2015 Major League Soccer power rankings, Volume III: FC Dallas rides high while expansion sides sink

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Pro Soccer Talk is trying something different for our power rankings this season. Instead of a week-to-week analysis of where teams in the league sit in relation to each other, we’re going to let our rankings breathe for a bit.

It’s been about three weeks since we last sorted the clubs of Major League Soccer, and plenty has changed at the top of the pops.

[ MORE: Klinsmann on 2018 World Cup goals ]

Here’s the new batch, different from the old batch. Check out the previous PR’s here.

source:  1 UP 6 FC Dallas: Guess who’s back? Oscar Pareja’s bunch have won three of four, with the fourth a tie against Colorado (which only ties teams, so what else could one expect?). The four-spot they hung on Houston in the Texas Derby was especially impressive.
source:  2 UP 1 DC United: Ben Olsen is doing a job (again) for the Black-and-Red, who have lost just a single match this season. There’s plenty to hang their hats on, especially back-to-back wins over Columbus and Vancouver.
source:  3 UP 3 New England Revolution: Lost their first two games, and haven’t seen that column since. We’re being reminded of their strength on a weekly basis, although this weekend’s Orlando City tie isn’t on the map in high-five country.
source:  4 DOWN 3 Vancouver Whitecaps: Stumbled against DC United and then suffered through a 0-0 draw against Portland in Cascadia action. Nothing major to worry about for ‘Caps fans, but they aren’t the hottest team right now. No shame in that. Now onto Saturday’s massive tussle.
source:  5 Seattle Sounders: Columbus cooled off their three-game hot streak, but the match was worth the price of admission. Huge Saturday match against Vancouver.
source:  6 DOWN 4 New York Red Bulls: The New York Derby win over NYCFC was nice, but not enough to salvage the Red Bulls’ ranking after a loss to New England and twin 1-1 draws versus the West.
source:  7 DOWN 2 L.A. Galaxy: Winless in four, but the only loss in the bunch came against high-flying FC Dallas. Will the addition of West Ham’s Sebastian Lletget help their midfield?
source:  8 Columbus Crew: Huge win over Seattle for Gregg Berhalter’s boys. Have pulled nine points out of twelve available, with the only loss coming at the hands of DC United.
source:  9 Real Salt Lake: Unbeaten in three after a two-match swoon of sorts. The 2-1 win over Chicago is a step in the right direction.
source:  10 San Jose Earthquakes: The Quakes stay mid-rankings after taking five of nine points. Have a pair of signature wins this season with triumphs over Vancouver and Seattle, and they don’t really have a bad loss in the bunch.
source:  11 Portland Timbers: Beaten Montreal isn’t kazoo-blowing territory, but it’s a start. Throw in the Vancouver tie, and the return of both Diego Valeri and Will Johnson, and the Timbers may be ready to make a move.
source:  12 Houston Dynamo: Giles Barnes ranks among the most overlooked stars in the league, and he made Toronto’s first day in new BMO Field a miserable one. DaMarcus Beasley is playing well and Cubo’s on the way, but their backdoor was exploited often by Jozy Altidore.
source:  13 UP 3 Colorado Rapids: Taking over the mantle of “most likely to draw” from Chicago, who took it from Portland, Colorado has drawn 7 of 10 matches this season. Their only win? A 4-0 thumping of No. 1 FC Dallas. You forgive them out for us. Please.
source:  14 UP 3 Sporting KC: That’s more like it! Unbeaten in three matches, Sporting is starting to make us believe. We know they have the talent, now they need to string together some 3-pointers.
source:  15 DOWN 2 Chicago Fire: Streaks McGeeks! Chicago chased a three-game losing skid to start the season with three wins, and has not lost a pair on the bounce. With New York City, Columbus and Montreal on the horizon, Fire need to swing 7 points here.

