PST’s Major League Soccer power rankings: West battles at top, bottom

4 Comments

There’s plenty of stagnation in this week’s power rankings, but up the Goats!

Chivas USA picked up a big win this weekend and, coupled with the struggles of San Jose and Colorado, we’ve found a new team at the bottom of the power rankings.

In fact, at some point we’re going to have the “chicken or egg” discussion regarding the Western and Eastern Conferences. It’s been a point of fact in the media that the West is this constant slugfest, but it’s the East that seems to have the real battles going on right now.

In fact, it feels more like the West has the two best overall teams in MLS before the East slides in for a few slots. Los Angeles and Seattle are the electric attacks you can’t help but admire, but after that the third-best team is up for discussion.

[ MORE: Last week’s rankings | Methodology ]

Here’s where it all shakes out for us:

RANKING Up/Down
source:  1 LA Galaxy: Wow. (17-5-9)
source:  2 UP 2 Seattle Sounders: Who needs to defend when Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey, Marco Pappa and company are burying bullets in the back of the net? Seattle looks super dangerous, but it’s worth noting they’ve blasted Colorado and Chivas USA. (19-8-3)
source:  3 DOWN 1 DC United: Consistent goal production is the biggest concern here, though a lot of their failures in a 0-0 draw against Sporting KC had to do with Andy Gruenebaum’s strong goalkeeping. Can defend with anyone, but will that be enough against Henry/BWP or Jones/Nguyen when it all shakes out in the playoffs? (15-9-7)
source:
4 UP 1 New England Revolution: With respect to DC, it’s starting to feel like Jay Heaps’ squad is the team to beat in the East. Jermaine Jones has found his seacoast legs, and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth is in form as well. (15-13-3)
source:  5 UP 1 New York Red Bulls: Rebounded from their mugging in L.A. to beat a desperate Houston team. Bradley Wright-Phillips let fly with an arsenal of shots, but Titi reminded everyone that the real NY MVP is from south of the channel.  (11-9-11)

6 DOWN 3 Real Salt Lake: The Vancouver loss is the straw that breaks our power-ranking camel’s back. We wanted to believe in RSL as a club with Seattle and Los Angeles as above the fray but it’s harder and harder to make the argument with anything other than cries of “History!” (13-8-10)
source:  7 Columbus Crew: There is zero shame in losing to New England right now, and Revs keeper Bobby Shuttleworth was fantastic in the 2-1 win in Foxboro. Two of three remaining matches are against suddenly-struggling Philadelphia.  (11-10-10)
source:  8 FC Dallas: Just six of their last 18 available points have been claimed by FCD. The Galaxy, Rapids and Timbers remain, and the number in the win column may end up being their biggest ally. (14-11-6)
source:  9 UP 4 Vancouver Whitecaps: This is what Carl Robinson was hoping to find from back-to-back home games against Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. They were wins with both grit and creativity. Taking points from Seattle this week would set the stage for the postseason; Only Colorado and San Jose remain after the Sounders tilt. (10-8-13)
source:  10 Portland Timbers: Full marks for rebounding from the heartbreaking loss to Toronto FC with a win at San Jose. With the same opponents this week, it feels a bit symbolic to watch a team that’s been inconsistent try to do it once more…with feeling. (10-9-12)
source:  11 Houston Dynamo: They gave it an honest try, and nearly made it. (10-14-6)
source:  12 DOWN 3 Philadelphia Union: Those of us who were believers are feeling pretty spurned by recent events, but watching Rais M’Bohli’s stoppage time error cancel out Amobi Okugo’s potentially-legend making late winner was hard to watch. Amobi deserved that thing. (9-10-12)
source:  13 DOWN 1 Toronto FC: Yes, it’s what happens when you play the Galaxy, but you’d still like to see something more from the playoff-battling club. The playoffs can’t be made this week, but they can absolutely be lost in a two-match stretch(11-12-7)
source:  14 Sporting KC: Without Andy Gruenebaum’s seven saves on Friday, who knows where the good ship Reigning Champs would be headed? (13-11-7)
source:
15 Montréal Impact: Marco Di Vaio is retiring, and the Impact will need to do something special to send him out with a decent ending; Montreal finishes with New England, Toronto and DC. If Jack McInerney’s bicycle kick goal wasn’t ruled offsides, they beat Chicago. (6-18-7)
source:  16 Chicago Fire: The Fire cannot stop tying games, making the 2013 Timbers look like amateurs in the realm of splitting points. Chicago’s going to look much different next season without Logan Pause, but how much better would they be with Jermaine Jones? (5-8-17)
source:
17 San Jose Earthquakes: Hasn’t won since Oct. 2. Will they pick up a W before the end of the season? With Portland, RSL, Vancouver and Chivas USA left, it could come down to the final week. (6-13-11)
source:  18 UP 1 Chivas USA: Still not positive this is the right play, but the Goats have been angling for a way out of the basement for a while. The win over a Real Salt Lake that needed a point was impressive on the heels of challenging Seattle the previous week. Enjoy a week up here. (7-18-6)
source:  19 DOWN 1 Colorado Rapids: Last year seems so long ago, but so does the Rapids last win. It came July 25, 3-0 over Chivas USA, and they’ll need to beat the Goats this week if they want out of the basement.  (8-15-8)

