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Johnson tops the Audi Player Index

Five Aside
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 By Jason Davis

Orlando faces Columbus in six-pointer; Toronto can pile on Chicago woe

Brian McBride and Alexis Nunes go toe-to-toe in predicting the latest high-profile MLS fixtures in Week 24.

Jason Davis highlights three matches worth keeping an eye on across Major League Soccer this weekend.

Orlando and Columbus' crucial showdown

In the parlance of MLS, this one is what's called a "playoff six-pointer."

Columbus Crew SC currently has a tenuous grasp on a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. The men in yellow occupy fifth place but are just two points up on Montreal Impact, in seventh, and have played two more games. With less than 10 games to go, Gregg Berhalter's team needs...

 By Matt Pentz

Toronto FC shows slumping Chicago Fire the road to redemption in MLS

Brian McBride and Alexis Nunes go toe-to-toe in predicting the latest high-profile MLS fixtures in Week 24.

Plenty of teams get hot in Major League Soccer. In a salary-capped league of thin margins from top to bottom, positive runs of form can be sustained for months or even for full seasons. Just ask the Colorado Rapids, who went from last place in the West in 2015 to the brink of the MLS Cup final a season ago and have since fallen back off a cliff.

Rarer is the lasting type of organizational culture change that can be sustained. Even in MLS, which prides itself on every-team-has-a-chance parity as...

Toronto FC breaks new ground, but MLS still has player development issue

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno breaks down the best in MLS with his weekly awards.

Toronto FC has found a unique way -- at least in the world of Major League Soccer -- to compensate local area youth clubs for developing players.

On May 25, TFC, in conjunction with Ontario Soccer, held what it called a scholarship night at its training facility. The event honored 15 area youth clubs that had seen a combined 27 players move to TFC's academy program. During the event, those clubs received an unexpected gift: For every player sent TFC's way, the club received $2,500 (CAN). One...

Sacramento is ready for MLS, but will it be passed over again for expansion?

Brian McBride gives a glowing recommendation for Sacramento to join MLS, but questions why the expansion has been delayed.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber says David Beckham has been pushing hard to set up a new franchise in Miami.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno breaks down the best in MLS with his weekly awards.

It's easy to see why soccer fans in Sacramento are confident their city will soon field a Major League Soccer team.

The Sacramento Republic has created a sustained buzz in a city known more for state politics than for sports, leading the United Soccer League in sellouts and cultivating a supporters culture many MLS teams would envy.

And while no task has troubled expansion candidates more than securing a stadium, that's a strength of Sacramento's. Not only is it the only expansion prospect with...

 By Arch Bell

Dempsey, Morrow push for starting spots vs. Costa Rica; Brooks injured

Clint Dempsey played hero for Seattle, with his headed goal the sole difference against Sporting Kansas City.
After a scoreless first-half, TFC exploded in the second-half against Portland, with Justin Morrow netting a brace.
Mark Donaldson and Herculez Gomez evaluate what to expect from three notable Americans as the Premier League season begins.

World Cup qualifying resumes in just over two weeks, so there are not many chances left to impress United States head coach Bruce Arena ahead of the critical clash against Costa Rica on Sept. 1.

Heating up

Clint Dempsey, FW, Seattle Sounders (MLS)

Why he's here: Dempsey's goal in Seattle's 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City was his sixth in five games with the Sounders, giving him 50 goals with the team.

What this means: After being used as a super sub during the Gold Cup, Arena has to decide...

Sean Johnson's fine form helps him to the top of the Audi Player Index

Rookie Jonathan Lewis and veteran David Villa netted stunning goals to give visiting NYCFC a 2-0 victory over the LA Galaxy.

New York City FC keeper Sean Johnson continued his strong season, registering five saves in a 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy on Saturday.

Johnson notched his fifth clean sheet in 22 Major League Soccer games this season after having five all of last season. It was his first MLS clean sheet since June 24 against the Red Bulls and his club is currently tied for the lead in MLS wins, and are second in points behind Toronto.

Four of his five saves came in the penalty area against the Galaxy, which tied...