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Three things learned from MLS: Week 4

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Six games took place in MLS on Saturday, with certain teams hit big time by players being on international duty during the FIFA window but the show went on.

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Below is a look at what we learned from Week 4 in Major League Soccer.

Welcome to the Bradley Wright-Phillips under-appreciation club

He scored two beauties against Minnesota United in a 3-0 win on Saturday at Red Bull Arena and Bradley Wright-Phillips continues his fine start to 2018. He now has six goals and four assists in his first eight games in all competitions and his finishes against Minnesota pointed to a striker purely relying on his instincts and at the peak of his powers.

Does he get the respect he deserves? His coach, Jesse Marsch, had the following to say to reporters after the win.

“Why doesn’t Bradley Wright-Phillips garner the respect of the premier players in this league? Because you could make an argument that he is the best player to ever play in this league, and the best goal-scorer to play in this league, and he should be treated as such by everyone, including referees. If we’re talking about protecting the star players, and making sure that we’re protecting attacking players.”

Now, calling BWP the best player to ever play in MLS may be a stretch, but you can’t argue with the assumption that Wright-Phillips is massively underrated. And with Thierry Henry and Sacha Kljestan getting plenty of plaudits for their time as playmakers at Red Bull Arena amid BWP’s goalscoring in the past, maybe he will now get the credit he deserves as the main man.

Columbus Crew making their point

The Crew are top of the Eastern Conference after four games and are unbeaten as they beat D.C. United 3-1 on Saturday. Whatever is happening off the pitch as owner Anthony Precourt continues to push for their relocation to Austin, Texas, the players and Gregg Berhalter are focusing on the job in hand and playing extremely well.

Federico Higuain made it 50 assists in MLS on Saturday as the cerebral player continues to run the show and Columbus’ solid defense can bend but not break as we saw throughout the 2017 season.

It is still early days in the season but Columbus are proving that they aren’t missing the likes of Ola Kamara and Justin Meram just yet.

Sporting Kansas City the great entertainers

You can never count out Sporting Kansas City. Especially early on this season as they’re becoming the great entertainers with more late dramatics in Week 4.

Peter Vermes’ men launched a comeback from 2-0 down to draw at the Colorado Rapids and in their last three games there have been 16 goals scored. Felipe Gutierrez and Diego Rubin scored in the second half in their latest comeback and after a dramatic 4-3 win at Chicago and a 3-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, this SKC team are full of goals but also unable to shut opponents down.

The shackles are off for SKC this season and after two away games they’ve scored six goals in 2018, compared to 10 in the entire 2017 regular season campaign. That’s bonkers and you can see that Vermes is taking more risks with his team selections and Gutierrez (four goals in his last four games) is at the center of their fluid attacking unit. If you want some fun, tune in and watch Sporting KC this season.

Does Paul Pogba to PSG make sense?

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Paul Pogba‘s time at Manchester United could be nearing an abrupt end for the second time in his professional career.

And now, a club that was previously tracking the France international appears to be expressing heavy interest in the midfielder once again.

[ MORE: The latest Premier League player power rankings ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Paris Saint-Germain and Mino Raiola — Pogba’s agent — have been in contact recently over a potential move to the French capital at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.

The report suggests that Raiola has been in talks with several other big clubs in regards to the availability of Pogba in the near future, however, a move to his native country could sweeten the deal for the 25-year-old.

The Frenchman has scored 10 league goals for the Red Devils since he re-joined the side in 2016/17 from Juventus.

Pogba has had an up-and-down relationship at Old Trafford with manager Jose Mourinho, which nearly caused a move for the attacker during the January transfer window.

Cross-town rivals Manchester City were heavily linked to Pogba at the time, however, nothing came to fruition as the Citizens went on to claim the Premier League title with several matches remaining on their calendar.

While PSG seems like a logical fit given the club’s free-flowing attack and recent willingness to acquire massive talents, including Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the Ligue 1 giants may not be able to financially support another big-time addition like Pogba.

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play laws have been tested by PSG, particularly during last summer’s transfer window when the club acquire both Neymar and Mbappe for over $400 million combined.

