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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.

Patrick Vieira discusses Mix Diskerud and NYCFC’s offseason plans

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While the general feel of Tuesday’s MLS MVP ceremony in New York City was upbeat for New York City FC, the club has a challenging road ahead this offseason as they look to retool ahead of 2017.

[ MORE: David Villa wins 2016 Landon Donovan MLS MVP honors ]

Captain and star striker David Villa accepted honors on Tuesday as the Landon Donovan MLS MVP after notching 23 goals and four assists for the Eastern Conference, but outside of the Spaniard the team will have several noticeable holes that need plugging prior to next season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira proved to be a strong hire in his first season with the club, but his potential success moving forward will be dictated by how he and technical director Claudio Reyna fill out the rest of the roster.

Key pieces such as Frank Lampard and Andoni Iraola have since left the club after providing stability in the midfield this past season, while Jason Hernandez, Claudio Bravo and Steven Mendoza were among the other roster casualties following the team’s first playoff appearance in 2016.

While Vieira admits losing players like Lampard certainly presents a challenge, the Frenchman believes that NYCFC can just as easily recruit more talented members in the buildup to next season.

“Of course we lost Frank [Lampard],” Vieira said. “We lose some other players as well. We have to bring some new players. Something that is very important to us is that we have to be better and we have to bring players that can match out targets and we have different options on the table.

“You would not believe how many players would love to play for New York City FC. We will have some difficult decisions to make and it’s important for us to bring the right people, like David, because it’s important to bring people who want to come, people who want to work hard, prepare to sacrifice themselves for the football club because we have to do well next year.

As it stands, NYCFC currently has 18 players under contract ahead of the 2017 season, including two Designated Players (Villa and Andrea Pirlo).

One name that certainly jumps out on the list of 18 though is U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Mix Diskerud, who has seen more downs than ups in his two seasons in the Bronx. After making 27 appearances for NYCFC in the team’s inaugural season, Diskerud’s playing time was dwindled down significantly in 2016 under Vieira to just nine starts in 12 overall appearances.

The 26-year-old was the fourth-highest paid player on NYCFC in 2016 — making $761,250 — however, he scored just one goal and added two assists. The club is still looking to figure out the best way to handle the Diskerud situation though, according to Vieira.

“He’s looking for playing time,” Vieira said. “We’re having discussions with him and trying to find the best way to satisfy both Mix and ourselves.”

LIVE – UCL group stage finale: Man City, Arsenal both in action

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal (L) celebrates his sides second goal with his Arsenal team mates after Marco Verratti of PSG (not pictured) scored a own goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Arsenal FC and Paris Saint-Germain at the Emirates Stadium on November 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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With their passage into the Round of 16 secured, Premier League duo Arsenal and Manchester City is both in action on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

The Gunners know a win at Basel combined with PSG dropping points at home to Ludogorets would mean clinching top spot in Group A and an all-important top seed for the last 16 draw. As for Man City, they have secured top spot in Group C and can’t finish above Barcelona so Pep Guardiola will likely start plenty of fringe players against a Celtic side already out of Europe as they will finish in fourth place.

Elsewhere there is plenty to play for as the winner of Napoli vs. Benfica will make it to the UCL’s last 16 and Besiktas know a win in Kiev will also sent them through. There is also the small matter of a battle between two heavyweights in Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, although Atleti already have first place sewn up and Munich has to settle for second irrespective of the result.

Below is a full schedule for Wednesday’s Champions League games, with each game kicking off at 2:45 p.m. ET. You can follow live commentary and stats of each game by clicking on the link above, while we will have reaction right here on ProSoccerTalk.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League schedule

Group A
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Ludogorets
Basel vs. Arsenal

Group B
Napoli vs. Benfica
Dynamo Kiev vs. Besiktas

Group C
Barcelona vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
Manchester City vs. Celtic

Group D
Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid
PSV Eindhoven vs. FC Rostov

Brazil anti-trust body says bids rigged for 2014 World Cup

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Brazil’s anti-trust body says several construction companies rigged bids for 2014 World Cup stadiums, driving up costs by overcharging for the work.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars ]

Five stadium projects were mentioned in the report by the anti-trust body CADE. They included Rio de Janeiro’s famous Maracana Stadium, where Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup final.

