The Top Ten in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings

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Following Round 11 of league play, here are Nos. 1-10 in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS quality rearrangement:

(Nos. 11-19 are here)

10. Real Salt Lake – RSL fans are seFollowing Round 11 of league play, here are Nos. 1-10 in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS quality rearrangement.eing red over the fact that Marco di Vaio’s important goal was clearly offside. It was the equalizer in a Montreal’s 3-2 draw north of the border.

9. LA Galaxy – After some degree of success last month, attempting to score goals without injured DP striker Robbie Keane is getting increasingly difficult for Bruce Arena’s team. LA has lost two in a row, with just one goal in those 180 minutes. What say you, Landon Donovan?

8. Colorado Rapids – Another week, another well-managed shutout for the men of DSG Park. Let’s talk about them more often going forward, can we? (By the way, in that linked piece, I should have mentioned 19-year-old center back Shane O’Neill (pictured above), filling in so admirably now for veteran Marvell Wynne.)

7. Seattle Sounders – We wondered aloud if this was one of the best weeks in Sounders’ history, with a huge 1-0 road win over Sporting KC and then a resounding 4-0 spanking of San Jose back at CenturyLink? It’s got to be Top Five, at least, right? Based on current form, Sigi Schmid’s team may deserve to be higher in our PST ranking, but we’ll hold off just a bit until, pending just a little larger sample for assessment (and a record of 3-3-3 that still falls under “just OK.”)

6. Montreal Impact – No time to celebrate Saturday’s swell comeback, a 3-2 win at home over Real Salt Lake. Marco Schallibaum’s bunch faces Vancouver at Stade Saputo on Wednesday in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final. The stakes are more than northern bragging rights; there is a CONCACAF Champions League berth at stake, too.

5. Houston Dynamo – Will Bruin sure had a big week, getting a paw on every goal in a 4-0 road win, a fairly rare beast of the MLS jungle. Sporting Kansas City upended the Dynamo’s splashy home unbeaten streak, true enough. But the team from Texas appeared to get the last laugh in the Twitter scrum that followed.

4. Portland Timbers – Like the Cascadia rivals just up the road (Seattle, that is), Round 11 was quite a week for the men of Jeld-Wen Field. Caleb Porter’s possession specialists earned a quality draw in Dallas, and then followed up with a memorable afternoon against Chivas USA. Rodney Wallace as a converted left winger? Yep, that’s working out about as well as it possibly could.

3. New York Red Bulls – Thierry Henry’s spectacular overhead kick saved the day in a highly credible road win at Montreal. But they couldn’t quite replicate the feat in New England, although a 1-1 draw with the Revs (where Mike Petke’s men did rally quickly from a goal behind) surely made Week 11 a success for the Red Bulls.

2. Sporting Kansas City – Sporting Kansas City bounced back from a loss at home (to in-form Seattle) with a gritty, well-earned 1-0 win in Houston. That snapped the Dynamo’s league-record 36-game unbeaten streak across all competitions. Kei Kamara got back on the field for manager Peter Vermes, and that’s a swell addition by any measure.

1. FC Dallas – A 2-1 win over beleaguered D.C. United may not look like a praiseworthy result around FC Dallas Stadium. But Schellas Hyndman rolled the dice by leaving five starters on the bench, including his two best players. So getting all three points to stretch its lead in the West was, actually, a bit of win to savor.

Sweden players, coaches left fuming after last-minute loss

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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — A last-minute goal. A non-called penalty. A disrespectful celebration.

Sweden had a lot to be upset about when the final whistle blew on Saturday.

[ MORE: Low: Germany survived “a thriller full of emotion” ]

The Swedes were within seconds of holding defending champion Germany to a draw, and moving into good position to advance to the round of 16 at the World Cup, when Toni Kroos scored deep into stoppage time to give Germany a 2-1 come-from-behind victory.

“I’m sorry that we didn’t get at least one point,” Sweden coach Janne Andersson said. “But I’m not blaming anyone tactically or analyzing too much right now, there are so many emotions going around. This is probably the heaviest conclusion that I’ve experienced in my career.”

Kroos’ goal from a set piece came in the fifth and final minute of injury time. The draw would have kept Sweden ahead of Germany in Group F and needing only a draw against Mexico in the last match.

[ MORE: Germany snatches late win over Sweden to avoid elimination ]

“It was just bad luck,” Sweden forward John Guidetti said. “Now we need to try to find a way to win the last match. In a few days we play again and we have to win it. It’s simple.”

Germany, which is tied with Sweden on points and goal difference, will play against South Korea in the final round.

“We still have an excellent opportunity to qualify,” Andersson said. “Now we have to clean up, tidy up after this game. We’re going to do that.”

