2015 Major League Soccer power rankings, Volume V: ‘Caps cap, Quakes shake up the Top Five

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There’s been a lot of moving and shaking going through the MLS power rankings as June comes to a close with plenty of head-scratching and fist-bumping through a streaky and even league.

Parity continues to reign in Major League Soccer, and we see some serious movement of the sneaky variety. For example, do you realize San Jose has lost just once since April 17, and it was against a very good Toronto FC?

Or that FC Dallas’ derby win over Houston was just its second win overall since the last Texas takedown on May 1?

[ MORE: Portland thumps Seattle 4-1 ]

The challenge becomes how to rank these teams. Reeling Seattle has to fall from the top, but just a bit or a total free fall? Consider the team was on a 6-1-1 run the last time we did our PRs, and part of its three-game losing skid — four in five — has come without suspended Clint Dempsey and injured Obafemi Martins.

Those absences certainly play a massive role in where the club stands, and those players will be back, so do we slot them higher than current form or give the current run its just desserts?

Plus when we last met, Orlando City and New York City had yet to go on recent tears, and sat Nos. 19 and 20 in our rankings.

Less talking, more ranking. Feel free to debate in the comments section.

RANKING Up/Down
source:  1 UP 2 Vancouver Whitecaps: Began a four-game road trip with a loss to Montreal, then spun off three-straight wins over L.A., New York Red Bulls and New England. Octavio Rivero is back on the map, and the ‘Caps will bid for their second four-game win streak of the season this weekend before a massive litmus test against KC on July 12.
source:  2 Sporting KC: Easy, fans, you did jump 12 places last go-round. The only blemish in recent weeks is an understandable but still very frustrating loss to Real Salt Lake which came off a 15-day layoff.
source:  3 UP 5 Toronto FC: Take away a loss to a then-raging New York City FC, and Toronto has looked as good as anyone. A derby win against Montreal capped a batch of wins that included DC United, Portland and San Jose (not one of whom is going poorly). And if those didn’t convince you, TFC held DC on the weekend for four of six points from the last two meetings.
source:  4 UP 1 DC United: Doing just fine, but hasn’t beaten high quality competition in a while. You have to run back to May to find wins worth holding up. Still, you can only play who’s on your schedule, and Seattle and Dallas are up next.
source:  5 UP 3 San Jose: The derby win over L.A. is nice, but don’t discount that the Galaxy had played on Wednesday and San Jose had a week off. That said, I’m a believer in the Earthquakes now and moving forward. One loss since April 17, and that came against TFC.

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6 UP 1 L.A. Galaxy: Have a legit argument to be higher up, as they can easily dismiss their loss to San Jose as coming against a strong, rested opponent. And by easily dismiss, we mean as a result, not as a derby loss. That still stings.
source:  7 UP 12 Orlando City SC: Adrian Heath has his charges in order after an early-season swoon. Their only loss since May 13’s loss to DC United came to Montreal last week.
source:  8 UP 2 Portland Timbers: There may be no hotter team in Major League Soccer, but we’re hesitate to latch onto the club due to their schedule run. As we said with DC, you can only beat who’s on your schedule, and Portland has done that. Toss in a win over Seattle when the Sounders were at full-strength, albeit in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and we’re getting there. San Jose’s up next, and a win would make us believers.
source:  9 DOWN 3 FC Dallas: Fortunate to not drop much further. A three-game Eastern Conference swing could have them in a bad, bad spot when we meet again, or Oscar Pareja’s men could use the stretch to restore some faith.
source:  10 DOWN 9 Seattle Sounders: Woof. Another team without a win of true quality dating back to a Cascadian victory over Vancouver in mid-May.
source:  11 UP 1 Columbus Crew: Unbeaten in three is a start, but this is far from the tour de force we expected after last season’s revelatory campaign under Gregg Berhalter.
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12 DOWN 8 New England Revolution: Jermaine Jones is as important as we thought he was. Get well soon.
source:  13 DOWN 2 New York Red Bulls: From May 10’s win over NYC to Sunday night’s victory over the same opponents, New York went 1-4-1, and is still in fourth place in the East because, well, the East refuses to stand up.
source:  14 UP 6 New York City FC: After winning just once through 13 matches, Jason Kreis’ boys picked up wins No. 2, 3 and 4 in a row before Sunday’s dispiriting derby loss.
source:  15 Montreal Impact: Now in a playoff spot (if we ranked by points per game). Have to get points against New York City and Columbus before a two-match run versus Seattle and KC.

