Champions League tests quintet; Real, Barça barnstorm the States
Our weekly dose of Major League Soccer quick takes, plotlines to watch and Power Rankings.
With the rash of international call-ups earlier this summer, Major League Soccer's managers had their hands full dealing with constantly shifting Starting XIs. Players are back from national-team duty, but the CONCACAF Champions League is just beginning, once again requiring participating clubs -- Houston, Columbus, D.C. United and New York (Toronto FC was eliminated on Tuesday) -- to manage minutes creatively. Of these teams, expect the Red Bulls, whose MLS season is essentially over, to field their best roster in the Champions League. Add Chicago's date Wednesday night in the SuperLiga final against Mexico's Tigres into the mix, and it's clear that the juggling job is never done (especially with such thin rosters).
After 21 matches, New York has 10 points from a 2-15-4 record. That's bad, but does the team have a chance to be historically terrible? In a word, yes.
Barcelona finishes up its U.S. tour on Wednesday night with a game in Seattle, where Sounders star