Major League Soccer (Mid)Week 17: Jeff Cunningham Sets All-Time Scoring Record In Crew Victory

Forward scores his 133rd career goal, wins game in final minute

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VIDEO: Luke Rodgers Joins Wondergoal Club

MLS goal-scorers must be doing something right these days because it's starting to become a pretty regular occurrence when we use the word "wondergoal" (or it could just be that we're simply overusing the term...). The latest to join that club is Luke Rodgers, whose goal against Toronto FC was an absolute beauty. Rodgers essentially popped the ball up with his left foot and then took a side-kicked volley to beat Stefan Frei and put the New York Red Bulls up 2-0 in a game they went on to win 5-0.

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Also of note in the match was Thierry Henry scoring his league-leading ninth goal and Juan Agudelo turning in his first career two-goal performance. Henry's goal was of the classic "he makes it look easy" variety, while Agudelo's first was a rather impressive header in which his momentum was moving in the opposite direction of the goal.

On a side note, it's hard not to feel bad for Stefan Frei these days. He's clearly one of the more talented goalkeepers in the league, but it seems like he's getting left out to dry more than any other goalkeeper. He's now allowed a league high 34 goals. No other keeper has allowed more than 22.

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VIDEO: Jeff Cunningham Ties MLS All-Time Scoring Record

Regardless of how he did it, Jeff Cunningham's career record-tying goal was going to memorable. That he did it in the final minute to give the Columbus Crew a hard-fought victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps makes it an instant classic. For the record, Cunningham scored his 133rd career goal off a header on an assist from Josh Gardner.

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The goal was Cunningham's first of the season. Perhaps as importantly, the goal gave the Crew just their second road win of the season.

It also continued a rather amazing run of futility for the Whitecaps, who only seem to have gotten worse since Tom Soehn replaced Teitur Thordarson as head coach. The Whitecaps have now lost three straight MLS games -- and four overall -- something they never did under the previous administration. In this one, they were forced to play the final 12 minutes down a man after Shea Salinas was shown red for a somewhat late tackle on a 50/50 ball. Prior to that, the Whitecaps had looked strong -- and even hit the post on one occasion -- but once again came up short. The Whitecaps fell to 2-8-8 and are stuck on 14 points.

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MLS At Midseason: Sporting Kansas City Is Back In The Playoff Race

After starting the season 1-6-1, the Sporks are now in playoff position and are doing it mostly with defense.

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Major League Soccer (Mid)Week 17 Preview: 10-Team Playoff Creates Some Intrigue

While none of the four games on Wednesday's docket jump off the page as being must-watch affairs, there's actually a fair amount of intrigue tied to each of them. Now that we're basically at the halfway point of the season, it's fair to start looking at the playoff race and each one of these games could have an impact, especially on the final spots.

New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC, 8 p.m., Wednesday

For all the talent at Hans Backe's disposal, it's more than a bit disappointing to here his players openly talking about just gunning for the playoffs. While totally falling out of the playoff picture, especially in the Eastern Conference, seems highly unlikely, they are just five points ahead of the No. 10 spot after their tie last week left them with just one win in their past 11 matches. Luckily, they are facing a Toronto FC team that only ended a nine-match winless streak of their own last week. TFC actually won two games last week, but both were against the Whitecaps, hardly indicative of an impending turnaround. If the Red Bulls fail to get three points here, feel free to start pressing the panic button. Pick: Red Bulls 2-0.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday

It was just five matches ago that Sporting were riding a 10-game winless streak and their season was quickly slipping away before they even had a chance to open their new stadium. Since then, however, their season has taken a dramatic turnaround as they've won four of five and are suddenly sitting in a tie for the No. 10 playoff spot. In three matches at Livestrong Sportin Park, they are undefeated. They'll be facing a team that is doing just enough to remain slightly relevant. After a blazing start, the Rapids have crashed back down to earth and actually find themselves just three points ahead of the playoff pace after winning just once in their past 10. A Sporting victory would actually pull them even with the Rapids. Pick: Sporting 2-1.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Columbus Crew, 10 p.m., Wednesday

Every week I say how hard it is to figure out the Crew. It's getting a bit old, to be quite honest. Last week, they at least turned in a predictable result, by losing to a very good FC Dallas team. The Whitecaps seem like the kind of team they should be able to beat, but this game is in Vancouver and the Crew have just one road win this season. The Whitecaps are coming off a week in which they lost not just once, but twice to an awful Toronto FC team and actually may have gotten worse since the firing of Teitur Thordarson. Pick: Tied, 1-1.

Chivas USA vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m., Wednesday

The Goats are not having a great season. Under new head coach Robin Fraser, they've been good defensively, but not great. They've shown some flashes of scoring ability, but no consistency. In the world of the 10-team MLS playoffs, though, they find themselves just two points behind the pace for the final spot and a win this week would put them right back in contention. The Earthquakes have hit higher highs, but find themselves in a not-so-different position. They currently reside in the No. 9 playoff spot, but just three points ahead of 12th place Chivas USA. While this match may lack star power, it has plenty of intrigue. Pick: Chivas 2-1.

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