Major League Soccer positional Top Tens: LEFT BACKS

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Major League Soccer’s full backs may be evolving, but particularly at left back, the pool’s a bit shallow. Three of the first six players in our Top 10 are the get forward types that weren’t part of the game in previous seasons, but the list falls off quickly.

One of the top players shot up the chart over the last year. Another was recently left exposed in expansion. One player spent a lot of time in midfield last season, while another no longer starts for his team. Our Top 10 list may not have much depth, but at left back, one California team certainly does.

Yesterday is was the right. Today, it was the left, with a crowded field at the bottom of our ranking sure to inspire debate among MLS hardcores.

Here are our Top 10 Major League Soccer left backs.

1. LA Galaxy’s Todd Dunivant (pictured)
2. San Jose’s Justin Morrow
3. Real Salt Lake’s Chris Wingert
4. Sporting KC’s Seth Sinovic >

Sinovic was a free agent in May of 2011 and was exposed in expansion later that year. Now he’s one of the top four left backs in the league? It’s hard to argue he should be much lower than this.

5. Toronto FC’s Ashtone Morgan >

You can’t help but think Morgan would be higher on this list if the situation at Toronto FC has been more stable last season. Maybe Ryan Nelsen starts tapping into his potential. He’s still probably going to be TFC’s highest ranked individual player, and he’s only fifth.

6. Houston’s Corey Ashe
7. San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales >

He’s been around since 1996, and if it wasn’t for the emergence of Justin Morrow, he’d still be in Frank Yallop’s starting XI. When healthy, he still finds plenty of playing time between defense and midfield. A lot of other teams in the league (good ones) could use the 35-year-old.

8. Vancouver’s Alain Rochat
9. Chicago’s Gonzalo Segares
10. D.C. United’s Chris Korb

(MORE: the entire roster of ProSoccerTalk’s Major League Soccer previews and predictions)

MLS Three Things: RBNY beats Atlanta, is a special club right now

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At this point, Jesse Marsch could take the USMNT job, Tyler Adams could bolt for the Bundesliga, and we’d still have to select the New York Red Bulls to finish with a home playoff game.

[ MORE: Willian’s shot at Conte ]

That’s how well run RBNY is these days, which is to take nothing away from their coach and 19-year-old star, but considering they navigated a solid CONCACAF Champions League run en route to this start… well…. wow.

On a night when Luis Robles’ ironman streak ended, Kaku recorded two assists, and Ezequiel Barco bagged his second goal in three matches, they don’t even meet the requirements of our three things.

Form giants deliver more goals

Marsch’s men have been shutout once this season, and most multiple goals in four-consecutive wins. Three of those four wins have come on the road, at LA, Colorado, and now Atlanta.

RBNY has the best points-per-game in Major League Soccer, has scored the joint-most goals despite playing in the second-fewest games, and is allowing barely more than a goal-a-game.

Bet against ’em. We dare ya.

BWP delivers the goods

RBNY’s 33-year-old English star scored twice and won a penalty that Daniel Royer converted as he continued his assault on all future Red Bulls’ hopes of becoming the club’s leading scorer.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has almost 50 more goals than his nearest competitor, Juan Pablo Angel, and he makes headers look like child’s play.

Victory comes with a price

Kemar Lawrence was lost with a scary-looking face-plant on a clearance, and needed to be stretchered off the pitch. Hopefully it’s not long-term for the Jamaican back.

Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

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Willian is not a fan of Antonio Conte.

Come to another conclusion if you like, but it’s hard to argue the Brazilian wizard’s feelings following his Instagram post after Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Matic wants squad changes at Man Utd ]

Willian covered his manager in trophies following the win, and it’d be a stretch to call that a tribute to the Italian’s tactical brilliance.

The player recorded seven goals and six assists despite playing less than all but 12 Chelsea players in league play (12th place Alvaro Morata had 11 and 6).

We’re accepting alternative explanations for the since-deleted Instagram photo below:

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.

 

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.