MLS Cup holder Los Angeles starts the season atop the Rankings after a 4-0 victory over Chicago on Sunday.1. Los Angeles – Who needs Landon Donovan when Mike Magee is still around to score goals?
2. Sporting Kansas City – The first half in Chester served as a warning. The second half showed why Sporting merits its place among the league's best teams.
3. Real Salt Lake – Another season-opening win at San Jose underscored RSL's ability to evolve without suffering a drop in production. The task gets a bit easier when Alvaro Saborio remains to lead the line.
4. Houston – The home dominance will come under severe scrutiny when Santos Laguna visits BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday night.
5. Montréal – This is the version of Alessandro Nesta that everyone expected to see last season.
6. Vancouver – Whitecaps boss Martin Rennie can point to his enviable depth at center back all he wants in the wake of Jay DeMerit's Achilles injury. Johnny Leverón and Brad Rusin might step into the breach capably, but they can't replace everything DeMerit contributed to the side on and off the field.
7. San Jose – Even the Supporters' Shield holders will struggle a bit when some of their key pieces – including Steven Beitashour, Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart – aren't available to feature.
8. Columbus – With Andy Gruenebaum in net and Federico Higuaín in the final third, the Crew always possesses a chance to snatch a result. The question is whether their teammates can provide enough support to ensure points arrive regularly.
9. Seattle – Emanuel Villa's absence with a calf complaint hands Sounders FC a slight boost ahead of the difficult CONCACAF Champions League tie against Tigres on Wednesday night. Now Seattle must improve considerably from the defeat to Montréal on Saturday in order to emerge with the necessary result.
10. D.C. United – Perhaps United will lobby to remove any trips to Houston from its schedule next year.
11. FC Dallas – FCD needed to defeat Colorado at home. And it did. But plenty of work still remains.
12. New York – Three goals on the road simply has to lead to three points. Full stop.
13. Portland – The stirring comeback provides plenty of cause for optimism, but the Timbers must shore up those concerns at the back in order to churn out results on a regular basis. One potential silver lining: Mikaël Silvestre won't play a first half like that again.
14. Chicago – Good team, bad result to start the season. Now the Fire must engineer a response against New England on Saturday night.
15. New England – Eighteen teams played last weekend. And this weekend will show what the one exception learned from the others.
16. Colorado – Get well soon, Matt Pickens.
17. Philadelphia – This youthful group will benefit from experiences like the opening day defeat to Sporting Kansas City. But it must find a way to push onwards from those setbacks and rectify the concerns – particularly in front of goal – presented within them.
18. Toronto FC – First step for TFC: forming a squad more than one or two days before matchday.
19. Chivas USA – It has to get better at some point, right?