ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

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Here are Nos. 11-19 of ProSoccerTalk’s weekly countdown following six rounds of regular season play.

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

19. Seattle Sounders – Sigi Schmid’s Sounders are the lone, winless MLS club. Ain’t that something? They could do a lot to vent pressure and get the cart generally out of a ditch by overturning a 1-0 deficit in CONCACAF Champions League semifinal play tonight in Mexico. Don’t bet on it, though.

18. Chicago Fire – One win was just enough to get Frank Klopas’ team off the bottom of the stack … but there’s still reason to be suspicious about this lot. The Fire needed two late goals from Maicon Santos off the bench in order to grab its first win of 2013 – and New York’s shoddy defending and goalkeeping had something to do with it. Still, a win’s a win. For now.

17. Colorado Rapids – Nice to see Edson Buddle back on the field as the Rapids slowly begin to get some important veterans back on the field. Center back Drew Moor should return this week as well following his two-game suspension. Coming off a win over rival Real Salt Lake (the Rapids’ first “W” of 2013) Oscar Pareja’s team travels to meet Chivas USA this week.

16. Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen’s club is getting closer to where the rookie manager wants it to be. Last year, TFC lost leads. Heck, TFC has pretty much always been the team to lose the leads. Could it be that this year, the club can actually erase them? The Reds did just that on Saturday thanks largely to Darel Russel’s awesome, late strike in a 2-2 draw with Dallas.

15. New England Revolution – One of a bunch of teams that had the weekend off for Round 6. They needed it to steel themselves for telling trips into Seattle (this weekend) and New York over the next two weeks. Of course, the big news – much more important than soccer – is Kevin Alston’s leave of absence for leukemia treatment.

14. D.C. United – United has just two goals in five matches; here’s one reason. Dwayne De Rosario’s health and ability to get back on the field will be a big talker prior to this week’s visit from the rival Red Bulls.

13. New York Red Bulls – Luis Robles, who rescued a wobbly goalkeeping situation around Red Bull Arena last year, just hasn’t been the same in 2013. Of course, he wasn’t getting much help at the end Sunday in Chicago, was he? None of the Red Bulls covered themselves in glory in this one, conceding an early lead and then allowing two near the end in a loss at Toyota Park. Thierry Henry had to come off the bench once again for New York.

12. Portland Timbers – Without question, Saturday’s 2-0 win over Houston was the best front-to-back Timbers’ outing so far under Caleb Porter. Good performances were all over the field, including Jack Jewsbury, who returned once again to right back. Mikael Silvestre seems to have found his feet. The big show-stopper, of course, belonged to PST Player of the Week Diego Chara.

11. Philadelphia Union – It’s not always the loveliest work, but John Hackworth has certainly taught his team how to grind out results. Last week’s 1-1 draw in Columbus is the latest example. By the way, anybody have Jack McInerney (pictured above) in the pool as MLS top scorer? Because the young striker is currently tied for third with three goals this year.

Video: Ronaldo scores fourth goal, gives Portugal early lead

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He has four goals in less than two matches, and Portugal is off to another flying start courtesy of their star forward.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Portuguese a 1-0 lead against Morocco in the fourth minute after brilliantly heading home a corner kick.

The Real Madrid star gave Portugal a similar spark at the beginning of their 3-3 draw against Spain in their first Group B match when Ronaldo drew, and scored a penalty kick inside of the opening three minutes.

Is there anything this man cannot do?

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

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The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.