ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

2 Comments

(Nos. 1-10 are on deck …so check back)

19. Toronto FC – Woe is the team that cannot win over Portland at home. TFC managed only a draw with Portland at BMO Field.  Darren O’Dea looked good  in his TFC debut, but his entrance into the center of the defense wasn’t enough in a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City.

18. Portland Timbers – Owner Merritt Paulson is feeling the heat (yes, even more of it than before) over his ongoing support for manager Gavin Wilkinson, who did have a pretty good week. Unfortunately, a draw and a close loss on the road qualifies as a “good week” these days for the beleaguered Timbers, who are winless in their last eight. At least there’s a rivalry match this week; Vancouver comes to Stumptown.

17. Colorado Rapids – Yes, Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy had a lot to say about this one, with more of his good work helping contain the Rapids in a 1-1 draw outside Denver. If they have a big run in them, this weekend’s match is a pretty hard place to start one; Oscar Pareja takes his team into San Jose to meet the current league leaders.

16. New England Revolution – It’s all about 2013 now around downtrodden bunch from Gillette Stadium. Maybe that’s why Benny Feilheiber started on the bench for last week’s 2-1 loss to Chicago.  A controversial penalty kick called against the Revs highlighted that one.

15. Philadelphia Union – A 1-1 draw at D.C. United has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Philadelphia was quite good in the first 45 and then just barely good enough after the break. Danny Cruz (pictured above) started and had a useful outing before needing to be relieved midway through the second half. He already looks like a nice addition around PPL Park.

14. Chivas USA – Juan Pablo Angel, now coming off the bench, struck at DSG Park as Chivas stole a point out of Colorado. A big mistake from newly arrive Shalrie Joseph put the Goats in a hole. Robin Fraser’s team is 7th in the West now, having been lapped by Dallas last week. Thing to remember about Chivas: they have four or five games in hand over most of the teams it is chasing in the Western Conference playoff race.

13. Vancouver Whitecaps – Barry Robson was pulled off the available list less than 24 hours before kickoff in Seattle. Tsk, tsk, MLS.  Would the Scottish midfielder have made a difference Saturday? We’ll never know; Sounder by 2-0 in that one. Robson didn’t help much in the Whitecaps’ loss at home to Dallas three nights earlier. That’s the same Dallas side that is now five points south of Martin Rennie’s team for the final playoff spot.

12. FC Dallas – What Montreal has done in the East, FC Dallas is doing in the West – even if the side from Texas is behind the curve. Dallas is 5-2-2 lately with David Ferreira in the starting lineup. Imagine if they can ever get Blas Perez back on the field. George John’s big play in the back has been overlooked in all the hubbub over Ferreira’s return and Brek Shea’s enlivened play. The question, of course, is this all too late?

11. Montréal Impact – Jesse Marsch for mayor of Montreal? Of course, it’s really about the players. Patrice Bernier keeps scoring and setting up others and Marco Di Vaio just hit another one as he gets his MLS feet beneath him. Veteran center back Alessandro Nesta had to sit out last week’s big win (3-1) over San Jose with a knee sprain.

VIDEO: Coutinho scores brilliant curler; Iniesta walks off

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
Leave a comment

It’s often funny to read the A. in front of Andres Iniesta’s surname on his match jersey, as if there’s any other.

On Sunday, the 34-year-old midfielder walked off the field for the last time (video at bottom) as a Barcelona player, handing the captain’s arm band to Lionel Messi and beginning a new era for both the club and player.

[ MORE: Bayern salutes Heynckes (again) ]

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Sunday in the final La Liga match of the season.

While the match will be remembered as Iniesta’s last with Blaugranas, Philippe Coutinho gave a glimpse of the future with his eighth goal of the season and sixth in his last five games.

Barca finishes a 1-loss season with 99 goals and a 14-point lead over La Liga runners-up Atletico Madrid.

Bayern Munich fans pay tribute to Jupp Heynckes, again

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans turned up in their thousands to bid farewell to Jupp Heynckes for a second time on Sunday.

The veteran coach is going back into retirement after leading Bayern to another league title. The side was five points adrift when he returned in October, but rebounded to wrap up the title with five rounds to spare.

[ MORE: Pellegrini to WHU inches closer ]

It might have been more for Heynckes, but Eintracht Frankfurt stunned the side to win the German Cup final on Saturday and Real Madrid emerged triumphant from the sides’ Champions League semifinal.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge paid tribute to the 73-year-old Heynckes for bringing “old values” such as “humanity and empathy” back to the side.

