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MLS Power Rankings — Week 26: Cup rematch’s collision course

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Are we headed for an MLS Cup Final rematch for the first time since 2012?

Toronto FC remains red-hot, and 2016 champions Seattle Sounders have joined the Reds as teams in fine form.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

It’s been some time since we last visited the Power Rankings, and there are some huge movers.

Two preseason favorites are in the Bottom Six, while one team has shot up 11 spots and into the Top Five.

Here are PST’s latest MLS Power Rankings as we head into another busy weekend:


TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (20)

 

 

21 (18)

 

 

20 (15)

Colorado Rapids: Last win came July 1,

Orlando City SC: Let’s focus on the people of Central Florida instead of talking about their soccer club: Stay safe from the storm, Orlando.

 

LA Galaxy: The 3-0 win over Colorado, of course, ends a 9L-1T run. Need to scour the Earth for a third and fourth Dos Santos.

19 (21) Minnesota United: The Loons aren’t great, but have two wins in four and have you seen the bunch behind them?
18 (12) Philadelphia Union: Similar to D.C., the Loons have gone winless in five. The only saving grace? They host D.C. on Saturday.
  17 (3) FC Dallas: Like Sporting KC last season, the teams we deem the deepest in the league each Spring should bribe us to rescind the label.
16 (19) New England Revolution: There aren’t too many road heroes in MLS, but New England’s mark is especially deflating: zero wins, 10 losses, three ties. Coastal problems: Only San Jose has lost as many away days.
15 (22) DC United: See what happens when you sign good players? The Black-and-Red have three-straight wins, but still sit eight points back of sixth.
14 (17) San Jose Earthquakes: A good sextet of matches has the Quakes in the thick of the West’s playoff race. Marco Urena and Vako Qazaishvili are an under-appreciated duo.
13 (4) Chicago Fire: Saturday’s win at Montreal was just its third result since July 5, with only two wins in the bunch.
12 (14) Montreal Impact: Losers of two in-a-row since four-match win streak.
11 (5) Houston Dynamo: One loss in eight matches since July 1, but just three wins. Matches-in-hand on playoff rivals help the cause.
10 (13) Vancouver Whitecaps: Unspectacular but consistent, the ‘Caps haven’t lost back-to-back matches since March 18.
9 (7) New York Red Bulls: The 3-2 derby loss to NYC kickstarted a five-match downturn following four-match win streak.
8 (8) Atlanta United: The good? Just one loss since late June. The bad? Yet to win over last six weeks.
7 (8) Portland Timbers: We wouldn’t suggest betting on these fellas, for better or worse, but 4W-1L-2T since June 23, and the only loss was in Toronto.
6 (11) Columbus Crew: Unbeaten in four and angling for a home playoff match ahead of this weekend’s SKC test.
5 (16) Real Salt Lake: Nearly as hot as TFC, the Utah set may miss the playoffs thanks a horrible start and matches-in-hand for Vancouver, Houston, Dallas, and San Jose. If that happens, the West will exhale.
4 (5) Sporting KC: Losers of two of three, both on the road. A warning: SKC has only played three road matches in last eight, drawing the third.
3 (2)   New York City FC: Without Villa, Ring, and Herrera, Patrick Vieira’s men found a way past Sporting KC on Thursday.

2 (9) Seattle Sounders: Since losing at NYCFC on June 17, have six wins and five draws.
1 (1) Toronto FC: Since Sept. 7, 2016, Toronto is 22W-6L-12T, and their last loss came July 1. One of those losses came in PKs in the MLS Cup Final. The Reds are really, really good.

6 clubs fined, risk FIFA transfer bans for debts to players

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ZURICH (AP) Clubs from Russia and Qatar are among six fined by FIFA and warned they risk one-year transfer bans for failing to settle debts to players.

[ MORE: Steffen to England? ]

FIFA says the clubs also face deductions of six league points if they fail to pay the debts in 30 to 90 days.

