in six league matches. (Oscar Pareja’s club did crash out of Open Cup play last week in a third-round loss at Orlando City.)

9. Seattle Sounders – Last in the West fairly recently, Sigi Schmid’s Sounders have climbed to sixth, one spot out of the playoff zone. And they have a game or two in hand on all the teams in front of them.

8. LA Galaxy – Goalkeeper Carlo Cuducini was so humbled by a 5-0 loss in New England, he apologized to the fans about it. Robbie Rogers made a second appearance, again off the bench.

7. New York Red Bulls – A loss at home to Vancouver (a club that rarely win on the road) brought down the Red Bulls’ seven-game unbeaten streak.  All in all, we’ve seen a lot better from Mike Petke’s club. Meanwhile, ability to stay on the doggone field was Jamison Olave’s issue at Real Salt Lake – and his second half expulsion will be a sore point.

6. Real Salt Lake – Javier Morales, 33, is reminding all those young midfielders around Rio Rinto that he’s not quite ready to yield his spot just yet. Another big match from the RSL playmaker steered his side to a 3-0 win over San Jose.

5. Houston Dynamo – The “good” was a 1-1 draw at Columbus, but the “bad” is in an injury list that’s getting alarmingly long. Adam Moffat and Eric Brunner went off during the match in Ohio, an unfortunate turn for Dominic Kinnear’s team, which is already shorthanded due to international absences.

source: Getty Images

4. Sporting Kansas City – Hot-headedness was rampant, on the sidelines and on the field, as KC lost at home for the third time this year. Yes, third. We double checked. (Montreal on Saturday joined previous 2013 Sporting Park conquerors Portland and Seattle.)

3. Portland Timbers – The club backed up Caleb Porter’s bold U.S. Open Cup predictions before the Timbers took the weekend off in MLS play. Up this week: a trip into Toyota Park to meet Chicago.

2. Montreal Impact – Not sure what it is about Sporting KC that drives manager Marco Schallibaum so crazy, but he was sent off at halftime. It didn’t bother the club, apparently, as the Impact went on to a big 2-1 win at Sporting Park.

1. FC Dallas – Dallas will now deal with life minus its top striker and starting goalkeeper, Blas Perez (pictured above) and Raul Fernandez, who will be away on international duty. Perez had both goals as Dallas tied Colorado on the road, 2-2. He has a team-leading five strikes this year.

Dempsey, Sounders steal a point on wild night in Portland

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The game in 100 words (or less): An entire game can change in the blink of an eye. For the Seattle Sounders, that blink came in the 44th minute of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers. Up 1-0 by way of Joevin Jones’ opener in the 27th minute, the defending MLS Cup champs were poised to head into halftime with a one-goal advantage and every belief imaginable that they’d been the better team for the entire first half. Blink. Brad Evans wrapped his legs around Darlington Nagbe, giving away a penalty and earning himself a red card, just like that, in the blink of an eye. Fanendo Adi stepped up to convert from the spot, but it still was to be a hard-fought 1-1 scoreline from Seattle’s perspective. Then, Dairon Asprilla got loose, completely unmarked atop the six-yard box, on a corner kick, and it was 2-1 after four minutes of first-half stoppage time. 45 more minutes pass, and the Timbers… blink. Clint Dempsey, 34 years old but fresh off the bench 40 minutes earlier, out-leaps everyone in the box and heads past Jake Gleeson to steal a point for Seattle.

[ MORE: San Jose fire Kinnear after 2.5 seasons ]

Three Four moments that mattered

27′ — Jones gets two chances, puts the second away — It’s a classic case of “I dropped my controller” from Alvas Powell, who just stops as Jones cuts across the penalty area. There’s no reason Jones should get a second look on this one.

44′ — Evans brings down Nagbe in the box, sees red — Goodbye, lead. Goodbye 11 versus 11. Things would unravel very quickly for Seattle.

45+4′ — Asprilla rises above to make it 2-1 — Seattle’s marking of Asprilla was nonexistent, and the Colombian showed off some serious hops to get his head to David Guzman’s corner kick.

90+4′ — Dempsey heads home deep in stoppage time — A costly turnover by Asprilla, a hit-it-and-pray cross by Roman Torres, and Dempsey snatches a point at the death.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Cristian Roldan

Goalscorers: Jones (27′), Adi (45′ – PK), Asprilla (45+4′), Dempsey (90+4′)

Russia has reasons for optimism despite Confed Cup exit

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images
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MOSCOW (AP) When the anger subsides after another group stage exit and another goalkeeping blunder, Russian fans might find they can be proud of their team at the Confederations Cup.

