PST’s Major League Soccer power rankings: Double(d) vision edition


Oh, the challenges that await a man altering another man’s power rankings.

Fortunately, we have PST’s underlying methodology to work with, which essentially says if two teams, given recent form, were to face off at this very moment, who would win (among other qualifications, but we digress)

MORE: Methodology | Men in Blazers TV show debuts on NBCSN ]

But outside of that comes more questions: how differently have one team’s fortunes been viewed by separate sets of eyeballs? Will it be doubled-vision or double vision (Not the song, though we hope it fails to get the best of us).

It was a fun week for Major League Soccer, in any event, with Chicago and DC United playing a thrilling 3-3 tie and Bradley Wright-Phillips getting all sorts of nasty for a New York team that is looking pretty much for real. Columbus and New England engaged in a “Who’s for real?” battle that left us thinking they both might be, while Real Salt Lake went nuts on the floundering Rapids.

Where does that leave us? Here:



1 LA Galaxy: Perhaps the Galaxy opened the door for a team to make a claim for the top spot, but the fact of the matter is that no one’s walked in. The Galaxy’s 2-1 win over FC Dallas was perfectly fine after draws against San Jose and Montreal provided a bit of “meh”. L.A. hasn’t lost since Aug. 16, and hasn’t dropped consecutive games all season (15-5-9)

2 Real Salt Lake: Responded to their 3-2 loss to Seattle by absolutely destroying Colorado at Rio Tinto on Friday night. The 5-1 win was emblematic of what RSL can be when humming, dangerous from every location and position. A trip to angry Vancouver is a decent test on Saturday  (13-6-10)
source:  3 UP 5 Philadelphia Union: Surely some will question Philly being higher than KC and DC, but the Union sandwiched draws around their US Open Cup loss vs Seattle to prove depth. They’ll have every chance to back it up Saturday against DC, so ask yourself: would you want to play Philadelphia right now? (9-9-11)
source:  4 UP 6 New York Red Bulls: This is a big jump if only based on a 4-1 thumping of a tired, Open Cup-weary Seattle squad which had traversed the country, but not when you consider New York is unbeaten in four. Those matches include wins over KC, DC and the Sounders, plus a draw against Philly. And… BWP! (10-8-11)
source:  5 Seattle Sounders:  The now four-time Open Cup champions were soundly defeated by New York on the weekend, but that doesn’t negate the now-snapped four-game MLS win streak and USOC win. A real chance to regress comes Wednesday against Dallas. (17-8-3)
source:  6 DOWN 3 DC United: Now winless in three, DC threw away a 3-2 lead against Chicago. With Philly and KC on the horizon, Ben Olsen and his new contract have some work to do to stay on top. (14-9-6)
source:  7 UP 2 Portland Timbers: Caleb Porter’s club promises to infuriate this rankings for the next few weeks. The Timbers are a solid win over a decent opponent away from being one of the scariest teams going, but since June have beaten only Montreal, Vancouver, Colorado and Chivas USA. They face San Jose twice and Toronto before that big chance against Real Salt Lake in the season’s penultimate fixture. (9-8-12)
source:  8 Columbus Crew:  Gregg Berhalter’s team ended New England’s five-match winning streak, in turn moving their record to 4W-1L-1T over its last six. That includes the Revs win and a victory over the Galaxy. Not bad if you want to move towards belief in the club. How about a high-five for Tony Tchani as an unsung player? (10-9-10)
source:  9 DOWN 3 New England Revolution:  A three-slot drop is more indicative of the muddled picture of quality from slots 6-11 than anything else, as the Revs just saw a five-match win streak halted this weekend. With Sporting and Columbus on the horizon, a rise is quite possible. (13-13-3)
source:  10 DOWN 6 FC Dallas: Oscar Pareja is a solid coach, no doubt, but one win from four and that win coming against a Vancouver team desperately seeking answers? Perhaps we allotted too much credit to past results. A mid-week win against Seattle could make us blush a bit. (13-10-6)
source:  11 UP 1 Sporting KC: They didn’t play this week, and move up? Yeah. Power rankings, everybody!! Sporting will look to build off their destruction of Chivas USA by taking care of New England this week, a task more difficult than it would’ve seemed weeks ago (13-10-6)
source:  12 DOWN 1 Houston Dynamo: There’s an argument to be made for the Dynamo, unbeaten in four against some decent opposition. Their eight-game winless streak from earlier this year might be dancing a bit too actively in our memories. (9-13-6)
source:  13 Montréal Impact: The Impact have become almost the soccer equivalent of baseball’s Mendoza Line. They hold a 3W-3L-1T record since their massive losing streak ended, and have been about as average as you can get. Their awful six win season says they should be lower, but they aren’t an auto-win. (6-17-6)
source:  14 Vancouver Whitecaps: What is happening here? Such a promising squad has just one win since topping KC on Aug. 10 and has dropped out of a playoff spot following a 3-0 loss to Portland that was a dismal performance in a critical, crucial, close-to-must-have situation (8-8-13)
source:  15 UP 1 Chicago Fire: Credit for coming back from a 3-1 deficit to DC is due, but the team of many draws isn’t inspiring enough confidence to think it could raise its level above the 15 slot. (5-7-16)
source:  16 DOWN 1 San Jose Earthquakes: The brief resurgence that came just after Chris Wondolowski returned from the World Cup feels like ancient history for San Jose, which hasn’t won in nine outings and didn’t inspire much confidence in a 2-0 loss to Montreal on the weekend. (6-12-10)


