Twitter/@ColumbusCrewSC

MLS Power Rankings — Week 5: Three teams remain winless to start

Leave a comment

It’s still too early to start eliminating teams from playoff contention but we’re starting to get a feel for which MLS clubs are the real favorites in 2017.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Three teams remain winless to start the season, but Minnesota United isn’t one them. The Loons picked up their first win in convincing fashion against Real Salt Lake, however, the Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union and RSL haven’t been so fortunate. Check out PST’s updated power rankings below:


TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (19)

 

21 (21)

 

20 (22)

Real Salt Lake: The Loons picked apart the RSL backline time and time again last Saturday, and now this team is just one of three in MLS without a win.

DC United: Ben Olsen’s group finally got off the snide against the Union but there are still a lot of questions about D.C. moving forward.

Minnesota United: Baby steps, right? The Loons have their first win and better yet, they aren’t in last in the West. It’s clear this team can score goals at times but they still need to improve upon keeping them out.

19 (18) Philadelphia Union: The Union have a lot of talent on the roster but Jim Curtin should be feeling some early pressure to pick up results as his side sits at the bottom of the East.
18 (16) Montreal Impact: Key injuries have plagued the Impact so far, including those to Ignacio Piatti and Laurent Ciman.
17 (17) Chicago Fire: Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s debut was just about everything you could want as a Fire fan, except for the result.
16 (15) New England Revolution: Back-to-back results for the Revs has the club in better spirits. All the makings are there for an explosive attack but Jay Heaps’ backline still features a few questions that need answering.
15 (14) LA Galaxy: The Zlatan rumors continue to swirl and his services could surely benefit the struggling side over the summer.
14 (10) San Jose Earthquakes: A late red card to Victor Bernardez and allowing the early lead to slip away will be disappointing for the Quakes but they showed plenty of life against NYCFC.
13 (15) Vancouver Whitecaps: The Caps proved they could still post some impressive offense without Kekuta Manneh but their CCL exit midweek could sting for awhile.
12 (13) Sporting Kansas City: Peter Vermes’ side have still allowed just one goal through four weeks. Now, they just need to start finishing their chances up top.
11 (11) Colorado Rapids: The Rapids face a tough test Sunday night when they head to Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.
10 (8) Orlando City: The Lions suffered their first defeat of the season against Columbus but Kaka should be nearing a return for Jason Kreis’ group.
9 (4) New York Red Bulls: Jesse Marsch’s side sat on the wrong side o a few calls in Houston but the Dynamo simply outclassed the reigning Eastern Conference champions last Saturday. Time to regroup for the Red Bulls.
8 (9)
Houston Dynamo: This attack continues to fly high and Erick Torres leads the charge. The Dynamo have scored the second-most goals in MLS through five weeks and are currently doing so without Romell Quioto.
7 (7) Seattle Sounders: There were opportunities to crack the scoresheet against Atlanta but in the battle of the early-season heavyweights a 0-0 scoreline should be pleasing for both clubs.
6 (5) Toronto FC: It was a struggle at times for TFC to get things going against Sporting KC but a scoreless draw won’t be something Greg Vanney and co. dwell upon. After all, this team is still unbeaten.
5 (6) New York City FC: The Bronx club bounced back after allowing an early goal to the Quakes and Tommy McNamara’s ability to contribute off the bench should have Patrick Vieira very pleased.
4 (12) Columbus Crew: Greg Berhalter’s men have found a rhythm and they have the top spot in the Eastern Conference to show for their efforts.
3 (3) Atlanta United: A quality road draw against the Seattle Sounders should have Atlanta confident through the opening five weeks, especially as the newcomers continue to play without Josef Martinez.
2 (2) Portland Timbers: A late equalizer only handed the Timbers a point at Providence Park but Caleb Porter’s still sit atop the West.
1 (1) FC Dallas: Out of action last weekend in preparation for their CCL clash with Pachuca, Dallas will now have its full attention on MLS after falling just short of the tournament final.

Five Thirty Eight unveils Top 426 soccer clubs in the world

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Perspective achieved?

Advanced statistical site Five Thirty Eight has put together a weekly ranking of the top and bottom club teams in the world, and its algorithm gives us a theoretical answer into where Major League Soccer fits into the club soccer landscape.

[ MORE: Julian Green back on transfer market ]

At its very base level, the rankings will give reason to check back all season. Can Manchester United break into the Top Three? Will an MLS side leap into the Top 100? Can the worst American club avoid the bottom slot?

Here’s the list of clubs, and Five Thirty Eight has also gone through the trouble of giving its statistical analysis of who’s best set-up to win leagues and even games.

A note on the methodology:

We’re using recent matches played between teams from different leagues, supplemented with league market values (from Transfermarkt), to assign a strength rating to every league that we’re forecasting. Our new league ratings also give us the ability to a calculate a global Soccer Power Index (SPI) rating for each team — a number from 0 to 100 that represents the overall strength of each team.

The Premier League and La Liga combine for six of the Top Ten teams in the world, with Real Madrid No. 1 and Man City, Manchester United, and Chelsea running Nos. 7, 8, and 9.

Brighton and Hove Albion is the lowest ranked Premier League club, 188th in the world. The only PL sides outside the Top 125 are the three promoted clubs. Swansea is 113th, the lowest (or highest) ranked PL side aside from the new promotions.

