ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

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19. D.C. United – A 2-2 draw at home against Los Angeles qualifies as a good result for Ben Olsen’s team this year. Chris Pontius scored his second goal of 2013.

18. Toronto FC – The Reds gave New York a real tussle before a late goal put the game out of reach at Red Bull Arena.

17. Columbus – Federico Higuain and Dominic Oduro hooked up for a wonderful, late goal in a win at Montreal. There is still a mighty hill to climb, but three big points on the road (and what a really big upset, it was) means the team can keep dreaming about post-season soccer a while longer.

16. Chivas USA – Late-season scoring sensation Erick “Cubo” Torres had a penalty appeal denied in a 1-1 draw with Portland. If the Goats get that call (it was pretty iffy, truth be told), who knows where the result might have fallen?

15. Vancouver Whitecaps – Great to see Jay DeMerit (pictured) back on the field; MLS is a better place with more consummate professionals like him around. Unfortunately, his Whitecaps could do no better than a scoreless draw at San Jose and remain in seventh place, two spots out of the playoffs.

14. FC Dallas – But for some sloppy finishing, Schellas Hyndman’s team could have picked up three huge points on the road against Colorado. French midfielder Peter Luccin, injured in preseason, has been activated and could help add bounce to the team’s fading playoff aspirations.

13. Chicago Fire – A road draw at Toronto and a late win at home against New England keeps Chicago’s clock ticking in the playoff race. Mike Magee struck No. 16 for the year, but remains two goals behind Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio for league leadership.

12. New England Revolution – The Revs were hard done when a 50th minute goal from Saer Sene that was ruled offside. It would have given visiting New England a 3-1 lead over Chicago; instead, the home team came back to win over the Revolution, 3-2. Kelyn Rowe has seven goals and seven assists in an increasingly outstanding second professional season.

11. Philadelphia Union – John Hackworth’s team has forgotten how to score, now with just one goal in five games. They have fallen from second place a few weeks ago to sixth in the East, one spot out of the playoffs.

(MORE: MLS Round 29 week in review)

10. Houston Dynamo – After last week’s awful, three-goal loss at home, a 1-0 victory on the road (in a real grind of a game from both sides) was exactly what Dominic Kinnear’s team needed to jump start its playoff bid.

9. San Jose Earthquakes – The ‘Quakes took 22 shots against visiting Vancouver but did no better than a scoreless draw – one that seriously damages San Jose’s dimming playoff hopes. It was the first time San Jose has failed to win at home since May, although the team remains unbeaten at home in its last 14 contests.

8. Portland Timbers – What Timbers manager Caleb Porter told MLSSoccer.com after his team’s 1-1 draw at last place Chivas USA: “We didn’t show up with enough hunger, urgency, had a bit of casualness in our play with a few individuals, and that can’t happen.” They had better locate that lost urgency soon; they are only two points from dropping out of a playoff spot.

7. Montreal Impact – Giving up soft goals will be this team’s undoing in the playoffs if they can’t get the back line sorted out. Saturday’s loss at home to Columbus does serious damage to the teams hopes of finishing atop the East. Marco Di Vaio, now with 18 goals, retained his league leadership.

source:  6. New York Red Bulls – Fabian Espindola (pictured left) scored off the bench in a less-than-convincing win over Toronto. That’s a pretty handy card to play for manager Mike Petke going forward, especially as “Espy” just wasn’t working previously as a starter. Oh, and Thierry Henry’s “Waiting for the bus” celebration was pretty cool.

5. Colorado Rapids –  A big performance from recently signed Uruguayan midfielder Vicente Sanchez guided an important 2-1 Western Conference win over Dallas. Afterward, Sanchez had some nice words about hoping to bring a little joy to a region troubled by significant flooding.

4. LA Galaxy – The Galaxy gave up two bad goals to D.C. United in a 2-2 draw. A.J. DeLaGarza’s elbow injury may keep him out for a while, but Landon Donovan’s ankle injury does not appear serious. That’s good news as L.A. heads into a busy week, with Metapán up in midweek in CONCACAF Champions League play and league-leading Seattle inbound for the StubHub Center over the weekend.