The Swedes were leading Germany at halftime thanks to Ola Toivonen’s goal in the 32nd minute at Fisht Stadium. They felt they could have been ahead even earlier if the referee had called a penalty when Marcus Berg appeared to be fouled inside the area with a clear chance to score. There was no formal video review called for.

“If we have the (VAR) system, it’s very unfortunate that he (the referee) can feel so secure in the moment that he doesn’t go and have a look at the situation,” Andersson said.

He and the Swedish players said they also couldn’t understand why Germany decided to celebrate near their bench.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

“You shouldn’t celebrate in front of our bench the way they did, that’s disrespectful,” Guidetti said. “You can celebrate with your own fans. Don’t celebrate in front of our bench like that. That’s why they apologized, because they knew they did something wrong.”

Andersson said he was “very annoyed” by seeing the Germany team “running in our direction and rubbing it in our faces by making gestures.”

“We fought hard for 95 minutes,” he said. “And when the final whistle blows, you shake hands.”

WATCH: World Cup, Day 11 — England, Colombia back in action

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
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Day 11 of the 2018 World Cup is up next, on Sunday, with England back in action and in need of three points — and a resounding win — to keep pace with Belgium in Group G.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Following Belgium’s 5-2 thrashing of Tunisia — the same side that England beat in stoppage time earlier in the week — on Saturday, the Red Devils have positioned themselves perfectly to win the group with a draw against the Three Lions on Thursday. England need a five-goal victory at 6-1 or higher to the finish top of the group following a draw on the final day.

Then, it’s a pair of Group H fixtures, kicked off with Japan (1st) versus Senegal (2nd) — both of whom won their first game — followed by Poland (3rd) versus Colombia (4th).

Below is Sunday’s schedule in full.

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


2018 World Cup schedule – Sunday, June 24

Group G
England vs. Panama: Nizhny Novgorod, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group H
Japan vs. Senegal: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Poland vs. Colombia: Kazan, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

FIFA opens case against Xhaka, Shaqiri for celebrations

Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP
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FIFA’s disciplinary committee opened disciplinary proceedings against Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri for politically charged goal celebrations during their 2-1 World Cup win over Serbia in Kaliningrad.

[ MORE: The meaning behind Xhaka, Shaqiri’s eagle celebration ]

FIFA also said Saturday it has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Serbian Football Association for crowd disturbance and the display of political and offensive messages by Serbian fans. FIFA also is reviewing statements that Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic made after the match.

Xhaka and Shaqiri celebrated their goals by making a nationalist symbol of their ethnic Albanian heritage. Both of their families come from Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s independence and relations between the two countries remain tense.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Polish Football Association was fined $10,100 and given a warning by FIFA’s disciplinary committee for a banner that the governing body deemed political and offensive. The banner was displayed during Senegal’s 2-1 win over Poland on Tuesday in Moscow.

The committee also opened disciplinary proceedings against the federations of Argentina and Croatia for crowd disturbances during Croatia’s 3-0 win Thursday at Nizhny Novgorod.

Low: Germany survived “a thriller full of emotion”

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At 1-0 down, they were headed for elimination in the group stage (with a game still to play); once level at 1-1, they faced yet a steep hill to climb on the final day of the group stage; after Toni Kroos scored his stunning 94th-minute winner, Joachim Low could finally exhale and imagine himself managing the German national team for another day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Sweden at the 2018 World Cup was, for most intents and purposes, a worrying performance for the defending world champions. Fortunately for Low and Co., the one place in which their comeback dramatic victory was a raging success is the only one that matters: the Group F table, where Die Mannschaft currently (somehow) sit second and control their own destiny — quotes from the BBC:

“This was a thriller, full of emotion, right up until the final whistle. Brandt hit the goal post just three minutes before the end too. We took out a defensive player and brought on an attacking player because we knew had to bring on everything we had to turn it round.

“We had a couple of great chances — Mario Gomez’s header being one of them. The last couple of minutes were full of drama but those matches exist in football. We’ve had these situations in other tournaments as well. For the viewers that’s part of the attractiveness of football.”

“Something I did appreciate today was that we didn’t lose our nerve, we didn’t panic after going a goal down. We kept a level head and said we needed to make quick passes and tire the Swedes out to open up spaces.

“We didn’t score a couple of good chances but we never lost hope we could win the match and I think the goal scored in stoppage time had a bit of luck involved but it did show the belief we had in ourselves.”

There’s still plenty of work to do for one of the most popular pre-tournament favorites — there’s a little matter of needing to beat, or at the very least, match Sweden’s result against Mexico — but that can wait until tomorrow, because Saturday unexpectedly became all about survival.