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Quakes still in play as group phase concludes
by Ridge Mahoney, October 22nd, 2013 12:24AM
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TAGS:  concacaf champions league, mls

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[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Week 6] The San Jose Earthquakes have chances of advancement in two different competitions, but only one is feasible.

Just about anything would be easier compared to the 13-goal defeat of FC Dallas and Colorado loss it needs to pip the Rapids for fifth place in MLS's Western Conference this weekend. Yet the Quakes are still alive for the final round of Concacaf Champions League group play this week that involves four MLS teams, with a fifth, Montreal, already eliminated despite being tied for first in its group.

If the Quakes can beat Heredia at home Wednesday, those teams will finish tied -- as will Montreal -- in Group 5 with six points each. The first tiebreaker is goal difference, and since the Impact has already finished its schedule at minus-1, it cannot advance. San Jose’s current goal difference of plus-1 is already superior to Heredia’s zero, so any Quakes’ victory will suffice. The eight group winners advance to the quarterfinals to be held next March.

Two other MLS representatives, Sporting Kansas City and Houston, need only tie to reach the knockout phase. SKC hosts Olimpia on Wednesday, and the Dynamo plays at Arabe Unido in Panama City Thursday. The Galaxy has already clinched and will take a team of mostly backups for its group finale against Isidro Metapan Thursday.

Both Eastern Conference teams also conclude their regular-season schedules on the weekend but they are in vastly different situations. SKC has clinched a playoff spot and could capture the conference title as well as the Supporters’ Shield by winning in Philly. Houston needs to beat D.C. United at RFK Stadium and get some help to reach the postseason, otherwise it will miss the playoffs for the just the second time since moving from San Jose prior to the 2006 season.

SKC coach Peter Vermes says a CCL game falling in the final week of the regular season should be beneficial. “I think it’s great because [back-to-back important games] mimics what the playoffs could be like,” he said to mlssoccer.com. “It keeps us in form because we get a chance to turn around and play again right away. We’re also coming off our [international] break here. We need games going into the final push of the season.”

Vermes doesn’t face the logistical snarl facing the Dynamo, which travels to Panama, play Thursday night, then head to Washington, D.C., for the season finale. Arabe Unido must win to advance; Houston won the home leg, 2-1, in late August. Coach Dominic Kinnear has a knack for juggling his personnel for multiple competitions, but the Dynamo’s dire playoff situation might force his hand to favor the league match.

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CCLWEEK 6: Schedule
Tuesday, October 22
Club America (MEX) vs. Alajuelense (CRC)
Herediano (CRC) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX)
Wednesday, October 23
Sporting Kansas City vs. Olimpia (HON)
Toluca (MEX) vs. Comunicaciones (GUA)
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Heredia (GUA)
Victoria (HON) vs. Luis Angel Firpo (SLV)
Thursday, October 24
Arabe Unido (PAN) vs. Houston Dynamo
Isidro Metapan (SLV) vs. LA Galaxy
---------------------------------------------------------------------
CCL STANDINGS:
Group 1:
Houston Dynamo 7
Arabe Unido 6
DirecTV W Connection 1
Group 2:
Sporting Kansas City 7
Olimpia 6
Real Esteli 1
Group 3:
Cruz Azul 9
Herediano 6
Valencia 0.
Group 4:
Club America 6
Alajuelense 6
Sporting San Miguelito
Group 5:
Heredia 6
Montreal Impact 6
 San Jose Earthquakes 3
Group 6:
Toluca 9 points
Comunicaciones 6
Caledonia AIA 0.
Group 7:
*Tijuana 10 points
Luis Angel Firpo 4
Victoria 0.
Group 8:
*LA Galaxy 9 points
Cartagines 4
Isidro Metapan 1
*Clinched berth in quarterfinals.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
CCLWEEK 5: Results
Thursday, September 26
Alajuelense (CRC) 2 Sporting San Miguelito (PAN) 0
Tijuana (MEX) 6 Victoria (HON) 0
Wednesday, September 25
Houston Dynamo 2 DirecTV W Connection 0
Cartagines (CRC) 0 LA Galaxy 3
Comunicaciones (GUA) 2 Caledonia AIA (TRI) 0
Tuesday, September 24
Cruz Azul (MEX) 3 Valencia (HAI) 0
Montreal Impact 2 Heredia (GUA) 0
Olimpia (HON) 1 Real Esteli (NCA) 0

CCLWEEK 4: Results
Thursday, September 19
DIRECTV W Connection (TRI) 0 Arabe Unido (PAN) 2
Luis Angel Firpo (SLV) 2 Victoria (HON) 1
Wednesday, September 18
LA Galaxy 1 Isidro Metapan (SLV) 0
Caledonia AIA (TRI) 1 Toluca (MEX) 5
Herediano (CRC) 4 Valencia FC (HAI) 2
Tuesday, September 17
Sporting Kansas City 1 Real Esteli (NCA) 1
San Jose Earthquakes 3 Montreal Impact 0
Club America (MEX) 3 Sporting San Miguelito (PAN) 0

CCLWEEK 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 0
Tijuana (MEX) 1 Luis Angel Firpo (SLV) 0
Tuesday, August 27
Houston Dynamo 2 Arabe Unido (PAN) 1
Olimpia (HON) 0 Sporting Kansas City 2
Cartagines (CRC) 0 Isidro Metapan (SLV) 0

CCLWEEK 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 0
Real Esteli (NCA) 0 Olimpia (HON) 1
Tuesday, August 20
DIRECTV W Connection (TRI) 0 Houston Dynamo 0
LA Galaxy 2 Cartagines (CRC) 0
Victoria (HON)  2 Tijuana (MEX) 3

CCLWEEK 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


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