With that in mind, we're back with our weekly report on which US and Canada hopefuls are enhancing their national team prospects and who is currently tumbling down the depth chart.
Dom Dwyer – It took over a month, but the big-money new guy has finally broken out in Orlando (for the second time in his career, that is). Dwyer coolly nodded home his first two Lions goals since his 2013 USL loan stint to lead the visitors to a 3-3 derby share at Atlanta. If that wasn't enough, he also served a textbook cross for Cyle Larin to bag Orlando's third, earning a second assist to his strike partner in as many games.
Kekuta Manneh – With the US attack suddenly stuttering, Manneh seems to have finally found his feet in Columbus. The winger bamboozled Jake Nerwinski to set up Ola Kamara's early equalizer in the 2-2 draw against old employers Vancouver on Saturday, then raced up the gut to bury a long-range bullet for a temporary lead. His weekend output gives the Crew SC youngster two goals and as many helpers in his last 138 minutes of action.
Kellyn Acosta – Let's be clear: it's not that Acosta has been bad during FC Dallas' nine-game winless plunge out of the playoff places. He has, however, clearly been a shade off across all aspects of his game. His metronome passing, defensive work in the center of the park and ability to pressure the opposing goal in one way or another have all appeared increasingly flatter in recent weeks. Is Acosta distracted by thoughts of a move to Europe? Or is he simply being worn down by his team's run of malaise and bad luck?
Tosaint Ricketts – With both Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco out on Saturday, the veteran forward proved he could still find the net. He scored two goals in Toronto FC’s 4-0 romp at LA (his first MLS strikes since May) and put all four of his shots on target as the Reds continued their march towards the Supporters’ Shield.
Marcel de Jong – The veteran left back seemed almost persona non grata in Vancouver until returning from Gold Cup duty in July. Since then, the Whitecaps have won three of his four starts on their way to the top spot in the West. On Wednesday, one of his five successful long ball completions set up runner Yordy Reyna, who scored to put the hosts on their way to a 3-0 victory over Minnesota. De Jong is also doing business at the back, averaging an impressive 17.5 total defensive stops per game during this span.
Anthony Jackson-Hamel – Since a huge outing in their Aug. 19 win at Real Salt Lake, the Impact striker has gone silent. Jackson-Hamel has not put so much as a single shot on target over his last three outings, a playing span of 215 minutes. When presented with a big stoppage time chance to level matters against Minnesota on Saturday, he clumsily nodded well over from 10 yards despite being criminally unmarked.