17 UP 1 Toronto FC: A win is a win is a win, even when it’s over Chivas USA. It’s very easy to forget that TFC’s season is still very rescuable; A win in their match-in-hand draws the club level with Columbus for the final spot. A visit from Portland this weekend will be well worth monitoring. How bout it, Michael Bradley? (10-11-7)
source:  18 DOWN 1 Colorado Rapids: Colorado’s only win since the calendar turned to July is over Chivas USA. July. Chivas USA. (8-14-7)
source:  19 Chivas USA:  It’s just starting to feel mean. Bring on the rebrand. (6-17-6)

Champions League wrap: Ajax, RB Leipzig, Salzburg win; Barca held

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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While Liverpool and Chelsea lost in shutout fashion, only three other teams saw zeroes next to their names after 90 minutes of UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday.

[ UCL: Scores, full lineups, stats, box scores ]

You may be surprised to see that Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund kept each other off the board, while Lille was cooked by Ajax.

Red Bull Salzburg 6-2 Genk

Jesse Marsch is now officially the first American man to manage a team to a win in a UEFA Champions League game. The Red Bull Salzburg boss got a hat trick from red-hot 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who has 17 goals in nine matches this season and is also the son of former Leeds, Man City, and Nottingham Forest manager Alf-Inge Haland.

Ajax 3-0 Lille

Mexico’s Edson Alvarez now has two goals in two career UEFA Champions League games, as he joined Quincy Promes on the score sheet in a 2-0 win. American-Dutch right back Sergino Dest played 90 minutes in the win, and Nicolás Tagliafico recorded two assists. USMNT forward Timothy Weah was again absent with a hamstring tear.

Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona

Lionel Messi spent most of the match on the bench, and Marco Reus missed a Jadon Sancho-won penalty thanks to a Marc-Andre ter Stegen save.

And what a save it was!


Chelsea 0-1 Valencia — RECAP
Napoli 2-0 Liverpool — RECAP
Inter Milan 1-1 Slavia Prague — RECAP
Lyon 1-1 Zenit Saint-Petersburg
Benfica 1-2 RB Leipzig

Barkley sails late penalty as Chelsea falls at home

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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Ross Barkley missed a late penalty as Chelsea lost its UEFA Champions League opener 1-0 to Valencia on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rodrigo scored the lone goal, and Valencia will be thrilled to collect all three points in London.

Christian Pulisic was an unused sub for Chelsea, who out-attempted Valencia 22-8 on the day.

Three things we learned

1. Pulisic down the pecking order: The American star didn’t start, and wasn’t the first name called when Mason Mount was injured. Granted Pedro played a little deeper, but not a good week for the Hershey-born Pulisic

2. Wide men the danger men: Willian was the likely Man of the Match for Chelsea despite the lack of goals, and full backs Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta were also key to the resutl.

3. Penalty drama: VAR gave Chelsea a chance to level from the spot, but Ross Barkley stepped ahead of Willian and missed the chance. The Brazilian looked aggrieved before and after the miss, and Barkley looked mighty confident right until the moment he missed his shot. Sort yourself out!

Man of the Match: Willian — No wonder he was angry to see Barkley demand the penalty, as a Willian goal would’ve been a fitting result for his clever and industrious day at the office.

