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MLS Power Rankings — Week 9: Sporting KC goes top, TFC makes big leap

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It’s been a back-and-forth path at the top of the Power Rankings for FC Dallas, and although they’re still unbeaten there’s just one club that’s been a little bit better than them as of late.

Meanwhile, Toronto FC continues its ascent up the MLS Power Rankings ladder after picking up its third straight victory, while one team at the bottom of the East is struggling mightily to capture its first win of 2017.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]


[ MORE: Last week’s MLS Power Rankings ]

TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (22)

 

21 (21)

 

20 (20)

Philadelphia Union: It’s becoming of a “when” than an “if” there will be wholesale changes coming in Chester.

Colorado Rapids: The Union’s winless run has garnered great attention across MLS but Pablo Mastroeni’s side hasn’t won since opening day.

Montreal Impact: After an impressive comeback against the Union, the Impact laid an egg at home against the Whitecaps. Seven points through eight games isn’t what anyone expected from this side.


19 (19) Minnesota United: The Loons are going to experience many ups and downs in their inaugural season. Last week was a down.
18 (18) LA Galaxy: The Galaxy are winless their last three and have scored just once in that span. It’s been difficult for anybody not named Romain Alessandrini to find the back of the net.
17 (12) Real Salt Lake: They’ve allowed six goals in the last two matches, which doesn’t bode well for an attack that struggles to find goals of its own.
16 (16) New England Revolution: The good news for the Revs is they haven’t lost in the last three games. The bad is that they haven’t won either.
15 (17) Vancouver Whitecaps: Carl Robinson’s group are beginning to find their footing this season but they cannot continue to alternate wins and losses if they want to keep a playoff spot in the congested Western Conference.
14 (11) Houston Dynamo: A loss on the road to Toronto isn’t the end of the world but these are the types of matches that separate the good from the great.
13 (15) D.C. United: It wasn’t the prettiest performance at times but D.C. picked up a solid win down in Atlanta and scored three in the process. 
12 (13) Seattle Sounders: The defending champs looked dead in the water against the Revs, at home no less, but the Sounders put on an absolute show in the dying minutes and proved they’re still an elite side.
11 (10) Columbus Crew: In all honesty it was a poor showing from the Crew against NYCFC. Up two goals at home, yet the hosts fell apart in a big way to a New York City side that was without David Villa.
10 (14) San Jose Earthquakes: Their win in Minnesota snapped a six-match winless run. Hopefully this gives the Quakes a wake-up call before the Sounders and other awaken in the West.
9 (5) Atlanta United: Not the showing you’d expect from this side at home but at least Josef Martinez is nearing a return.
8 (6) Chicago Fire: Dax didn’t get the result he wanted in his welcome back to Red Bull Arena but his side did muster up more chances than the Red Bulls.
7 (9) New York Red Bulls: 
6 (7) New York City FC: Consistency is key for the Bronx side. They showed how good they can be against the Crew… even without David Villa. Now, they must back up that performance on Sunday when they welcome Atlanta to town.
5 (2) Orlando City: Certainly wasn’t a terrible week for the Lions, but they showed there’s still a bit of a gap between them and TFC.
4 (4) Portland Timbers: A road draw against Dallas when they only had two shots on goal. Caleb Porter will take that result every time.
3 (8) Toronto FC: Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore are each at five goals right now, and that spells trouble for the rest of the league. TFC has won three straight and they’ve got their sights set on the top of the East.
2 (1) FC Dallas: Have to give credit where credit is due. This is the only unbeaten side remaining in MLS, but there’s one club that’s just been a little bit hotter at the moment.
1 (3) Sporting KC: Wins over RSL and the Red Bulls have Peter Vermes’ side atop our Power Rankings in Week 9…. and deservedly so. Just three goals allowed in nine matches.

Wenger called ref Dean “not honest,” “a disgrace” to earn ban

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LONDON (AP) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accused a referee of being “not honest” and called him “a disgrace” in a rant inside the match officials’ changing room that led to a three-match touchline ban for one of English soccer’s most experienced coaches.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

The English Football Association published Tuesday the written reasons behind its decision to ban Wenger for being abusive toward referee Mike Dean after Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Dec. 31.

In his match report given to the FA, Dean said Wenger “was pointing aggressively at me saying, ‘You’re not honest’ on numerous occasions.” Dean then said Wenger said “you’ve done this to us many times before, you’re supposed to be professional, you’re a disgrace.”

