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.

Juninho hoping Willian breaks his Champions League free-kick record

xxxx during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge on October 3, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Willian has scored six goals for Chelsea this season, with all six coming from free kicks.

Four of those have been scored in the Champions League, as the Brazilian has tied the record for the most free-kick goals in a single UCL campaign.

[ MORE: Premier League roundup ]

Willian is tied with his fellow Brazilian Juninho, known as one of the deadliest set-piece takers of all-time, who scored four times for Lyon during the 2005-06 campaign.

When asked about the possibility of his record being broken, Juninho was glad it would be by another Brazilian player, and said Willian will likely surpass him in the coming matches.

It’s good it’s a Brazilian, and from this new generation of good players we have.

It is very gratifying for me because when I scored these four goals, no one said anything.

I’m being remembered by what Willian has achieved, and I think he has everything to beat the record. The Champions League has barely reached half way and Chelsea still have a few more games to play.

Willian has converted 6 of 12 free kicks this season, scoring at an unheard-of 50-percent clip. All of his goals have come from almost the exact same spot on the pitch, about 20-25 yards out at the corner of the box to the keepers right.

[ WATCH: Jamie Vardy scores in record 11th straight Premier League match ]

Chelsea’s next Champions League match is on December 9 at Stamford Bridge against Porto. The Blues need a draw to advance into the knockout round.

West Brom’s Jonas Olsson backs Zlatan for Premier League move

SOLNA, SWEDEN - NOVEMBER 14: Sweden 10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic durring a European Qualifier Play-Off between Sweden and Denmark on November 14, 2015 in Solna, Sweden.  (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

With his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expiring in the summer, where Zlatan will go next is one of the biggest mysteries in football.

Having already played in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and France, the Premier League would be a logical next step in Zlatan’s career.

[ MORE: Aguero injury update ]

However, at 34-years-old, Zlatan himself has said it is “too late” for him to play in England, adding more mystery to where he will end up.

Despite what Zlatan says, his teammate on the Sweden national team Jonas Olsson believes the PSG striker is more than capable of playing in the Premier League.

Olsson, who has made nearly 400 appearances for West Bromwich Albion over the past eight seasons, said Zlatan’s elite talent would be fit for England’s top flight.

He’s still at the top of his game. He is the strongest player I have faced. I really hope he comes.

Zlatan on his day is the most talented footballer in the game. He has played under Mourinho before and the only place where he’s not 100% appreciated is in the UK.

I think he can play for any team in this league – he is still that good.

Even at 34, Zlatan has proven he is still one of the best strikers in the world. He recently became Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time leading scorer, and has scored at least 30 goals in each of the past four seasons.

[ VIDEO: Jamie Vardy speaks after scoring in 11 straight Premier League matches ]

The Premier League certainly has the money to entice Zlatan, and it is the biggest league in the world that he hasn’t conquered yet. Expect his name to be linked with a move to every major club in Europe for the rest of the year, as we’ll just have to wait until June and see what he decides.

Three questions ahead of Sunday’s MLS Conference Finals

PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 22: Goal keeper Adam Kwarasey #12 of Portland Timbers slides in on Michael Barrios #21 of FC Dallas during the second half of the match at Providence Park on November 22, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

There are only two matches remaining before MLS Cup, with both conference’s top seeds in need of a big result.

FC Dallas lost to the Portland Timbers 3-1 in the first leg out West, while the New York Red Bulls fell 2-0 to Columbus Crew SC in the East.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Leg 2 of the Conference Finals will both be played on Sunday, as we will know the MLS Cup finalists by the end of the night.

WEST: FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers — 5 p.m. ET
EAST: New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew SC — 7:30 p.m. ET

With each home-side needing to overcome a two-goal deficit, here’s what to look out for in the Conference Finals.

Will FC Dallas capitalize on home-field advantage?

Despite being down 3-1 on aggregate, FC Dallas will be looking forward to Sunday’s second leg. Dallas finished the season 13-2-2 at Toyota Stadium, the best home record in MLS. After scoring a crucial away goal in Portland, a 2-0 win for Dallas will see the side advance to the final. Their 33 goals scored at home was the second-best mark in the Western Conference, as Oscar Pareja’s men will feel confident despite the aggregate.

[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Fabian Johnson scores twice for Monchengladbach ]

Is Norberto Paparatto ready to replace Liam Ridgewell?

Norberto Paparatto has played just six matches for Portland this season, but it looks like he’ll be starting on Sunday. Liam Ridgewell, who started all 32 matches at center-back, injured his calf in the first leg and manager Caleb Porter said Paparatto will “most likely” be starting, as Ridgewell was seen warming up separately from the rest of the team in training. With FC Dallas in need of goals, Paparatto will have his hands full on defense, especially with the likes of Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz bombing forward.

Can Luis Robles keep a clean sheet for RBNY?

The Red Bulls’ Luis Robles was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year this season, and he’s going to need to play like that on Sunday. After losing 2-0 in the first leg without scoring an away goal, New York needs a 2-0 win themselves just to force extra-time. If Columbus scores at Red Bull Arena, New York needs to score four goals to advance. While it will have to be a collective team effort to keep the Crew off the scoresheet, Robles will have to make some big saves in goal to keep his side in it.

La Liga roundup: Barcelona win big in another dominant performance

<> at Camp Nou on November 28, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Catch up on all of Saturday’s La Liga action, as the trio of Messi-Suarez-Neymar continues to terrorize defenses.

Barcelona 4-0 Real Sociedad

In case you haven’t heard, Barcelona is scary good. Coming off of brilliant 4-0 and 6-1 wins over Real Madrid and Roma respectively, the Catalans trounced Real Sociedad at Camp Nou. It was the usual suspects once again, as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar (x2) scored the goals in another masterful performance. The M-S-N trio has accounted for 30 of Barcelona’s 33 goals in La Liga this season.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Espanyol

While the boys from Barcelona may be getting all the headlines, Antoine Griezmann has been having a great season for Atletico Madrid. The French international scored the game-winner in Atletico’s 1-0 win over Espanyol, his tenth in all competitions this season. The good news is that Atleti sit second on the table with a five-point lead over Real Madrid in third, while the bad news is that midfielder Tiago broke his leg in the match.

[ WATCH: Everton, Bournemouth trade late goals in stoppage-time thriller ]

Malaga 2-2 Granada

In a battle of teams fighting for La Liga survival, Granada came from behind to steal a draw at Malaga. The home-side was leading 2-0 until Granada tallied twice in the final ten minutes to take a huge point for the club. Malaga remains glued to the bottom of the table, while Granada is currently out of the drop zone on goal differential.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Levante 0-1 Real Betis
Las Palmas 0-2 Deportivo
Celta Vigo 2-1 Sporting Gijon
Getafe vs. Villarreal (Sunday, 6 a.m. ET)
Eibar vs. Real Madrid (Sunday, 10 a.m. ET)
Rayo vs. Athletic Bilbao (Sunday, 12:15 p.m. ET)
Sevilla vs. Valencia (Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET)