ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

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19. D.C. United – They lost 4-1 to Chicago. Records of ignominy remain well within reach. What else is there to say?

18. Toronto FC – A 0-0 draw at home against New York is a good result for TFC in 2013. Sorry … but it is.

17. Chivas USA – Signs of life came via a mid-week win over Toronto at the Home Depot Center. What’s more, Erick “Cubo” Torres and former U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra debuted for the Goats.

16. Columbus – Following season-ending injuries to a pair of central figures, Robert Warzycha’s team is sinking predictably, now with five losses in six matches. The latest was a 2-0 setback at home to New England.

15. San Jose Earthquakes – Every time Colorado or Seattle misses opportunities for points, the sun shines a teeny bit brighter around Buck Shaw.  (Those two Western Conference foes played to a draw in Seattle over the weekend.)

14. Chicago Fire – Well, well, well, look who finally broke out at Toyota Park! Chris Rolfe had two goals in a 4-1 win over D.C. United. Is he about to get on one of his signature runs?

13. New England Revolution – Jose Goncalves certainly had an eventful week: gives up a killer own goal in mid-week, gets forward to score the late game-winner as his Revs sneak away from Ohio with a road win.

12. Colorado Rapids – Quite a nice round of results for Oscar Pareja’s young men, who scratched out at home against New England and then a draw at Seattle.

11. Houston Dynamo – Nice that they are meeting Stoke City and all – A chance to meet EPL opposition ain’t bad, eh? – but just three days before they host Chicago in a match with real meaning?

10. FC Dallas – Speaking of Stoke City, they move from South Texas up I-45 to suburban Dallas for a meeting with Schellas Hyndman’s team over the weekend.

9. Seattle Sounders – You have to wonder what Saturday’s result (a scoreless draw with Colorado) might have looked like had Eddie Johnson been around to score for the MLS team instead of scoring for the U.S. national team?

8. LA Galaxy – What a sweet little move from exciting young forward Gyasi Zardes. Seen it yet? Watch it here, then thanks us later. His goal helped the champs down visiting Vancouver (with neither Landon Donovan nor Robbie Keane in the Galaxy lineup).

7. New York Red Bulls – Everyone seemed upset by the scoreless draw at Toronto. No, it wasn’t the best outing from Mike Petke’s club, but a road draw is never the worst result. No, not even this one.

6. Philadelphia Union – Young goalkeeper Zac MacMath (pictured above), having gotten a bunch of those mistakes out of him in previous years, is having a nice season around PPL Park. He made four saves Saturday to earn a sixth shutout of 2013.

5. Montreal Impact – Marco Schallibaum’s team may be disappointed with a draw at home against Dallas. But consider that Schallibaum didn’t get himself in trouble, and considering they didn’t lose by four goals as the week before …yeah, not bad.

4. Vancouver Whitecaps – Martin Rennie’s team fell at Los Angeles, but Camilo scored again. He has 10 goals in the Whitecap’s last 8 games and a league-leading 13 overall.

3. Real Salt Lake – Jason Kreis had some choice words after his team’s tough (in more ways than one) loss at home to Sporting Kansas City. It snapped RSL’s 11-game unbeaten streak.

2. Sporting Kansas City – When the week’s big news is not a road win over West-leading Real Salt Lake, you know it’s significant. Sure enough, try this one: Tuesday, the club renewed manager Peter Vermes’  contract through 2017.

1. Portland Timbers – Hopefully when Caleb Porter’s Timbers visit Buck Shaw to play San Jose this week, they’ll get the thing in without a lengthy lightning delay. They couldn’t quite get there Saturday in Philadelphia, where a 0-0 draw was delayed for almost an hour.

Baroni fired by Serie A basement club Benevento

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BENEVENTO, Italy (AP) Benevento fired Marco Baroni and named Roberto De Zerbi its new coach after becoming the first squad in Serie A history to lose its first nine matches of the season.

The southern Italian club is the only team in Europe’s five major leagues without a point.

[ MORE: Ronaldo wins Best Male Player at FIFA awards ]

Benevento also announced it fired sporting director Salvatore Di Somma.

The moves on Monday came a day after a 3-0 home loss to Fiorentina.

The Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Benevento will have to pay Baroni 800,000 euros (nearly $1 million) as part of an anti-firing clause in his contract.

Baroni guided Benevento up from Serie B last season.

De Zerbi last coached Palermo nearly a year ago before being fired by the Sicilian club.

It’s the second coaching change in Serie A this season, after Diego Lopez replaced Massimo Rastelli at Cagliari last week.

MLS Cup Playoffs: Atlanta hosts Crew, Whitecaps take on Earthquakes

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34 rounds of MLS action are in the books, and now the real fun is set to begin this week.