[ MORE: Newcastle sale talks collapse — Staveley, not Ashley, out ]

Wenger had been incensed at Calum Chambers being penalized for a handball and West Brom converting the resulting penalty to equalize late in the game.

The FA said “there is simply no justification for this behavior” and considered a stadium ban for Wenger.

Wenger was also fined $54,200 for his conduct.

FA Cup: Leicester, West Ham survive replays to reach 4th round

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Two more Premier League sides reached the fourth round of the 2017-18 FA Cup on Tuesday, winning their respective replays and joining 10 other top-flight clubs already through to the next round…

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Leicester City 2-0 Fleetwood Town

Kelechi Iheanacho moved to Leicester from Manchester City for $33 million this summer and has, through his first half-season in the East Midlands, failed to live up to that price tag. In nine PL appearances, he is yet to score his first league goal. Tuesday, however, saw the 21-year-old Nigerian international put forth a bit production and performance more befitting a player of his promise and pedigree.

Manager Claude Puel picked a side consisting of first-team regulars and lesser-used squad players for the Foxes FA Cup third-round replay against League One side Fleetwood Town. It was Iheanacho, who started alongside/just behind target man Islam Slimani, who shown brightest with a pair of goals, in the 43rd and 77th minutes, to send Leicester into the fourth round. Iheanacho’s second, the one that put the game away for Leicester, was originally ruled out for offside, but was eventually after consultation of the video-assistant referee.

Leicester will travel to League One side Peterborough in the fourth round, on Sat. Jan. 27.

[ MORE: Newcastle sale talks collapse — Staveley, not Ashley, out ]

West Ham United 1-0 (AET) Shrewsbury Town

It took far longer than Hammers fans would have liked — or expected — but West Ham, over the course of 120 minutes, survived the Cupset bid of third-division Shrewsbury Town. With eight minutes remaining before Tuesday’s replay went to penalty kicks at the London Stadium, 21-year-old defender Reece Burke fired home from inside the box to break the scoreless deadlock.

West Ham will be away to the winner of the replay between Bournemouth and Wigan Athletic (Wednesday), on Sat. Jan. 27.

Elsewhere in FA Cup replay action

Mansfield Town 1-4 Cardiff City
Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Carlisle United
Reading 3-0 Stevenage

Wednesday’s FA Cup replay schedule

Chelsea vs. Norwich City — 2:45 p.m. ET
Swansea City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers — 2:45 p.m. ET
Wigan Athletic vs. Bournemouth — 2:45 p.m. ET

Report: Newcastle sale talks between Ashley, Staveley collapse

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Talks between Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley over the much-desired and -rumored sale of Newcastle United are off, according to a report from Sky Sports and various other UK news outlets.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Sky has quoted a source close to Ashley as having said: “Attempts to reach a deal (with Staveley) have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time.” (Full quote below)

Ashley, the club’s current and long-beleaguered owner, has been seeking a potential buyer since putting the club up for sale back in October. Staveley emerged as the front-runner (the only runner, perhaps) in the days following Ashley’s announcement, and reportedly tabled an offer of $335 million in early December before reportedly offering something closer to $400 million a couple weeks later.

Ashley selling the club — and doing so before the end of the January transfer window, which now appears nigh impossible — appeared to be one the few scenarios in which Rafa Benitez would remain the Magpies’ manager beyond the end of the current Premier League season (Newcastle currently sit 15th, just three points clear of relegation) after constant rumors of his discontent and lack of financial backing last summer.

LIVE, FA Cup replays: West Ham, Leicester on upset alert

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Five FA Cup third round replays take place on Tuesday with two Premier League clubs on upset alert.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

Leicester City and West Ham United both host third-tier opponents, with the Hammers welcoming Shrewsbury to the London Stadium and Leicester hosting Jamie Vardy‘s former club Fleetwood.

Both Claude Puel and David Moyes have named strong teams to try and breeze through to the fourth round. You can follow commentary on all five games by clicking on the link above and we will have reaction right here on Pro Soccer Talk.

[ MORE: FA Cup fourth round draw in full ]

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday, with all the games kicking off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday’s FA Cup replay schedule

Leicester City vs. Fleetwood Town
Mansfield Town vs. Cardiff City
Reading vs. Stevenage Town – 3pm
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Carlisle United
West Ham United vs. Shrewsbury