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

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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.

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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.

Witness: Men accused of bribes negotiated sale to Qataris

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NEW YORK (AP) A sports marketing company whose owners have been charged with bribing top soccer officials tried to negotiate a sale to an entity associated with Paris Saint-Germain team president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, a witness testified Tuesday in federal court.

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Santiago Pena, a former executive of the Argentina-based Full Play Group, testified that he spent a lengthy period of time on secret negotiations called the “New York project,” given the name because the deal for 51 percent of Full Play was valued at $212 million – 212 is a New York City telephone area code.

Pena said the talks with Al-Khelaifi and the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Sports Investments ended on May 27, 2015, when U.S. prosecutors unsealed indictments against Full Play’s controlling principals, the father and son Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, for racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. They were charged for payments to soccer officials in the Americas allegedly made for broadcast and marketing contracts.

Al-Khelaifi and Qatar Sports would have had the right to buy an additional 19 percent at a later date, Pena said.

Al-Khelaifi is a criminal suspect in Switzerland for bribery linked to Qatar-owned BeIN Sports’ broadcast agreements with FIFA for 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights in the Middle East and North Africa. He met on Oct. 25 with Swiss prosecutors in Bern.

Pena said that only he, Hugo and Mariano Jinkis and Full Play accountant Sergio Rabinovich were aware of the negotiations. Pena testified that after the indictments were made public, he deleted emails discussing the potential sale.

“I did it in order to protect the company,” he said.

Hugo and Mariano Jinkis have not been extradited to the U.S., and Pena said they remain in Argentina. Pena reached an agreement this year with U.S. prosecutors to testify in exchange for not being charged.

“I always considered myself a completely small fish in this issue,” he said.

Juan Angel Napout, the ex-president of Paraguay’s soccer federation; Jose Maria Marin, the former president of Brazil’s soccer federation; and Manuel Burga, the ex-head of Peru’s soccer federation, are on trial in federal court in Brooklyn for racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

Pena, who worked for Full Play from 2009-15, testified about a ledger he kept of payments that the Jinkises directed be made to top soccer officials. He said he knew only of what they told him were amounts owed to soccer officials. Pena said Napout was to be paid in cash, not by wire transfer, so he had no knowledge if any money was received.

“I simply wrote down the commitments based on other negotiations,” Pena said.

Pena completed testimony Tuesday and was followed by the stand by James Haggerty of Bank of America, who explained wire-transfer records, and Daniel Huntley of Hilton Worldwide Holdings, who detailed Napout’s reservation records.

UCL Wrap: Tottenham, Man City clinch groups

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The UEFA Champions League returned to action Tuesday with a bang, with goals flying in across Europe.

Two Premier League clubs secured key victories, with Tottenham winning 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City knocking off Feyenoord, 1-0. Liverpool, after taking a 3-0 lead inside 30 minutes, settled for a draw on the road after allowing three second-half goals.

The wins for Tottenham and Man City clinched them their groups and turned around some bad feelings around Spurs after the North London derby defeat last Saturday.

[MORE: Champions League score picks: Week 5]

Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Tottenham

After sub-par performances over the weekend, Harry Kane and especially Dele Alli looked like the stars they’ve been all season, leading Spurs on a 2-1 comeback victory over host Borussia Dortmund. Alli played provider for both goals in the second half, with Kane scoring the first and Son Heung-min scoring the second. It was a confident performance from Mauricio Pochettino‘s side. With the loss, Borussia Dortmund are eliminated from the Champions League knockout round, but could still drop into the UEFA Europa League.

Sevilla 3-3 Liverpool

A second-half surge from Sevilla helped the Spanish side come back from a three-goal deficit to draw Liverpool, 3-3. But it was Liverpool which was in control early, as Roberto Firmino scored a brace, including a cheeky no-look tap-in in the 30th minute, sandwiching a Sadio Mane strike. With the draw, Sevilla now just needs another point and a Spartak Moscow loss or draw to advance to the next round, while Liverpool missed out on clinching Group E.

