Fortunes are mixed over in the USA, and the two main headlines dominate the top and bottom of the Eastern Conference in Major League Soccer. Columbus are flying, DC are dying. If that summing up doesn't provide the detail you require, here's all the week nine action.
Columbus Crew had a big week at the top of the East, beginning with a triumphant trip to New York Red Bulls, where a 3-1 win took them top of the conference. New Jerseyite Eddie Gaven opened the scoring for the Crew with a 35th minute header. Andy Iro's goal was an emphatic header and put Columbus 2-0 ahead before Tony Tchani headed past a stranded William Hesmer to pull one back. Emilio Renteria made sure of the win with seven minutes left on the clock on a night that saw the Red Bulls hit the woodwork three times with Hesmer beaten.
In their second game of the weekend, the Crew needed another goal from Renteria to complete an exemplary week with a 1-0 win over Kansas City Wizards in a fairly uninspiring game.
Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle are Bob Bradley's property right now, so an under-strength LA Galaxy headed for Texas to play FC Dallas. MLS Cup 2009 goalscorer Mike Magee's tap-in inside 20 minutes was enough to add another three points to LA's tally and maintain their unbeaten start.
Seattle Sounders were also beaten at home by an early goal. San Jose Earthquake returned to California with another win under their belts thanks to their fourth consecutive clean sheet and Chris Wondolowski's poacher's finish in the 11th minute. The Sounders didn't play too badly but they're in desperate need of a ruthless goalscorer, and they'll be hoping Blaise Nkufo will be that man.
Toronto FC and New England Revolution got to half time goalless, and it was a solitary second half goal by Chad Barrett that gave the hosts a much-needed victory. A badly-marked Barrett rose to head in a corner on 52 minutes, and he could have bagged a couple more on the day too. Great to see Shalrie Joseph back in action for the Revs.
At Robertson Stadium, DC United's season reached crisis point. A loss to Houston Dynamo represented their eighth reverse of 2010 and left them sizing up the very real possibility of becoming the worst team since MLS began. Danny Cruz took just nine minutes to open the scoring, firing a low shot across Troy Perkins and in off the far post. Dominic Oduro made it two with an unstoppable goal in the second half, blasting in the killer goal from a cross by Luis Angel Landin.
It took a late, late winner to continue Real Salt Lake's winning run as they emerged 2-1 victors at HDC against Chivas USA. Chris Wingert put the champions ahead just before half time, blasting the ball home after Javier Morales' cross cannoned off the post. Justin Braun's 80th minute strike couldn't see Chivas through to a point, though, because Fabian Espindola broke free in the 89th minute and flicked a left-footed finish past Zach Thornton.
You can check out all of the important highlights here and view the league tables here. If you do, you'll see that LA Galaxy are now a full ten points clear of their nearest competition in the West, San Jose Earthquakes, Real Salt Lake and Houston Dynamo. At the bottom, Chivas USA's ten points would put them fourth in a very weak East.
Columbus now top that conference by five points, leaving RBNY and Toronto FC in their wake. Everyone else is an also-ran, with the possible exceptions of DC and Philly who are still in the traps.