The Top Ten in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

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(Nos. 11-19 in the weekly quality rearrangement is here.)

10. Columbus Crew – Tony Tchani is doing some good work lately for the men in yellow. Partnering with Danny O’Rourke, as he did in Saturday’s win over Real Salt Lake, seems especially becoming. Eddie Gaven continues to be one of Major League Soccer’s under-appreciated men.

9. Houston Dynamo – Geoff Cameron was back in the midfield once again as Dominic Kinnear, usually a 4-4-2 man through and through, hit the Philadelphia Union with a 4-3-3 alignment. It’s probably about getting the best from Oscar Boniek Garcia, who debuted to nice effect along the right in Saturday’s win over Philly. Longtime popular Dynamo striker Brian Ching got his first goal at BBVA Compass Stadium in the win.

8. Los Angeles Galaxy – The Galaxy will lament allowing four goals in another performance where the defense simply needed to be better. On the other hand, it was a crackerjack of a contest, one that won’t set L.A. back too far in the big picture. The Galaxy has a chance to put things right Wednesday at the Home Depot Center, where Philadelphia could be on the weary side after Saturday’s match in Texas and travel further west.

7. Chicago Fire – It was Marco Pappa to the rescue again in a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City. (Well, goalkeeper Sean Johnson did some rescuing too.) Pappa seems to have been energized by his meaningful strike in a World Cup qualifier against the United States. Or maybe it’s the transfer window and his desire to go abroad. Either way, it’s working for the Fire, which has won three in a row.

6. Vancouver Whitecaps – They’ve had more than a week to think about that whuppin they took last week in Los Angeles. Barry Robson is set to play this Wednesday when the Whitecaps travel into Colorado.

5. Sporting Kansas City – Remember how we all oohed and awed over Sporting Kansas City’s vast offensive resources, especially when deployed in that high-pressure 4-3-3 arrangement? Did we all get it wrong? Because Peter Vermes’ team has 20 goals this year, 12th best among 19 teams. Who can figure that one out?

4. Real Salt Lake – Jason Kreis says he still believes in this group, never mind a strikingly unfamiliar three-game losing streak; the latest was a 2-0 setback in Columbus. Wednesday’s match at Rio Tinto will be fascinating, two desperate teams looking for a way out of the box. Seattle, RSL’s opposition in the July 4 special, is winless in eight MLS contests.

3. New York Red Bulls – Anybody else wondering if Dax McCarty’s outstanding season for the Red Bulls is being noticed by a certain fun-loving German (the one who happens to manage the U.S. national team, that is)? McCarty was up the job once again as Hans Backe’s team took a draw out of a trip into Toronto (which is suddenly not such an easy stop.)

2. D.C. United – Anybody have Chris Pontius to lead MLS in scoring? He’s got a lot of work to do, but after another strike in Saturday’s convincing 3-0 win over Montreal, the fourth-year attacker is tied for third in MLS scoring with nine goals. The gang from RFK is idle for Round 18; next up is a July 15 visit to BBVA Compass Stadium, United’s second trip already to the new Houston Dynamo grounds.

1. San Jose Earthquakes – Well done, guys. You found a way to win – while keeping everyone entertained and enthralled along the way in one of Major League’s Soccer’s most eventful 2012 matches. Before more than 50,000 at Stanford Stadium, the Earthquakes fell being by a pair before rallying for the 4-3 win. The big dust-up afterward, with David Beckham front and center, just a bonus.

Reina faces hearing over links with trio connected to mafia

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ROME (AP) Outgoing Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has been summoned to a hearing at the Italian football federation over his association with people with links to the mafia.

Reina, along with Paolo Cannavaro and Salvatore Aronica, is to face the FIGC’s disciplinary committee after an investigation by Naples’ anti-mafia department.

It is reportedly one of the reasons why Napoli decided not to renew Reina’s contract, with the former Liverpool goalkeeper set to move to AC Milan on a free transfer.

The FIGC says Reina “has had and continues to have inopportune association and friendship with Gabriele Esposito, Francesco Esposito and Giuseppe Esposito.” It adds that that includes holidays and “an exchange of favors.”

Cannavaro, who had two spells with Napoli, retired at Sassuolo last year. Aronica also spent several years at the southern club before joining Palermo in 2013.

Iran names initial squad for World Cup

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Jalal Hosseini and Vouria Ghaffouri have both been left off Iran’s provisional 24-man squad for the World Cup.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz did not say why Hosseini, a Persepolis defender, and Ghaffouri were not included.

There was space for midfielders Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi, however. Both played with Greek club Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in August 2017. Iran does not recognize Israel and its supreme leader has threatened the country in the past. Both Shojaei and Hajsafi missed matches with the national team after the game.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, a 24-year-old forward who plays in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, is also in the squad, which was announced Sunday.

In the midfield, Queiroz chose Saeid Ezatolahi, although the Amkar Perm player will miss the team’s first World Cup match because he was given a red card in a game against South Korea in qualifying.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah was also chosen.

Goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh of Portuguese club Maritimo made the squad. His father, Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, was Iran captain and goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Iran will play in Group B at the World Cup with Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The team will play warm-up matches in Turkey and Greece before heading to Russia.

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiakos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa)

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiakos), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa Sports Club), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (SC Heerenveen)

Six Premier Leaguers named to Argentina, but no Icardi

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Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.

[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]

Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.

Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.

Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.

Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).

Men in Blazers POD: FA Cup recap, UCL final preview and more

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Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.

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