In the 21st week of the MLS season, there were some several outstanding performances this week but unfortunately the week was one in which many star players were missing due to international duty, something that could easily have been prevented.
G: Louis Crayton
D: Jimmy Conrad
D: Chad Marshall
D: Richard Mulrooney
M: Andre Rocha
M: John Thorrington
M: Guillermo Barros Schelotto
M: Mike Magee
F: Luciano Emilio
F: Kei Kamara
F: Taylor Twellman
Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio somehow is turning around a New York team that had seemingly been left in the rear-view mirror by the Eastern frontrunners. Juan Pablo Angel is back to his old self but Mike Magee is proving to be a splendid complement to the Red Bulls' attack.
Top player: Guillermo Barros Schelotto had a goal and two assists and was easily the most influential player of the week. For all the hype the Galaxy gets for being dangerous on set pieces, Columbus is for my money the league's best team on set pieces. And that's largely due to the crafty Argentine.
Top goal: Andre Rocha's strike against Kansas City was a well-taken shot from distance, the kind we'd like to see on a more regular basis every weekend.
Top save: Zach Thornton kept Chivas USA from falling into last place in the Western Conference with a diving effort to turn away San Jose's Ronnie O'Brien.
When will Major League Soccer learn? When will MLS take into consideration the international calendar when making the schedule? On Wednesday, the US and the rest of CONCACAF kicked off the semifinal phase of qualifying. The league didn't care apparently and had two games scheduled on Wednesday and another on Thursday. Such players absent from their MLS squads included Pat Onstad, Brian Ching, Dwayne De Rosario, Sacha Kljestan, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Gonzalo Segares, Landon Donovan, Eddie Lewis and David Beckham, who played in an England friendly on Wednesday. It's beyond ridiculous that MLS plays through the World Cup but the league should at least have the foresight not to shoot itself in the foot and lower the quality of its regular season games by forcing teams to play through qualifiers and play without their top players. The league turned Galaxy-Chicago from potentially one of the most anticipated matches of the year to one devoid of most of its luster. Upcoming qualifying weekends will also cost teams players on Sept. 6-7 as well as Oct. 11-12. MLS needs to stop this nonsense. All the Hexagonal dates for next year are already set, so there is no excuse for this happening in 2009.