Panning for gold; here comes L.A.

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Our weekly dose of Major League Soccer quick takes, plotlines to watch and Power Rankings.

Around the league, CONCACAF Gold Cup action is wreaking havoc on coaches' lineups. Makeshift starting 11s resulted in some surprising results, and that trend should continue as the regional championship enters its second week. Virtually every squad finds itself without at least one key contributor, although some major players -- such as Dwayne De Rosario and Amado Guevara -- remained with their respective clubs. San Jose is the only team in MLS not to lose a body to the Gold Cup, but having a full roster -- bolstered by the return of Cornell Glen -- didn't help as the squad failed to hold onto a one-goal lead in the dying moments against Real Salt Lake.

The Galaxy's newest member, Alecko Eskandarian, didn't wait long to make a name for himself in Hollywood, scoring the game-winner last weekend against New England. With Landon Donovan scheduled to return to the lineup, Bruce Arena's team, which sits tied with Colorado for fourth place, could be poised to make a run up the Western Conference table. That said, the revelations about the relationship between the U.S. star and David Beckham in Grant Wahl's new Goldenballs book could rip apart the squad before the English star returns from his stint at AC Milan. Could one (or both) be out of L.A. before the season's over?

The Dynamo face a big test on Saturday as the squad -- minus Stuart Holden, Brian Ching and possibly Ricardo Clark -- travels to Qwest Field to play a rested Seattle team that has been virtually flawless at home. A victory, or even a tie, will justify Free Kicks' faith in a team that has been a fixture near the top of our Power Rankings. Another highlight of Week 16 sees Columbus travel to Chicago with first place in the Eastern Conference on the line. And finally, the Galaxy and Chivas USA duke it out for Home Depot Center bragging rights.