16 UP 4 Toronto FC: Snared a pair of necessary road wins over expansion sides New York City and Orlando, but fell apart early against Houston in the Eastern side’s home opener. Every now and then, Michael Bradley has a shocker. The Dynamo reaped the benefits on Sunday.
source:  17 DOWN 3 Orlando City: Back-to-back shutout losses to Columbus and Toronto followed up by a draw against New England. With Kaka, anything is possible, but they need better (than Saturday) from Brek Shea. And Cyle Larin’s progression could help both of the aforementioned players.
source:  18 DOWN 3 Montreal: The Impact’s first Major League Soccer match in a month was a 2-1 loss to Portland. The CONCACAF Champions League final appearance was nice, but now it’s time to get back to MLS-based business.
source:  19 DOWN 1 Philadelphia Union: One win on the season… over the No. 20 team. You can only say “unlucky” so many times. The last four matches were tough, but excuses only get you so far. Get a point somewhere.

20 DOWN 1 New York City FC: Jason Kreis admitted it’s been harder than he thought, and that’s an understatement. Between the tiny home pitch and the two months without a win, the obstacles and frustration are piling up in New York. Heck, a point in the New York Derby could’ve stopped the bleeding.



MLS hopes to put 30th team in Charlotte, North Carolina

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NEW YORK (AP) Major League Soccer will try to reach an agreement for its 30th team to be Charlotte, North Carolina.

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper made a presentation to MLS owners Thursday when they met in a hotel near the Brooklyn Bridge. Tepper would own the team, which would play at Bank of America Stadium, home of his NFL franchise. MLS Commissioner Don Garber all but confirmed the expansion fee will be $300 million.

“The MLS board authorized the MLS expansion committee to enter into what I expect to be final negotiations with David to have Charlotte be our 30th team,” Garber said. “No formal approval was granted today. What was approved was the expansion committee to now meet with David and his his staff to try to finalize an agreement.”

Charlotte would be the third MLS team to share a stadium in a long-term relationship with the NFL, joining Seattle and Atlanta.

“The remaining issues with Charlotte are related to their stadium and ensuring that we’re going to be able to put together a dynamic in that stadium that will be up to the standards of all of our current soccer stadiums,” Garber said.

He would not say whether MLS hoped to announce the team at a news conference in Charlotte on Dec. 17.

Tepper is attempting to obtain city funding for alterations at Bank of America Stadium.

“I don’t know that I’m confident, but I’m hopeful.” Garber said.

Asked about the expansion fee, Garber said: I’ve heard some of those numbers. They wouldn’t be wrong.”

More AP Soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

USMNT striker Sargent out for rest of 2019

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American forward Josh Sargent will be shut down for the rest of 2019 thanks to a groin injury.

Werder Bremen said the injury first arose during USMNT duty and has bothered the 19-year-old in recent weeks.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Sargent has two goals and three assists in 13 matches this season, playing mostly a center forward or primary striker role.

Here’s Bremen head coach Florian Kohfeldt:

“Since this is a small, deep-set muscle, the problems only occur at certain, very specific loads, which is why he was able to play and train for so long with problems. We will now give Josh’s injury time to properly heal, then he will get back to training in January.”

There are four more match days in the Bundesliga before the league goes on holiday break until mid-January.

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 15

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The congested schedule means we’ve had two match days since we last took stock of the Premier League.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

We’ve got a brand new Top Five (well, in terms of the four behind eventual champions Liverpool) and two teams dipping to season lows on our ol’ litmus test.