 

Americans Abroad: Chandler earns start after lengthy absence; McKennie leaves injured

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On a relatively quiet weekend for Americans abroad, Timothy Chandler started for Eintracht Frankfurt for the first time since mid-September.

In England, Christian Pulisic made another start for Chelsea, while Lynden Gooch returned to action with Sunderland after a few months of inactivity.

But while some came back from inactivity, Weston McKennie was stretched off the field on Sunday after landing on his shoulder in Schalke’s 1-0 win over Frankfurt.

Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — Pulisic started and played 65 minutes in Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Bournemouth on Saturday. The attacker failed to record a single shot.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — The fullback watched the Magpies’ 1-0 loss to Burnley from the bench on Saturday.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — Robinson continues to rack up the minutes at Wigan. The young left back started and played the full 90 minutes as Wigan picked up a point against struggling Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — The 24-year-old didn’t dress in Reading’s 0-0 draw with Stoke City.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain started and played the full 90 minutes in Hull City’s 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic on Friday.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The 34-year-old defender started at centerback and played 67 minutes in QPR’s 5-3 loss to Barnsley.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream started and played 90 minutes in Fulham’s 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (loan Tottenham Hotspur) — Like Miazga, Carter-Vickers, too, was absent during Saturday’s bout.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Holmes started and played 88 minutes in Derby’s 1-0 loss to Millwall.

EFL League One

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland – Gooch came off the bench and played 18 minutes in Sunderland’s 1-1 draw with Blackpool – the first minutes for the Californian since mid-October.

Bundesliga

Weston McKennie, Schalke —  13 minutes into the game on Sunday, McKennie was stretched off the field after he suffered an apparent shoulder injury.

Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf Despite making four saves, Steffen allowed three goals in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 3-0 loss to RB Leipzig on Saturday. Morales did not dress.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  Sargent is out with an injury for the remainder of the calendar year.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams didn’t dress for RB Leipzig.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach — Johnson didn’t dress for Borussia Monchengladbach.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — The veteran defender started and played 90 minutes for the first time since mid-September.

2. Bundesliga

Julian Green, Greuther Furth – The 24-year-old midfielder is out with an injury.

Bobby Wood, Hamburg – Wood dressed but didn’t play in Hamburg’s 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Eredivisie

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Dest didn’t dress for Ajax on Sunday.

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — The 21-year-old striker started and played 45 minutes in VVV Venlo’s 2-1 loss to PEC Zwolle.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — The U-23 MNT fullback didn’t dress for FC Emmen on Sunday.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Weah didn’t dress for Lille on Friday.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — Siebatcheu didn’t dress for Rennes on Sunday.

Honorable mentions:

Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund U-19 —  Reyna’s praiseworthy campaign in Germany continues, scoring a goal in Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 win over Alemannia Aachen on Sunday.

Georgetown wins NCAA title by beating Virginia on penalty kick

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CARY, N.C. — Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Romero stopped Virginia’s Axel Gunnarsson in the seventh round of penalty kicks to give the Hoyas their first NCAA men’s soccer championship Sunday night.

The teams fought through two scoreless 10-minute overtime periods after finishing regulation tied at 3, leaving penalty kicks to decide the game. Both teams made their first six penalty kicks, and Aidan Rocha made the seventh for Georgetown, forcing Gunnarsson to attempt to match it.

Romero moved to his right to thwart the shot and give the Hoyas (20-1-3) the victory.

Derek Dodson, Paul Rothrock and Daniel Wu scored in regulation for the Hoyas.

Virginia (21-2-1) countered with goals by Joe Bell, Daniel Steedman and Daryl Dike.

Georgetown appeared on the verge of winning regulation when Dodson broke a 2-2 tie with 9:37 left in the second half. But Dike forced overtime when he booted a rebound of his own miss into the top of the net with 4:58 remaining in regulation.

