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

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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:

RANKING
Up/Down

source:

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)

source:

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)

Benfica boss: Man City’s Otamendi “could be involved in Dias transfer”

Dias to Man City
Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Benfica boss Jorge Jesus expects Ruben Dias to skip town, likely to Manchester City, pending a last-minute turn of events.

He’s hoping that Nicolas Otamendi will head back the other way, validating rumors this week that City had been dangling the Argentine in a hope to land Dias or Sevilla back Jules Kounde.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]

Jesus saw academy grad and Portuguese national teamer Dias score in a 2-0 win over Moreirense on Saturday, a goal the defender described as emotional in a nod to a possible departure.

The manager admitted that a Dias sale became likely when Benfica bowed out of the UEFA Champions League and was drawn into a discussion on Otamendi, whose value is being challenged by his lack of import at the Etihad Stadium.

“Otamendi is a Manchester City defender who could be involved in the Ruben [Dias] transfer. He already showed his ability at FC Porto, he plays for Argentina and has been a regular starter most years at Manchester City.

“He has stopped starting now and if it hadn’t been for that, maybe he wouldn’t have been included in this possible transfer.

“Of course, he’s a player we’d like to have. The player who joins us will have to be understand that my ideas are completely different from those at Manchester City.”

So that’s something.

Dias would combine with Aymeric Laporte and/or Nathan Ake to continue City’s center back revolution. John Stones and Eric Garcia are also currently at City with Otamendi and last season’s makeshift center back Fernandinho.

Bamford nods Leeds past Blades in goalkeepers’ duel

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Sheffield United – Leeds United: Patrick Bamford’s late goal gave Leeds an entertaining 1-0 win over Sheffield United in a day dominated by strong goalkeeping at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   

Leeds moves to 2W-1L on the season and keeps its first clean sheet after allowing seven goals through two matches.

Blades are now 0-3 and have not scored a goal.


3 things we learned: Sheffield United – Leeds United

1. (Mostly) Stymied! Leeds has been involved in two 7-goal thrillers and Blades were without two longtime starters at center back, so goals were on the menu. What was served? Enticing, small plates. The football was good but the finishing not there for most of the affair.

2. Bamford perseveres: Chance after chance came for Bamford, who looped a header over the goal and saw another good effort saved by Ramsdale before he pounded a header inside the far post with mere minutes to play.

3. Ramsdale shines: Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was just okay last season with Bournemouth so it was a bit surprising to see the price tag attached to him. He looked the part on Sunday, making six saves including two inside of the box and would’ve been Man of the Match had Bamford not won their day-long duel.

Man of the Match

Bamford


Sheffield United – Leeds United recap

Leeds was bright and ready, a dynamic long pass to Jack Harrison undone by a rough touch and Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale making a save on an advanced Luke Ayling.

At the other end, John Lundstram hit a shot wide in the sixth minute to signal intent from the hosts.

Illan Meslier made a terrific save in the 29th when David McGoldrick’s cute flick to Lundstram was saved in the heart of the six.

Ramsdale made a good save on Stuart Dallas eight minutes later, both teams finding openings to shoot.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Bamford popped a header over the goal in the first half and challenged Ramsdale to win a corner in the 56th minute.

Basham cleared a Stuart Dallas chance off the line five minutes later, the opportunities certainly real and dangerous.

Bamford found his winner in the 88th, Leeds grabbing a second win on the season off a cross from ex-NYCFC man Jack Harrison.

Tottenham – Newcastle United: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

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Tottenham – Newcastle United: Can Newcastle United score an upset against travel-weary Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Sunday (Watch live at 9 am ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)?

Spurs have gone from London to Bulgaria to Southampton to Macedonia and are now back in London for Sunday’s match-up with a Newcastle team that surprised them at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a little over a year ago.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Spurs bent Shkendija in Europa League play on Thursday, with Heung-min Son posting a goal and two assists over 90 minutes. Harry Kane and Giovani Lo Celso came off the bench in what could be a sign of Jose Mourinho’s intent for Sunday.