Manchester City 1-0 Feyenoord

A late Raheem Sterling goal made it five wins out of five for Manchester City, which clinched Group F in a 1-0 win over Feyenoord. It was looking as if both teams would end up with a point each but Sterling scored his fourth goal in as many Champions League games, looping the ball over Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones for the goal in the 88th minute.

 

APOEL 0-6 Real Madrid

It was a vintage Real Madrid performance as a Cristiano Ronaldo brace led Real Madrid to a 6-0 rout. Luka Modric, and Nacho both scored while Karim Benzema had a brace as well. The win clinches a place in the last 16 for Real Madrid.

Spartak Moscow 1-1 Maribor

A late goal for Jasmin Mesanovic saved a point for Maribor and stunned host Spartak Moscow, which now must beat Liverpool in the final matchday to make it into the Champions League knockout round. The draw wasn’t enough for Maribor, but they’ll take the confidence boost after Mesanovic’s stoppage time goal canceled out Ze Luis’ 82nd minute finish.

Tuesday’s UCL Scores

Group E

Spartak Moscow 1-1 Maribor

Sevilla 3-3 Liverpool

Group F

Manchester City 1-0 Feyenoord

Napoli 3-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

Group G

Besiktas 1-1 FC Porto

Monaco 1-4 RB Leipzig

Group H

APOEL 0-6 Real Madrid

Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Tottenham

Griezmann: “No regrets” rejecting Man United move in summer

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After flirting with the idea of moving to Manchester last summer, Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann is in one of the worst goal-scoring droughts in his career.

It’s been seven games since he last scored and with just three goals total, it’s been an underwhelming season so far for the Frenchman. But Griezmann doesn’t regret turning down the chance to join Manchester United last summer.

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“I don’t regret staying at Atleti,” Griezmann told French TV program Telefoot. “It was my decision and I’m happy with what I chose to do – even if I have gone seven games without scoring”.

Griezmann was booed off the pitch in Atleti’s scoreless draw with city rivals Real Madrid, as both clubs dropped to 10 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona in the standings. There have been rumors swirling that Griezmann could even leave Atletico in January, with Diego Costa set to join the club.

On his game, with good service from midfield, Griezmann is one of the best attackers on the planet. But with Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and more, Manchester United already has the firepower to compete with the top of the Premier League

LIVE, UCL: Liverpool, Man City in action; Dortmund-Tottenham

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Three Premier League teams are in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday with Liverpool knowing a win at Sevilla will see them qualify for the knockout stage for the first time since 2009.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Jurgen Klopp‘s side head to Spain in good form after three consecutive wins in the Premier League and are in a very healthy position in Group E.

Tottenham Hotspur head to Borussia Dortmund with Spurs’ place in the last 16 already secured and Dortmund (Christian Pulisic is out of the squad with an injury) needing a win to keep their faint hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive with Real Madrid heading to APOEL Nicosia in Group H.

Manchester City have also secured their spot in the last 16 and host Feyenoord in Group F. The Dutch side have lost all four of their UCL games so far this season but have taken a huge number of traveling fans to Manchester and they can still qualify for the Europa League via finishing in third spot ahead of Shaktar Donetsk.

Elsewhere Monaco host RB Leipzig in a pivotal clash in Group G.

Click on the link above to follow commentary on all the action, while below is the full schedule as we will have reaction and analysis on all the UCL action on Tuesday.

All games kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET, unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday’s UCL schedule

Group E
Spartak Moscow 1-1 Maribor – FT
Sevilla vs. Liverpool

Group F
Manchester City vs. Feyenoord
Napoli vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

Group G
Monaco vs. RB Leipzig
Besiktas 1-1 FC Porto – FT

Group H
Borussia Dortmund vs. Tottenham Hotspur
APOEL vs. Real Madrid