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Cali classic returns to Stanford
by Ridge Mahoney, June 29th, 2013 3:49AM

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TAGS:  los angeles galaxy, mls, san jose earthquakes

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[MLS SCHEDULE: Week 18] A year ago, the LA Galaxy was trying to recover from a miserable start to its season as it traveled north to play archrival San Jose at Stanford Stadium.

The Quakes prevailed in a 4-3 barnburner, rallying from a 3-1 deficit to topple the defending champion on their way to capturing the Supporters’ Shield with the best regular-season record. But in the playoffs, the fifth-place Galaxy upended the Quakes, 3-2, on aggregate on its way to a second straight MLS Cup title.

The renewal of their rivalry Saturday at Stanford Stadium (10:30 p.m., MLS Direct Kick) finds the Galaxy again struggling but the Quakes faring much worse. Counting the two playoff games, last year’s meetings produced 21 goals, which is far more than the 15 scored by San Jose (4-7-6) so far this season in 17 games. It led MLS with 72 goals in 2012.

Yet the seventh-place Quakes are only four points out of a playoff spot and six points behind the Galaxy (7-6-3), which ended a three-game losing streak last weekend by scraping past lowly Chivas USA, 1-0. San Jose lost at D.C. United by the same score, marking the first defeat as a head coach incurred by Mark Watson, the former assistant who replaced Frank Yallop three weeks ago.

A crowd of about 50,000 is expected to see the 52nd regular-season meeting between these teams, after which the Quakes Chris Wondolowski and Galaxy’s Landon Donovan will join forces for the USA. A post-game fireworks show likely won’t be the only pyrotechnics on display.

All other games except one on Saturday involve teams crossing over to play the other conference in the last weekend of play prior to the Gold Cup. Eastern Conference foes New York and Houston play on Sunday.

In order of occurrence ...

-- Toronto FC (2-7-6) hosts Western leader Real Salt Lake (9-5-3), which has won three in a row. TFC is unbeaten in its last three. (1 p.m. ET, MLS Direct Kick)

-- Winner of two straight games and tied for second in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia (7-5-4) hosts FC Dallas (8-3-5) at PPL Park. Will co-leading scorer Jack McInerney (10 goals) give his fans a memorable Gold Cup sendoff? (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

-- Vancouver (6-5-4) also takes a modest two-game winning streak into its match at RFK Stadium against D.C. United (2-11-3), which broke a club-record 13 game winless streak by beating San Jose. Dwayne De Rosario wasn’t called by Canada for the Gold Cup, and thus is able to play against one of the league’s Canadian teams. (7 p.m. ET, MLS Direct Kick).

-- Montreal (9-3-2) sits atop the Eastern Conference as it faces Colorado (5-7-5), which has lost three in a row. Are MLS execs are shuddering at the prospect of an MLS Cup hosted by Montreal on Dec. 7? (7 p.m. ET, Univision Deportes)

-- Columbus and Sporting Kansas City split their three meetings last year right down the middle at 1-1-1 and the Crew won the only 2012 meeting at Sporting Park, which is where the teams play Saturday. SKC (6-5-5) is barely ahead of the Crew (5-6-5) in the standings, but that distance of three points is enough to leave Columbus in sixth place and out of the playoff tier. (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Direct Kick)

-- Chivas USA (3-10-2) hosts New England (5-5-5) at StubHub Center. Kelyn Rowe is among the Revs’ former UCLA Bruins returning to Southern California as the home team plods ahead in search of answers. (10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Direct Kick)

-- The only Sunday game is an Eastern Conference matchup that may signify a changing of the guard though New York (7-6-4) is only two points ahead of Houston (6-5-5) for their meeting at Red Bull Arena. Are they moving in opposite directions or will the Dynamo again surge in the second half of the season as the Red Bulls falter? (2 p.m., ESPN2).

MLS SCHEDULE, Week 18:
Saturday, June 29
1 pm ET
Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake
5:30 pm ET
Philadelphia vs. FC Dallas, NBCSN
7 pm ET
Montreal vs. Colorado, Univision Dep.
D.C. United vs. Vancouver
8:30 pm ET
Sporting KC vs. Columbus
10:30 pm ET
San Jose vs. LA Galaxy (at Stanford Stadium)
Chivas USA vs. New England

Sunday, June 30
2 pm ET
New York vs. Houston, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes
------------------------------------------------------------
MLS STANDINGS:
Eastern Conference:
PTS TEAM W-L-T +/-

29 Montreal 9-3-2 24/17
25 Philadelphia 7-5-4 25/24
25 New York 7-6-4 23/22
23 Houston 6-4-5 19/16
20 New England 5-5-5 18/13
-----------------------------
20 Columbus 5-5-5 19/18
20 Sporting KC 5-5-5 20/15
18 Chicago 5-7-3 15/21
12 Toronto FC 2-7-6 13/20
9 D.C. United 2-11-3 8/26

Western Conference:
PTS TEAM W-L-T +/-

30 Real Salt Lake 9-5-3 26/16
30 Portland 7-1-9 28/16
29 FC Dallas 8-3-5 25/20
24 LA Galaxy 7-6-3 23/18
22 Vancouver 6-5-4  25/24
-------------------------------
21 Seattle 6-5-3 19/17
20 Colorado 5-7-5 17/19
18 San Jose 4-7-6 15/25
11 Chivas USA 3-10-2 14/30
------------------------------------------------------------
MLS LEADING SCORERS:
G PLAYER (TEAM)
10 Mike Magee (Los Angeles/Chicago)
10 Marco Di Vaio (Montreal)
10 Jack McInerney (Philadelphia)
8 Camilo (Vancouver)
7 Dominic Oduro (Columbus)
7 Claudio Bieler (Sporting KC)
6 Will Johnson (Portland)
6 Robert Earnshaw (Toronto FC)
6 Thierry Henry (New York)


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