Newcastle has been off since Wednesday’s 7-0 demolition of 10-man League Two side Morecambe in the League Cup. Steve Bruce did the trick without fitness-question Allan Saint-Maximin as well as rested Jonjo Shelvey and Callum Wilson.

STREAM TOTTENHAM – NEWCASTLE UNITED LIVE

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Tottenham – Newcastle United this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Tottenham – Newcastle United (INJURY REPORT)

Sergio Reguilon makes the bench for Tottenham, but the big news is that Dele Alli has been left off the 18 altogether.

Miguel Almiron finally gets his place back in the Newcastle XI, but it’s only because electric winger Allan Saint-Maximin missed out through injury. Jamal Lewis (eye) makes the bench after a scary injury at the foot of Yves Bissouma, while Andy Carroll heads to the bench for Joelinton.


What they’re saying: Tottenham – Newcastle United

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho on Tanguy Ndombele’s 90 minutes versus Shkendija: “He played very well. Of course in a game where I can imagine our percentage of ball possession was very, very high and our percentage is high he feels obviously much more comfortable. However, even without the ball he had recovery, he had duels, he had defensive transition. It was a really positive game from Tanguy, really happy.

Newcastle’s Steve Bruce on meeting Spurs: “We can’t think we can go and play against the top teams and match them just in a game of football. We have to do something different, tactically. We did it well against the top teams last year. Let’s hope we can do the same again this year.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Newcastle United is not expected to get anything out of this, +600 to win and +360 to take a point compared to Tottenham’s -225 to win.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction: Tottenham – Newcastle United

The Magpies can take some hope from Palace’s consecutive wins away to Manchester United, but Spurs should deliver the goods. Questions about Saint-Maximin’s fitness even if he does play ask even more, as does the fact that Steve Bruce has been keeping Miguel Almiron on the bench to start matches. Throw in Bruce versus Mourinho and it’s safe to expect Spurs to overcome their travel-weary legs and post a 3-1 win.


How to watch Tottenham – Newcastle United stream and start time

Kickoff: 9 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Former Huddersfield Town boss, USMNT striker Wagner fired by Schalke

Wagner sacked
Photo by Tim Rehbein/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Lopsided defeats to Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen have cost former USMNT striker David Wagner his job as Schalke boss.

Wagner, 48, was fired Sunday after his league unbeaten run as Schalke manager reached 18 matches through a 3-1 loss to Bremen.

[ MORE: Latest Bundesliga news ]

Schalke gave Wagner a little more time to right the ship after wobbling without a win over the final 16 matches of the 2019-20 season, going from fifth to 12th.

From a Schalke release:

“We had all hoped that we could improve on the pitch together with David Wagner. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the right performances and results from the first two games of the season for this to happen,” explained Jochen Schneider, Head of Sport. “We have therefore decided to make a fresh start. Despite the disappointing results, this wasn’t an easy decision for us to make. I would like to thank David Wagner, Christoph Bühler and Frank Fröhling, who, up until their departure, have done everything they can to get Schalke back on track.”

The eight-times capped Wagner began his coaching career with good friend Jurgen Klopp and took his first managerial position at Borussia Dortmund II.

He was then hired by Huddersfield Town and led the Terriers to the Premier League, keeping them in the top flight for one season before leaving the club midway through their relegation-bound second season.

Hired in May 2019, Wagner and Schalke was third after 13 weeks last season, having drawn Revierderby rivals Dortmund and beaten RB Leipzig. But they sunk quickly and had a run of eight matches in which they scored just two goals.

It’s worth monitoring what’s next for Wagner. Back to the Terriers or a Championship side to test his promotion prowess? 2.Bundesliga for that matter?

His star might have appeared to dip due to this run but Schalke has had to deal with significant financial upheaval and sent Weston McKennie to Juve on a loan-to-buy and Daniel Cagliari to Augsburg. Young goalkeeper Alexander Nubel was also sold to Bayern and the only incoming moves were for Vedad Ibisevic and Goncalo Pacienca.

Another thing to note will be whether this is a positive or negative for young American midfielder Nick Taitague, who has battled injuries but had received first team training. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has one goal in 10 appearances for Schalke II.