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

20. Watford — As many losses as goals (9), and that figure is one more than the Hornets’ total points. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them on the verge of full-time manager No. 3, as full-time manager of Watford is a bit more like seasonal help.
Last week: 18
Season high: 17
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-0 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Southampton

19. Everton — A top half team in terms of talent seeks the manager who can organize its way out of the drop zone. Might it be this guy? Better than the alternatives.
Last week: 17
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Leicester City

18. Norwich City — The first team to 10 losses is four points shy of 17th.
Last week: 16
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 2-0 at Everton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Arsenal

17. West Ham United — A gigantic ball of “blah.” Should thank Everton for existing so people aren’t more focused on this particular collection of currently squandered talent.
Last week: 20
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-2 v. Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

16. Bournemouth — It’s just not good enough, is it? To have held onto Callum Wilson and get another step up in class from Philip Billing and still be so wildly inconsistent.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Spurs

15. Southampton — It really feels like the Danny Ings revival show could rival any story for the best individual one in the league this season. Happy to see Ralph Hasenhuttl get some good performances, as he was being scapegoated in a hurry.
Last week: 19
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Arsenal
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

14. Aston Villa — Allowing a league-worst 18.8 shots per game, but staying in the mix thanks to Tom Heaton and Tyrone Mings.
Last week: 13
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Sunday at Manchester United

13. Arsenal — The Gunners back line gets a lot of heat, and rightly so, but maybe a little help from the midfield would be nice considering Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz have combined for 39 blocks. Sokratis is third in the PL and Luiz fourth.
Last week: 12
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Southampton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Norwich City

12. Brighton and Hove Albion — First win ever away to Arsenal is another feather in the cap of Graham Potter, especially nice considering they had lost four on the bounce.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

11. Newcastle United — No one is punching above its weight more than Steve Bruce‘s Magpies, and they’ve been aided in a big way by Martin Dubravka. The Slovakian goalkeeper has a league-best 44 saves from shots inside the 18.

Also, according to Understat’s xG numbers, they should’ve lost to the Blades. In fat, the xG table says they should be dead last. Life’s funny like that. It’s Steve Bruce’s world and we’re living in it.
Last week: 15
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Aston Villa
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Man City


10. Sheffield United — Just lost for the first time since September. That’s amazing.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 3-3 v. Manchester United
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

9. Burnley — Striker Chris Wood has been credited with 12 “big chances missed” by Sofascore, more than any player in the league.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 3-0 at Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. Saturday v. Crystal Palace

8. Spurs — Jose Mourinho learned Wednesday that Moussa Sissoko is nice for the squad, but not to be leaned on.
Last week: 9
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 3-2 at West Ham United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

7. Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha‘s 68 dribbles are 13 more than anyone else in the league.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

6. Manchester United — Ole had himself a moment in outfoxing Mourinho without Pogba or Martial.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 3-3 at Sheffield United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. Sunday v. Aston Villa

5. Chelsea — We told you, Frank. WE TOLD YOU.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham United

4. Manchester City — Aymeric Laporte is still two months away and that’s two months too long.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Chelsea
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United

3. Wolves — This is going to sound nuts, but there are days I’d rather see Liverpool on my schedule than Wolves. The Reds are obviously better weaponized, but Wolves come at you in waves, man, and Nuno Espirito Santo is doing it without his best center back.
Last week: 5
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-1 at Bournemouth
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Sheffield United

2. Leicester City — How’s this for an unsustainable stat? Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira rank first and second in the league in tackles, with 67 and 62.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Everton
1. Liverpool — Big Virgil Van Dijk is on track to become the first Premier League player to complete 1000 passes this season, currently at 953.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton and Hove Albion

Report: Everton targeting former Porto, Fener boss Pereira

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Everton might be looking to the Chinese Super League for its next manager.

Vitor Pereira is the top target for the Merseyside set, report our partners at Sky Sports, as the Toffees begin life after Thursday’s firing of Marco Silva.

Pereira, 51, has been in management since 2002, leading Porto, Olympiacos, Fenerbahce, and current club Shanghai SIPG amongst others.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

He’s won titles in Greece, China, Saudi Arabia, and his native Portugal, but there are suitors beyond the Toffees’ reported interest.

The 51-year-old is currently one of the highest paid coaches in the world and was recently offered the job of managing the Chinese national team.

It is understood he is currently considering a new contract offer from Shanghai, which will guarantee he earns £30m a year.

Duncan Ferguson is the interim boss as Everton hosts Chelsea this weekend.