“The little downside for us is that we would have liked to give our Jupp, our coach, the nearly perfect finish, but it didn’t quite work out,” Rummenigge said of the shock defeat to Frankfurt.

Heynckes led Bayern to the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in his previous stint in 2013, before he retired for the first time.

Bayern’s players were clearly still disappointed over Saturday’s cup defeat as they celebrated the league win on the Munich town hall balcony.

“It feels really bad, how the season ended,” said Thomas Mueller, who added that the team would try to “put a brave face on it.”

WORLD CUP: France wins, but what happened to Ronaldo?

PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Despite playing a central role in the establishment of the World Cup, France had always fallen short at the tournament. That changed on one glorious night in Paris in 1998.

[ MORE: PST chats with Vincent Kompany after Man City’s title ]

After a strong start to the tournament it was hosting for the second time, France struggled in the knockout stages. It only managed to make the final after defender Lilian Thuram scored the only two goals of his 142-match international career to give France a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Croatia.

The prevailing view was that beating defending champion Brazil would prove to be beyond Les Bleus. After all, Brazil had Ronaldo, the undoubted player of the tournament.

But France strolled to its maiden title , two first-half headers from the great Zinedine Zidane easing the nerves in the Stade de France. A third goal from Emmanuel Petit in injury time was the cue for wild celebrations across the country, with the team hailed for its multi-ethnic heritage.

In scenes reminiscent of Paris’ liberation from Nazi occupation in 1944, more than 1 million people stormed the Champs-Elysees to celebrate.

For Brazil, the final remains a mystery.

The team just never got going, its underperformance blamed on the health of Ronaldo. To the shock of just about everyone, coach Mario Zagallo left his main striker out of his starting line-up, apparently for health reasons. Years later, Ronaldo said he had a seizure earlier in the day.

However, just before the match, another team sheet was submitted, this time with Ronaldo’s name on it. Whatever happened, Ronaldo was a very different player that night and Brazil was a very different team.

Ronaldo would get another chance four years later to put the ghosts of Paris behind him.

He did just that.

For more, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmjFa9LB7Pg

AP World Cup coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup

Transfer rumor roundup: Vardy to Atleti? Fekir close to Liverpool move

Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the Premier League transfer window set to close early this summer, we’ve already begun moving season for players.

Below, Pro Soccer Talk looks at several of the day’s biggest transfer rumors, including another attacking move for UEFA Champions League finalists Liverpool.

[ MORE: Vincent Kompany talks third PL title, Belgium and more ]

Leicester City has had to fend off significant interest in its players for some time, and the Foxes could be in line to lose several quality pieces this transfer window.

The attention is focused on striker Jamie Vardy at the moment though, as the Leicester front man is being targeted by Spanish side Atletico Madrid.

Atleti manager Diego Simeone is inevitably preparing for Antoine Griezmann’s post-World Cup move to Barcelona, which would leave the Spanish runners’ up in desperate need to find another option up front alongside Diego Costa.

Vardy could be a logical solution for Simeone, after scoring 57 PL goals in the last three seasons at the King Power Stadium.


Jurgen Klopp has built something special at Anfield, and with his side nearing a Champions League final appearance next weekend against giants Real Madrid, it appears the German manager isn’t done adding to his brilliant front line just yet.

French TV station Canal+ is reporting that the Reds are “99 percent done” on a move that would bring Lyon attacker Nabil Fekir to Liverpool next season.

The 24-year-old Frenchman will likely command a significant sum, estimated at over $81 million, after the Ligue 1 star notched 23 goals in all competitions this season for the third-place club.


The Wayne Rooney saga at Everton has brought up great doubt that the veteran Englishman will be playing in the PL next season, and it appears the Toffees don’t want the former Manchester United striker back.

The 32-year-old has been strongly linked with a transfer to MLS side D.C. United over recent weeks, however, when Everton manager Sam Allardyce was sacked, that appeared to leave the door open for a Rooney return.

Now, that doesn’t seem to be the case though.

The Toffees are believed to be willing to part ways with Rooney, who totaled 10 goals in 31 appearances for the club in 2017/18.


Finally, Everton could be looking to add another attacking spark, particularly if Rooney exits Goodison Park this summer.

The Sun is reporting that the Toffees are eyeing up a move for Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace, who has caught the attention of many PL sides over recent years.

Zaha is coming off of his best season as a professional, having scored nine goals in England’s top flight and guides the Eagles to an 11th-place finish.