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MLS clubs face challenges on two fronts
by Paul Kennedy, September 16th, 2013 11:56PM

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TAGS:  concacaf champions league, mls

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[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Week 4] Four of the five MLS clubs involved in the Concacaf Champions League are in action this week. All face tough MLS playoff fights, forcing them to prioritize their efforts.

SPORTING KC. Idle last week, Sporting KC nonetheless dropped into a second-place tie with Montreal in the MLS's Eastern Conference as New York took over the lead. The bye week allowed its players back from international duty to rest up for the MLS push.

Sporting KC is in great shape in Group 2 with 2-0 wins at Real Esteli and Olimpia. It will all but wrap up a berth in the quarterfinals with a win at home over Real Esteli, the Nicaraguan champion.

SKC coach Peter Vermes says his team is doing a better job of finishing its chances, so Real Esteli will provide a good test.

MONTREAL IMPACT. Montreal needs a result Tuesday at San Jose if it wants to overtake surprise package Heredia of Guatemala, winner over the Impact and Quakes in its two home games.

It is coming off a disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Columbus that dropped it out of the lead in the Eastern Conference, but a full contingent of players was on the plane trip to California.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES. The Quakes lost both their games on the road so they need to beat Montreal to have any chance of winning Group 5.

The Quakes, whose 0-0 tie with Vancouver on Saturday kept them in eighth place in the Western Conference, basically played a reserve team in their first two games, so with a key MLS game at Real Salt Lake on Saturday they'll likely want to keep their first-team players fresh for the weekend.

Two players who could play are Steven Lenhart and Rafael Baca, both suspended over the weekend.

LA GALAXY. The Galaxy dropped to fourth place in the Western Conference when it could only tie MLS doormat D.C. United, 2-2, in Washington, and faces a must-win game against Seattle Saturday in its bid to stay in the Western Conference  race.

A.J. DeLaGarza (shoulder) and Landon Donovan (ankle) came off during the D.C. United, though it was not yet known if they would be available for Wednesday's game against Isidro Metapan.

The Salvadoran club is a familiar foe as the Galaxy faced it in 2012, winning both games, 5-2 and 3-2. Metapan has done the Galaxy a favor by playing Cartagines, the third team in Group 8, to a 0-0 tie in Costa Rica. Another Galaxy sweep over Metapan would mean it will advance regardless of what happens when it plays at Cartagines.

CCL WEEK 4: Schedule
Tuesday, September 17
Sporting Kansas City (USA) vs. Real Esteli (NCA), Fox Soccer Plus, Univision Deportes, 8 pm ET
San Jose Earthquakes (USA) vs. Montreal Impact (CAN), Fox Sports 2, 10 pm ET
Club America (MEX) vs. Sporting San Miguelito (PAN)
Wednesday, September 18
LA Galaxy (USA) vs. Isidro Metapan (SLV), Fox Sports 2, Univision Deportes, 10 p.m. ET
Caledonia AIA (TRI) vs. Toluca (MEX)
Herediano (CRC) vs. Valencia FC (HAI)
Thursday, September 19
DIRECTV W Connection (TRI) vs. Arabe Unido (PAN)
Luis Angel Firpo (SLV) vs. Victoria (HON)

CCL STANDINGS:
Group 1: Houston Dynamo 4 points; Arabe Unido 3; DirecTV W Connection 1.
Group 2: Sporting Kansas City 6 points; Olimpia 3; Real Esteli 0.
Group 3: Cruz Azul 6 points; Herediano 3; Valencia 0.
Group 4: Club America, Sporting San Miguelito, Alajuelense 3 points.
Group 5: Heredia 6 points; Montreal Impact 3 points; San Jose Earthquakes 0.
Group 6: Toluca 6 points, Comunicaciones 3; Caledonia AIA 0.
Group 7: Tijuana 7 points Luis Angel Firpo 1; Victoria 0.
Group 8: Cartagines 4 points; LA Galaxy 3; Isidro Metapan 1.

CCL WEEK 3, Results:
Thursday, August 29
Caledonia AIA (TRI) 0 Comunicaciones (GUA) 3
Alajuelense (CRC) 1 Club America (MEX) 0
Wednesday, August 28
Valencia (HAI) 1 Cruz Azul (MEX) 2
Heredia (GUA) 1 San Jose Earthquakes (USA) 0
Tijuana (MEX) 1 Luis Angel Firpo (SLV) 0
Tuesday, August 27
Houston Dynamo (USA) 2 Arabe Unido (PAN) 1
Olimpia (HON) 0 Sporting Kansas City (USA) 2
Cartagines (CRC) 0 Isidro Metapan (SLV) 0

CCL WEEK 2: Results
Thursday, August 22
Cruz Azul (MEX) 3 Herediano (CRC) 0
Comunicaciones (GUA) 1 Toluca (MEX) 2
Sporting San Miguelito (PAN) 1 Alajuelense (CRC) 0
Wednesday, August 21
Heredia (GUA) 1 Montreal Impact (CAN) 0
Real Esteli (NCA) 0 Olimpia (HON) 1
Tuesday, August 20
DIRECTV W Connection (TRI) 0 Houston Dynamo (USA) 0
LA Galaxy (USA) 2 Cartagines (CRC) 0
Victoria (HON)  2 Tijuana (MEX) 3

CCL WEEK 1: Results
Thursday, August 8
Valencia FC (HAI) 1 Herediano (CRC) 6
Isidro Metapan (SLV) 2 Cartagines (CRC) 4
Arabe Unido (PAN) 3 DIRECTV W Connection (TRI) 1
Wednesday, August 7
Montreal Impact 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0
Sporting San Miguelito (PAN) 0 Club America (MEX) 1
Real Esteli (NCA) 0 Sporting Kansas City 2
Tuesday, August 6
Toluca (MEX) 3 Caledonia AIA (TRI) 1
Luis Angel Firpo (SLV) 0 Tijuana (MEX) 0

CCL WEEK 5: Schedule
Tuesday, September 24
Cruz Azul FC (MEX) vs. Valencia (HAI)
Montreal Impact (CAN) vs. Heredia (GUA)
Olimpia (HON) vs. Real Esteli (NCA)
Wednesday, September 25
Houston Dynamo (USA) vs. DIRECTV W Connection (TRI)
Cartagines (CRC) vs. LA Galaxy (USA)
Comunicaciones (GUA) vs. Caledonia AIA (TRI)
Thursday, September 26
Alajuelense (CRC) vs. Sporting San Miguelito (PAN)
Tijuana (MEX) vs. Victoria (HON)

CCL WEEK 6: Schedule
Tuesday, October 22
Club America (MEX) vs. Alajuelense (CRC)
Herediano (CRC) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX)
Wednesday, October 23
Sporting Kansas City (USA) vs.  Olimpia (HON)
Toluca FC (MEX) vs. Comunicaciones (GUA)
San Jose Earthquakes (USA) vs. Heredia (GUA)
Victoria (HON) vs. Luis Angel Firpo (SLV)
Thursday, October 24
Arabe Unido (PAN) vs. Houston Dynamo (USA)
Isidro Metapan (SLV) vs. LA Galaxy (USA)


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