ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in two parts)

Leave a comment

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

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

19. D.C. United – Finally, a little spoonful of good news: Chris Pontius’ injury does not seem as bad as first feared. And, uh … no, that’s about it on the “good news” front. A 3-0 setback in Columbus is the latest brick in the wall of pressure mounting on the decides around RFK Stadium.

18. Chicago Fire – One step forward (last week’s win at home) and one step, well, not exactly backward. A loss in Montreal isn’t the worst thing, but it’s not what the Fire need to get out of this early season hole.

17. Seattle Sounders – That odd-duck MLS scheduling got the Sounders last week. Just when Sigi Schmid’s team was building a little momentum, Seattle had the weekend  off. They face the Union at PPL Park outside Philadelphia in Round 10.

16. Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen’s team was missing some zip in a 2-1 loss to New York at BMO Field. It’s not easy on the Reds (or the other teams from North of the border) with these important Canadian Championship matches sandwiched in between MLS weekends.

15. New England Revolution – Perhaps no MLS team needed a Week 9 result like the Revs. With Juan Toja back on the bench, Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen played closer to the middle in a 4-1-4-1, and it worked swimmingly in a 2-0 win over Philadelphia.

14. Colorado Rapids – The Rapids nearly did something special in Houston, leading the Dynamo for a spell before splitting the points on Giles Barnes’ second-half equalizer. Veteran center back Drew Moor (pictured above) is back in the starting lineup for Oscar Pareja.

13. Philadelphia Union – Might there finally be movement on Bakary Soumare’s trade request, which goes back to March? He does seem like surplus goods around Chester, PA.

12. Chivas USA – A 2-2 draw at home against San Jose left the Goats winless in April. A trip this week into Sporting Park to face an angry Kansas City bunch is hardly a recipe for a fast start to May.

11. Columbus – A home match against reeling D.C. United worked out about as you would expect, a fairly comfortable 3-0 result against the Black and Red. But who expects the scoreboard to catch on fire?

Ronaldo’s early tally gives Portugal win over Morocco

Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It was far from a convincing performance, but manager Fernando Santos and Co. came away with their first win at the World Cup and now sit in the drivers’ seat in Group B.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Portugal earned a narrow 1-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday, after Cristiano Ronaldo’s early header proved to be the difference.

Santos’ group now sits atop Group B with four points, while Morocco is eliminated after losing its first two matches.

It took just four minutes for Portugal to break the deadlock, with Ronaldo once again at the center of the Portuguese attack.

The Real Madrid man brilliantly latched onto a header at the near post off of a corner kick, giving Ronaldo his fourth goal at this World Cup (seventh goal overall).

Morocco did well to insert its presence in the match following the early goal, but various chances from Medhi Benatia and Hakim Ziyech weren’t enough to break past Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

The African side also had a legitimate appeal for a penalty kick in the first stanza, however, referee Mark Geiger opted to play on despite the Moroccan protest.

Morocco continued its pressure in the second half, and Patricio was forced to make an incredible save in the 57th minute when Younes Belhanda headed a cross towards the far corner.

Portugal will close out Group B play on June 25 against Iran, while Morocco takes on Spain

Arena says there’s no reason for Pulisic to leave Dortmund

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christian Pulisic has been the subject of transfer talks for some time now after becoming an instant star at Borussia Dortmund, but one of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s former coaches says it might be wise for him to stay put; at least for now.

MORE: Ronaldo scores fourth goal in World Cup ]

Former USMNT boss Bruce Arena spoke about Pulisic, who has had rumors of moves to Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United surrounding him recently.

Arena cited consistent playing time as the main reason why Pulisic may want to consider holding off on a transfer for now.

“I think Christian is in a great place. Dortmund has a very good reputation for developing players.

“In his couple years there with the first team, he’s done very well. Hopefully, he can continue to do that, be consistent at the club level, and if he does that, he’s going to be a real plus for the national team program.

“Any move Christian makes in the future, it’s important he goes to a club where he plays on a regular basis. There’s no point in him leaving Dortmund and going to a club where he doesn’t get the kind of minutes he needs to continue to develop.”

Pulisic has spent three seasons at Dortmund, scoring 12 goals in all competitions during that span.

Video: Ronaldo scores fourth goal, gives Portugal early lead

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
1 Comment

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

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment

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.