3. Real Salt Lake – RSL just didn’t match Seattle’s intensity as the team from Utah lost 2-0 before more than 55,000. If not for Nick Rimando, coming back off national team duty to have a big match, the score could have been worse.

2. Seattle Sounders – The Sounders had been ticking off the points lately, although not in the most impressive, dominating ways. Well, that changed with a commanding 2-0 win Friday over visiting Real Salt Lake. With it, Seattle now looks like the Supporters Shield favorites. Obafemi Martins (one goal, one assist Friday) reminded everyone that Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey aren’t the only scorers worth watching around CenturyLink.

1. Sporting Kansas City – The club should be well rested after a weekend off and can take a big step toward CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals with a win Tuesday over Real Esteli. After that comes a trip into Toronto.

Fan dies after falling off football stadium in Brazil

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SAO PAULO (AP) A Brazilian football fan has died after falling 25 meters from the top of Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo onto a parking lot.

The height is equivalent to an eight-story building.

Bruno Pereira da Silva, aged 23, suffered head injuries and died upon arrival at a local hospital on Sunday.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

He and other fans were attempting to jump to a section of the stadium where they could get a better view of the Sao Paulo state championship match between Sao Paulo and archrival Corinthians. The game ended 1-1.

Friends of da Silva told Brazilian media Silva was attending his first football match.

CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers: CRC, Honduras get off the mat

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The two traditional CONCACAF powers are riding high following Friday’s round of World Cup qualifiers, while the two other sides to qualify for Brazil 2014 are licking their wounds.

Honduras and Costa Rica both found themselves on the wrong side of shutout losses to the United States and Mexico, while Trinidad and Tobago injected itself into the discussion with a home win over Panama.

[ WATCH: CONCACAF qualifiers on Telemundo ]

What’s cooking for Tuesday? Read on:

Honduras vs. Costa Rica — 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Two sides which love to play physical, on-the-edge soccer meet on the heels of Friday losses. Expect Jorge Luis Pinto’s Catrachos to adapt after a 6-0 beatdown at the hands of the U.S., but they’ll have to do much, much better at home.

The dates at Estadio Morazan have to be the key for Honduras to climb into the Top Three, and it’ll be buoyed by memories of its 3-1 win over T&T two rounds ago. As for Costa Rica, Los Ticos aim to respond from conceding their first two goals of the Hex.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico — 7 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Kevin Molino’s strike gave T&T its first three points of qualifying, but its odds of getting a result against visiting Mexico aren’t nearly as good. The Soca Warriors desperation will be easy to see, as June’s qualifiers include trips to the U.S. and Costa Rica.

El Tri now has wins in two of its trickier Hex matches after adding Friday’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica to its upset of the Yanks in Columbus. Ten points through four matches would be exemplary; A draw or loss leaves the door open for Costa Rica to summit the Hex table.

United States vs. Panama — 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Read our extensive preview here, but the upshot is this: The United States can rise into the Top Three by beating Panama, while Los Canaleros will be happy to scoop a draw to stem any bleeding cause by Molino and T&T.

Argentina feels World Cup pressure; Brazil set to party

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SAO PAULO (AP) Argentina was the runner-up in the last World Cup. This time it’s under rising pressure just to qualify.

That pressure will be felt even more in its match Tuesday against Bolivia in the thin air of La Paz, which is located in the Andes at 3,650 meters (11,900 feet) altitude.

Argentina has not won a match there since 2005, upping the stakes a bit more.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

Meanwhile, South American rival Brazil will gear up for possible early qualification if it beats Paraguay in Sao Paulo. To advance, the South American group leader needs a victory and a few other results to fall its way. But win or lose, Brazil is heading for the World Cup in Russia with five rounds of qualifying remaining.

Argentina cannot be so confident.

Second-placed Uruguay faces a winnable match at lowly Peru, and fourth-placed Colombia has a real test at fifth-placed Ecuador. Sixth-placed Chile welcomes last-placed Venezuela in Santiago, hoping to climb back into qualifying position.

