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New York holds off Los Angeles in the race for second after a 4-0 road victory at D.C. United last Thursday.

1. Real Salt Lake – Telling stat: RSL sits three points behind league-leading Los Angeles with four games in hand. (1)

2. New York – Speaking of games in hand (two, in this instance), the Red Bulls edge out the Galaxy for second place this week after an impressive showing at D.C. United on Thursday... (4)

3. Los Angeles – ...though the Galaxy will feel its four-point advantage (in two more games) and its 3-0 romp over Portland on Saturday provides the foundation for a higher spot on the board. (3)

4. Philadelphia – Peter Nowak will have Saturday's match against San Jose circled as an opportunity to substantially increase the Union's modest haul of four goals in five matches. (2)

5. Seattle – How will Sounders FC cope without its most dynamic player? Steve Zakuani's absence will heap more pressure onto Fredy Montero and Mauro Rosales to provide consistent doses of incisiveness. (7)

6. Houston – A 1-1 draw in Chicago on Saturday extended the Dynamo's unbeaten run to five matches. With defensively suspect D.C. United set to visit on Friday, Dominic Kinnear will expect his side to continue its fine recent form. (8)

7. Colorado – Gary Smith will have to weigh his options on the right with Brian Mullan facing a lengthy ban. There are enough choices, but none of the possible replacements – even if Jamie Smith flips sides and creates a vacancy on the left – boasts Mullan's experience. The balance in the wide areas could suffer as a result. (5)

8. Columbus – Those two dropped points in Toronto could prove costly. (6)

9. FC Dallas – Is Eric Avila consistent enough to replace David Ferreira in the FC Dallas starting XI? (12)

10. New England – Benny Feilhaber noticeably improved the Revs' passing game upon his arrival. (16)

11. Portland – After suffering through a thrashing by the Galaxy, the Timbers will return to the friendly confines of JELD-WEN Field to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday. Not exactly a reprieve, even with RSL's midweek exertions. (9)

12. D.C. United – Good news: Andy Najar will see the field this week. Bad news: He'll probably feature most prominently in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match against New England tonight. (13)

13. Chicago – Diego Chaves can score. Patrick Nyarko and Marco Pappa can create dangerous situations in the wide areas. Everything else feels a bit up in the air at this point. (14)

14. Sporting Kansas City – It's all about survival for Sporting at this point. There are enough positives from the run of play to suggest that Sporting can turn its season around by cutting out the dismissals and grasping every point possible from this long road trip. (15)

15. Chivas USA – The Red-and-White has done well to claim points – six in four games – during one of the more favorable stretches in its schedule. Robin Fraser's side would be well advised to snatch a victory against New England on Saturday before running through a deadly gauntlet – at Real Salt Lake, at New York, v. Los Angeles – next month. (18)

16. Vancouver – In five home matches, the Whitecaps have picked up just six points. That rate of return simply won't get the job done. (11)

17. Toronto FC – Tony Tchani's improper dismissal undermined TFC's efforts against Columbus, but Aron Winter has done a nice job of cobbling his parts together and grinding out results. (17)

18. San Jose – Frank Yallop has some tinkering to do before the Earthquakes travel to PPL Park on Saturday. (10)

Kyle McCarthy writes the Monday MLS Breakdown and frequently writes opinion pieces during the week for Goal.com. He also covers the New England Revolution for the Boston Herald and MLSsoccer.com. Contact him with your questions or comments at kyle.mccarthy@goal.com and follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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