Sporting Kansas City v Chicago Fire

Winless Watch: Which MLS team’s most likely to break through this weekend?

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The Red Bulls did it last night. Winless in six, Mike Petke’s team gave its best performance of the season, taking a two-goal lead on Philadelphia before claiming a 2-1 victory at Red Bull Arena. Finally finishing some of its chances, New York broke from the ranks of the winless.

That leaves four teams chasing their first win, with San Jose at the bottom of the league’s standings with two points. That the Earthquakes have had two bye weeks leaves their record less concerning than the other winless teams. Chicago has drawn five games in a row, while Montréal has been held to a point in each of its last three. Portland, first in the West at the 2013 regular season, is coming off a home draw with Chivas USA.

For Chicago, the underlying form has been there, leaving hope the Fire can crack the win column soon soon. But for Montréal and Portland, road games against last year’s MLS Cup finalists leave each unlikely to see victory this weekend.

Here’s what all four winless teams face this weekend, ranked from most-to-least likely to break through:

Mostly likely: Chicago Fire, vs. New England, Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

New England has won twice this season, but Jay Heaps’ team hasn’t necessarily looked better than Chicago while doing so. Where the Fire has had trouble going 90 minutes without a mistake in defense, the Revolution can’t score, finding net only four times in six games (albeit twice on Saturday).

With Teal Bunbury yet to score for his new team, Chicago’s defensive errors are less likely to be punished. The team with a -1 goal difference (Chicago) are a good bet against a team tied for worst in the league (-4), particularly if Jose Gonçalves isn’t there to help with Quincy Amarikwa.

Not as likely: Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Saturday, 6:00 p.m. ET

Winless in four, San Jose’s only played one bad game: It’s loss three weeks ago to New England. While that hints at a quality that transcends the Earthquakes’ record, that doesn’t mean they’ll break through this weekend.

In wins at Vancouver and Toronto, Colorado’s shown a resourcefulness and depth that could trouble anybody. The Earthquakes could give another decent performance and still leave Commerce City, Col., with a loss.

Probably won’t happen: Sporting Kansas City vs. Montréal Impact, Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET

In our power rankings, these teams were ranked one and 18, though the forward pairing of Marco Di Vaio and Jack McInerney could, in theory, give Aurélien Collin and Matt Besler problems. More likely, Matteo Ferrari and Kari Ouimette are going to have trouble with Kansas City’s pressure, leaving their fullbacks (or themselves) lofting long balls toward the Sporting defense. If the ball is on the ground, Di Vaio’s movement and McInerney’s poaching could be a problem. If the ball’s in the air? Collin (and, Kansas City) will dominate.

Also unlikely to happen: Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers, Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET

The Timbers were winless in six games against Real Salt Lake last season, and that’s when they were good. This year, Portland’s been unable to protect their defense, leaving one of this year’s Western Conference favorites with four points in six games. While snapping that winless run against their nemesis would help put a poor start in the rearview, RSL may also see Saturday’s game as a chance to break into its own elusive win column. Jeff Cassar’s team is undefeated, but it’s also only won twice, with the team it mastered last year giving them a chance to claim its first win in three weeks.

UCL wrap: Vardy gives Leicester lifeline; Juve wins

Leicester's Jamie Vardy, left, celebrates after he scores a goal during the Champions League round of 16 soccer match between Sevilla and Leicester City at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium in Seville, Spain, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Miguel Morenatti)
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Jamie Vardy‘s late goal helped dominated Leicester City make amends for a rough hour in Sevilla, as the Foxes took an away goal from Spain in one of two UEFA Champions League Round of 16 legs on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Man Utd onto Europa Round of 16 ]

Elsewhere, Porto nearly handled an early red card all the way to 0-0. Alas, Juventus.


Sevilla 2-1 Leicester City

Jamie Vardy’s late goal gives Leicester City hope after Joaquin Correa and Pablo Sarabia helped the hosts to a two-goal lead on Wednesday at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.

Wes Morgan gave away a penalty with an out-of-position challenge, but Correa’s take was poor and Kasper Schmeichel guessed correctly to snare the low shot.

Schmeichel then robbed Sergio Escudero, only to be burnt by Sevilla’s No. 17. Escudero swept a cross over the Leicester back line and a leaping Christian Fuchs, and Sarabia headed home for a deserved 1-0.

