Major League Soccer's World Cup participants are back in the USA to pick up their domestic season, and made a telling contribution upon their return.
Toronto FC began the week's action, hosting Houston Dynamo in a spiky encounter north of the border on Thursday. The visitors had a goal wrongly disallowed before the hour mark, and both teams went down to ten men a couple of minutes later when Joseph Ngwenya and Nana Attakora clashed angrily and Julian de Guzman got involved to earn himself a walk down the tunnel alongside Ngwenya. A stooping header from Brian Ching gave Houston a 73rd minute lead but it lasted just 12 minutes, Dan Gargan heading the equaliser from a corner. There was another red card for TFC, though as Amadou Sanyang was dismissed in stoppage time.
A horrible second half showing from New England Revolution saw them thrashed 5-0 by Real Salt Lake. Fabian Espindola, lucky to be on the field after a headbutt, opened the scoring in style and Jamison Olave headed in the second in first half stoppage time. Alvaro Saborio grabbed the next two, prodding the first into the top corner from close range and tapping in number four. Late on, returning US international Robbie Findley made it five with a nice solo goal.
A blistering three-minute spell just before half time took Columbus Crew clear at the top of the Eastern conference. Adam Moffat made it 1-0 in the 43rd minute with the easiest goal of his career, but a comedy own goal by Frankie Hejduk drew Chicago Fire level a minute later. Just as stoppage time began, Jason Garey headed the Crew's winner to help them bag a valuable three points.
In Frisco, it took a penalty to separate FC Dallas and Kansas City Wizards. David Ferreira was hauled down in the box by Roger Espinoza and stepped up himself to stroke in an ice-cool spot kick, triggering a remarkably camp celebration.
DC United headed to California to face the San Jose Earthquakes and came away from Buck Shaw with a hard-earned 1-1 draw. Ike Opara thumped the Earthquakes' first goal past Troy Perkins after quarter of an hour, but the league's most promising player won United a point. In the second half, Stephen King's pass found 17-year-old Andy Najar flying past Bobby Convey to volley in past Jon Busch.
Another exciting youngster got on the scoresheet for Philadelphia Union against Chivas USA. Danny Mwanga's in rich scoring form at the moment and it continued with a delicious finish past Zach Thornton. It wasn't enough to win the game, and Chivas' equaliser came before the break in the form of a low drive from fellow rookie Blair Gavin.
Having lost ground to Columbus, New York Red Bulls could only gain one point back against Colorado Rapids. The Rapids' goal came from a fantastic pass from Conor Casey to Omar Cummings, who finished comfortably at the back post. Mehdi Ballouchy then had a goal disallowed slightly controversially and hilariously celebrated with the supporters before realising. The in-form Juan Pablo Angel smashed in the equaliser from close range after a poorly defended corner.
Returning USA stars Landon Donovan linked up to give LA Galaxy the lead against Seattle Sounders inside 20 minutes, Buddle heading in his tenth of the season from a Donovan corner. Few players in MLS strike a ball like Juninho, and he pulled one right out of the very top drawer to make it 2-0 just after the break, only for the Sounders to pull one back thanks to a superb goal by Steve Zakuani. A James Riley own goal made it 3-1 to bank three points for the Galaxy.
That re-establishes LA's nine-point advantage over RSL in the West, with Colorado and FCD on 22 and 21 respectively. Over in the East, the Crew have pulled two points clear of New York with nobody else in sight.
You can see those tables here and watch all the latest action here.