Thursday September 20th, 2007

Luciano Emilio
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
It's in the net
It has been five years since MLS had its last 20-goal scorer (Carlos Ruiz). D.C. United, meanwhile, only had one player reach 15 in the past seven seasons. And then came Luciano Emilio. Forget all of the hype about the Designated Players: With a goal barrage that ranks among the league's best of all time, the 28-year-old Brazilian newcomer has been the biggest story of the MLS season. After an early-season dry spell -- just two goals in his first eight games -- Emilio has exploded with 17 goals in his past 16 games to become the odds-on favorite for MVP honors and the Golden Boot. Not bad for $293,125 per season: Emilio's non-DP guaranteed salary for '07. The way Emilio has been scoring, he still has an outside chance of matching Roy Lassiter's single-season record of 27 goals, set in 1996. (Emilio needs eight over D.C.'s final six matches.) But it also has sparked up questions about his future in MLS. Emilio, who is under contract with United for the next three seasons, has said he wants to remain in D.C., and team officials expect him to return. Emilio's agent, though, told the Washington Post any discussions about the future won't occur until after the season. One thing is clear: D.C., reportedly is in talks with Argentina star Juan Sebastián Verón, may have a radically different look in '08. For now, just marvel in D.C.'s quest for a fifth MLS Cup title and one of the best goal-scoring shows ever to be seen in MLS.
Beat the clock
Four minutes can impact the fortunes of an entire season. Just ask Kansas City. Or Columbus. In case you missed it last Saturday -- and unless you have HDNet, you did -- check out the wild finish from the Wizards-Crew match, in which Kansas City scored twice in injury time to stun Columbus 3-2. It was only the third time an MLS team rallied to win in stoppage time after trailing at the 90-minute mark. And that four minutes will have a monumental impact on the playoff race. The Wizards, who have a recent history of fading down the stretch and were reeling with only one win in six games, were on the verge making it a four-team race for the final two playoff spots, while Columbus was poised to regain hold of the No. 8 spot. Check out how those two goals shook up the race:
What the race would've looked like         How it is now
7. Kansas City, 33 points                       7. Kansas City, 36 points
8. Columbus, 31                                   8. Chicago, 30
9. Chicago, 30                                      9. Colorado, 29
10. Colorado, 29                                  10. Columbus, 28
News and views from around the league
Think Landon Donovan wasn't happy to finally convert again from the penalty spot after two recent misses? It was an usually fiery celebration after Donovan's PK goal against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. ... Real Salt Lake made yet another nice trade -- joining heists of Robbie Findlay and Kyle Beckerman -- acquiring Yura Movsisyan from the Wizards before the roster freeze. ... It's now 822 minutes and counting since Toronto FC last scored a goal, dating back to Maurice Edu's 78th-minute goal against Chicago on July 7. In that span, TFC has been outscored 13-0 and is 0-7-3. ... Check out what Juan Pablo Ángel had to say about playing on the Giants Stadium turf with the football markings in this interview (it's at the 6:20 mark) on the U.K. version of David Beckham's Soccer USA.
RankPrev. Team
D.C. United (15-6-4)
After 0-3 start, they've only lost three of past 22 games
Chivas USA (13-6-5)
Preki is now the clear front-runner for Coach of the Year
Houston Dynamo (13-7-6)
Jaqua has five goals in 11 matches since joining Houston
New England Revolution (13-6-6)
Clinched a playoff spot for the sixth consecutive season
FC Dallas (12-9-3)
Two-goal game vs. Revs was Ruiz's first since last Sept.
New York Red Bulls (11-10-4)
Midfielder van den Bergh played well at left back vs. Fire
Kansas City Wizards (10-9-6)
Thinking about another collapse? K.C. can breathe easier
Chicago Fire (8-10-6)
If they survive and make playoffs, they'll have earned it
Colorado Rapids (7-10-8)
Lose to Galaxy, steal big point from Chivas ... Go figure
Columbus Crew (6-9-10)
The painful, injury-time loss to Kansas City was a dagger
Real Salt Lake (4-13-8)
What a wild finish to Wednesday night's game vs. Galaxy
Los Angeles Galaxy (4-13-6)
On track to be third team ever to finish winless on road
Toronto FC (5-13-6)
Outshot RSL 24-5 and still couldn't find that elusive goal

1. Scott Sealy
Kansas City Wizards

2. Gonzalo Segares
Chicago Fire

3. Dave van den Bergh
New York Red Bulls
Thursday, Sept. 20
FC Dallas 3, Chicago 2 (ESPN2) -- Hoops earn Brimstone Cup for 6th consecutive season
Saturday, Sept. 22
Columbus 1, Toronto 0 -- Three points Crew absolutely must have to stay in playoff race
New York 1, New England 1 (HDNet) -- Save for freak OGs, Bulls have played Revs tough
Real Salt Lake 2, Colorado 1 (FSC) -- Rapids' 2-7-3 road mark may come back to kill 'em
Chivas USA 3, Kansas City 2 -- Goals, goals, goals. This match should be fun to watch
Sunday, Sept. 23
D.C. United 2, Chicago 1 (TeleFutura) -- Fire's crucial gauntlet vs. MLS' best continues
FC Dallas 1, Los Angeles 0 -- A repeat of the 6-5 SuperLiga thriller? We can only hope
Last Week: 8-1; This season: 65-64

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