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MLS Power Rankings — Week 2: Big shakeups below top three

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Week 2 saw lots of of goals, poor weather up north and a lot of other excitement around Major League Soccer.

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Meanwhile, one expansion team continues to struggle finding its feet, while another recorded a six-spot.

[ MORE: Dom Dwyer gains U.S. citizenship, eligible for USMNT ]

Without further ado, let’s take a look at PST’s first installment of the 2017 MLS Power Rankings.


TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (22)

 

21 (21)

 

20 (19)

Minnesota United: The Loons have allowed a league-leading 11 goals in two matches. In comparison, the next most a club has conceded is four…

New England Revolution: Match vs. Orlando City cancelled due to inclement weather.

Columbus Crew: There’s been some early carryover from last season’s struggles, particularly on the defensive end where the Crew have had some issues. This is still a team loaded with talent though.

19 (11) DC United: No Luciano Acosta to start has made the attack look stagnant and the backline did this team no favors either in New York City.
18 (14) Real Salt Lake: Injuries have plagued RSL so far in 2017. Justen Glad and Joao Plata are among the questionable for this weekend’s clash against the Galaxy.
17 (17) Montreal Impact: Good start against the Sounders, but the Impact have to close out games better.
16 (15) Philadelphia Union: Jim Curtin’s side fought hard to pick up a draw against Toronto. The Union will get Orlando in Week 3, who had a lay off a week ago.
15 (10) LA Galaxy: Lots of injuries have halted an early-season momentum for the Galaxy. 
14 (7) Vancouver Whitecaps: Their CCL hopes took a dash against Tigres so let’s see how the Whitecaps respond versus Toronto.
13 (13) Sporting Kansas City: They haven’t been good but they also haven’t been bad. At least Peter Vermes can say SKC is one of two teams that haven’t allowed a goal yet.
12 (18) Chicago Fire: Nemanja Nikolic opened up his MLS account, and it seems like there’s a lot more where that came from.
11 (20) Atlanta United: The weather was certainly frightful up in Minnesota but Atlanta’s play was so delightful. Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez are living up to the early hype down in Hot-lanta.
10 (8) Orlando City: Match against the New England Revolution in Week 2 postponed.
9 (6) Seattle Sounders: The champs haven’t gotten out to the start that they would have liked and now the Red Bulls come to town for the Sounders’ home opener.
8 (4)
Toronto FC: Some early injuries have made things difficult for Greg Vanney’s side, including to Sebastian Giovinco, but the runners’ up from a season are still unbeaten to start.
7 (17) San Jose Earthquakes: Anibal Godoy and the Earthquakes attack are out to a hot start in San Jose.
6 (12) Houston Dynamo: The Western Conference bottom dwellers from a season ago have looked anything but that in 2017. Scary movement up front and solid backline have the Dynamo as a legitimate contender to make some noise in the West.
5 (5) Colorado Rapids: The Rapids should give Tim Howard a raise for his performance against the Red Bulls. No, seriously. Go watch the highlights again.
4 (9) New York City FC: We saw a glimpse of how good this NYCFC attack can be in Week 2. Now, a difficult home test against the Impact looms for the Bronx side.
3 (3) New York Red Bulls: It hasn’t been the prettiest but the Red Bulls are one of four teams to win their first two matches.
2 (1) FC Dallas: Unbeaten in two and a possible Champions League final in the works, everything has started out according to plan for Oscar Pareja and co.
1 (2) Portland Timbers: Even though the Timbers only had one goal to show in Week 2, this attack continues to look extremely potent and is probably the best in MLS.

Follow Live: Chelsea, Swans, Cherries in FA Cup replays

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Chelsea, Swansea City, and Bournemouth look to avoid upsets in replays of their third round FA Cup matches.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

All three matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

The Blues tangle with former Premier League peers Norwich City, this time at Stamford Bridge, in a bid to host a fourth round match with Newcastle United.

Antonio Conte‘s not messing around (too much) with the XI.

Swansea City and Wolves, meanwhile, are arguably battling for a bid in the fourth round, as a trip to Notts County is on the docket for the winner of Wednesday’s replay at the Liberty Stadium.

Bournemouth is at Wigan Athletic for a replay with the third-tier Latics, with the victor hosting West Ham United on Jan. 27.

Benevento captain Lucioni banned one year for doping

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ROME (AP) Benevento captain Fabio Lucioni has been banned one year for doping.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

Italy’s national anti-doping organization made the decision Tuesday after the steroid clostebol was found in a sample taken after Benevento’s 1-0 loss to Torino in September.

Benevento team physician Walter Giorgione was banned for four years for administering the steroid to Lucioni in a spray.

Both Lucioni and Giorgione plan to appeal.

The 30-year-old Lucioni joined Benevento in 2014 and the defender helped the team move from the third division up into Serie A this season for the first time.

Benevento is last in Serie A with only two wins in 20 matches.

The ban is back-dated to October, meaning Lucioni can return early next season.

Everton completes move for Walcott: “I’m dead excited” (video)

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Everton continues to supply its managers with top-end talent, adding Theo Walcott to its expensive season of boys which includes Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Cenk Tosun, Jordan Pickford, and Michael Keane.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

The deal is reported to be near $28 million for Walcott, who’s made only a half-dozen Premier League appearances this season but did nab three goals in five Europa League matches.

Walcott, 28, scored 108 goals in 397 appearances for the Gunners. His 19-goal campaign last season was his second-best — he scored 21 in 2012-13 — but Walcott dipped down Arsene Wenger‘s depth charge and is leaving to pursue regular football.

And his comments will be lapped up by the #WengerOut brigade at his now former club:

“The Club has won trophies but I want them to win trophies now. The manager is very hungry and it’s just what I need. I’ve had a couple of chats with him and straightaway I felt that hunger and that desire that he wanted from me. I need that and I wanted that

The move is another exciting one for Everton, which has underachieved under Ronald Koeman and now Sam Allardyce. And it’s another sale from Arsenal which gives pause: Are the underperforming Gunners going to regret the move?

In the 2005-06 season, Walcott made his Southampton debut in the Football League Championship at the age of 16, and moved to Arsenal the next season.

Walcott has eight goals in 47 caps for England, and won two FA Cups at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Montreal nabs Algerian DP ]

Here is a useful quote from Sam Allardyce:“His physical output is excellent, he would be one of our top players in that area as well, which will hopefully bring us a lot more excitement and more ability to get forward quicker and create.

And here is an utterly useless one: ““If you analyse his goal record, then we are looking at a player who contributes goals on a regular basis.”

You don’t say. To paraphrase: If you look at all his goals, he regularly scores goals. Here’s more from the player on his move.

Montreal to nab Algerian DP Taider from Bologna

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The loss of Swiss power Blerim Dzemaili is a big one for the Montreal Impact, but another World Cup player may be taking his place in Quebec.

[ MLS: Club-by-club SuperDraft needs ]

Tutto Bologna reports that Algerian playmaker Saphir Taider, 25, is set to sign with the Impact on a contract through 2020.

On loan to Montreal last season, Dzemaili went back to Bologna. Taider is coming back the other way and will reportedly be a Designated Player.

Taider isn’t as consistent a player as Dzemaili, but presents a skill set that should be a massive problem for MLS midfields.

He has 42 caps with five goals for Algeria, and was once property of Juventus. He spent parts of four seasons at Inter Milan, with loan stints back to Bologna, at Sassuolo, and a unremarkable time at Southampton.