ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

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19. D.C. United – They made the Revolution work hard for a 2-1 win outside Boston. There’s that, at least.

18. Toronto FC – Not that it will matter in the big picture, but the MLS reffing bugaboo bit Ryan Nelsen’s team in a 2-1 home loss to Kansas City. Hard.

17. Chivas USA – The progress seen over the last 30-60 days went “poof” into the Texas night in a big, 5-1 loss at Houston.

16. FC Dallas – A late own goal kept the visiting Texans from splitting the points at New York on Sunday in the round’s final match. Dallas slipped from sixth to eighth.

15. Columbus – Federico Higuain and Dominic Oduro (pictured right) took care of the offense once again in a huge win over 10-man Chicago. Tony Tchani also made a big imprint in midfield – and how often do we get to say that?

14. Chicago Fire – Losing to Columbus in Ohio could seriously come back to punish Frank Klopas’ men. Stumbling Montreal visits this weekend, a must-have three points for the Fire.

13. New England Revolution – One of the league’s top young stars, Diego Fagundez, scored his 11th goal in a win over D.C. United; the kid is just 18. Lee Nguyen failed from the penalty spot – but then stepped up to make the one that really mattered.

12. Philadelphia Union – The Union had a weekend off – and they could use it, now in full prep for a Friday visit to Sporting Kansas City.

11. Vancouver Whitecaps – A great 3-0 win Montreal for Martin Rennie’s men was a lot closer than looks; the visitors were hanging on when Camilo came in and hit two late goals. He is tied for second in league goals with 16, behind only Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio.

(MORE: MLS Round 30 week in review)

10. Houston Dynamo – Dominic Kinnear has his full roster available now, and the results are showing. The Orange followed last week’s road win (at Philly) with a demonstrative 5-1 Goat beating (over Chivas USA, that is).

9. Montreal Impact – A second consecutive loss at Stade Saputo, plus Marco Schallibaum’s latest stack-blower, should have everyone wondering if this thing is unraveling before our very eyes. Drop one more at home and a playoff spot will be in jeopardy for the Impact.

8. Colorado Rapids – Oscar Pareja’s young men couldn’t quite get the job done in Portland, falling 1-0 on a goal borne of sloppiness in possession along the back. The Rapids get a weekend off before a huge Oct. 5 match against Seattle at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

7. San Jose Earthquakes – The ‘Quakes playoff hopes look quite a bit better today than three days back. A win in Utah over Real Salt Lake won’t get Mark Watson’s team there; still miles to go. But it’s a big win just the same, and clearly the proud side won’t go down without a big fight.

6. Portland Timbers – Diego Valeri was The Man as Portland, perhaps learning how to win games via the grind, outlasted Colorado, 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field.

5. Real Salt Lake – Maybe this business with Jason Kreis, out of contract and apparently considering the NYCFC coaching position, is proving a distraction. Something is wrong when RSL drops two in a row, including the weekend’s 2-1 loss to a San Jose side that very well may not make the playoffs.

4. LA Galaxy – The Galaxy had a potential game-winner by Gyasi Zardes called back for … for, uh … well, someone will have to ask referee Silviu Petrescu. He was Major League Soccer’s referee of the year in 2012, you know, even though he hates to call fouls. That says a lot about MLS, eh? At any rate, it was a nice, if fairly physical match, the 1-1 draw with Seattle.

source: Getty Images3. New York Red Bulls – Thierry Henry and Co. had the better chances, but couldn’t push one into Dallas goal. So, a late own goal for the visitors will have to do. The points count just the same, right? And they were points that put New York right back into the East’s top spot, Supporters Shield hopes still very much in sight.

2. Sporting Kansas City – Next time Peter Vermes goes on about getting jobbed (and every coach will at some point) someone needs to remind him how lucky his club was to get all three points out of Toronto, a result aided measurably by poor officiating. Still, they did get the job done thanks to two goals by C.J. Sapong (pictured, above left).

1. Seattle Sounders – The Sounders were a bit lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw, but they did create some quality chances, enough on the road to feel good about splitting the points against the two-time defending champs. Besides, with the recent run of these good results, Sigi Schmid’s team has bought the right to be OK with a draw; they remain well positioned at the top of the West.

Klopp: Liverpool “not 500 miles away” from Man City’s standard

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Jurgen Klopp remains bullish on his Liverpool’s credentials as one of the Premier League’s top-four sides title challengers this season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup | Sunday preview — Spurs vs. Liverpool ]

While everyone else might be writing off the Reds due to their propensity for defensive disasters on an every-game basis, Klopp refuses to concede that a gap of “500 miles” exists between his side and Manchester City, the early-days runaway leaders of the 2017-18 season — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t compare City with us, but I think everyone can see we are not 500 miles away. But they fly. It was a very decisive day when we lost 5-0. Dealing with a 5-0 defeat is not the easiest thing. We didn’t lose confidence but we were not that fluent afterwards and it was not like we could close our eyes and finish [thinking about it]. They did exactly the opposite. I saw the Stoke goals, you see the shot from Fernandinho and you think, ‘If it works, it works even like this.’ They are a fantastic team and we don’t have to compare, but it starts so early again with us having to apologize for the season so far because one team is flying.”