PSG is set to meet with UEFA on Friday though, which could give an indication one way or another as to how the front office can approach its spending habits in the months to come.

Watch Live: Burnley v Chelsea; Leicester v Saints

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Two big Premier League games are coming your way on Thursday as Burnley host Chelsea at Turf Moor, while Leicester welcome Southampton to the King Power Stadium.


Burnley are aiming to win six-straight games in the Premier League as reigning champs Chelsea head to Lancashire hoping to cut the gap on the top four to just five points.

In team news from Turf Moor, Burnley start Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes up top together as Sean Dyche looks to get at the visitors early with plenty of balls into the box. Chelsea rest Eden Hazard and Willian ahead of the FA Cup semifinal and start Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata up top together.


As for Leicester against Saints the Foxes’ hopes of European action are all but over after a poor run of form, while Southampton are battling for their lives in the relegation zone but a win would move Saints to just two points from safety with four games to play.

The teams news from Leicester is that Kasper Schmeichel is out injured in goal, while Claude Puel has picked an attacking lineup with Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho up top and the Mahrez, Gray and Albrighton all starting.

Saints are unchanged from the team which started so well against Chelsea before collapsing to lose last time out.

Click on the links above to watch the games, which both kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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With the games coming thick and fast, it is time to take a look at which players were “en fuego” during the past weekend in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

Players from Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City dominate our latest rankings after their fine performances over the past PL weekend.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League and based on them actually playing in the previous Matchweek. If they didn’t play due to injury or suspension, they aren’t going to make this list.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.

  1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
  2. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Up 8
  3. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – Up 10
  4. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – Up 14
  5. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) – Up 10
  6. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Up 5
  7. David De Gea (Man United) – Down 5
  8. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) – Down 8
  9. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Up 3
  10. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – New entry
  11. David Silva (Man City) – Down 2
  12. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Down 7
  13. Romelu Lukaku (Man United) – Down 7
  14. Kenedy (Newcastle) – Up 3
  15. Marko Arnautovic (West Ham) – Down 11
  16. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – Down 13
  17. Kyle Walker (Man City) – New entry
  18. Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace) – New entry
  19. Nick Pope (Burnley) – New entry
  20. Jay Rodriguez (West Brom) – New entry

FIFA closes racism case from U-17 World Cup final

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA closed a racism investigation Thursday that involved a Spain player and an England opponent from the Under-17 World Cup final.

FIFA said its disciplinary panel dismissed the charge against the Spanish player because of a “lack of sufficient evidence that could corroborate the English player’s claim.”

It is the third recent case of a high-profile allegation of racist abuse of black players being closed without action.

The latest ruling, from England’s 5-2 win in India last October, followed “a thorough investigation,” FIFA said.

In March, UEFA ended two investigations because of a lack of verifiable evidence.

Those claims were made by Borussia Dortmund forward Michy Batshuayi against Italian club Atalanta, and Liverpool youth forward Rhian Brewster against a Spartak Moscow opponent.

Brewster also played in the Under-17 World Cup final, scoring the first goal in England’s comeback after trailing 2-0 in the first half.

“Despite the absence of a sanction, which can only be imposed on the basis of clear evidence, the disciplinary committee would like to restate FIFA’s unequivocal, zero-tolerance stance against all forms of discrimination,” the soccer body said in a statement.

In other rulings announced Thursday, FIFA imposed fines totaling more than $1.25 million.

The Laos soccer federation was fined 690,000 Swiss francs ($712,000) for several breaches of rules governing the eligibility of players to represent a national team.

Benfica and Sporting Lisbon were among five clubs found guilty of breaking rules which prohibit third-party investors having a stake in players’ transfer rights, and misuse of FIFA’s international transfer registration process.

Benfica was fined a total of 165,000 Swiss francs ($170,000) in two cases and Sporting was fined 110,000 Swiss francs ($114,000). In Spain, Celta Vigo was fined 65,000 Swiss francs ($67,000) and Rayo Vallecano was fined 55,000 Swiss francs ($57,000). Qatari club Al Arabi was fined 187,500 Swiss francs ($194,000).