Oduro headshot

ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings


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.

VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast

Kroenke: “Very high” on Wenger who is “very hard” to replace

Jeff Fisher
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LONDON — Arsenal remains “very high” on Arsene Wenger and it will be “very hard” replacing the manager who is in the final year of his contract, owner Stan Kroenke told The Associated Press on Monday.

Wenger this month celebrated 20 years in charge of Arsenal and has offered no indication whether he wants to sign a new deal into next season.

The 67-year-old Frenchman became the Premier League’s longest serving manager when Alex Ferguson retired from Manchester United in 2013. United is now on its third manager in three years and has not competed for the Premier League title since Ferguson’s departure.

In a rare interview about Arsenal, Kroenke noted the tricky post-Ferguson succession at United while discussing the challenge of eventually replacing Wenger.

“You see it (at United), you bring up a comment like that,” Kroenke told the AP after Arsenal’s annual general meeting. “It’s very hard. He’s a great manager.”

Wenger signed his last three-year contract extension in 2014.

“We will sit down and discuss the future at the appropriate time,” Arsenal chairman Chips Keswick told shareholders at a meeting where Wenger didn’t address his contract situation in his speech.

Although Wenger has won the Premier League three times, the last success came in 2004 – a drought which frustrates fans.

“He’s been a wonderful influence on the club,” Kroenke said. “We are all very high on Arsene. We are (joint) top of the table right now.”

Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are only separated on goal difference at the summit. Despite Wenger only winning the FA Cup twice since 2004, the team is in the lucrative Champions League for the 19th successive year thanks to its runner-up finish last season. Wenger is yet to win European football’s top prize.

“I know a number of (sports team) owners that are very successful that say the same thing – the hardest thing to do is be consistently competitive at the top of the league,” said Kroenke, who also owns the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. “Arsene has always done that and Arsenal has always been in that position. We have always been competitive.

“We may not always win the things we want to win. We are very focused on winning for sure the league. Arsene’s been consistently at the top and I will tell you – it’s very, very hard to do if you look around sports.”


2016 MLS Cup playoffs bracket in full

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Michael Bradley #4 and Jozy Altidore #17 of Toronto FC celebrate a goal by teammate Tsubasa Endoh #9 during the first half of an MLS soccer game against FC Dallas at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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With Major League Soccer’s Decision Day 2016 in the books, we now know who will battle it out for MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Who will win MLS Cup? ]

Up first on Wednesday and Thursday are the four knockout round games, then the Conference semifinal first legs kick off this weekend.

We get into it thick and fast.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage

The PST crew already selected their picks for the postseason and filled out their bracket. You can see that by clicking on the link above. FWIW, I have Toronto FC beating the Seattle Sounders in MLS Cup…

[ MORE: Ranking MLS playoff teams ]

Below is the MLS playoff bracket in full so you can make your picks and let us know who you went for in the comments section below.


MLS Playoff bracket, 2016

MLS Playoff bracket, 2016
Source: MLSSoccer.com