PST’s Major League Soccer Power Rankings – Stability-enhanced edition

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Perhaps we’re buying into our own preconceptions, but last week was a relatively stable one in Major League Soccer. At least, if you see Power Rankings like these as an indication of flux, MLS’s teams are starting to play to expectations. Only two teams moved more than two spots on this week’s chart.

One of those teams, Sporting Kansas City, is in the middle of its worst slide since 2011. Even if you saw KC’s fall coming — and I don’t know anybody that did — you couldn’t have predicted it’d be this bad. Granted, Sporting still sits second in the East, but in terms of form, this team has gone from among the league’s most predictable to a mid-season question mark.

The other big mover is New England, who is on its third third major streak of the season. Five straight wins this spring vaulted the Revs to the top of our rankings, but when our list returned after a World Cup break, New England was two from the bottom, an eight-match losing streak sending Jay Heaps’ side out of the East’s top five. Now, having won four-in-a-row, New England’s climbing back toward the top, but won’t worry. There’s still time for Mr. Hyde to send the Revs back to the bottom.

Until then, here’s our updated list, with New England knocking on the door of what’s become a solid quintet at the top:

MORE: Last Week’s Power Rankings | Mid-week adjustment |  Methodology

RANKING
Up/Down

source:

1 LA Galaxy: Anywhere else on the chart, you want to seethat bright green “UP” in the “Up/Down” column. But when you’re at the top, nothing looks better than that thin back line – the dash that says all your challengers fell short. We were here last week, we’re here now, and in all likelihood, we’ll be here going forward. LA hopes the latter is true. (14-5-7)

2 UP 2 Real Salt Lake: After 60 minutes of dominance, RSL was in danger of dropping points against visiting Dallas, but thanks to Alvaro Saborio’s idyllic return, the Claret and Cobalt hinted at what it will be going forward: A team capable of punishing teams resting in their own third. (12-5-10)
source:  3 D.C. United: The draw at Vancouver was more than a point, particularly given the absences of Eddie Johnson (short-term) and Chris Rolfe (longer). With Sporting slumping, United has a change to lock down the East with upcoming games against New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. (14-8-5)
source:  4 DOWN 2 FC Dallas: Two spots is a severe drop for a team that only lost by one at RSL. Compared withhow United performed in Utah, Dallas looks like the better team. If it wasn’t for the Toros’ loss last week at Chicago, we’d be inclined to agree, but recent form suggests Dallas should take this step back, particularly after being so far behind the game over Saturday’s first hour. (12-9-6)
source:  5 Seattle Sounders:  Though last Wednesday was impressive, Seattle ultimately beat a nose-diving Chivas USA. It’s no reason to move up, but given how impressive the Soudners were in Wednesday’s first half, it was also no reason to move down. (16-7-3)
source:  6 UP 5 New England Revolution: Five spots is a big jump, but New England had a two-win week, with Sunday’s new set up showing Jermaine Jones will be given room to dominate. With Lee Nguyen inserting himself into MVP discussions, New England’s become the biggest threat outside our increasingly staid top five. It’s almost as if the June (and July) swoon never happened. (12-12-3)
source:  7 Philadelphia Union: It was a six-point week for Philadelphia, but wins over Toronto are becoming obligatory. If the Union were lower on this chart, those steady performances would be enough to justify a rise. At seven, though, competition above them makes it more difficult to move up. (9-9-9)
source:  8 DOWN 2 Columbus Crew:  So Columbus loses last week at Montreal and moves up, but they a win this week costs them a spot? Go figure, context is important, and whereas a strong performance by the Impact made last week’s loss understandable, the 3-0 win over Chivas USA flattered an often flat performance. Ultimately, Columbus’s ranking has been more influenced by teams New England and Kansas City than the team’s own decent results. (9-9-9)
source:  9 DOWN 1 Portland Timbers:  Portland may be the most entertaining team in the league, but at this point, that entertainment is coming at the expense of results. Not that Caleb Proter’s been willing to make that trade, but as exciting as his attack has been, his defense seems committed to preserving drama. One week after a clean sheet in Vancouver, Portland gave up three at home.  (8-8-11)
source:  10 New York Red Bulls:  Saturday’s was a great result for New York, but in terms of Power Rankings, the results were more equivocal. What is a win over a plummeting Sporting worth right now? Unfortunately, we don’t know, so instead of vaulting New York up the chart, we’ll take a wait-and-see approach. (8-8-10)
source:  11 UP 1 Houston Dynamo: Three wins in four games have renewed Houston’s playoff hopes, and while they’re still five back of a postseason spot, Power Rankings are easier to navigate. The teams below this line are all struggling to get results. Though Houston has yet to silence its doubters, the team’s still cracking the win column. While there’s a danger of being too results-based, the points serve a nice tiebreaker when things get close. (9-13-4)
source:  12 UP 1 San Jose Earthquakes:  Again: consider the form; consider what’s around them. San Jose has taken points from Real Salt Lake, Seattle, and Portland recently, and while they’ve also gone over a month without a win (over Seattle, mind you), the Earthquakes have at least shown they’re capable of troubling some of the league’s stronger teams. Right now, with the possible exception of Montreal, nobody below this point is doing the same. The record says lower. The form says here.(6-10-9)
source:  13 DOWN 4 Sporting Kansas City: A two-loss week, five more goals allowed, and Sporting has lost the benefit of the doubt. Losing at New York after Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber, and Aurelien Collin returned to the lineup left them out of excuses. Right now, Sporting’s just not that good. (12-10-6)
source:  14 Vancouver Whitecaps: Much as, as in the case of Philadelphia, it’s difficult to climb once you reach a certain point in the rankings, it’s also difficult to fall too far without losing games. Vancouver has done their fair share of that of late, but with a draw on Saturday against East-leading D.C., it’s difficult to be too harsh. In the bigger picture, however, there are very few teams Vancouver seems capable of beating, at the moment – the reason why a team still on the verge of a playoff spot is so ranked so low. (7-6-13)
source:  15 UP 1 Montréal Impact:  The Impact ultimately lost this weekend, but for the fourth game in a row, Montreal gave a decent performance. The only games this team’s lost since Aug. 2 have been on the road, and with wins over Chicago and Columbus (as well as Saturday’s encouraging show in Houston), Montreal deserves this bump. (5-16-5)
source:  16 DOWN 1 Chicago Fire: A one-goal loss at New England would look a lot better if the team put more than one shot on target. Whatever progress Chicago made against Dallas didn’t make its way to New England.  (5-7-14)