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16 DOWN 3 Houston Dynamo: Back-to-back losses have cooled our brief Dynamo enthusiasm. Bring on Cubo, soon, please and thank you.
source:  17 UP 1 Philadelphia Union: Better than they’ve looked, can Maurice Edu possibly overcome their poor start to the season? A gauntlet is up ahead.
source:  18 DOWN 2 Real Salt Lake: Just one win in six, but it was a big one against hot Sporting KC.
source:  19 DOWN 5 Chicago Fire: Four losses in a row makes them 1-6-2 in their last nine.

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20 DOWN 3 Colorado Rapids: Eleven points back of a playoff spot before the calendar finds July. It’s just not a good season.

Season over: Hudson-Odoi suffers suspected achillies tear

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One incident on Monday showed why some players are so desperate to change clubs when given the chance. They may never get it again.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Callum Hudson-Odoi said on his Instagram post Monday evening that he had suffered a ruptured achillies tendon. If confirmed by the club, it’s usually a nine-month recovery process, with some players needing a full year to return to full fitness. Considering the timing of this, towards the end of the season, it means that Hudson-Odoi may miss an entire season of top-flight soccer, as well as possibly miss out on a chance to move to Bayern Munich this summer.

The injury is a huge blow to the 18-year-old, who had forced his way into the Chelsea side after strong performances in the UEFA Europa League, and now he’s making regular Premier League starts at the tender age of 18. Hudson-Odoi had started four-straight Premier League games including Monday, but now he faces a long layoff.

In Hudson-Odoi’s favor is his youth. While it can be a career-ending injury, hopefully Hudson-Odoi could retain his electric pace once he recovers and can return to the starting lineup for Chelsea.

But it’s a big disappointment to the young Englishman, who surely would have played for England youth national teams this summer and could have potentially made a big-money move abroad.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Four midweek Premier League games will be pivotal in shaping the title race, top four battle, race for seventh and the relegation picture.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be a lot of fun.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Tottenham 3-1 Brighton – (Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Watford 3-1 Southampton – (Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Man United 1-2 Man City – (Wednesday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Wolves 2-1 Arsenal – (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Relevant Sports sues USSF over proposed Ecuador match in Florida

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NEW YORK (AP) A promoter has sued the U.S. Soccer Federation, asking a court to order the governing body to sanction an Ecuador league match in Florida.

Relevent Sports filed suit Monday in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging the USSF illegally refused to approve its application to have Ecuador’s Barcelona and Guayaquil clubs play on May 5 at Miami Gardens.

The lawsuit quotes USSF policy as stating the governing body’s secretary general “shall grant such sanction unless it is decided by clear and convincing evidence that holding or sponsoring the international soccer competition would be detrimental to the best interest of the sport.”

The USSF did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Relevent attempted to stage the first Spanish La Liga match in the U.S., between Barcelona and Girona at Miami Gardens on Jan. 26. That effort fell through following opposition from the governing body of Spanish soccer, the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol, and the players’ union, the Asociacion de Futbolistas Espanoles.

Midweek Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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Four Premier League games are coming your way, and all four have huge implications in the title race, top four battle, race for seventh place and the scrap against relegation.

Bring it on.

MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

The full TV schedule for the midweek games are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the next few days.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Tuesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Tottenham v. Brighton – NBCSN [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Watford v. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Wednesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Wolves v. Arsenal – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Man United v. Man City – NBCSN [STREAM]