It's midsummer, which means Major League Soccer's All-Star Game and European teams' preseason American tours are in full swing. This week, Chelsea is in Seattle, PSG joins the Blues in New York and Liverpool is in Toronto. For a full schedule of friendlies, see the MLS website.
Meanwhile, on the league front, teams are starting to position themselves for the playoffs. Balancing a congested schedule with tired legs becomes more of a factor now, as players reach the mid-season slog. For players, it's hard to find meaning in a July game in Montreal or a tough trip to Texas, but it's the results now that will matter come November.
Last week: 18.
With Marco di Vaio's chances at forward, the Impact was looking for more than a 2-1 loss in Philadelphia, and likely would have had more if it were not for the heroics of Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath. The Impact can take encouragement from its opportunities, though.
This week: vs. New England, Wednesday, 6 p.m.; vs. Houston, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Last week: 17.
From the first minute, Columbus was under pressure on Saturday against Kansas City as Sporting scored an early goal. As it pressed for an equalizer, the Crew gave up a second on a counter-attack and the result was Columbus' third loss in four games.
This week: vs. D.C., Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Last week: 16.
Stephen McCarthy is the latest MLS player to be bitten by the concussion bug and the Revolution staff is handling the situation as well as it can. Coach Jay Heaps is saying all the right things, as he knows what is at stake — he was on the team when Taylor Twellman's career ended because of a mishandled concussion.
This week: at Montreal, Wednesday, 6 p.m.; at Kansas City, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Last week: 19.
Toronto might not have much left to play for this season, but the Reds are still making some waves with recent results. Last week, Toronto won two one-goal games to double its number of wins on the season.
This week: vs. Colorado, Wednesday, 5 p.m.
Last week: 13.
Look at it this way: Sure, Portland lost 5-3, but at least the Timbers scored three. That matched their output in the first game of the season, and it was just the fifth time since then that Portland has scored more than one goal in a game.
This week: at Chivas, Wednesday, 2 p.m.; at Dallas, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Last week: 15.
Goalkeeper Zac MacMath recovered from giving up a soft goal in the Open Cup the way world-class goalkeepers do — by winning the next game for his team. New Impact Designated Player Marco di Vaio couldn't find a way through MacMath, and the Union took a one-goal win from the expansion team.
This week: at New York, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN).
Last week: 14.
The 14-game winless streak in all competitions is finally over, albeit just barely, thanks to an 81st-minute winner from Fabian Castillo. Perhaps the acquisition of Julian de Guzman from Toronto can add some more stability and help Dallas take better care of the ball than it has in recent games.
This week: at San Jose, Wednesday, 9 p.m. MDT (NBC Sports Network); vs. Portland, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Last week: 9.
Colorado has lost five of its last six games, and with Los Angeles surging ahead of the Rapids, a gap is opening up in the standings between fifth and sixth in the West. The Rocky Mountain Cup match-up in Salt Lake on Saturday is a must-win.
This week: at Toronto, Wednesday , 5 p.m.; at Salt Lake, Saturday, 8 p.m. (CW 30/ESPN 700).
Last week: 12.
BBVA Compass Stadium is officially a fortress; Houston has played eight games in its new home, and it hasn't lost yet. Two more home games await this week, and two wins would put the Dynamo back into playoff contention.
This week: vs. Kansas City, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.; at Montreal, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Last week: 10.
Chivas got the week off last week to consider how it will handle a visit from the Portland Timbers and a rivalry match against the Galaxy. It also gave Chivas' corps of injured players — there are a few — time to recover a little bit.
This week: vs. Portland, Wednesday, 2 p.m.; at Los Angeles, Saturday, 8 p.m.
Last week: 11.
Suddenly, the Galaxy is four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, winning three of its last five. A five-goal outburst in Portland, including two from David Beckham, delivered the latest result.
This week: at Vancouver, Wednesday, 8 p.m.; vs. Chivas, Saturday, 8 p.m.
Last week: 7.
In the Sebastien Le Toux-Dane Richards deal with New York, the Red Bulls were the obvious winners. Couple that with two tough road losses and the acquisition of a very low-profile Designated Player in Kenny Miller, and things don't look great in Vancouver right now.
This week: vs. Los Angeles, Wednesday, 8 p.m.; vs. San Jose, Sunday, 5 p.m.
Last week: 8.
Perhaps nobody in the league responds to being benched like Fredy Montero, who scored the game-tying goal in New York to deliver a point to Seattle. His last goal came back in May, in Vancouver — also when he came off the bench.
This week: vs. Chelsea FC, Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Last week: 3.
Tempers flared and frustrations were obvious as Real Salt Lake found no joy in its travels to San Jose. Kyle Beckerman's red card will see him suspended for the Rocky Mountain Cup game this weekend.
This week: vs. Colorado, Saturday, 8 p.m. (CW 30/ESPN 700).
Last week: 6.
Chicago had been shut out in two straight games prior to Saturday's contest against Vancouver, but the Fire got a 10th-minute goal from Pavel Pardo and held on despite losing Arne Friedrich to two yellow cards. After the last couple of games, the Fire needed to grind out a win, and it did.
This week: at New York, Wednesday, 11 a.m.
Last week: 2.
Goalkeeper Bill Hamid's red card against Houston is what turned that game from close to no contest. Until that incident, it was an even match-up, but after the 17th-minute sending off, Houston destroyed D.C.
This week: at Columbus, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Last week: 4.
Things are getting a little rocky in New York, as the Red Bulls have only won one of their last five games. That streak nearly ended against Seattle, but the home team couldn't hold a 2-1 lead after coming from behind against the Sounders.
This week: vs. Chicago, Wednesday, 11 a.m.; vs. Philadelphia, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN).
Last week: 5.
Sporting is one of only four MLS clubs with records over .500 on the road, which may come in handy at unbeaten-at-home Houston this weekend. Kansas City beat Columbus 2-0 in Ohio last weekend, which should give the team confidence.
This week: at Houston, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.; vs. New England, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Last week: 1.
There's not much to say about the Earthquakes right now other than what is obvious to everybody: They're winning like crazy and in all situations. The key for San Jose is sustaining its run and not losing form like Kansas City did after its unbeaten start.
This week: vs. Dallas, Wednesday, 9 p.m. MDT (NBC Sports Network); at Vancouver, Sunday, 5 p.m.