Russia failed to reach the knockout rounds of a fourth major tournament in a row, but there’s no shame in losing by one goal to European champion Portugal and North American champion Mexico.

“We will move on,” coach Stanislav Cherchesov said after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Mexico. “We have won (the fans’) hearts and minds to a certain extent in this month that we have been together … I think that we have given some reasons to feel optimistic about us.”

If Russia’s fans agreed with Cherchesov that Russia had done well to limit Portugal to a single Cristiano Ronaldo goal, there was frustration that Russia hadn’t done better against a poor Mexican side.

Russia wasted chances to exploit Mexico’s ragged defending and add to Alexander Samedov’s opener, while goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev performed an inexplicable lunge which allowed Hirving Lozano to head in the winner. Akinfeev was lucky not to be red-carded, too, after his foot caught Lozano in the chest.

Akinfeev was the immediate scapegoat for Russia’s exit, with fans and newspapers calling for his removal.

The most-capped player in the squad – the Mexico game was his 101st international appearance – Akinfeev’s bulletproof consistency in the Russian Premier League has kept him the undisputed national-team No. 1 for years.

When the world is watching, though, he gets flustered and makes mistakes.

Against South Korea at the 2014 World Cup, an innocuous long shot slipped from his grasp and went in, paving the way for another early Russian exit from the tournament. There have been more than a few blunders in the 43 games since Akinfeev last kept a clean sheet for CSKA in the Champions League, too.

But it’s hard to see who could replace him. The naturalized Brazilian reserve keeper Guilheme is agile but injury prone, while Vladimir Gabulov is a solid but unspectacular veteran. Zenit St. Petersburg’s Yuri Lodygin challenged Akinfeev for a while, but was brought low by his own tendency for embarrassing errors.

On the positive side for Russia, defender Georgy Dzhikiya was solid in all three group games after having only made his debut on June 5, and Cherchesov’s three-man back line was mostly reliable.

Less successful was Cherchesov’s attempt to bolster the midfield by starting Roman Shishkin – usually a defender – in a defensive midfield role against Portugal and Mexico, while 33-year-old ex-Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov did his World Cup hopes no favors with a red card Saturday.

Russia’s run of injuries before the tournament weakened the midfield in particular, with Alan Dzagoev and the promising Roman Zobnin both missing out. Forward Artyom Dzyuba’s absence left Cherchesov relying heavily on Fyodor Smolov, who showed touches of class but missed a good chance against Portugal.

Perhaps the biggest damage from Russia’s Confederations Cup exit will be to Russian pride.

Officials have often bragged that the home advantage for next year’s World Cup could drive Russia to new heights, perhaps a repeat of South Korea’s charge to the semifinals in 2002. Those expectations are now being reviewed.

Just one World Cup host in history – South Africa in 2010 – has failed to get out of the group stage. Avoiding a repeat may be the most Russia can hope for.

FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers host Sounders in PNW showdown

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They don’t get much bigger, or more heated, than this one in MLS — it’s Portland versus Seattle, the Timbers versus the Sounders, tonight at Providence Park (10 p.m. ET).

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers vs. Sounders ]

To keep up-to-the-second informed on proceedings in Portland this evening, hit the above link, or click right here.

Seattle won the first meeting between these sides, 1-0 back on May 27, on their home turf at CenturyLink Field. Cristian Roldan, who’ll depart for U.S. national team camp following Sunday’s game, scored the only goal that afternoon in Seattle, a 4th-minute header from three yards out.

Mustafi: Arsenal players powerless, hope “brilliant” Sanchez will stay

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Shkodran Mustafi admits that he, along with his Arsenal teammates, feels helpless with over the ongoing transfer saga of Alexis Sanchez.

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

The Chilean superstar is linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer, as the Gunners fell out of the Premier League’s top-four and the 28-year-old’s contract is set to expire next summer. Perhaps most importantly, Sanchez hasn’t so much as publicly stated a desire to remain at the club, which, from the outside, appears to have left his future in even greater doubt.

Mustafi admits he hasn’t a clue how things will shake out in the coming weeks, but he’s quick with a pleading sales pitch for Sanchez to stay — quotes from Goal.com:

“I have no idea. Obviously the other players cannot make that decision, he has to make that decision.

“I’m not too much involved. I hope he stays because he is a really brilliant football player but there’s nothing in my hands that I can do.”

[ MORE: De Boer set to be named new Crystal Palace boss ]

Arsenal would likely have to double (if not more) Sanchez’s current $180,000 weekly wages in order to convince him to forego a season in the UEFA Champions League and commit his long-term future to a club presently trending in the wrong direction.