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Real Salt Lake remains atop the heap in this Open Cup-infused edition of the Goal.com MLS rankings.

1. Real Salt Lake – A meeting between teams from Salt Lake City and suburban Minneapolis raises just one question: is this the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup or the Delta U.S. Open Cup? (1)

2. New York – No chance Hans Backe skips out on a trip to Charleston. (2)

3. Sporting Kansas City – Add Orlando City to the list of teams to avoid in the Open Cup. (5)

4. D.C. United – How many times did United executives have to read the third-round draw before they actually believed they'd have to go on the road to face Richmond? (6)

5. San Jose – The Gus Johnson experiment prompts another suggestion ahead of Fort Lauderdale's visit: why not partner him with Ray Hudson? One good reason: the radio equipment might spontaneously fry due to the level of excitement. (4)

6. Seattle – Smoothing out the way to another potential Cascadia date with Portland in the fourth round makes cutting the check to Atlanta all that much easier. (3)

7. Houston – The trip to San Antonio has all of the makings – a considerable crowd, a seasoned coach and a sizzling opponent unbeaten in six NASL matches – of a potential cup upset (7)

8. Vancouver – Martin Rennie and Paul Ritchie can use this break to further discuss Hearts' recent romp over Hibs in the Scottish Cup final. (8)

9. Colorado – Fingers crossed that the Rapids have a chance to hit MacDinton's on the way out of Tampa. (10)

10. Chicago – Will the Fire players wear their old indoor shoes when they trek up to Pontiac to face the Mid-Michigan Bucks or will they decide that practicality outweighs nostalgia? (9)

11. Columbus – Cincinnati and Cleveland are probably having a laugh about this Ohio rivalry match between the Crew and the Dayton Dutch Lions. (16)

12. Chivas USA – If the Red-and-White attempt to slog up the 405 and the 101 at the wrong time of day, then they'd be better off swapping out the trip to Ventura for a plane ride somewhere else. Maybe the scenic and windy drive up the Pacific Coast Highway makes more sense, though it probably isn't the best idea to take a coach bus along that path. No matter the route, Robin Fraser's side needs to win to make the trip worthwhile. (13)

13. Portland – A date between a club from Thousand Oaks and a host side named the Timbers ensures no third-round tie has ever boasted so many prominent arboreal ties. (17)

14. New England – Most players in MLS wouldn't mind a mid-season detour to an island, but nearly all of them would reassess their stance on the matter when told the excursion involves a trip to City Island in Harrisburg and an overnight coach ride back to Massachusetts. (15)

15. Montréal – Too busy celebrating Marco Di Vaio's arrival to care about some American cup nonsense. (12)

16. FC Dallas – A Texas derby with either Houston or San Antonio awaits in the fourth round if FCD can dispatch Charlotte at home. (11)

17. Los Angeles – At this stage of the season, the Galaxy would have preferred just about any Open Cup draw other than a cross-country flight to face the Carolina Railhawks (and Trinidad & Tobago international striker Darryl Roberts) in front of a sell-out crowd. (14)

18. Philadelphia – Rochester offers up the ideal opponent given the amount of rage surging through Union supporters at the moment. (18)

19. Toronto FC – Who needs the Open Cup when the Voyageurs' Cup is already in the bag? (19)

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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