“Their way of football I would say is not something we are too far away from but to be as clinical as they have been so far? We weren’t.

“That’s the thing. We are still in the race, not with City in the moment because they have I don’t how many points, and I don’t say already that we should only fight for a top-four place. Performance-wise we are a team that should be there but now we have to get the results.”

[ TACTICS SESSION: Inside the brilliant mind of Kevin De Bruyne ]

All due respect to Klopp and Liverpool, the league table says City currently have 25 points (having played one game more), while Liverpool have 13. That’s not a difference of 500 points, but taking into account not only results but performances, it might as well be.

Ligue 1: Falcao, Balde score to keep Monaco close to PSG

AP Photo/Claude Paris
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PARIS (AP) French champion Monaco got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home win against Caen on Saturday.

Monaco lost three and drew one of its previous four games in all competitions. But coach Leonardo Jardim’s side was largely in control against a Caen side that started brightly and faded after Keita Balde’s opening goal and first for Monaco.

“It was important to win, to get a bit of confidence back,” Jardim said. “We’ve been working hard and the players were very serious today.”

Captain Radamel Falcao scored his league-leading 13th from the penalty spot in the 59th, confidently sending goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre the wrong way.

The win moved second-place Monaco within three points of Paris Saint-Germain, having played one game more. Unbeaten PSG is away at bitter rival Marseille on Sunday.

Falcao’s partnership with teen star Kylian Mbappe was crucial to Monaco’s charge to the league title and the Champions League semifinals last season. Mbappe left to join PSG in a high-profile move — as did several other key players — but Falcao’s new partnership with the unselfish Balde looks a promising one.

“We’ve lost a few players and we need a bit of time, it’s been a bit difficult for us,” Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic said. “I hope we can stay at the top of the table and that the young players can shine. We have a lot of quality here.”

Balde has been sharp in his handful of appearances since joining from Lazio in the offseason, but mainly as a link player and a provider.

This time, the Senegal forward finished off the move as he ran onto Thomas Lemar’s perfectly weighted pass into his path, cut across a defender on the edge of the penalty area and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.

Lemar almost created another goal when his corner was headed against the crossbar by Brazilian defender Jemerson late in the first half.

Falcao put the game beyond doubt from the spot after Slovenian midfielder Jan Repas fouled attacking midfielder Rony Lopes.


After a tricky start to his tenure at Nantes, Italian coach Claudio Ranieri has turned things around.

Nantes beat Guingamp 2-1 at home to move up to third place, extending Ranieri’s unbeaten run to eight matches after losing the first two.

Nantes, which scored through defender Chidozie Awaziem and midfielder Abdoulaye Toure, is just two points behind Monaco.

The 2 Robbies: Terriers Triumph And Chelsea Leave It Late

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe start today’s show off by discussing Huddersfield Town’s surprising win against Manchester United (00:20), Jose Mourinho’s measured post-match interview (03:50), praise Manchester City again (10:30), discuss Sean Dyche’s next move (16:10), analyze that exciting match between Chelsea and Watford (18:30) and finally, weigh in on Slaven Bilic’s future at West Ham United (27:30).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

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Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

La Liga: Barca win to maintain lead, but Valencia won’t go away

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona regained a four-point cushion atop the Spanish league with a ho-hum 2-0 win over visiting Malaga and surging Valencia dismissed Sevilla 4-0 at home on Saturday.

Barcelona faced last-placed Malaga in the closing match of the day, with added pressure from second-placed Valencia, which has won five in a row.

Barcelona is unbeaten after starting with seven straight wins and drawing with Atletico Madrid last week.

Seldom-used Gerard Deulofeu opened the scoring for Barcelona after just two minutes, and Andres Iniesta celebrated his first of the season in the second half thanks to a brilliant assist by Lionel Messi.

Defending champion Real Madrid hosts Eibar on Sunday.

Barcelona benefited from a flagrant referee misjudgment to get its go-ahead goal against Malaga. Left back Lucas Digne was allowed to center the ball after it clearly crossed the byline, and Deulofeu acrobatically back-footed it inside the net.

Despite the blow, the visitors got back up and managed to neutralize Barcelona for most of the first half, but lost striker Diego Rolan just before the second period. The Uruguayan import was forced off by injury.

Without Rolan, Malaga lacked bite in its pressure of the home backline, and Barcelona was able to polish ball circulation and find Messi with more frequency.

Messi received a clean pass from defender Javier Mascherano, drew the defense, and dropped a perfect pass for Iniesta, whose shot was deflected by defender Roberto Rosales on its way to the upper left corner.

Malaga surrendered and Barcelona dominated the rest of the way.


Gonzalo Guedes opened the scoring for Valencia near halftime with a majestic strike from outside the box after deftly outmaneuvering two defenders on the chase.

Simone Zaza added his eighth league goal after the break with a spin and low cross shot. Santi Mina came off the bench and scored the third with just five minutes to go, finishing off a speedy counterattack for the hosts.

But the show was all Guedes, and the Portuguese midfielder rounded off his great game with the closer, subtly poking the ball over goalkeeper Sergio Rico in added time.

Sevilla has lost three in a row in all competitions. Managed by Eduardo Berizzo, the team started off red-hot in La Liga but has floundered lately, ranking fifth.