The Columbus Crew are making some serious waves as the season reaches its most vital point on
The Crew's second consecutive six-point week not only catapulted them into the Eastern
Conference playoff picture, but also up a couple of spots to eighth in SBI's MLS Power Rankings as
they brace for another match Wednesday night against sputtering New England.
Few new signings, let alone Designated Players, have come into MLS and had the immediate impact
along the lines of what Federico Higuain has had with the Columbus Crew.Â
Higuain netted three goals and four assists in four matches in his first month in MLS, leading
the surging Crew to a 3-0-1 record in that time and making him a natural selection for SBI's MLS
Player of the Month for August.
The Montreal Impact just keep on winning, and keep on climbing up the SBI MLS Power
The expansion team pushed their winning streak to five matches thanks to their comprehensive 3-0
victory against D.C. United. Patrice Bernier continued his outstanding season, helping the Impact
push closer to a possible playoff spot.
The Columbus Crew have propelled themselves into the Eastern Conference playoff race on the
strength of a pair of victories this past week, and no player was more important in securing those
victories than Federico Higuain.
The Argentine newcomer was instrumental in last Wednesday's 2-1 win vs.
It sure didn't take long for the San Jose Earthquakes to climb back atop the ladder.
More late heroics gave San Jose a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, pushing the
Earthquakes back to the No. 1 spot in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings after they had been
dethroned the week prior by the Houston Dynamo.
Seattle's Fredy Montero and Portland's Jack Jewsbury provided some stiff resistance, but this
week's SBI MLS Goal of the Week belongs to Montreal Impact midfielder Felipe, whose sideways
scissor-kick volley off a cross from Hassoun Camara put the finishing touches on Montreal's 2-0
victory over the Philadelphia Union Saturday night at Stade Saputo.
Riding a five-game winning streak and six shutouts in their past seven matches, the Dynamo have
climbed to No. 1 in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings. Houston's latest triumph, a 2-0 result
against the New York Red Bulls, put the Dynamo on top of the Eastern Conference as well.
Major League Soccer's quest to have a team win the CONCACAF Champions League title resumes
tonight in Costa Rica, where Real Salt Lake will take on Herediano in their first match of the
group stage (10pm, FOX Soccer Channel).
RSL has traveled to Heredia, where they will be hoping Costa Rican striker Alvaro Saborio can
lead a veteran squad in a match made all the more vital by the smaller groups in the tournament
Don't look now, but here come the MLS Cup finalists.
After spending much of the season in the middle of the SBI MLS Power Rankings pack, the Houston
Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy have ridden unbeaten runs to the fifth and sixth positions,
respectively, in this week's poll.
Houston, undefeated in six and on a three-game winning streak, now sits third in the Eastern
With the league's best record on the line, the San Jose Earthquakes came through Saturday in
San Jose, the Supporters' Shield front-runner, rose to the challenge against second-place Real
Salt Lake on Saturday, cruising to a 5-0 win that secured a season sweep of RSL and a firm grasp on
the top spot in this SBI MLS Power Rankings.
Wondolowski upped his season total to 17 goals this past weekend, netting a hat-trick and
delivering an assist that inspired the San Jose Earthquakes to a 5-0 dismantling of Real Salt Lake
at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday. Wondolowski's performance helped him surpass his goal-scoring
total from a year ago and has him one shy of his career best, and it is the reason he won SBI's MLS
Player of the Week award.
After briefly falling on hard times, Real Salt Lake is back in familiar territory.
Dropped to a season-low position of No. 6 in last week's SBI MLS Power Rankings because of a
four-game winless drought, Salt Lake jumped back to third in the new poll thanks to a four-point
week highlighted by Alvaro Saborio's hat trick in a 3-0 triumph over the Portland Timbers on
There has been no shortage of standout goalkeepers during the first half of the season in MLS,
but the best of the litter to this point has been the Columbus Crew's Andy Gruenebaum.
Filling in for injured incumbent Will Hesmer, Gruenebaum has proven an integral part of Columbus
having the stingiest defense in the league (only 15 goals surrendered in 15 games) and that has
earned him SBI's Mid-season MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award.
Real Salt Lake has made the trip to Pennsylvania for tonight's visit to PPL Park, where they
will take on a Philadelphia Union side still holding on to faint hopes of a playoff run (7:30pm,
RSL got the week off to a good start, posting a 2-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory against
The U.S. Women's National Team will be looking to win their third straight Olympic gold medal
today, while also exacting a measure of revenge, when they face Japan in the 2012 Olympic Final at
Wembley Stadium (2:45pm, NBC Sports).
The Americans enter today's final undefeated in five matches, having survived a thrilling 4-3
extra-time victory against Canada in the semifinals.
The U.S. Women's National Team is one step away from a Gold Medal game against Japan in a
rematch of last year's World Cup Final, but to get to that game the Americans will have to beat a
familiar foe in Canada (2:45pm, NBC Sports).
The Americans are a perfect 4-0 in Olympic play, having posted three straight shutouts.
The U.S. women's national team's quest to get back to the Olympic gold medal game for the fifth
straight time continues in at St. James' Park in Newcastle, England, as the Americans take on New
Zealand in a quarterfinal knockout game (9:30 a.m., NBC Sports Network, NBCOlympics.
The 2012 Men's College soccer season is ready to kick off tonight around the country and the
best teams and players in America will give soccer fans plenty of added entertainment to go along
with their usual pro soccer fix.
Defending champion North Carolina is back, and despite all the new faces, the Tar Heels should
be in contention again.
The Philadelphia Union continued their resurgence this past week by picking up a pair of
victories that has brought them within striking distance of other teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Union first grabbed a surprise 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on
Independence Day before thoroughly beating Toronto FC, 3-0, at PPL Park on Sunday.
On the strength of a three-game winning streak, capped by a gutsy 1-0 win at Sporting Kansas
City on Friday, the Fire have jumped to No. 4 in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings.
Aside from the top-ranked San Jose Earthquakes, the top five teams all hail from the Eastern
Conference, perhaps signifying a shift in power in a league that in recent years has been dominated
by clubs from the West.
Want the chance to compete against SBI staff and readers? Here is your shot.
You will have your chance to show that your knowledge of the Premier League is superior to that
of everybody else by drafting your 15-man fantasy squad, substituting and using your transfers
wisely and following your team on a weekly basis from August to May.
Time is winding down for Robin van Persie to make a move away from Arsenal, but the question
that remains is: Where exactly will he go?
The list of reported interested suitors in the Dutch international are some of the premier clubs
in the world. From Manchester United to Manchester City to Juventus, van Persie has attracted a
number of top teams who not only have an eye on their respective domestic leagues, but also on the
UEFA Champions League.
Good aftenoon everybody. Though late Friday afternoons are not usually when we have SBI Live Q&A
sessions, it has been so long since we've had one that this seemed as good a time as any to get
back in the swing of things.
If you are powering through your final hour at work on the East Coast, or just preparing for
your afternoon on the West Coast, feel free to join me as we talk all things soccer.