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MLS Power Rankings — Week 7: A new No. 1 (with a bullet)

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Given the early stages of the season and a week off from Power Rankings, this week’s edition sees several big jumps and precipitous falls.

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TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (19)

21 (20)

 

20 (11)

Philadelphia Union: Four-straight losses have to be testing Earnie Stewart’s resolve when it comes to coach Jim Curtin.

Minnesota United: Now seeing results, Minnesota has still yet to allow less than two goals in an MLS game.

Colorado Rapids: The league’s stingiest defense in 2016, Colorado hasn’t kept a clean sheet since Week 1.

19 (18) Montreal Impact: Yes the return of Ignacio Piatti helped, but so did a pretty bogus red card to Atlanta. Problems in Quebec?
18 (7) Seattle Sounders: With one win through six matches, Seattle’s 2016 title follow-up is looking a lot like Portland’s 2015 effort.
17 (16) New England Revolution: Improved results took a hit from a blowout loss to Chicago.
16 (21) DC United: Was looking more like the team that finished 2016 red-hot before a loss to the rival Red Bulls.
15 (14) LA Galaxy: Big litmus test as Seattle visits this weekend.
14 (14) San Jose Earthquakes: Winless in four yet still unbeaten at home, the Quakes head back to the road this week.
13 (4) Vancouver Whitecaps: Held serve against Seattle to rebound from a loss against charged up Real Salt Lake.
12 (12) New York Red Bulls: Restored confidence with a confident win over DC United.
11 (8) Houston Dynamo: Blowing a 2-goal lead to Minnesota stings.
10 (14) Toronto FC: The latest victim of Justin Meram’s phenomenal start, the Reds fell from the ranks of the unbeaten against Trillium Cup rivals Columbus.
9 (22) Real Salt Lake: Petke bump! The Power Rankings are taking a leap of faith on RSL, who looks like a much different and improved team after a coaching change.
8 (9) Atlanta United: Winless in three, all on the road, though that last one could’ve been different were it not for a questionable red card.
7 (5) New York City FC: David Villa is going to finish his time in MLS one day, and he’ll be discussed along with Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan as one of the best ever to play in the league.
6 (4) Columbus Crew: Back to winning ways following a blip against the Fire.
5 (17) Chicago Fire: Who would’ve thought adding a world class midfielder and one of MLS’ best to the engine room would’ve worked out so well? In the case of the former, Bastian Schweinsteiger, there were plenty of age skeptics. In the case of the latter, Dax McCarty, nearly everyone did.
4 (2) Portland Timbers: With one win in its last four matches, Caleb Porter’s crew is getting some leniency from our power rankings thanks to their incredible start.
3 (3) Orlando City: No team is winning more points-per-game than Orlando, though no team has played fewer matches than the Lions.
2 (1) FC Dallas: The West’s leader in points-per-game remains unbeaten but has yet to put up a result worthy of their pedigree.
1 (12) Sporting KC: Unbeaten, with wins at Portland and draws against Toronto FC and FC Dallas, KC looks prepared to deliver on last season’s preseason promise.

AC Milan completes signing of forward Kalinic

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MILAN (AP) Big-spending AC Milan has signed another player, completing the transfer of Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic from Fiorentina.

In a brief statement on Tuesday, Milan said it signed Kalinic “on a loan deal with obligation to buy.”

Kalinic has signed a four-year contract through to June 30, 2021.

Milan has been in negotiations with Fiorentina for the 29-year-old Kalinic for a while, and he missed training last week as he attempted to push through the move.

Milan, which was bought by a Chinese-led consortium in April, has spent more than 200 million euros ($234 million) in the offseason, signing Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Ricardo Rodriguez, Franck Kessie, Andrea Conti, Hakan Calhanoglu, Lucas Biglia and Mateo Musacchio.

Alan Shearer has a message for Wayne Rooney

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Alan Shearer finally has a friend.

On Monday Wayne Rooney scored in Everton’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City (see in the video above) and he became just the second-player in history to reach 200 goals in the Premier League.

Rooney, 31, still has some way to go to catch Shearer’s all-time record of 260 goals in the PL but the former Manchester United striker has a few more years left in the tank to try and get as close as he can.

Take a look at the video below as Shearer (or, Mary Poppins to Newcastle fans) delivers a message to Rooney.

What’s next for Julian Green, and what’s gone wrong?

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Julian Green will have a new team again soon, in all likelihood.

A Stuttgart publication says Green is on the transfer market this month, just eight months after moving from Bayern Munich to the then-2.Bundesliga side for less than $500,000.

Now 22, Green is three and a half years removed from Jurgen Klinsmann’s long campaign to get him into a USMNT shirt. It’s been a little less time since he scored in extra time against Belgium in the World Cup, but also less than a year since he scored goals in consecutive USMNT matches. That shouldn’t be overlooked.

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

Green scored one goal in 10 appearances for Stuttgart, who was promoted to the Bundesliga at the end of last season. He fell out of favor there, but was far from poor. Green completed 87 percent of his passes and averaged 1.3 dribbles per game (only four teammates had more, though 10 matches is a smaller sample size).

Before that, he spent parts of three seasons with Bayern Munich and made just four appearances, taking a loan to Hamburg in 2014-15 that saw him banished to Hamburg II after just five appearances.

What gives? Whether attitude or skill, Green has a lot of work to do to get back to a level where he’s a reasonable USMNT call-up (Green has a respectable three goals in eight call-ups, netting against Cuba and New Zealand in Oct. 2016). Still, it’s far from over for Green at 22.

There are legit questions here, as the list of not high-profile players Bayern Munich has used in its senior team at a young age and blossomed elsewhere isn’t necessarily impressive (at least relatively speaking). Nils Petersen, Thomas Kraft, and Sandro Wagner are exceptions to the rule. Better put: Bayern has a really good idea what it’s doing when it lets young players walk, and it begs discussion on the best path for Green.

It seems likely he could get a move to another 2.Bundesliga club, and there’s an outside shot he could get a look in the top flight. It would be interesting to know where the interest lies abroad. Would it be hard to acquire a work permit for France or Spain (England seems a hard sell)? Could a move to a free-flowing Eredivisie club work?

Obviously Major League Soccer clubs would welcome his talent and it’s difficult to imagine he wouldn’t be a useful piece in the United States’ top tier, even if on a short-term move as he looks to regain confidence. Would Green see it as below him?

Arsenal’s Wilshere sent-off after brawling in U-23 match vs. Man City

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Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere isn’t standing around waiting for his next team, he’s fighting.

Period.

Wilshere got into with several members of Manchester City’s U-23 side in a match on Monday, with the English midfielder taking exception to a hockey-style hip check from City’s Matthew Smith.

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

Shoving the 17-year-old Smith, Wilshere saw the City man take a tumble and stay prone. Still riled up, Wilshere tangled with City’s Tyreke Wilson.

Wilshere and Wilson were sent off.

Given his injury history, we’re not surprised Wilshere took exception to a hard and needless foul in a U-23 match.

The Arsenal man has been linked with moves to Newcastle, West Ham, AC Milan, and Sampdoria, but Arsene Wenger wants to keep Wilshere at the Emirates Stadium.