*The U.S. women’s national team continues its march toward the gold medal with a semifinal meeting against Canada today at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, NBC Olympic Soccer Channel and nbcolympics.com. World champion Japan will face France at noon.

The Americans have won nine straight since a 1-1 draw at Japan in April and are 18-1-1 this year, the only defeat coming against the Japanese. Alex Morgan has 19 goals in 19 matches. Canada served as the U.S. opponent in the Olympic send-off match at Rio Tinto Stadium in suburban Salt Lake City, a 2-1 U.S. victory on Amy Rodriguez’s late goal.

The all-time series: USA 43 victories, three defeats, five draws, with a 160-33 goal difference. In the previous 26 meetings, the Americans have a 22-0-4 record against Canada.

*The Columbus Crew is trying to cope after the death of rookie midfielder Kirk Urso, who passed away early Sunday in Ohio. An autopsy is scheduled today.

*The Seattle Sounders drew 60,908 at CenturyLink Field for the 4-0 stomping of the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday evening. The David Beckham factor came into play in a big way. But to appreciate the popularity of the Sounders, consider this: In the past four matches at RFK Stadium, D.C. United has totaled 61,856 spectators.

*Where’s Charlie Davies these days? The former U.S. national team forward, who spent last season in Washington, plays for Randers in the Danish top division. On Sunday, he entered at the start of the second half during a 2-1 loss at Midtjylland.

*Sami Khedira scored with his face to lift Real Madrid to a 2-1 victory over Santos Laguna in a Las Vegas friendly. Watch:

*Note to fellow MLS media: When an international superstar says he might someday play in the league, he is paying lip service. It’s not news. What’s Cristiano Ronaldo supposed to say? “No, I hate America and would never consider living here”? The responses are as predictable as a club announcing a player has undergone “successful” surgery.

*Notable attendance for an international friendly doesn’t mean a city is ready to support an MLS club. One-off matches featuring global brands do not ensure sustainability on a weekly-monthly-annual basis. Two very different situations.

That said, on those rare occasions when a marquee match does come to town, you need to sell it. Vegas failed to draw 30,000 for Ronaldo and Real Madrid. Santos Laguna was a late replacement for Juventus, but like some of its Mexican rivals, Santos has a following in the States. Santos also features Vegas native Herculez Gomez. A kickoff temperature of 102 degrees didn’t help the cause, but was anyone surprised for an outdoor event in August in the desert?

Ok, end of grumpy morning rants. Enjoy the women’s match.....