MLS Cup holders Los Angeles kick off this season's rankings top spot despite a season-opening 3-1 home defeat to Real Salt Lake.1. Los Angeles – The defeat to Real Salt Lake will count as the cost of doing business if Bruce Arena's side dispatches Toronto FC to book a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal place in midweek.
2. Real Salt Lake – In case anyone somehow forgot, the Claret-and-Cobalt pose a real threat to the Galaxy's Western Conference supremacy.
3. Seattle – At this juncture of the season, Sounders FC can and should focus their attentions on the midweek toil ahead in Torreón.
4. Sporting Kansas City – Based on the first weekend of play, this side is once again the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
5. FC Dallas – Imagine if FCD had located a useful center forward last season. Or the season before that one, for that matter.
6. Vancouver – What a difference an offseason can make.
7. Portland – ESPN's Adrian Healey on Kris Boyd after Boyd scored the second goal in the Timbers' 3-1 win over Philadelphia on Monday night: “New country, same currency.”
8. Houston – There are more than a few teams that would like to see their strikers do what André Hainault did – a deft touch, a tight turn and a resounding finish – to score his game-winner at Chivas USA on Sunday.
9. Colorado – Quincy Amarikwa showed why he still manages to plug away in the league by scoring a delightful goal in the 2-0 victory over Columbus.
10. San Jose – A win is a win, but the Earthquakes must perform to a higher standard in order to wring some points out of Saturday's clash with Houston at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
11. Chicago – All of the action this weekend must have left Fire boss Frank Klopas with plenty of hope regarding his side's chances for a playoff berth this season.
12. Toronto FC – The 2-2 home draw with Los Angeles on Wednesday leaves TFC with ample CONCACAF Champions League work still to do at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday.
13. New York – New season, same old series of questions about chemistry and player selection. In this particular instance, it's probably wise to give the Red Bulls a pass until Rafa Márquez returns.
14. D.C. United – For a team with plenty of attacking talent, United looked awfully punchless in its opener.
15. Columbus – “Too many guys had bad games,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com after the 2-0 defeat at Colorado on Saturday. “We have a good combination of veterans and young players but at some point the players have got to click and they’ve got to get better.”
16. Philadelphia – It is somewhat jarring to see a Peter Nowak team drop its defensive concentration levels so noticeably and so repeatedly.
17. New England – The evolution from direct to possession-oriented play may take some time, it seems.
18. Chivas USA – Two positives from Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Houston: Dan Kennedy appears capable of standing on his head to steal points and Osvaldo Minda looks like a find in central midfield.
19. Montréal – It could be a harsh introduction to MLS for the Impact if those defensive concerns are not addressed in short order.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org follow him on Twitter by clicking here.