Brighton is 17 spots below MLS’ top representative: Toronto FC. The same web site ranked MLS as the 28th best league in the world earlier this month, between Denmark and Croatia.

New York City FC shows up next, at 259, then rivals New York Red Bulls at 267. The bulk of MLS clubs fit between 320 and 422, where Minnesota United brings up the rear. The study ranks 426 teams, with three Scottish clubs running 424-426.

[ MORE: Man City 1-1 Everton | 3 things ]

As for some other odds, Five Thirty Eight gives Manchester United the best odds to win the league at 31 percent, with Man City, Chelsea, and Spurs joining them with the best odds to place in the Top Four.

The average simulated season has United besting rivals City by two points, with 80. Tottenham (72) tops Arsenal (68) for fourth by four points, while No. 6 Liverpool finishes 10 points clear of Merseyside rivals Everton (57 points).

It’s no surprise that the three promoted clubs — Huddersfield Town, Newcastle, and Brighton — are the top bets to be relegated, with Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, and Swansea City the next best bets to find life in the Championship.

Other notes:

— Manchester United is the fourth-best defensive team in the Premier League, behind only Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Juventus.

— Spurs are also in the Top Ten amongst defensive teams, a 8.

— Man City is the best offensive team in the PL, seventh in the world.

— Watford is this week’s highest PL riser, up 22 spots.

— MLS side Chicago Fire suffered the fourth biggest drop in the world this week (40 spots).

Five Thirty Eight is one of the best predictive web sites in the world, and one of the only ones who gave more than an outside shot (though still ranking it a long shot) of the 2016 United States presidential election turning out for the winner of the electoral college. So this is certainly food for thought.

Former Dinamo Zagreb boss injured after shooting

Mario Loncar/FENA via AP
Leave a comment

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) Controversial former Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamic was shot and injured in Bosnia on Monday, police and media reported.

Croatia’s state TV said Mamic was shot in his leg and taken to a local hospital on Monday. It said the injury was not life-threatening.

Police were searching for two possible assailants.

[ MORE: Five PL new boys to watch ]

Bosnian media said Mamic was attending a memorial for his father at a graveyard near the town of Tomislavgrad when two people fired at him from a nearby forest. Another report said it was a drive-by shooting.

Croatia’s TV said Mamic voluntarily left the hospital in Bosnia after doctors managed to stop the bleeding, and he went to the Croatian capital, Zagreb.

Bosnian police declined to confirm the identity of the victim by name, but said a man with the initials ZM and born in 1959 in the Croatian city of Bjelovar, just like Mamic, was shot and injured.

Mamic, known for his fiery temper, has been on a high-profile embezzlement and tax fraud trial in Croatia.

Prosecutors accuse Mamic, his brother, and two others of embezzling 15 million euros of the club’s money since 2008 and not paying 1.6 million euros in taxes.

Mamic, who remains Dinamo’s adviser, is still considered the most powerful man in Croatian football despite the charges.

Dinamo issued a statement, calling the attack a “murder attempt.”

It said the attempted “liquidation” of Mamic was not a surprise amid a “lynching campaign” against him by the Croatian media.

He was recently knocked off his yacht into the sea by an attacker believed to be a fan of rival Hajduk Split.

AP Writer Dusan Stojanovic contributed from Belgrade, Serbia.

LIVE – Champions League playoff: Nice-Napoli headlines action

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Celtic (just about) booking their spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, four more teams will join them.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Napoli, Olympiacos, Sevilla and Hapoel Be’er Sheva all have narrow leads heading into the second legs which sets things up rather nicely. Olympiacos and Be’er Sheva will be feeling particularly nervous after conceding at home in the first leg.

On Wednesday five more ties takes place across Europe with Liverpool looking to book their spot in the UCL group stage against Hoffenheim.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET, while you can click on the link above to follow live commentary on all four matches.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff second legs

Nice vs. Napoli (Napoli lead 2-0 on aggregate)
Astana 4-3 Celtic (Celtic advance 8-4 on aggregate)
Rijeka vs. Olympiacos (Olympiacos leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Sevilla vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Sevilla leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Maribor vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Hapoel Be’er Sheva lead 2-1 on aggregate)

LIVE – Premier League clubs enter League Cup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Seven Premier League teams enter the League Cup second round on Tuesday with plenty of potential upsets lined up.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

All 13 PL clubs (six more are in action on Wednesday) face teams from the lower leagues with the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth and Swansea City all on upset alert.

U.S. national team players to watch out for include Lynden Gooch who starts for Sunderland and Emerson Hyndman who is on the bench for Bournemouth.

Below is the schedule for the League Cup games on Tuesday with all games to kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 2:30pm
Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
Leeds United vs. Newport County
Middlesbrough vs. Scunthorpe United
Norwich City vs. Charlton Athletic
QPR vs. Brentford
Fulham vs. Bristol Rovers
Cardiff City vs. Burton Albion
Carlisle United vs. Sunderland
Doncaster vs. Hull City
Brighton vs. Barnet
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth
Watford vs. Bristol City
MK Dons vs. Swansea City
Reading vs. Millwall – 3pm
Bolton vs. Sheffield Wednesday – 3pm