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MLS Power Rankings — Week 26: Cup rematch’s collision course

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Are we headed for an MLS Cup Final rematch for the first time since 2012?

Toronto FC remains red-hot, and 2016 champions Seattle Sounders have joined the Reds as teams in fine form.

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It’s been some time since we last visited the Power Rankings, and there are some huge movers.

Two preseason favorites are in the Bottom Six, while one team has shot up 11 spots and into the Top Five.

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


TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (20)

 

 

21 (18)

 

 

20 (15)

Colorado Rapids: Last win came July 1,

Orlando City SC: Let’s focus on the people of Central Florida instead of talking about their soccer club: Stay safe from the storm, Orlando.

 

LA Galaxy: The 3-0 win over Colorado, of course, ends a 9L-1T run. Need to scour the Earth for a third and fourth Dos Santos.

19 (21) Minnesota United: The Loons aren’t great, but have two wins in four and have you seen the bunch behind them?
18 (12) Philadelphia Union: Similar to D.C., the Loons have gone winless in five. The only saving grace? They host D.C. on Saturday.
  17 (3) FC Dallas: Like Sporting KC last season, the teams we deem the deepest in the league each Spring should bribe us to rescind the label.
16 (19) New England Revolution: There aren’t too many road heroes in MLS, but New England’s mark is especially deflating: zero wins, 10 losses, three ties. Coastal problems: Only San Jose has lost as many away days.
15 (22) DC United: See what happens when you sign good players? The Black-and-Red have three-straight wins, but still sit eight points back of sixth.
14 (17) San Jose Earthquakes: A good sextet of matches has the Quakes in the thick of the West’s playoff race. Marco Urena and Vako Qazaishvili are an under-appreciated duo.
13 (4) Chicago Fire: Saturday’s win at Montreal was just its third result since July 5, with only two wins in the bunch.
12 (14) Montreal Impact: Losers of two in-a-row since four-match win streak.
11 (5) Houston Dynamo: One loss in eight matches since July 1, but just three wins. Matches-in-hand on playoff rivals help the cause.
10 (13) Vancouver Whitecaps: Unspectacular but consistent, the ‘Caps haven’t lost back-to-back matches since March 18.
9 (7) New York Red Bulls: The 3-2 derby loss to NYC kickstarted a five-match downturn following four-match win streak.
8 (8) Atlanta United: The good? Just one loss since late June. The bad? Yet to win over last six weeks.
7 (8) Portland Timbers: We wouldn’t suggest betting on these fellas, for better or worse, but 4W-1L-2T since June 23, and the only loss was in Toronto.
6 (11) Columbus Crew: Unbeaten in four and angling for a home playoff match ahead of this weekend’s SKC test.
5 (16) Real Salt Lake: Nearly as hot as TFC, the Utah set may miss the playoffs thanks a horrible start and matches-in-hand for Vancouver, Houston, Dallas, and San Jose. If that happens, the West will exhale.
4 (5) Sporting KC: Losers of two of three, both on the road. A warning: SKC has only played three road matches in last eight, drawing the third.
3 (2)   New York City FC: Without Villa, Ring, and Herrera, Patrick Vieira’s men found a way past Sporting KC on Thursday.

2 (9) Seattle Sounders: Since losing at NYCFC on June 17, have six wins and five draws.
1 (1) Toronto FC: Since Sept. 7, 2016, Toronto is 22W-6L-12T, and their last loss came July 1. One of those losses came in PKs in the MLS Cup Final. The Reds are really, really good.

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli banned for 1 year

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Juventus president Andrea Agnelli was banned for one year by the Italian soccer federation on Monday for his role in selling tickets to hardcore “ultra” fans that encouraged scalping.

[ MORE: Mourinho escapes ban after sending off ]

The court also fined Juventus 300,000 euros ($350,000).

The ban comes less than three weeks after Agnelli was elected to chair the 220-member European Club Association.

“Having taken note of today’s decision by the FIGC’s National Tribunal, Juventus preannounces its appeal to the FIGC Court of Appeal in the full conviction of its own good arguments, which have still not found adequate recognition,” the Serie A club said in a statement.

“The club expresses its own satisfaction because today’s sentence, even though it inflicted heavy bans on the president and other people involved, has “after extensive evaluation of the evidentiary material” (page 11 of the sentence) excluded all alleged links with representatives of organized crime.”

Federation prosecutor Giuseppe Pecoraro also said he would appeal for a harsher sentence. Pecoraro requested a 2 1/2-year suspension, a fine and an order to force Juventus to play two home matches behind closed doors.