Fuchs’ dicey day continued in the 56th minute, as Sarabia had plenty of time for a strong attempt only to miss near post.

Substitute Demarai Gray injected some life into Leicester, and Danny Drinkwater forced Sevilla into conceding a corner in the 60th minute. The Foxes played it short to no success.

Moments later, Sevilla were up a pair through Correa. Ex-Man City striker Stevan Jovetic, on loan from Inter Milan, teed up Correa for the shot.

Vardy pulled back what could be a huge away goal for the Foxes, belting a Drinkwater square ball home in the 74th minute.


Porto 0-2 Juventus

Alex Telles’ 27th minute yellow card was his second for Porto in 74 seconds, giving the impression that Juventus would waltz back to Italy with the tie well in-hand.

Instead, Iker Casillas and Porto closed up shop to great success, and Juventus didn’t break through until the final 20 minutes. Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves netted two minutes apart to give Juve a solid foothold in the quarterfinals.

VIDEO: Manchester United dispatches Saint-Etienne, Mkhi injured

SAINT-ETIENNE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 22:  Florentin Pogba of Saint-Etienne walks on the pitch next to his brother Paul Pogba of Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between AS Saint-Etienne and Manchester United at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on February 22, 2017 in Saint-Etienne, France.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
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Juan Mata‘s 16th minute service found Henrikh Mkhitaryan score the only goal of Manchester United’s 1-0 second leg Europa League Round of 32 win at Saint-Etienne, but the win came at a price.

Mkhitaryan left the match with a leg injury, casting him in doubt for Sunday’s EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley Stadium. Michael Carrick also left the game with an injury.

[ MORE: Two year bans for penalty protest ]

Krasnodar and Schalke also clinched berths in the Round of 16, which will be played March 9 and 16.

UCL AT HALF: Leicester trails in Spain, Porto down a man (video)

Sevilla players celebrate the goal of Sevilla's Pablo Sarabia, second left, during the Champions League round of 16 soccer match between Sevilla and Leicester City at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium in Seville, Spain, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Miguel Morenatti)
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Leicester City will be happy to get to halftime down by a mere goal, while Porto will be simply hoping to be alive after 90 minutes at home to Juventus.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

That’s because Porto will play more than an hour down a man against The Old Lady.

Sevilla 1-0 Leicester City

Wes Morgan gave away a penalty with an out-of-position challenge, but Joaquin Correa’s take was poor and Kasper Schmeichel guessed correctly to snare the low shot.

Schmeichel then robbed Sergio Escudero, only to be burnt by Sevilla’s No. 17. Escudero swept a cross over the Leicester back line and a leaping Christian Fuchs, and Pablo Sarabia headed home for a deserved 1-0.

Porto 0-0 Juventus

It didn’t take long for Juventus fans to feel rightly confident, as Porto’s Alex Telles took a pair of yellow cards in 74 seconds.

LIVE: UCL last 16 – Leicester face Sevilla; Juve head to Porto

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Jamie Vardy of Leicester City applauds the crowd in defeat after the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
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Two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first legs take place on Wednesday.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Leicester City of the Premier League head to Spain to face Sevilla in the UCL last 16 despite Claudio Ranieri‘s men battling for survival in the Premier League. The Foxes, as always, are the big underdogs in Spain as Sevilla have won the UEFA Europa League in each of the past three seasons and Jorge Sampaoli’s side are battling for the title in La Liga.

As for Leicester, they’re just two points off the bottom of the PL as they haven’t scored in their last six outings and have lost five on the spin as well as being dumped out of the FA Cup by third-tier Millwall at the weekend. So yeah, Sevilla head into this game as the heavy favorites and will hope to take a healthy lead to the King Power Stadium with them in two weeks time.

In the other UCL clash on Wednesday FC Porto host Juventus as the Portuguese and Italian giants collide at the Estadio do Dragao. Porto finished behind Leicester in the group stage, while Juv battled it out with Sevilla and clinched top spot. Massimiliano Allegri’s men remain top of Serie A and will look to Gonzalo Higuain to deliver the goals away from home. It promises to be an intriguing tactical battle in northern Portugal.

Click on the link above to follow live commentary on both games, while we will have reaction and analysis on all of the UCL knockout games here at Pro Soccer Talk.


Wednesday’s UCL Round of 16, first legs

Sevilla vs. Leicester City – 2:45 p.m. ET
FC Porto vs. Juventus – 2:45 p.m. ET