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2 hours ago

Power Rankings: Clasico win moves Real Madrid into first place

ESPN FC's Spain correspondent Sid Lowe agrees that Real Madrid's two-goal victory over Barcelona was one of their best performances in El Clasico to date.

It's all change at the top after a big weekend in Spain, while in-form but unfancied sides from Germany and England also make new entries.

1. Real Madrid (+3)

Carlo Ancelotti's men were dominant in the Clasico and made a mockery of certain people -- mentioning no names! -- who predicted Barcelona would win ... Madrid still trail their great rivals in La Liga but, if they maintain their current form, that may change very soon.

2. Bayern Munich (-1)

Days after shellacking Roma, Bayern came back to...

12 hours ago

Three Points: FC Dallas capitalize on good fortune in 2-1 win vs. Vancouver

Michel scored on a penalty kick in the 84th minute as FC Dallas beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 to advance in the MLS Cup playoffs.

Three quick thoughts after FC Dallas ended the Vancouver Whitecaps season in controversial fashion with a 2-1 win at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, where FCD will face the Seattle Sounders on Sunday (9 p,m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN) in the first game of the two-leg Western Conference semifinals.

FC DallasFC Dallas
Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver Whitecaps
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1. Vancouver got jobbed

Mark Geiger is among MLS's most experienced referees and was the league's lone representative at the 2014 Word Cup in Brazil, where his performance drew mostly positive reviews. Those...

1 day ago

The one-and-done quartet: Getting to know the MLS Cup play-in game teams

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner breaks down the MLS Cup playoff brackets and predicts which teams will go all the way to the MLS Cup final.

If there's one thing I like about this time of year, it's the sense of really getting to know teams in the MLS playoffs.

I'm not talking so much about the individual players who make their marks -- though as I wrote last week, beyond the top players at every club there are always one or two under-the-radar figures who reveal their importance or just pick the perfect time to have influential cameos, whether that be in the Eastern or Western Conference.

Basically though, I'm talking more of...

1 day ago

Rogerio Ceni keeps goals out and scores them too. Why is he the outlier?

Goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni scored his 123rd goal in Sao Paulo's 2-1 win over Bahia in the Brasileiro.

"It's not even football. It's striking a ball. It's two things: physics, because you have to hit the ball properly, and psychology, because you have to know where to put it. And you have to remain calm. But many more people could do it, if only, like me, they had the courage [to try]."

That quote stuck with me ever since I heard it nine years ago. It came from a footballer known for his prowess at taking free kicks. And it struck me because it wasn't anodyne crap -- aka, what many professional...

1 day ago

Sam Allardyce has the last laugh as West Ham flourish

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce praised his team's all-around performance in their victory against Manchester City.

At the end of last season, a beleaguered Sam Allardyce was set a challenge by the directors of West Ham United. It was no longer enough to survive in the Premier League, they said. Now they had to be entertaining as well.

For many observers, it looked like the end of the road for "Big Sam." The supporters had turned against him after a miserable winter saw the Hammers play 14 games through December and January, losing 10 of them and conceding 34 goals in the process.

Decimated by an injury crisis...

 By Tim Vickery
2 days ago

Carlos Tevez's Argentina return signals a clean slate under Gerardo Martino

After a three year hiatus, Carlos Tevez will return to the Albiceleste for two friendlies in November. The ESPN FC team debate whether or not the call-up by Tata Martino was the right move.

Argentina's new coach Gerardo Martino had prepared the way, so it was no great surprise when Carlos Tevez was recalled to the national squad for the coming friendlies against Croatia and Portugal. No great surprise, but still big news.

Tevez has cast his stocky shadow all over the Argentina team since his last appearance, in the 2011 Copa America. Campaigns were launched to try to get him into the World Cup squad -- one tango artist even recorded a song asking of previous coach Alejandro Sabella...