ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

1 Comment

Chivas USA has done it! They’ve managed go from MLS middle class (in the ranking, that is) all the way to the bottom. Here are Nos. 11-19 of ProSoccerTalk’s weekly countdown following Round 26.

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

19. Chivas USA – It has all gone completely pare-shaped for the Goats. Management is in disarray as the club is essentially a league-run organization these days. Even once-reliable goalkeeper Dan Kennedy is making mistakes, perhaps worn down from the weight of it all. Chivas USA has … get ready for this … allowed 18 goals over its last five matches. That is unheard of.

18. Toronto FC – Another bummer around BMO: giving up late goals to Mexico’s Santos put the club’s Champions League hopes on the skids. Back in MLS a few days later, Paul Mariner’s team gave Sporting Kansas City a scare but still fell, 2-1.

17. Colorado Rapids – Oscar Pareja’s men have a great opportunity to quickly overturn the weekend loss at Portland; the same teams meet Wednesday at Dicks Sporting Goods Park outside of Denver.

16. Portland Timbers – A 1-0 win over Colorado dragged the Timbers out of last place. Plus, news broke last week that Caleb Porter  (pictured) will coach the team starting this December, upon conclusion of the college season. So, forward movement around Jeld-Wen, certainly a good thing.

15. Philadelphia Union – Having been stripped of his interim status and installed as full-time coach (and with the playoffs well out of reach), John Hackworth can begin long-term planning around PPL Park. This is clearly the right approach.

14. New England Revolution – About last week’s scoreless draw with Philadelphia: the less said the better. (Just two shots on target from the home team pretty much says it all.) So, we’ll look ahead: The Revs get Columbus at home Wednesday – and a chance to see the league’s top player at the moment, Columbus DP Federico Higuain. That’s something, right?

(MORE: Higuain is ProSoccerTalk’s Player of the Week.)

13. Vancouver Whitecaps – The latest response to Vancouver’s shocking southward spill was some shaking-up of the ‘Cap starting lineup. The latest result says the latest response did not amount to much. Not only did the Whitecaps lose their fourth consecutive match, they looked pitifully tame in doing so. Desperate to remain in the fifth playoff spot, all the visitors could manage against L.A. was a measly two shots? The only positive news for Martin Rennie’s club in Week 26: sixth-place playoff pursuers Dallas failed to get full points in its weekend contest.

12. FC Dallas – The club created enough chances to collect all three points against Seattle, but jayvee shooting from Blas Perez and Jackson dented the opportunity – and the club’s playoff chances took a big tumble as a result. So it’s really down to this now: Schellas Hyndman’s side meets Vancouver in both teams’ next MLS contest. The match is in Dallas, and anything but all three points will probably end the Texans’ post-season hopes.

11. D.C. United – It always looked like a bugger of a week, with a visit from New York and taxing trip just three nights later out west to Real Salt Lake. Sure enough, it ended with just a single point gathered (a 2-2 draw with the Red Bulls and a 1-0 loss in Utah.) Ben Olsen’s team played well at Rio Tinto Stadium, but the net-out won’t reflect it. Sizzling hot Columbus has lapped United, which now sits sixth in a race where only the top five spots pay.

Reina faces hearing over links with trio connected to mafia

Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Twitter/@Futbolestodo
Leave a comment

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

Epsilon/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]