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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.

VIDEO: Accam’s slick backheel puts Chicago ahead

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For the last two years, David Accam has been, in my estimation, the best player in MLS that no one talked about.

[ MORE: NYCFC run rampant on Red Bulls, win NY derby 2-0 ]

Understandably so, of course, given the 26-year-old Ghanaian international and the Chicago Fire been rooted to the bottom of the league table for two years running. All of that has changed in 2017, though, as Accam finally has a forward (Nemanja Nikolic) who can not only put chances away, but create space and chances for his teammates, and a solid midfield base which allows him to cherry-pick counter-attacks just that little bit more.

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Entering Saturday’s game against Orlando City SC, Chicago sat second in the Eastern Conference, just four points back of Toronto FC, and Accam’s 9 goals and 5 assists (in 15 games) were a huge part of the why and the how. It didn’t take Accam long — two minutes, in fact, to put Chicago ahead of Orlando with a ridiculous backheel finish to Matt Polster’s cross.

 

Bravo fit again, but will he start Chile’s Confed Cup group finale?

Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images
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MOSCOW (AP) Claudio Bravo is fit again and could start in goal against Australia at the Confederations Cup on Sunday, Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said Saturday.

Bravo – who is Chile’s joint most-capped player with Alexis Sanchez – hasn’t played since April 27, when he injured his calf for Manchester City in a derby game with Manchester United.

“Claudio is fit, he’s managed to train the last couple of days just like his other teammates,” Pizzi said. “He’s ready and available to play.”

Pizzi brushed off concerns about a lack of match fitness, saying that “quite obviously we take into account that factor” but players like Bravo are “are of such good quality that it isn’t that important they haven’t played in the last couple of months.”

Stand-in Johnny Herrera played in Chile’s 2-0 group stage win over Cameroon and Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany.

Gary Medel was substituted with a minor injury while playing in defense for Chile against Germany. Teammate Francisco Silva said Saturday that Medel had complained of “a very small muscle contraction issue” but was now fit.

Pizzi said he will aim to tire out Australia with Chile’s trademark all-action style, even though his team struggled for energy in the latter stages against Germany.

“This energy drop we had in the second half didn’t damage us too much because the opposing team couldn’t maintain a high pace because of the demands we’d imposed on them,” Pizzi said of the Germany game.

“We’re going to try to get (the Australians) tired as well and use this to beat our opponent, and we hope this is going to translate into goals.”

USMNT’s Wood extends Hamburg contract through 2021

Photo credit: Hamburg / Twitter: @HSV
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HAMBURG, Germany (AP) American forward Bobby Wood extended his contract with Bundesliga side Hamburger SV on Saturday to 2021.

Wood, who joined Hamburg from second-tier Union Berlin, scored five goals and set up two more in 28 Bundesliga games. He had 17 goals in 31 second-division games for Union the season before.

“Not only his goals count for us, but his readiness to run and challenge,” Hamburg sporting director Jens Todt said. “Bobby is a key player for our offense and a real team player.”

Wood has eight goals in 32 appearances for the United States.

MLS Snapshot: NYCFC run rampant on Red Bulls, win 2-0

Photo credit: NYCFC
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The game in 100 words (or less): The only thing standing in the way of New York City FC avenging their infamous 7-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls with a lopsided demolition job of their own, on Saturday, was an otherworldly goalkeeping performance from Luis Robles. It was the Red Bulls shot-stopper, with his four saves on the afternoon (three of them coming in spectacular fashion), who kept Jesse Marsch’s side within touching distance for more than an hour. Jack Harrison was denied early on by Robles, but got the better of him not long later for the game’s opening goal. Heroics from Robles kept the score at 1-0 for another 32 minutes, before Ben Sweat’s (accidental?) header made it 2-0 in the 65th minute. The Red Bulls, on the other hand, managed their first shot on target in the 80th minute. That’s three wins in a row for NYCFC, who go seven points clear of their Hudson River rivals and keep Toronto FC in sight at the top of the league table, five points ahead.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Three moments that mattered

18′ — Robles goes full-stretch to deny Harrison — David Villa’s vision and Rodney Wallace‘s hold-play created the chance for Harrison, but Luis Robles’ acrobatics denied the 20-year-old Englishman in spectacular fashion.

33′ — Harrison not to be denied this time — Sweat delivered the ball to Harrison near the top of the box, and the second-year man did everything right with what’s a really, really difficult chance to take — facing away from goal, first-time, ball traveling across the goalkeeper, upper-90 to the far post.

65′ — Sweat loops a header past Robles for 2-0 — Sweat probably didn’t mean it, but the ball hit the back of the net, and that’s all that matters. Not a bad time to score your first MLS goal, either.

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Man of the match: Luis Robles

Goalscorers: Harrison (33′), Sweat (65′)