Teams at the top of Major League Soccer stumbled last week, with three of last week’s top four in the power rankings failing to win. With each team having only one league game in the midst of the All-Star Game, a result last weekend was vital. Another international distraction awaited MLS clubs this week — well, some of them, at least — in CONCACAF Champions League play. Real Salt Lake made its 2012 premier in the competition Tuesday, in a game televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel. RSL lost 1-0 to Herediano of Costa Rica. With the foreign distractions coming almost weekly, focus will be essential to maintain momentum in league play.
Last week: 19. It keeps getting worse in Portland. Even against other bottom-feeders, the Timbers can’t get a result, calling into serious question the decision to fire former head coach John Spencer.
This week: vs. Dallas, Sunday, 5 p.m. (NBC Sports Network).
Last week: 17. The Revs will feel wronged by the officiating in their 2-1 loss in Philadelphia last weekend. However, if Matt Reis doesn’t let Freddy Adu’s penalty kick go between his hands, New England takes at least a point from PPL Park.
This week: vs. Kansas City, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Last week: 18. Marco di Vaio got off the mark against New York with a nice left-footed finish to the far post against Bill Gaudette. Montreal sprang to a quick two-goal lead right after halftime and didn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the game.
This week: vs. Philadelphia, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Last week: 14. Toronto may have lost last weekend, but it feels a lot less depressing when it’s a more sporadic result, as it has been since Paul Mariner took overhead coaching duties. The team has had a major turnaround since Mariner was instated.
This week: at Chicago, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Last week: 13. Colorado has now lost six games in a row, matching a franchise record. Unless something drastic changes, that streak will be extended against Salt Lake this weekend.
This week: vs. Salt Lake, Saturday, 7 p.m. (ABC 4/ESPN 700).
Last week: 15. After going down 1-0 at home to New England, the Union got some help from referee Edvin Juresevic to come from behind. Philadelphia closed out the game well to defeat the Revs after taking advantage of a fortunate penalty kick call.
This week: at Montreal, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Last week: 12. Although Dallas continues to lose, head coach Schellas Hyndman continues to stick to his guns regarding team discipline. He’s chosen to make an example of Brek Shea after an emotional outburst a couple weeks ago — Shea hasn’t even made the bench since.
This week: at Portland, Sunday, 5 p.m. (NBC Sports Network).
Last week: 16. Perhaps Columbus hasn’t been getting enough credit in these rankings. The Crew has gotten some good results recently, including its 2-1 win in Kansas City last weekend.
This week: at D.C., Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Last week: 11. There’s no other way to describe it — Chivas’ games are boring this season. At least the Goats have been getting some results, such as a drab 1-0 win in Portland last week.
This week: No games.
Last week: 10. As BBVA Compass Stadium continues to be a fortress, Houston has started getting results on the road as well. A gritty 2-0 win in Toronto should give the team confidence going home to face East-leading New York.
This week: vs. New York, Friday, 6 p.m. MDT (NBC Sports Network).
Last week: 9. Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning returned for the Sounders, marking another step toward being 100 percent as a club. Christian Tiffert, a new Designated Player signing from Germany, should be in the lineup next weekend.
This week: vs. Los Angeles, Sunday, 7 p.m. (ESPN2).
Last week: 7. Jay DeMerit’s 90-minute performance in the All-Star Game took its toll during the Whitecaps’ last game in Salt Lake. He looked out of sorts and tired all game long.
This week: No games.
Last week: 8. The Galaxy keeps getting results, climbing steadily after a terrible start to the season. Next, Los Angeles visits Seattle, the site of an embarrassing loss earlier this year.
This week: at Seattle, Sunday, 7 p.m. (ESPN2).
Last week: 6. Although it dropped two points in the standings in the last minute of its game in San Jose, the Fire did get a tie against a tough team in its own stadium. Chicago returns home to face upstart Toronto this weekend.
This week: vs. Toronto, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Last week: 5. Off from league play, D.C. tied Paris Saint Germain at RFK Stadium. Fans got an up-close look at new PSG signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who netted the French club’s only goal inside the first five minutes.
This week: vs. Columbus, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Last week: 3. Just as the other top three teams from last week’s rankings, Kansas City could pull out a win. It’s not often that Sporting loses at home, so Columbus’ result against it is all the more impressive.
This week: at New England, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Last week: 1. The Red Bulls ran into a Montreal team hungry for a result in Canada and ended up falling. It wasn’t the best start to a road trip, as New York has to go to Houston next, possibly the least hospitable away venue in the league.
This week: at Houston, Friday, 6 p.m. MDT (NBC Sports Network).
Last week: 2. It was close, but San Jose again proved its prowess coming from behind, snatching a goal and a tie against Chicago in stoppage time. Steven Lenhart was the hero, appropriately, on wig night at Buck Shaw Stadium.
This week: No games.
Last week: 4. Real Salt Lake fought to win at home against Vancouver this weekend, helped by goalkeeper Joe Cannon’s red card. The team’s depth will be tested again with Champions League play starting again.
This week: at Colorado, Saturday, 7 p.m. (ABC 4/ESPN 700).