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17 UP 1 Colorado Rapids: Friday was a disaster, but given how it happened, the game tells us nothing new about how Colorado will play going forward. They were bad last week. They were bad against LA. If something doesn’t change, they’ll be bad next week, too. (8-13-6)
source:  18 DOWN 1 Toronto FC: After two more losses, there’s only one team in Major League Soccer we can see the Reds beating on a neutral field, right now. Thankfully for Greg Vanney, the gains Toronto made over the season’s first five months keep TFC in playoff contention. (9-11-6)
source:  19 Chivas USA:  Since drawing Vancouver at home on Aug. 16, Chivas USA has been outscored 11-2 (four games). During their nine-match winless run, six games have been decided by more than one goal. If Chivas USA is trying to finish its existence with a prolonged metaphor, mission accomplished. We get it: This franchise wasn’t that good. (6-15-6)

Crystal Palace vs Leeds: How to watch, live stream link, team news, lineups

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Crystal Palace and Leeds meet Sunday at Selhurst Park in a bid to snap twin four-match winless runs in Premier League play (watch live, 9am ET Sunday on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).

Palace has won just once this season, drawing three times and sitting outside the relegation zone on goal differential.

STREAM LIVE CRYSTAL PALACE vs LEEDS

Leeds have three more points, good for 12th on the table.

Former Hudson River derby rival manager Jesse Marsch and Patrick Vieira will both look to kick their seasons forward with a much-needed win in South London.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Crystal Palace vs Leeds.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Crystal Palace vs Leeds live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

Palace has given up 11 goals this season and expected goals say that perhaps it should be worse for the Eagles, who have received four of their seven goals from one man: Wilfried Zaha.

Leeds won’t have Luis Sinisterra, who was sent off last week, but Brenden Aaronson and Rodrigo have been producing plenty of attacking moments. Finish has to come next, although Leeds’ 10 goals puts it middle of the pack. Perhaps Patrick Bamford is ready to deliver the goods?


Crystal Palace team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Joachim Andersen (calf). OUT: Nathan Ferguson (ankle), Nathaniel Clyne (ankle), Jack Butland (wrist), James McArthur (groin).

Leeds team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Adam Forshaw (ankle). OUT: Stuart Dallas (thigh), Archie Gray (toe), Luis Sinisterra (suspension).

Newcastle vs Brentford: How to watch, live stream link, team news, lineups

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Newcastle looks to run its Premier League unbeaten run to five when it hosts Brentford at St. James’ Park on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).

The Magpies beat up 10-man Fulham last weekend to pick up their second win of the season. Eddie Howe’s team has only lost once, a controversial setback at Liverpool, and sits seventh with 11 points.

STREAM LIVE NEWCASTLE vs BRENTFORD

Brentford’s only collected one fewer point than their Saturday hosts, but the Bees have been blanked in consecutive outings and failed to find a way past Bournemouth in a scoreless draw on Oct. 1.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle vs Brentford.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Newcastle vs Brentford live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & star players

Exciting forward Allan Saint-Maximin could return for Newcastle, making an already cohesive unit more dangerous. The 25-year-old has a goal and two assists in four appearances this season and scored in this fixture, a 3-3 draw, last season.

Brentford has scored the fifth-most goals in the Premier League this season — quite good — but only six teams have conceded more than the Bees. Goalkeeper David Raya has made 30 saves, tied for third in the Premier League with… Nick Pope. So perhaps it’s time to expect fireworks.


Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Allan Saint-Maximin (thigh). OUT: Karl Darlow (ankle), Alexander Isak (thigh), Jonjo Shelvey (thigh), Matt Ritchie (calf), Emil Krafth (knee).

Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Ethan Pinnock (knee). OUT: Keane Lewis-Potter (ankle), Pontus Jansson (thigh), Christian Norgaard (tendonitis)

Premier League top scorers: Who is leading 2022 Golden Boot race?

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For those tempted to write off Erling Haaland’s historically-hot start to life as a Premier League striker, we get it: There’s something rather dull about not wondering the identity of the 2022 Golden Boot winner, but just the number of his final tally.

Haaland’s Premier League-leading 14 goals from eight games has him seven goals clear of the next closest challenger: Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

His third hat trick of the season, joined by three Phil Foden goals in Man City’s 6-3 derby win over United, keeps him on pace for more than 60 goals this season, a mark that would

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ] 

And even though Haaland is currently overperforming his expected goals total, it’s already becoming clear that projecting him for the Premier League record is not farfetched at all.

Take a look at these digits. Haaland isn’t just punching in goals; He’s made an almost seamless transition to Pep Guardiola’s system, producing chances for others in addition to his powerful self-positioning.

Erling Haaland
fotmob.com

Haaland is unlikely to hit even 50 goals given the schedule congestion to come for Man City, but the Premier League record is very well under assault

Mohamed Salah holds the 38-game season record with his 32 goals scored for Liverpool during the 2017-18 season, while Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn’s Alan Shearer bagged 34 during 42-game seasons in the 20th century’s final decade.

Haaland also could topple the record for goal involvements (goals plus assists) in a single season, including beating the 42-game record. Alan Shearer put up 47 over 42, while Thierry Henry holds the 38-game record with 44.

Other records that Haaland could legitimately tie or topple:

  • 30 goals in a first Premier League season (Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999-2000)
  • Goals in 24 different Premier League matches (Salah, Liverpool, 2017-18)
  • Most goals in a Premier League match (Five tied with five)
  • 11-straight Premier League games with a goal (Jamie Vardy, Leicester, 2014-15)

Read on to see the latest Premier League goal totals for the 2022-23 season, as Haaland looks to claim a Golden Boot in his first PL season.

Premier League 2022-23 Golden Boot race

  1. Erling Haaland, Man City — 14
  2. Harry Kane, Tottenham — 7
  3. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham — 6
  4. Phil Foden, Man City — 5
  5. Ivan Toney, Brentford — 5
  6. James Maddison, Leicester City — 5
  7. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool — 5
  8. Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal — 5
  9. Leandro Trossard — Brighton — 5
  10. Three tied with four. (Alexis Mac Allister, Rodrigo, Wilfried Zaha)

Premier League assist leaders: Who will win Playmaker of the Season?

Premier League assist leaders
(Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Kevin De Bruyne’s gaudy assist numbers give rise to any number of considerations, and we have to wonder if the Manchester City star has ever wondered if the Premier League record would be his in a world in which Jose Mourinho found better use for him at Chelsea.

De Bruyne’s eight assists this Premier League season are double his closest competitors — teammate Bernardo Silva and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka — to give him 94 for his career. That’s tied for fifth all-time with Dennis Bergkamp, 72 behind record holder Ryan Giggs.

The Belgian star, 31, arrived at Chelsea from Werder Bremen at the age of 22 and managed only 425 in a half-season before being offloaded to Wolfsburg. Back in the Bundesliga, De Bruyne got six assists the rest of the way before setting up 21 goals the next season to set up a move to Man City.

[ MORE: Premier League Golden Boot race ]

He’s since won the nascent Premier League Playmaker of the Season Award twice, including a 20-assist 2019-20 season, and he’s on pace to make it three of six. Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, and Eden Hazard have also won the award, which is only five years old.

De Bruyne also led the Premier League in assists in 2016-17, the year before the league but a name on the honor.

His stats hint that there’s more to come, as ‘KDB’ is creating a gaudy 3.95 chances per 90 minutes. After a season in which he scored 15 times with eight assists, De Bruyne is back taunting those who’d dare chase him in terms of setting up goals (Some guy named Erling Haaland is helping…).

Take a look at De Bruyne’s shining stats, and read on to see who’s chasing him in a list of the Premier League assist leaders for the 2022-23 season.

Kevin De Bruyne
fotmob.com

Premier League 2022-23 assist leaders

  1. Kevin De Bruyne, Man City — 8
  2. Bernardo Silva, Man City — 4
  3. Bukayo Saka, Arsenal — 4
  4. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool — 3
  5. Dejan Kulusevski, Tottenham Hotspur — 3
  6. Erling Haaland, Man City — 3
  7. Ivan Perisic, Tottenham Hotspur — 3
  8. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool — 3
  9. Jack Harrison, Leeds United — 3
  10. Granit Xhaka, Arsenal — 3
  11. Alex Iwobi, Everton — 3
  12. Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal — 3
  13. Kenny Tete, Fulham — 3
  14. Jamie Vardy, Leicester City — 3