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MLS Power Rankings — Week 14: Galaxy climb after five unbeaten

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There’s no doubt which team continues to reign at the top of MLS, but several teams are making a push towards the top spot.

Meanwhile, the defending champions have fallen off mightily with four losses in their last six matches.

Here are PST’s latest MLS Power Rankings as we head into another busy weekend:

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TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (22)

21 (20)

 

20 (21)

D.C. United: They’ve moved off the bottom of the east for the time being but the Impact still have two games in hand.

Real Salt Lake: The Claret and Cobalt briefly came to life against the Union, but the Dynamo brought RSL back to reality after a five-goal thrashing.

 

Colorado Rapids: The Rapids haven’t been good this season but a win over Sporting KC is something the club can be very content with.

19 (16) Seattle Sounders: The Sounders are looking like the team from the first half of last season. They’ll hope to finish the way they did a year ago.
18 (7) Minnesota United: It’s going to be a long season for the Loons if they cannot fix their backline. The good news is the club is scoring more goals to at least make things interesting.
17 (17) New England Revolution: The Revs fought valiantly to come back against NYCFC, and a draw was well-deserved.
16 (19) Montreal Impact: A big win against Portland could kickstart a turnaround for the Impact.
15 (14)  Philadelphia Union: Jim Curtin’s side finally came back to earth after a difficult road match at RSL.
14 (11) Vancouver Whitecaps: A home loss against DC isn’t a good look for a Whitecaps side that had come to life over the past few weeks. 
13 (9) Portland Timbers: The Timbers attack doesn’t appear to be able to carry the team as of late while their defense has allowed 11 goals in the last five matches.
12 (15) Atlanta United: Wins against Houston and NYCFC over the last two weeks has Atlanta back in the mix.
11 (15) Orlando City: The Lions rebounded well on Wednesday against D.C. but Jason kreis’ side continues to be a different team away from home.
10 (7) San Jose Earthquakes: The Quakes have shown their vulnerable to conceding at the back as of late. They have just one win in their last four.
9 (12)  New York Red Bulls: Jesse Marsch’s group showed a glimpse of the team we’ve become accustomed to seeing in the past against the Revs.
8 (8) Columbus Crew: After suffering an absolute beatdown at the hands of Toronto, the Crew bounced back in a big way against the defending champions on Wednesday.
7 (13) LA Galaxy: The Galaxy are looking like the Galaxy we’ve become accustomed to seeing. Let’s see if they can sustain it.
6 (3)  New York City FC: Atlanta exposed Patrick Vieira’s men at the back before late-game horrors of the past haunted NYCFC on Wednesday against the Revolution.
5 (2) Sporting KC: Back-to-back losses for SKC (and without a goal in both).
4 (4) FC Dallas: It’s been a bit of a lull as of late for Dallas, but a Cali Clasico draw isn’t the worst thing in the world.
3 (6) Houston Dynamo: RSL has certainly had its struggles but the Dynamo are having no trouble putting goals past most of their opponents. 
 
2 (5) Chicago Fire: A solid road test in Orlando could really set this side apart in the Eastern Conference.
1 (1) Toronto FC: Greg Vanney’s side took care of a very strong Crew team… with ease. There’s no doubt this is the best side in MLS.

Facebook, Amazon Prime could bid for Premier League streaming rights

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One day in the not-too-distant future, we could be watching Premier League games on Facebook or Amazon’s streaming services.

That’s according to Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who confirmed that both Facebook and Amazon are expected to to bid for the Premier League’s broadcast rights when they open again in 2022.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

“Absolutely I think they’ll enter the mix,” Woodward said. “Anecdotally there was strong interest in the last cycle, and we’re hearing that around the Premier League table, but we’re also hearing that from a European perspective as well in terms of interest in the Champions League and Europa League rights.

“In the wider picture you have to look at what’s happening elsewhere at the moment.There isn’t any clear European sale to these kind of partners at the moment. But looking at the interest Facebook and Amazon had in the Indian Premier League rights, anecdotally it sounded like very big numbers.