Virginia was bidding for its eighth national championship and third since 2009. Georgetown was playing in its second NCAA final.It lost 1-0 to Indiana in the 2012 championship game.

Mexicans Abroad: Jimenez registers assist in Wolves loss, praised by Liverpool’s Klopp

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In an underwhelming slow weekend for Mexicans abroad, only Raul Jimenez (and Omar Govea) managed to make the headlines, but not necessarily for his assist to Adama Traore in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ 2-1 loss to Tottenham on Sunday.

The 28-year-old forward, who has been on a serious scoring run this season with Wolves, was praised by Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, who was asked about Mexican soccer ahead of the Reds’ match against Monterrey in the semifinal of the FIFA World Cup of Clubs.

“There are several players from Mexico,” he says “but Raul Jimenez is an impressive Mexican soccer ambassador, really good. I’m sure they (Mexico) have a strong league, but it’s not easy to see it here, so I don’t know much.”

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico this weekend.


Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers —  Despite Tottenham snapping Wolves’ 12-game unbeaten streak in league play, Jimenez continued his fine run of generating goals. In the 67th minute, the forward assisted Traore for the home side’s first and only goal of the night.

La Liga

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Sevilla — Chicharito came on for Luuk De Jong in the 59th minute in Sevilla’s 2-1 loss to Villarreal on Sunday. The forward completed all of his passes (four) and had a shot blocked.

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — Herrera played the final 27 minutes of Atletico’s 2-0 win over Osasuna on Saturday.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis —  Due to a suspension, Guardado was not called up to feature in Betis’ 18.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old took the field in the 52nd minute in Betis’ 2-2 draw against Espanyol.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Araujo started and played every minute in Celta’s 2-2 with Mallorca. The defender recorded three clearances, one blocked shot and three interceptions. Celta remain as possible relegation candidates.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli —  Lozano’s time at Napoli under Gennaro Gattuso didn’t have the firework start many were hoping for. Instead, the frenetic winger started on the bench and played only 11 minutes in Napoli’s last-minute 2-1 loss to Parma on Saturday.

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven — Gutierrez started and played all 90 minutes in PSV’s 3-1 loss to Feyenoord on Sunday. The midfielder completed 89 percent of his passes, recorded one key pass and one shot on target.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax —  It’s been an up-and-down experience for Alvarez at Ajax thus far. Completing 93 percent of his passes and winning 80 percent of his ground duels, his performance on Sunday was a high for the midfielder, despite his team’s 1-0 loss to AZ.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Tecatito and Porto host Tondela on Monday.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea shined on Sunday in Belgium, bagging a brace in Zulte’s 5-1 thumping of Sint Truidense VV.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Pedro Arce, Panionios – Arce played 70 minutes in Panionios’ 2-1 loss to Volos on Sunday.

Gerardo Ramirez Alonso, Roda JC – Ramirez Alonso dressed but didn’t take the field in Roda’s draw on Friday.

Serie A roundup: Ronaldo sets record with brace, Juventus top Serie A (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Juventus’ routine win, which puts them level with leaders Inter Milan, highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Juventus 3-1 Udinese

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace as Juventus picked up its first win after dropping points in two consecutive Serie A outings.

With two goals – which easily could have been four if he had not struck the bar – the Portuguese made history in front of the home crowd, becoming the first player to record double digit goals in 15 consecutive seasons within Europe’s top-five leagues.

The storied attacker opened the floodgates in the ninth minute, when a softly deflected ball landed in front of the same right foot that belted the ball past Udinese’s man between the sticks.

It wouldn’t take long for Ronaldo to record his second of the night.

In the 37th minute, one of the 34-year-old’s best techniques made scoring a possibility: positioning. Keeping track of the defender marking him and Udinese’s backline, Ronaldo made a run forward, meeting a perfectly-placed ball from Gonzalo Higuain and striking it home. 

Before the first half came to an end, Leonardo Bonucci headed home the home side’s third of the night, putting the game out of reach. In consolation time, however, Udinese spoiled Gianluigi Buffon’s clean sheet as Ignacio Pussetto tap in inside the box found its way into the goal.

It’s a quick turnaround for Juventus as they travels to Sampdoria midweek, while Udinese host Cagliari over the weekend.

Elsewhere

Verona 3-3 Torino

AC Milan 0-0 Sassuolo

Bologna 2-1 Atalanta

Roma 3-1 SPAL

Fiorentina 1-1 Inter Milan