The MLS Cup Playoffs have arrived, and 12 teams are firmly in the running to hoist a trophy in December.

[ MORE: PST talks to Justin Meram ahead of the Crew’s playoff run ]

While Toronto FC, New York City FC, the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers will each have the opportunity to watch the first round from their homes, the action all starts on Wednesday and Thursday.

Here’s a look at what to expect when the knockout round begins.

Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls — Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET

The Fire were one of the most intriguing stories for much of the regular season, but Veljko Paunovic’s side enters the postseason limping. Lucky for them, the Red Bulls have been just as inconsistent throughout the course of 2017 — which already saw Jesse Marsch’s club lose in the U.S. Open Cup final.

Paunovic and Co. have lost eight of their last 15 matches, which doesn’t bode well entering the home stretch of the schedule. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls have won just two of their last 10 matches. The Harrison side should be well-rested though for Wednesday’s encounter after starting a mostly second-tier squad in Sunday’s season finale against D.C. United.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Earthquakes — Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET

The Whitecaps looked to be a sure-fire club destined for a bye in the first round, but things didn’t fall their way on Decision Day. Now, Carl Robinson’s side faces an Earthquakes side that is simply unpredictable.

The Quakes have the second-worst road record in the Western Conference when it comes to acquiring points — holding eight in points 17 matches. However, Chris Leitch has instilled a new-found belief amongst the squad that gives the California side a puncher’s chance.

Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew — Thursday, 7 p.m. ET

These two sides haven’t met since July 1, so all bets are off about these teams knowing one another. Since that point, Atlanta and Columbus have been two of the hottest sides in MLS and the former moved into a new stadium — which has given opposing sides quite the difficult time.

In their last 10 matches combined, the clubs boast just one loss, which Atlanta suffered at home against Minnesota United. There’s no reason not to expect a great one at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting KC — Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET

Peter Vermes’ Sporting KC side enters the playoffs winless in their last five, while their counterparts are unbeaten in six. The MLS postseason is often about which team is in the best form at the right particular moment, and right now, it doesn’t look like Sporting KC has luck on their side.

It’s also hard to not pay attention to the fact that the Dynamo have lost just once at BBVA Compass Stadium in 2017, which came on September 9 against the Colorado Rapids.

Carabao Cup preview: Man City hosts Wolves, Chelsea meets Everton

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All eyes will remain on the 11 Premier League sides left in this season’s Carabao Cup, but could a potential upset(s) shake the balance of power in the competition?

Norwich City and Leeds United will be among the teams seeking an upset in the tournament as they take on Arsenal and Leicester City, respectively, on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo captures Best Male Player at FIFA awards ]

Meanwhile, fresh off of Ronald Koeman‘s sacking, Everton must regroup quickly when they head to Stamford Bridge to take on Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea. The Toffees have taken just eight points in their first nine PL matches, leaving the Merseyside club in the relegation zone.

The Blues are aiming for their sixth League Cup title this season, while Manchester United could also achieve the same feat with the crown.

Here’s the slate of matches for the Carabao Cup Round of 16.

Tuesday (All fixtures kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET)

Swansea City vs. Manchester United
Bournemouth vs. Middlesbrough
Bristol City vs. Crystal Palace
Leicester City vs. Leeds United
Arsenal vs. Norwich City
Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wednesday (All fixtures kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET)

Chelsea vs. Everton
Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United

Report: RBNY midfielder Felipe, NYCFC’s Harrison could play for USMNT

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The U.S. Men’s National Team has seen a rise in dual nationals representing the Stars and Stripes in recent years, and that trend could continue with two of MLS’ most promising midfielders interested in enhancing their international careers.

[ MORE: PST names Best XI for the 2017 MLS season ]

According to MSG Network’s Kristian Dyer, New York Red Bulls midfielder Felipe Martins is in the midst of a finalizing his American citizenship, while New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison has spoken with U.S. Soccer about potentially representing the U.S..

Martins already has his green card — which opened up an international slot for the Red Bulls this season –but obtaining citizenship in the near future would make him eligible for selection for the USMNT ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifying cycle.

The 27-year-old had also previously applied for permanent residency in Canada back in 2013 while Martins was with the Montreal Impact, however, his aspirations to represent the nation never transpired.

Meanwhile, Harrison recently represented the England Under-21s in October, but he too could be on track for U.S. citizenship over the next few years if he remains in MLS.

[ MORE: Justin Meram talks Crew’s good form, facing Atlanta and more ]

In Dyer’s report, he notes the rising interest in Harrison from English clubs, though, and a potential move back to the United Kingdom would hurt the former Manchester United academy member’s chances of joining the USMNT.

Harrison is only in his sophomore season with NYCFC, but the young Englishman has garnered plenty of attention after scoring 14 goals and adding 13 assists thus far for the Bronx side.