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MLS Power Rankings — Week 9: Sporting KC goes top, TFC makes big leap

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It’s been a back-and-forth path at the top of the Power Rankings for FC Dallas, and although they’re still unbeaten there’s just one club that’s been a little bit better than them as of late.

Meanwhile, Toronto FC continues its ascent up the MLS Power Rankings ladder after picking up its third straight victory, while one team at the bottom of the East is struggling mightily to capture its first win of 2017.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]


[ MORE: Last week’s MLS Power Rankings ]

TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (22)

 

21 (21)

 

20 (20)

Philadelphia Union: It’s becoming of a “when” than an “if” there will be wholesale changes coming in Chester.

Colorado Rapids: The Union’s winless run has garnered great attention across MLS but Pablo Mastroeni’s side hasn’t won since opening day.

Montreal Impact: After an impressive comeback against the Union, the Impact laid an egg at home against the Whitecaps. Seven points through eight games isn’t what anyone expected from this side.


19 (19) Minnesota United: The Loons are going to experience many ups and downs in their inaugural season. Last week was a down.
18 (18) LA Galaxy: The Galaxy are winless their last three and have scored just once in that span. It’s been difficult for anybody not named Romain Alessandrini to find the back of the net.
17 (12) Real Salt Lake: They’ve allowed six goals in the last two matches, which doesn’t bode well for an attack that struggles to find goals of its own.
16 (16) New England Revolution: The good news for the Revs is they haven’t lost in the last three games. The bad is that they haven’t won either.
15 (17) Vancouver Whitecaps: Carl Robinson’s group are beginning to find their footing this season but they cannot continue to alternate wins and losses if they want to keep a playoff spot in the congested Western Conference.
14 (11) Houston Dynamo: A loss on the road to Toronto isn’t the end of the world but these are the types of matches that separate the good from the great.
13 (15) D.C. United: It wasn’t the prettiest performance at times but D.C. picked up a solid win down in Atlanta and scored three in the process. 
12 (13) Seattle Sounders: The defending champs looked dead in the water against the Revs, at home no less, but the Sounders put on an absolute show in the dying minutes and proved they’re still an elite side.
11 (10) Columbus Crew: In all honesty it was a poor showing from the Crew against NYCFC. Up two goals at home, yet the hosts fell apart in a big way to a New York City side that was without David Villa.
10 (14) San Jose Earthquakes: Their win in Minnesota snapped a six-match winless run. Hopefully this gives the Quakes a wake-up call before the Sounders and other awaken in the West.
9 (5) Atlanta United: Not the showing you’d expect from this side at home but at least Josef Martinez is nearing a return.
8 (6) Chicago Fire: Dax didn’t get the result he wanted in his welcome back to Red Bull Arena but his side did muster up more chances than the Red Bulls.
7 (9) New York Red Bulls: 
6 (7) New York City FC: Consistency is key for the Bronx side. They showed how good they can be against the Crew… even without David Villa. Now, they must back up that performance on Sunday when they welcome Atlanta to town.
5 (2) Orlando City: Certainly wasn’t a terrible week for the Lions, but they showed there’s still a bit of a gap between them and TFC.
4 (4) Portland Timbers: A road draw against Dallas when they only had two shots on goal. Caleb Porter will take that result every time.
3 (8) Toronto FC: Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore are each at five goals right now, and that spells trouble for the rest of the league. TFC has won three straight and they’ve got their sights set on the top of the East.
2 (1) FC Dallas: Have to give credit where credit is due. This is the only unbeaten side remaining in MLS, but there’s one club that’s just been a little bit hotter at the moment.
1 (3) Sporting KC: Wins over RSL and the Red Bulls have Peter Vermes’ side atop our Power Rankings in Week 9…. and deservedly so. Just three goals allowed in nine matches.

WATCH: Hartford Athletic scores wild 90th-minute winner

Hartford Athletic goal
Photo by Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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It’s very rare in this age full of soccer on our screens that we catch a goal of unique ingenuity.

The USL Championship delivered the goods on Wednesday.

Hartford Athletic had blown a two-goal lead to Philadelphia Union II on Wednesday and was staring down a 2-2 draw when Danny Barrera swung into action.

[ REPORT: Spurs land Mourinho’s “top target” ]

Well, perhaps he lunged into action. Or flailed. On third thought, swung is good.

Heck, you pick the verb.

Barrera, 30, turned Philadelphia goalkeeper Mitchell Budler into a gift horse, reacting quickly to flick his back boot into the path of the keeper’s attempted outlet throw in the 90th minute.

The 81st-minute sub became the match-winning goalscorer off the play, which gives him two goals and seven assists on the season.

Hartford has 32 points and is a point off table-leading Tampa Bay Rowdies with one match to play. Second-place Louisville City is also on 32 points and Pittsburgh Riverhounds have 31.

Hartford may be able to look back at Barrera’s goal as the surprise three points that swung a title race in its favor.

Leeds – Manchester City: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

Leeds - Manchester City
Credit: LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images
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Leeds – Manchester City: It’s been so far, so good for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds in their return to the Premier League, but a visit from Man City to Elland Road is a stiffer test (Watch live at 12:30 pm ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Leeds fell 4-3 to Liverpool on Opening Day but has since beaten Fulham and Sheffield United to sit top half of the table in this very young Premier League season.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Man City fell 5-2 to Leicester City at home last weekend after beating Wolves to start their PL season. A midweek clean sheet of Burnley shows that Pep Guardiola’s men aren’t dead, and the Catalan mastermind will relish the chance to match wits with a man he hails as a role model in Bielsa.

Guardiola once called Bielsa the best manager in the world.

