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Five MLS clashes on Independence Day
by Ridge Mahoney, July 4th, 2007 7AM

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Five games on Independence Day and a Thursday night ESPN2 matchup gives every MLS team except New England a slice of midweek action. Of course, why would the Revolution, of all teams, play at home on Independence Day? Ridge Mahoney previews the action ...

Kansas City (6-4-3) hosts D.C. United (6-4-2) at 1 p.m. ET (Direct Kick) with both teams capable of taking over first place in the Eastern Conference from the Revs. The Wizards hammered D.C., 4-2, at RFK May 13 with four different players scoring the goals. Only one of the scorers won't be available, as Eddie Johnson is on Copa America duty. D.C. midfielder Ben Olsen is also at the Copa.

Western Conference leader FC Dallas (8-6-2) is missing three players to international duty, and so is Chivas USA (6-4-2) for their meeting at Pizza Hut Park (6:30 p.m. ET, HDNet, Direct Kick). Maykel Galindo scored in the 51st minute and Ante Razov sealed a 2-0 at victory at Home Depot May 26 by beating stranded keeper Dario Sala from midfield in stoppage time.

Colorado (4-7-3), winless in the last six games after tying Chicago 0-0 last week, hosts the streaking Columbus Crew (4-4-6), which has won three in a row at 9:30 ET (Direct Kick). Pablo Mastroeni is out with an adductor strain, but Guillermo Barros Schelotto has been upgraded to probable (hamstring strain) after sitting out last weekend's 1-0 defeat of Red Bull New York.

Don't look now, but with 20 points, just two behind New England, Columbus can also move into first place with a victory.

Two teams with much more modest aspirations than first place - as in escaping last place -- tangle in the Rocky Mountains when Real Salt Lake (1-5-6) hosts Toronto FC (4-7-2) at 10 p.m. ET (Direct Kick). RSL won its first game of the season last week, beating D.C. United, 2-1, on a pair of goals by Robbie Findley, one of many players to be traded by Los Angeles this season (see next item). Toronto is in the midst of a six-game road trip mandated by the FIFA U-20 World Cup; this is match No. 3, so far, it has lost to New England, 3-0, and tied Kansas City, 1-1.

Out west, the Galaxy (2-5-3) has changed yet again prior to the visit of Chicago (4-6-3) at 10:30 p.m. ET (Direct Kick) by trading Nate Jaqua, supposedly the dream targetman of David Beckham, to Houston for Kelly Gray, who has played right back and holding midfield for the Dynamo.

This is the first meeting of the teams this season; last year Chicago earned a 1-1 tie at Home Depot.

Houston (7-5-2) hosts New York (6-4-3) Thursday night (8 p.m. ESPN2). A Jozy Altidore goal, the only goal of the game, decided their April 21 meeting despite RBNY playing a man down for 54 minutes following the ejection of Clint Mathis.

Altidore is on U-20 duty in Canada; the Dynamo is missing midfielder Ricardo Clark, who scored for the U.S. in its 3-1 loss to Paraguay Monday in the Copa America.



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