Although the CONCACAF Gold Cup strains MLS rosters every couple of years, it also provides a wonderful opportunity for domestic-based stars to shine on the international level. San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski (pictured) stands out as the star of the group stage to date, while several of his colleagues across the league have influenced matches and produced at the sharp end of the field. It is exactly the sort of experience that could prove beneficial in the long-term as MLS continues to progress with each passing year: Honorable mention 11. Colorado Rapids 12. Houston Dynamo 13. New England Revolution 14. Columbus Crew 15. Chicago Fire 16. San Jose Earthquakes 17. Toronto FC 18. D.C. United 19. Chivas USA --Kyle McCarthy
Roofing the ball from an indirect free kick inside the opposing penalty area isn't easy. It requires an ample bit of skill to navigate through a mess of bodies and pick out a sliver of space. And yet Michael Farfan made it look relatively straightforward when he smashed home from close range to hand the Union a 3-1 victory over Chivas USA on Friday. Next on the docket: Farfan will hope the man in the middle presents him with another opportunity to display his wares when the Union hosts Portland on Saturday.
Is it time for a few changes in Frisco? Schellas Hyndman (pictured) hinted so in the wake of a 3-0 home defeat to Real Salt Lake on Saturday. FCD CEO Dan Hunt even suggested another player was on the way over the weekend. Technical director Fernando Clavijo confirmed the move could happen in a week or two, but FCD needs a jolt of some sort to end its seven-match winless skid. Next on the docket: Hyndman will expect a response from his players when FCD travels to Montreal on Saturday.
Sigi Schmid gambled earlier this season when he released Sweden international defender Adam Johansson and ushered DeAndre Yedlin into the first team. It has paid off in spades. MLS commissioner Don Garber highlighted the success of that swap when he named the U.S. under-20 right back as one of his two selections for the MLS All-Star Game later this month. Next on the docket: Yedlin and his teammates host Colorado on Saturday.
Los Angeles Galaxy
Galaxy boss Bruce Arena engaged in a brief and heated war of words with Portland coach Caleb Porter in the wake of a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday. Arena quickly made amends, presumably after he realized Porter had little to do with his side shipping yet another late goal to drop points this season. Next on the docket: The rearguard must perform for the entire affair on Saturday when in-form Vancouver visits the StubHub Center.
NY Red Bulls
Thank goodness Red Bulls coach Mike Petke (pictured) does not have to sit around in a changing room any more. Petke granted an interview to Esquire recently about his oft-discussed sense of style and told the magazine that he leaned on his wife – and her keen sense of style – to create the fashionable outfits he wears on the sideline each weekend. The approach is sensible, but he'd still get some stick for it from his team. Next on the docket: No word on whether Petke will rely on his better half for tactical guidance as he waits for Real Salt Lake to arrive at Red Bull Arena next Saturday.
Only in Montreal would a rumor involving hiring Juan Carlos Osorio gain some traction. Impact investor/operator Joey Saputo – never one to shy away from sacking his coach – batted away the Colombian-based reports on Monday and reinforced his faith in Marco Schällibaum despite the club's recent downturn in form. Next on the docket: Schällibaum may want to lead his suddenly leaky side to a first victory in five attempts against FC Dallas on Saturday just in case Saputo changes his mind.
Camilo (pictured) recently expressed his interest in obtaining Canadian citizenship and turning out for the national team at some point over the next few years. Given his recent ability to find the net (including two goals in the 3-1 victory against Chicago on Saturday), he might fit right into the mix with the goal-shy Canucks. Next on the docket: The newly-named All-Star will hope to add to his league-leading haul of 12 goals when the Whitecaps journey down the coast to face LA Galaxy on Saturday.
It really isn't fair to send Sporting out onto the field against the likes of Toronto FC right now. Peter Vermes has the Eastern Conference leaders humming along and picking up points. Need proof? Watch the highlights from the 3-0 victory over TFC on Saturday. Next on the docket: Bieler will hope for another easy finish or two at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
Another pulsating night at JELD-WEN Field ended in some style. Andrew Jean-Baptiste (pictured) provided the exclamation point with his late winner in the 2-1 victory against LA Galaxy and his subsequent decision to remove his shirt and flex for the crowd in celebration. Next on the docket: Jean-Baptiste and his teammates will hope to show their might again at Philadelphia on Saturday.
Real Salt Lake
Despite its protracted period of success, RSL has always found one place impossible to solve: Texas. It took 23 tries, but the Claret-and-Cobalt finally emerged with a victory in the Lone Star State on Saturday. Javier Morales (pictured) poked home a clever opener against the run of play to provide a platform for RSL to overcome the loss of goalkeeper Josh Saunders (torn ACL) and snatch the points. Next on the docket: Morales will hope to exert a similar impact on the proceedings when Sporting Kansas City travels to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.