There were doubts about whether Marco Di Vaio had enough left in the tank to make an impact in MLS. His ageless displays this season -- including a pair of wonderfully taken goals in the 4-2 victory at New England on Sunday to increase his haul for the season to a league-leading 17 goals -- have rebuffed those theories and sparked Montréal to the top of the Eastern Conference. One maxim apparently holds true for the former Italian international at this stage of his career: once a goalscorer, always a goalscorer. Honorable mention: 11. Philadelphia Union 12. FC Dallas 13. Houston Dynamo 14. San Jose Earthquakes 15. Vancouver Whitecaps 16. Columbus Crew 17. Chivas USA 18. Toronto FC 19. D.C. United --Kyle McCarthy
Need a sign of the palpable tension around Toyota Park at the moment? Fire defender Bakary Soumare cussed out a writer for the club website on Twitter on Saturday night for his assessment of a handball in the 2-1 defeat at Seattle. Next on the docket: Soumare will shift his focus back to the field when New England visits on Saturday.
New England Revolution
Juan Agudelo's return to the training field this week supplied a welcome boost to the Revolution's postseason push. Agudelo suffered a right hamstring strain during a recent trip to Toronto and missed the 4-2 setback to Montreal on Sunday. His presence is a requirement for Jay Heaps' side to claim its first postseason berth since 2009. Next on the docket: Agudelo will strive to return to the squad in time for the excursion to fellow playoff chasers Chicago on Saturday.
The international window could not have worked out any better for the Rapids. Edson Buddle struck with a quarter of an hour to play against his former LA Galaxy teammates to hand Oscar Pareja's side all three points in Carson, Calif. on Saturday. Gabriel Torres then issued a reminder of his quality by tallying twice for Panama on Tuesday in the 2-2 draw with Honduras. Next on the docket: Pareja will reflect on the tempting choices at his disposal ahead of FC Dallas' visit on Saturday night.
Toronto FC proved a particularly helpful guest to JELD-WEN Field over the weekend. Portland first registered a straightforward 4-0 victory to claim its first win in four attempts. The Timbers then managed to procure Max Urruti -- a tangible sign of the disjointed relationship between axed Reds president Kevin Payne and manager Ryan Nelsen -- from TFC in midweek in exchange for Bright Dike, a draft pick and some allocation money. Next on the docket: Urruti will hope to press his claims for a place with his new side when the Timbers travel south to face resurgent Chivas USA on Saturday.
New York Red Bulls
The loss of Tim Cahill (ankle) for the next couple of games will force other players to pick up some of the slack. Thierry Henry always does his part, but unsung midfielders Eric Alexander and Jonny Steele -- both on the scoresheet in the 4-1 victory at Houston on Sunday -- must continue to fulfill their roles, as well, as the Red Bulls jostle for playoff positioning with Montreal and Sporting Kansas City. Next on the docket: Alexander and Steele will hope to influence the game once again when Toronto FC travels to Red Bull Arena on Saturday.
Los Angeles Galaxy
The end of Ireland's World Cup qualifying hopes carries a potential silver lining for the Galaxy: Robbie Keane might decide to focus all of his energies on his club commitments. It would prove a significant boon for the Galaxy to have the influential Keane -- a MLS MVP candidate -- in its ranks for the remainder of the season without interruption. Next on the docket: Keane should return from that unsuccessful trip to Vienna in time for the visit to D.C. United on Saturday.
Marco Di Vaio isn't the only veteran contributor to this Impact outfit. Patrice Bernier and Alessandro Nesta also play key roles for Marco Schällibaum's side. Bernier, as odd as it may sound, might prove even more vital to the efforts with his neat work in midfield and his continued composure from the penalty spot. Next on the docket: Bernier – fresh off a pair of penalties against New England – and the Impact host Columbus on Saturday.
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting manager Peter Vermes placed significant emphasis on improving his depth heading into this season. Even with the loss of Kei Kamara to Middlesbrough, it is clear he met that objective. Case in point: reserve striker Dom Dwyer joined USL PRO side Orlando City on loan last weekend and scored four times (and added an assist) in the wild 7-4 victory over Charlotte. Next on the docket: Dwyer will hope to contribute to the first-team when Sporting hosts Real Esteli in CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday.
The best part about Clint Dempsey's arrival: Seattle already had most of the pieces in place to make a deep run. Sigi Schmid turned this side around after a poor start to the season and watched his players cobble together a wonderful run (seven wins in eight heading into the crunch clash against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night). At this point, the Sounders are genuine MLS Cup contenders. Next on the docket: Seattle will rest over the weekend after inviting RSL to CenturyLink Field on Friday.
Real Salt Lake
Kyle Beckerman's effective turn in the United States midfield on Tuesday revealed his utility to the rest of the country. Beckerman may frustrate some folks with his inability to cover acres of space at the international level, but his astute positioning and his tidy work in possession make him a potential contributor for his country and a vital piece for Real Salt Lake. Next on the docket: Beckerman and his teammates head to Seattle on Friday.