“So I do think we are going to see an increase in engagement from these and we would welcome the interest. I think it’s going to be increasingly important to digitally engage with fans, and we think we can be complementary to partners like this coming in.”

According to reports, Facebook bid $600 million to stream India’s cricket league aptly named the Indian Premier League but lost out to 21st Century Fox’s Star India, which bid for the television and streaming rights together.

Currently, NBC owns the Premier League rights in the U.S., including streaming rights, but perhaps in the future we could see separate deals for television and streaming sites.

However, more than likely, pressure from Facebook and Amazon Prime could drive the cost of the rights up, ensuring an even bigger payout for all 20 Premier League clubs.

On This Day: The Battle of Old Trafford

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Fourteen years ago today, Arsenal headed north to Manchester for a famous matchup with Manchester United.

Taking the field at Old Trafford, Arsenal were unbeaten to start the season, having won its first four Premier League matches before drawing a week prior at home against Portsmouth. Manchester United meanwhile had four wins and one loss in that span.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

By way of Arsenal’s FA Cup title and Man United’s Premier League title the year before, the two teams met for the annual Community Shield a month earlier, and the game descended into a physical battle. Five yellow cards were shown, Arsenal substitute Francis Jeffers was shown a red card and defender Sol Campbell was later banned for kicking at an opponent, and Man United – backed by a young Tim Howard in goal – won 4-3 on penalty kicks after the score was tied at 1-1 after extra time.

With numerous physical encounters over the years, the September 21 encounter was shaping up to be another monumental showdown, and in terms of physicality, it didn’t disappoint.

Each team were shown four yellow cards and there was a combined 31 fouls. The match took a turn when Patrick Vieira was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card for kicking out at Man United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy after Van Nistelrooy had fouled Vieira going for a header. The decision set off a scrum in the middle of the field.

Despite being down to ten men, Arsenal held on until the final minutes, when Martin Keown was whistled for a foul in the box on Diego Forlan, giving Man United a penalty kick. But whether it was karma or lady luck, Van Nistelrooy’s penalty clanged off the crossbar and away to safety. Arsenal held on for a goalless draw, which helped boost the team’s belief in itself.

The Gunners went on to finish the 2013-2014 season undefeated, the only team to finish a Premier League season without a defeat. Man United wound up taking the FA Cup crown, settling for third place in the Premier League.

Watch some highlights from the match below.

Former Sunderland forward Scocco scores five goals for River Plate

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Veteran forward Ignacio “Nacho” Scocco is quickly endearing himself to the River Plate faithful.

Nearly three months since joining River, Scocco scored an incredible five goals in the second leg of his team’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup with Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann. Scocco scored a first half hat-trick and added two more in the second half as River turned around a 3-0 deficit heading into the second leg.

Scocco had a mostly frustrating spell in 2014 ahead of the World Cup with Sunderland, joining the club as they staved off relegation by one point. Scocco failed to score for Sunderland in eight appearances, all off the bench.

However, since then, he returned to his native Argentina and starred for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys before moving this summer to River as a replacement for Sebastián Driussi, who completed a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Here’s a look at all of Scocco’s goals Thursday evening.

Tammy Abraham denies switching national teams

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Fans of the England National Team may still have a chance to see Tammy Abraham don the Three Lions crest one day.

Abraham refuted reports from earlier Thursday that he was in the process of switching his national team to Nigeria from England. The 19-year-old Swansea City forward on-loan from Chelsea has played as high as the England Under-21 Men’s National Team but because of his Nigerian father, he’s eligible for the African nation.

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Abraham confirmed that he had met with Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick after Swansea’s last game, but denied that he was looking to play for the Super Eagles.

“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England,” Abraham said, via the BBC. “Contrary to reports in the media I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my national team allegiance. I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.”

Earlier in the day, reports emerged that Pinnick said the process was underway for Abraham to switch his international allegiance.

Abraham’s apparently decision to remain with the England set-up is good news for his club Swansea City, who will get to keep him closer to Wales on a regular basis, but Abraham may be missing a chance to play senior national team soccer at a young age.