“I am partially satisfied because we managed to prove everyone’s guilt but the facts are so serious that I think they should be punished more,” Pecoraro told Italian news agency Ansa. “The judgment of another court would be useful, taking into account that the resources coming from the ticket scalping went to a criminal organization, and that is very serious.”

The ban means Agnelli remains Juventus president but cannot represent the club in any official matter governed by the FIGC. He cannot, for example, go into the dressing room during matches or have transfer dealings with players’ agents.

However, the ban has not been extended to UEFA and FIFA – and there is no chance of that happening until all the appeals have been heard. Agnelli’s position as head of the ECA is not at risk for now.

Agnelli allegedly authorized the sale of season passes and other tickets. He has acknowledged meeting with Rocco Dominello, an “ultra” fan linked to the Calabrian `ndrangheta crime mob who has since been sentenced to nearly eight years in prison for scalping.

But Agnelli said the meetings came only with large numbers of other fans at celebratory occasions and that the club never intended to engage in illegal activity.

Juventus security director Alessandro D’Angelo has been banned for 15 months while ticketing director Stefano Merulla and former marketing director Francesco Calvo have also been handed one-year suspensions.

Each of the four has also been fined 20,000 euros ($24,000) for violating sporting integrity and illicit relations with fans.

The 41-year-old Agnelli has led Juventus, the club his family has owned for nearly a century, since 2010. Agnelli has also been a non-voting member of the UEFA executive committee since 2015. He received full voting rights last week at a UEFA meeting in Geneva.

[ MORE: Villareal sacks manager Escriba after one year in charge ]

Dominello’s father, Saverio Dominello, was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a court in Turin in June for his role in the scalping case.

Anti-mafia prosecutors said the `ndrangheta was involved in scalping among Juventus ultra fans for at least 15 years, guaranteeing order in the stadium in exchange for open ticket access.

Juventus has denied any wrongdoing.

Report: NYCFC seeks stadium project near Belmont Park

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New York City FC has found its feet pretty well in MLS, and the club could finally be closing in on a location for its own stadium moving forward.

Newsday Sports is reporting that NYCFC is prepared to bid on land at Belmont Park as the club continues its search to find a permanent stadium for its future.

[ MORE: Which players should be up for MLS MVP honors? ]

The report also states that Belmont isn’t NYCFC’s preferred destination to play matches, with the stadium in Elmont — roughly an 18-mile distance from the club’s current venue, Yankee Stadium.

In the past, Flushing Meadows has been one of many sites discussed as a location for NYCFC to build its own venue, which would make sense given the fact that the land currently houses the New York Mets as well as the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

NYCFC has shared Yankee Stadium with MLB franchise, New York Yankees, since the MLS side entered the league in 2015.

A move to Belmont could hinge on what the New York Islanders of the NHL do moving forward as well because the hockey team is reportedly looking at options outside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where they currently play.

UCL Tuesday preview: Dortmund hosts Real; 3 PL sides in action

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Round two of the UEFA Champions League is back on Tuesday, and while clubs cannot book their place in the Round of 16 just yet it’s just as easy for them to put themselves out of contention.

Three Premier League sides will be action on the afternoon, including Tottenham — who has the chance to start Group H play with six points.

Meanwhile, Liverpool and Manchester City will also take the pitch in Group E and F, respectively.

The day’s biggest clash of the day though comes in Germany as Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid meet in the other Group H fixture. Dortmund will be looking for a positive result after falling to Spurs in their opening day loss in the competition.

[ MORE: Who is the most complete striker in the Premier League? ]

Here’s the full rundown of matches on Tuesday’s UCL docket.

All games kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

Group E

Spartak Moscow vs. Liverpool
Sevilla vs. Maribor

Group F

Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Napoli vs. Feyenoord

Group G

Besiktas vs. Red Bull Leipzig
Monaco vs. Porto

Group H

Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid
APOEL vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints take in Arsenal match

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The New Orleans Saints will be playing a different sort of football on Sunday at historic Wembley Stadium, but the NFL franchise took in Arsenal’s match today during their trip to London.

[ MORE: PL playback — Who is the most complete striker in the PL? ]

Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees posted a picture on Instagram with several of his Saints teammates taking in the Arsenal-West Brom fixture at the Emirates Stadium six days before the NFL team plays the Miami Dolphins.

The Saints-Dolphins matchup is the second NFL game to take place in England thus far in 2017, after the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 44-7, on Sunday at Wembley.

Headed to the Arsenal game in London. Our first Premier League game! Pumped

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on