The clubs are: Kuban of Russia; Al Arabi and Al Kharaitiyat of Qatar; Zamalek of Egypt; Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates; and Mersin Idman Yurdu of Turkey.

FIFA says all failed to comply with rulings by FIFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport “to pay significant overdue amounts of money to players.”

They were fined between 15,000 and 30,000 Swiss francs ($15,000 and $30,000).

FIFA says national soccer federations face disciplinary cases if they fail to enforce the verdicts.

Premier League friendlies: Liverpool meets BVB; Everton in Portugal

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The Premier League is three weeks and one day from opening its 2018-19 slate, when Leicester City will visit Old Trafford for a Friday afternoon match with Manchester United.

The end of the World Cup has eyeballs trained on friendlies, with 19 Premier League teams doing work over the weekend.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

The International Champions Cup has a pair of matches on the docket.

Friday sees Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, sans many of their World Cup stars, mixing it up with Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund in Chicago.

Then Sunday will see Borussia Dortmund switching gears and time zones, tangling with Liverpool in North Carolina as Pulisic renews acquaintances with old pal Jurgen Klopp.

Manchester United takes on San Jose on Sunday, two days after facing Club America.

Other marquee friendlies of the weekend include Bournemouth facing American back Shaq Moore and Levante on Friday, with Fulham hosting Lyon on Saturday, and Everton meeting Lille and Porto on consecutive Portuguese days Saturday and Sunday.

Friday

Bournemouth vs. Levante
Burnley vs. Macclesfield Town
Burnley vs. Curzon Ashton
Cardiff City vs Torquay
Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund (in Chicago)

Saturday

Brighton and Hove Albion vs. AFC Wimbledon
Crystal Palace vs. Oxford United
Everton vs. Lille
Fulham vs. Lyon
Huddersfield Town vs. Real Betis
Huddersfield Town vs. Roy-Weiss Essen or Werder Bremen
Leicester City vs. Notts County
Southampton vs. Derby County
Watford vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf
West Ham United vs. Preston North End

Sunday

Everton vs. Porto
Huddersfield Town vs. Darmstadt
Liverpool vs. Borussia Dortmund (in North Carolina)
Manchester United vs. San Jose Earthquakes (in Santa Clara)
Wolverhampton vs. TBD

Transfer rumor roundup: Japan, South Africa strikers to Premier League

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Percy Tau’s name isn’t yet widely known outside of South Africa, what with Bafana Bafana absent from the World Cup.

But the 24-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns winger may soon get to test his skills on a much bigger stage.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Tau, who has five goals in 12 caps, will reportedly join Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League if a medical goes well, with Sky Sports saying it’ll will be the biggest transfer fee yet for a South African Premier League player.


Yoshinori Muto could be bringing his 25 caps to the Premier League.

The 26-year-old striker made just one appearance at the World Cup, but has had a nice run with Mainz since joining from FC Tokyo. He’s bagged 23 goals in 71 appearances.

Bild report says there have been no formal offers for Muto, but that Newcastle United and West Ham are interested in the striker. Newcastle badly needs a striker, but West Ham has been spending money and Magpies owner Mike Ashley hasn’t green lit much in recent seasons.

Open Cup draw postponed as Portland protests LAFC win

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The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw is not going as planned, as the Portland Timbers protest the roster of victorious LAFC.

[ RECAP: Four USOC semifinalists minted ]

Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston were the other sides to get a place in the final four teams.

LAFC’s victory had already been marred by Adama Diomande‘s claims of a racial slur hurled his way, and now their victory may be in question altogether as U.S. Soccer issued a press release saying Thursday’s scheduled draw was postponed.

From a U.S. Soccer press release:

The decision comes as a result of a protest filed by the Portland Timbers in relation to the number of foreign players fielded by Los Angeles Football Club during Wednesday night’s Quarterfinal at Banc of America Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.

The rule says a maximum five players without green cards can be in the 18. Portland started only two Americans, Jeff Attinella and Zarek Valentin, but have green cards for many others and rules are rules.

Will the Timbers take a semifinal berth via protest?