With five rounds to go, Brazil has 30 points – more than enough to secure a spot in previous World Cups. Uruguay has 23 and Argentina 22.

With Brazil almost sure to advance – and Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru struggling at the bottom – that leaves six teams fighting for the three remaining automatic spots for Russia. Another South American team could also advance in a playoff.

[ MORE: Wood looks ahead to working with Arena, praises Klinsmann ]

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ARGENTINA

Argentina put on a poor performance on Thursday, but managed to beat Chile 1-0 in Buenos Aires after a controversial penalty was conceded and converted by Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

The visitors will miss suspended Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano, which is making coach Edgardo Bauza think of dramatic changes to the team.

Before the win against Chile and the loss of Mascherano, Bauza was considering a defensive 5-4-1 formation in La Paz, hoping to save his players’ energy and capitalize on the ball-holding Mascherano. Now he may be forced into a more offensive formation that relies less on counterattacking.

Bolivian coach Mauricio Soria, who spared some of his main players in the 1-0 defeat at Colombia on Thursday, said his team will not be intimidated by the Argentine stars and should push hard against them. His team will be rested and in familiar surroundings.

“We hope we can make them feel a lot of their fears,” Soria said.

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BRAZIL

After the impressive thrashing of Uruguay 4-1 in Montevideo, Brazil is so close to the World Cup spot that many players are already looking for new challenges as Brazil chases it sixth World Cup title.

For the spot to be assured, Brazil needs to beat Paraguay and see Venezuela overcome Chile in Santiago. Also, Colombia needs to get its first win at Ecuador in 20 years.

Even if the “official” qualification doesn’t come, there will surely be a party at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

Coach Tite, who has won seven straight games in qualifiers since he took over in September, had his best days at Corinthians. He won two Brazilian championships, one Copa Libertadores, and the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup title after a 1-0 victory over England’s Chelsea in Japan.

Defender Fagner, also a Corinthians player, will replace suspended Dani Alves.

“I feel no pressure, I want to enjoy every moment of this,” Fagner told reporters.

If he doesn’t do well, Tite has already brought Sevilla’s Mariano for a test.

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COLOMBIA

The Colombia vs. Ecuador match could be key to the aspirations of both teams: Colombia has 21 points, and Ecuador has 20.

The disappointing performance in the 1-0 victory over Bolivia on Thursday is making Colombia fans worry that their team might not qualify for the World Cup. The game in Quito promises to be even more complicated now that coach Jose Pekerman’s side has lost its best striker to injury. Luis Muriel had a right-leg injury and will likely be replaced by Miguel Borja or Carlos Bacca.

History does not favor Colombia: it has been 20 years since Colombia last beat Ecuador at the Atahualpa stadium.

Ecuador also has problems for the key clash. Striker Miller Bolanos and midfielder Christian Noboa will be out and their replacements are not yet set.

Bobby Wood looks forward to working with Arena, praises Klinsmann

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A back injury kept Bobby Wood from United States men’s national team camp, but the Hamburg striker has been feeling good about the side’s World Cup fortunes since before the big win over Honduras.

Speaking with Hamburg’s team magazine, Wood gave a sprawling interview on his career and time with the national team. Wood praised Arena for scouting in Germany, saying the USMNT boss is a quiet coach who has his own style of playing, one that will prod the Yanks into the World Cup.

[ MORE: Complete USMNT-Panama preview ]

But the 24-year-old Hawaii-born striker saved his fondest words for ex-coach Jurgen Klinsmann, essentially calling him a career-saver. From HSV live (translated from German):

He’s very important to me. I believe if Jürgen had not been U.S. coach, then I might have stopped playing football or would have played somewhere in the fourth league.

That is why I am very, very grateful to him. At that time I was in a deep hole – it was real heavy. … He has believed in my quality. We are still in contact, he texts me.

Wood was a part-time player for 1860 Munich when Klinsmann first called him up to the national team side, and now he’s a Bundesliga striker who will be in demand if the club is relegated. Wood has also been mentioned as a target for Premier League clubs.

That’s a pretty good career jump. Klinsmann may have failed to deliver much of what he promised to the national team, but talent mining was done quite well.