“Winning titles helps to have a job next season but at the end of your life, what you remember is not the titles you have won, what you remember is the memories you have and whether the manager taught you a lot,” Guardiola once said when asked about Bielsa. “What we remember are the experiences and the memories, the players you have had, the managers you have had. Marcelo is at the top of the list. Absolutely at the top of the list.”


Team news for Leeds – Manchester City (INJURY REPORT)

Leeds will not have emerging star winger Jack Harrison, who is in his second season on loan to the club from Man City and ineligible to play against his parent club. Gaetano Berardi (knee), Adam Forshaw (groin), Pablo Hernandez (groin) are on the injured list.

Things are getting better for Manchester City, who got Aymeric Laporte and Bernardo Silva back in a midweek League Cup win over Burnley. Still out are Gabriel Jesus (undisclosed), Sergio Aguero (knee), Joao Cancelo (foot), Ilkay Gundogan (COVID-19), and Oleksandr Zinchenko (undisclosed).


What they’re saying

Leeds’ young goalkeeper Illan Meslier on keeping a clean sheet: “I’m happy because in the last game against Fulham I felt I could have saved the last two goals, but against Sheffield I saved two important chances and we arrived at half time at 0-0 which was important. It is just one game though, and we are focused on the next game now and then the one after that. For the spectators I think 4-3 games are better, but for the team and me it is better one-nil. We managed to do that on Sunday and win the game so it is all good.”

Man City boss Guardiola on new signing Ruben Dias: “We know Ruben Dias’s personality and I am sure he will be an incredible player for the next six or seven years. We’re very happy to have him. Our back four are now a young team. We start training tomorrow and get going as quick as possible.”


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

This line has probably become a lot tighter than it would’ve been in August since Leeds has burst onto the scene while Man City has been up-and-down (relatively speaking). Leeds is +675 to win at home and +440 to draw, while City is -290 to collect all three points.

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


Leeds – Manchester City prediction

Leeds is a talented side and only getting better and deeper in terms of talent and experience. And Bielsa can plan for any opposition. But injured or not, City still has Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Raheem Sterling, and more. Man City 3-1.


How to watch Leeds – Manchester City stream and start time

Kickoff: 12:30 pm ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBC
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

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

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Manchester United – Tottenham: Jose Mourinho’s latest Premier League project waltzes into his previous stop when Tottenham Hotspur visits Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Both clubs boast midweek wins in the League Cup, though Tottenham’s Thursday visit from Europa League foes Maccabi Haifa have complicated Mourinho’s planning for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Tottenham may have a new striker in the fold, with reports claiming the North Londoners have loaned Mourinho’s No. 1 target, Carlos Vinicius, from Benfica.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer has grown frustrated of answering questions on United’s transfer activity with days to go in the window.


Team news for Manchester United – Tottenham (INJURY REPORT)

Same old, same old for United, which is still dealing with long-term injuries to Axel Tuanzebe (ankle) and Phil Jones (knee).

Tottenham is still waiting for Gareth Bale to regain full fitness after a knee injury, while Heung-min Son is unlikely to play Sunday but manager Jose Mourinho was unwilling to completely rule the South Korean out.


What they’re saying

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Man Utd’s transfer activity“I can’t give you any news. We are working with what we have got. We have a big squad. If there is any update, we will let you know. I don’t comment on other teams’ players. I can’t concern myself with other clubs. I know the club is working well and hard to have a strong squad as possible. Sometimes speculation is there and we can’t control that.”

Spurs’ boss Mourinho on midweek League Cup win over Chelsea“We were ready to fight, I told you. I told the players before the penalties that they were magnificent in the second half, we made Chelsea look ordinary. The team waited for the right moment…. I have to think about three games at the same time but the players only thought about this game, they were phenomenal. Phenomenal.”


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

Man United is -108 to win while visiting Spurs register a +290 odds to get all three points against Jose Mourinho’s former club. A draw nets the bettor +260.

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


Manchester United – Tottenham prediction

Tottenham’s looked the superior team in all competitions so far, though United’s stars have yet to really fire on all cylinders aside from Bruno Fernandes. The variables for this weekend, however, favor United. Spurs will have played Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday while United played Saturday-Tuesday. If Old Trafford was full of screaming fans we might expect a little more advantage for a home side, too. Son’s absence looms large, though, and that will tilt the scales from a 2-2 draw to a 2-1 Man United win.


How to watch Manchester United – Tottenham stream and start time

Kickoff: 11:30 am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Report: Tottenham lands Mourinho’s No. 1 striker target from Benfica

Carlos Vinicius to Tottenham
Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images
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If Gareth Bale doesn’t have “it” anymore, then Jose Mourinho’s gonna have other options.

Heck, even if he does.

Tottenham will soon announce the signing of Benfica striker Carlos Vinicius on a one-year loan and $50 million-plus option-to-buy after the season.

[ MORE: Champions League draw preview ]

Not to be confused with Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior, Carlos Vinicius is a 25-year-old Brazilian striker coming off a career-year in Portugal.

Vinicius scored 23 times with 13 assists in a breakout 2019-20 season, his 18 league goals tied for the Portuguese top flight lead with teammate Pizzi and Rio Ave’s Mehdi Taremi.

He’s also comfortable coming off the bench, scoring those six of his 18 league goals in substitute performances.

[ MORE: Mourinho on League Cup defeat of Chelsea ]

Football.London reporter Alasdair Gold says Vinicius was Jose Mourinho’s No. 1 summer target but the price tag was too high earlier in the window.

Vinicius used to belong to Napoli but twice went out on loan, one of those a 16-appearance, 2-goal campaign for Monaco in Ligue 1.

The player shares an agency with Cristiano Ronaldo, Ederson, Ruben Neves, Ruben Dias, and Matt Doherty.