CADE says three other stadiums used in the World Cup also could have been tainted by corruption.

[ MORE: Pogba told to stop showboating ]

CADE says it obtained the bid-rigging information in a leniency agreement with construction company Andrade Gutierrez.

Reports have been widespread about corruption linked to World Cup stadiums, and construction projects tied to this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Champions League permutations: Who can reach last 16?

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Marquinhos of PSG (R) is chased by Mesut Ozil of Arsenal (L) during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Arsenal FC and Paris Saint-Germain at the Emirates Stadium on November 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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The final matchday of the UEFA Champions League group stage is here and there are plenty of permutations to wrap our heads around for the matches on Tuesday and Wednesday.

[ MORE: Full UCL schedule ]

Remember, the top two teams from each four team group go through to the last 16 with the team who finishes top the seeded team, while the team who finishes second the unseeded team. As well as that, the team who finishes third automatically qualifies for the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.

Below is a look at how things stand in each group with one game to go and what each team has left to play for.


Group A
Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain have already qualified but if PSG win against Ludogorets and Arsenal beat Basel both teams will finish on 14 points. However, PSG will top the group due to their two away goals against Arsenal in the first head-to-head tiebreaker. Basel and Ludorogets are both in the hunt for the Europa League spot as they each have two points. If both teams finish on the same number of points then Ludogorets will go through as they similarly lead Basel in away goals in games between the duo.

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Group B
Everything is set up for an epic showdown between Napoli and Benfica in Italy as the winner of that game knows they will definitely go through and seal to spot. However, the loser may advance if Besiktas lose to bottom side Dynamo Kiev. The equation is quite simple for Besiktas: if they beat Kiev in Ukraine, they’re in the last 16. Kiev is on two points and can’t finish any higher than fourth. If Napoli and Benfica draw and Besiktas win, then Besiktas and Napoli would qualify as they beat Benfica 4-2 away from home. Benfica will still qualify if they lose and Besiktas draw, as they have a better head-to-head record. If Besiktas draw and Napoli lose, the Turkish side will be through.

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Group C
Everything is sorted in Group C with Barcelona sealing top spot, Man City finishing second and Bourssia Monchengladbach finishing third. Celtic is guaranteed to finish bottom and is out of Europe.

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Group D
Atletico Madrid have sealed top spot in Group D, while Bayern Munich have second spot guaranteed as both heavyweights are through to the last 16. The only thing left to play for is third place and if PSV Eindhoven beat Rostov at home in the final game then they will finish in third ahead of the Russian side.

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Group E
Monaco have sealed top spot, while Bayer Leverkusen is guaranteed second spot with both going through to the knockout stages. Tottenham Hotspur crashed out of the Champions League and need just a point in their home game against CSKA Moscow to qualify for the Europa League. A defeat for Spurs against CSKA would mean the Russia side go to the Europa League instead.

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Group F
Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid are safely through to the last 16 and a win or a draw for Dortmund at Real Madrid on the final matchday will seal top spot. If Dortmund lose to Madrid then the reigning European champs will finish top of Group F. The battle for third place is on as Legia Warsaw host Sporting Lisbon in Poland. Sporting only need a point to advance to the Europa League Round of 32, while Legia must win.

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Group G
Leicester has sealed top spot in the group and has qualified as a top seed for the last 16. Porto host Leicester in the final game and a win would guarantee them a spot in the last 16. A draw may be enough for Porto of Copenhagen lose or draw at Club Brugge, but if Copenhagen win then Porto must also win to finish second and make the knockout rounds. If Copenhagen win and Porto draw then Copenhagen will go through as they have an equal head-to-head record with Porto but better goal difference.

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Group H
Juventus is safely through to the round of 16 but they’ve yet to seal top spot. A win for the Italian champions at Dinamo Zagreb will guarantee first place. As for the battle for second, Sevilla know a point at Lyon will see them through but Lyon know a win would see them leapfrog Sevilla and make the last 16. If Sevilla beat Lyon and Juventus draw or lose against Zagreb then Sevilla will finish in top spot.

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