If were to merely look at the last 5 games, here is how the USL 1st Division Standings would look (overall ranking in parentheses):

1) Miami FC (Currently 5th) - 4-1-0 12 pts

2) Minnesota (Currently 11th) - 3-1-1 10 pts

3) Vancouver (Currently 3rd) - 3-1-1 10 pts

4) Seattle (Currently 6th) - 3-2-0 9 pts

5) Charleston (Currently 4th) - 2-2-1 7 pts

6) Portland (Currently 10th) - 2-2-1 7 pts

7) Rochester (Currently 2nd) - 1-1-3 6 pts

8) Toronto (Currently 12th) - 1-1-3 6 pts

9) Atlanta (Currently 7th) - 1-3-1 4 pts

10) Montreal (Currently 1st) - 1-3-1 4 pts

11) Virginia Beach (Currently 8th) - 1-4-0 3 pts

12) Puerto Rico (Currently 9th) - 0-3-2 2 pts

Not only does Miami FC own the best record in the league over the past five games, but their last time out they spanked the Atlanta Silverbacks 7-1 on Sunday. In that game Romario had 3 goals and an assist, Sean Fraser had 2 goals and 2 assists, and Diego Walsh netted the other two goals. And that was without Mario "Loco" Rodriguez who came out early in Miami's previous game versus Atlanta. Rodriguez is Miami's second leading scorer behind Romario this season.

While Minnesota's hot streak is too little, too late for their playoffs hopes, teams like Miami, Seattle, and Vancouver appear to be getting hot at the right time while Rochester and Montreal appear to be going in the wrong direction.

But, the teams that are really hurting right now are Atlanta, Virginia Beach, and Puerto Rico who are all seeing their playoff hopes fade right before their eyes.

More on Dempsey versus MLS

This is American Soccer

I'm a big fan of Adam Spangler and his blog. And his latest piece has me nodding in agreement.

While I sort of understand MLS' attempts to squeeze every last penny out of European clubs for talented players like Dempsey, I really wonder if in the long run they aren't doing themselves more harm than good.

Exhibit A would be MLS turning down Benfica's offer for Eddie Johnson when he was hot and then Eddie gets hurt and we know the rest of that sad tale to date.

Add in that players are getting ticked off at MLS and perhaps the US Soccer hierarchy and this is bad news, IMO.

Gulati heading to Europe to interview candidates

Washington Post

There has been very little buzz lately about who the next head coach of the US Men's National Team will be.

Now comes word that Sunil Gulati and Dan Flynn are headed across the pond to interview some unnamed candidates for the opening.

I hope they make a decision sometime soon because I miss the arguments over who should be the next head man for the US Nats!

Mo's the man in TO

Toronto FC.com

Mo Johnston got whacked in NY after the Red Bull takeover and now he's been hired as the first coach in the history of Toronto FC.

While some are saying he's a retread and others were expecting a bigger name, I think it's a decent hire. I don't believe that Mo ever got a real fair shot in NY and that this should be the real test for what kind of coach he is.

Only time will tell, but as far as retreads go, I think Toronto could have done far worse than Johnston.

Colorado Rapids lay the sod down in their new stadium

Colorado Rapids.com

Colorado's new stadium is looking quite nice. I know a lot of Rhinos fans might be jealous of the fact that their new stadium has a nice sized roof over the side sections.

Hopefully their new digs will help their attendance woes.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to news@soccersam.com. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.