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Real's for real; Casey looks Golden


Our weekly dose of Major League Soccer quick takes, plotlines to watch and Power Rankings.

Thanks to an essential six-point Week 24, Real Salt Lake returned to the thick of the postseason hunt. Last week, Robbie Findley took a break from training with the U.S. national team to discuss his team's aspirations. "We know what has to be done in order for us to make the playoffs," said the striker, who is currently tied for second in MLS with 10 goals scored. "Our past couple of games we've got the results we've wanted but we still have six more games left and we've gotta be able to put up some more points coming down to the end." With its next two matches against Chicago and Houston, RSL's degree of difficulty is high, but simply getting back in the discussion deserves some praise.

Last season, Landon Donovan won the league's Golden Boot award by scoring 20 goals in just 25 matches. His nearest competitor, Kenny Cooper, figured in 30 of his team's games, while Donovan's Galaxy teammate, EdsonBuddle, rounded out the top three by netting 15 in 27 games. This year, ConorCasey seems poised to repeat Donovan's feat of leading the league in goals while playing in fewer games than the rest of MLS' top scorers. The Colorado forward, who tallied yet again in his squad's victory over Toronto FC last weekend despite getting his wisdom teeth out just days earlier, has 12 goals despite only playing in 17 matches. Five other players are in double digits, but only Donovan and Guillermo Barros Schelotto have played less than 20 games (19, to be exact). Casey has given no indication that he'll slow his strike rate, meaning the Golden Boot is his for the taking.

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With the exception of San Jose, every team returns to the MLS pitch this week with the Kansas City and D.C. United playing dual dates on Wednesday and Saturday. The last of the nine games is the most enticing, featuring a reeling but still first-place Dynamo going to Columbus for a date with the Eastern Conference's top team. Three points for either squad very likely would lock up a playoff spot, although both have work to do in order to earn one of the top two automatic slots in their respective conference. Elsewhere, the Rapids look to continue their surge up the standings in Toronto, while the Galaxy hope to exert more pressure on the Dynamo when they host FC Dallas.