Valencia keeper Jasper Cillesen made two stops early, denying Tammy Abraham to concede a corner before collecting a Marcos Alonso header on the ensuing set piece.

Would it be Christian Pulisic time when Mason Mount left the match with injury following a challenge from former Arsenal man Francis Coquelin? Nope. Pedro was called upon to fill the void.

It was a sleepy second half, with Pedro conceding a free kick to Valencia that didn’t amount to anything exciting.

Those who stuck around were rewarded with late drama, as Valencia took the lead through a Rodrigo flick off a free kick.

However, Valencia then had to watch through its fingers as Chelsea was gifted a chance at the spot through VAR when Fikayo Tomori headed a ball off the arm of Daniel Wass.

Willian was upset to see Ross Barkley take the penalty, and the English midfielder probably wishes he let someone else take it after missing over the bar.

Napoli scores on late penalty, rare Van Dijk error in 2-0 win

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The good news is that Liverpool lost to Napoli last season in the UEFA Champions League, then went on to win the whole darn thing.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Jose Callejon won a late penalty that Dries Mertens converted, and Fernando Llorente took advantage of a Virgil Van Dijk error to pad the lead as Napoli held serve at home with a 2-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday.

Three things we learned

1. Goalkeepers immense: No, he’s not Alisson Becker, but Adrian is probably the biggest reason Liverpool didn’t open its UCL defense with a loss. He made a pair of early stops on Dries Mertens before a show-stopping effort in the second half. Napoli got two fine saves from Alex Meret, including a terrific denial of Mohamed Salah in the 65th.

2. Salah, Mane can’t deliver in key moments: Take away Salah’s penalty in the UCL Final, and Liverpool’s two top threats have not accounted for a goal in four matches inside the competition. Mane was mostly good on the day, but misled Salah on an early second half pass which would have almost certainly been a goal. Salah simply had an off day

3. Callejon sells the drama: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson lost a 50/50 with Jose Callejon, who ran into the fulback and hit the deck to win a penalty. That was the difference here, as Mertens beat Adrian.

Man of the Match: Meret was especially good, the 22-year-old Italian goalkeeper big in several key moments to edge Mertens for the honor.

Napoli thought it had gone ahead through El Tri star Hirving Lozano, who nodded over the line following two Alisson Becker saves on Dries Mertens, but the Mexican was offside.

Sadio Mane had a 20th minute chance at the other end, but pumped a point blank low shot to Napoli keeper Alex Meret which led to a corner kick.

Fabinho intervened in the 53rd minute as Napoli emerged from the locker room with energy, but the best chance of the early second half was flubbed in uncharacteristic fashion: Sadio Mane was through 2v1 with Mohamed Salah but made a miserable pass to his teammate.

The first goal arrived when Callejon tapped the ball past Robertson and leapt into the defender to earn a penalty from referee Felix Brych.

It was 2-0 in stoppage time when Fernando Llorente ran onto a Virgil van Dijk error and passed beyond Adrian.

UCL AT HALF: Marsch’s Salzburg rolling; Champions holding firm; Chelsea’s Mount hurt

Photo by Michael Molzar/SEPA.Media /Getty Images
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We’ve got news after 45 minutes of six more UCL matches, including a big injury at Stamford Bridge and a monumental start for an American in Austria.

[ UCL: Scores, lineups, stats, box scores ]

Chelsea 0-0 Valencia

No goals to report here, but early season hero Mason Mount has left the match with an injury for the Blues. He was not replaced by Christian Pulisic, rather Pedro.

Liverpool 0-0 Napoli

It’s been a pretty even affair, though Liverpool can thank Adrian for a pair of great saves on Dries Mertens before Hirving “Chucky” Lozano’s goal was ruled offside.

Red Bull Salzburg 5-1 Genk

Jesse Marsch is now officially the first American man to manage a team in a UEFA Champions League game.

The Red Bull Salzburg boss is also the first to hold a second minute lead, as red hot striker Erling Braut Haland scored his 15th, 16th, and 17th goals in nine matches under Marsch.

Haland also five assists on the season, having entered Tuesday’s match with 658 minutes across all competitions.

Haland is the son of former Leeds, Man City, and Nottingham Forest manager Alf-Inge Haland.

Hwang-Hee Chan has Salzburg’s other goal, and two assists.


Inter Milan 1-1 Slavia Prague — RECAP
Lyon 1-1 Zenit Saint-Petersburg
Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona
Ajax 1-0 Lille
Benfica 0-0 RB Leipzig