Prior to this MLS season, few expected the Columbus Crew to have the view from the top of the Eastern Conference mountain after a roster overhaul that saw numerous veterans get swapped out for unheralded youngsters.
Yet with the calendar turning to August and after a win at perhaps the toughest venue in the league, that's exactly where Columbus stands.
Eddie Gaven and Tommy Heinemann scored in the opening 10 minutes, and the Crew took advantage of a Jamison Olave-less Real Salt Lake to grab a 2-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium and capture sole possession of first place.
Robbie Rogers set up both goals with crosses from the left, as the Crew took a three-point lead over the Philadelphia Union, which has two games in hand, in the East.
Here's a brief recap of the other MLS results this weekend:
COLORADO RAPIDS 2, PHILADELPHIA UNION 1
The Rapids continue to thrive without Conor Casey in the lineup, as Sanna Nyassi and Pablo Mastroeni scored to hand the Union their first home loss of the season.
Roger Torres added a nifty consolation goal in stoppage time, but it wasn't enough for Philadelphia to beat Colorado, which improved to 2-0-1 since Casey went down with a ruptured Achilles' tendon.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 4, VANCOUVER WHITECAPS 0
Landon Donovan turned in a trademark second half, scoring two goals and assisting on another, as the Galaxy broke open a tight game with a late goal barrage in what turned out to be a simple victory at Empire Field.
Moments after Shea Salinas thought he had scored after a nice individual effort, only to have his shot hit the post, Sean Franklin lofted a ball over the top toward Donovan. Defender Michael Boxall slipped, allowing Donovan to coast in on goal alone, where he beat Joe Cannon with a left-footed blast. Donovan added a penalty kick after a Jordan Harvey handball then set up Franklin by the far post to cap his night. Adam Cristman added a late insurance goal for the Galaxy, who extended their unbeaten streak to 14 games.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY 1, NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 1
Teal Bunbury came off the bench to score for the first time in 18 games, notching the equalizer as Sporting KC stretched its unbeaten streak to 13 games.
Revolution defender A.J. Soares was sent off in the 82nd minute after a somewhat controversial red card. He was deemed to have denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity for C.J. Sapong, but replays showed that the foul wasn't as clear-cut as referee Terry Vaughn made it seem.
With the man advantage, KC applied more pressure, and Bunbury found himself open in the area after an Omar Bravo pass to level the score. Rajko Lekic scored the goal for New England, which went 1-0-2 on its three-game road trip through D.C., Colorado and Kansas City.
HOUSTON DYNAMO 3, SEATTLE SOUNDERS 1
The Dynamo snapped Seattle's nine-game unbeaten run with a thorough victory at Robertson Field. Colin Clark opened the scoring for Houston, and Brian Ching notched a brace to lift the Dynamo.
Seattle's Alvaro Fernandez scored from the penalty spot to slice what was a 2-0 deficit in half heading into halftime, but the Sounders' offense couldn't find its recent form and the club lost some ground in the highly competitive Western Conference.
D.C. UNITED 2, SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 0
Dwayne De Rosario loves burning his former teams.
De Rosario scored twice in the second half to help D.C. avenge an earlier embarassment this season with a complete victory in San Jose.
The centerback tandem of Brandon McDonald and Dejan Jakovic started for the first time together, and Bill Hamid turned in the clean sheet, doing so despite Andy Najar being sent off for denying an OGO for Joey Gjertsen in the 70th minute. Neither Charlie Davies nor Josh Wolff played for D.C.
PORTLAND TIMBERS 2, TORONTO FC 2
Danny Koevermans and newcomer Peri Marosevic scored in a 10-minute span late in the second half to erase a 2-0 deficit and help TFC force Portland to settle for a draw at Jeld-Wen Field.
Eddie Johnson opened his Timbers account with a first-half goal, and Jack Jewsbury added one from the penalty spot to put Portland in the driver's seat, but to the Reds' credit, they battled back in a tough venue to notch their 10th draw of the season. Joao Plata had a hand in both goals for Toronto.
FC DALLAS 1, CHIVAS USA 0
Marvin Chavez' first-half shot took a deflection off former FC Dallas defender Heath Pearce and found its way past Dan Kennedy for the only goal at Pizza Hut Park.
The win helped FCD keep pace with Los Angeles in the West, as Dallas remains three points behind in the race for the Supporters' Shield with both teams having played 23 matches. RSL has four games in hand on both teams and trails L.A. by 12 points.
What do you think about the Crew's season so far? Which results from this weekend stood out for you?
Share your thoughts below.