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Three MLS games to watch
by Ridge Mahoney, June 5th, 2014 9:49PM

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TAGS:  mls

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[PREVIEW: Week 14]The last weekend of MLS play prior to the World Cup break starts Friday in Houston.

TOUGH TIMES FOR EASTERN ELITE. Houston and Sporting Kansas City have met in the playoffs the past three seasons, and expected to be back in the postseason again in November, but they aren’t adapting well to player absences. They meet for the first time this season Friday at BBVA Compass Stadium (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Direct Kick) in very poor form.

Neither has won a game since their international players departed to begin World Cup preparations in mid-May; they have amassed five points combined in each of their last five games. SKC absorbed another blow earlier this week when midfielder Uri Rosell, 20, was transferred to Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon. That hole in the middle of midfield further weakens the central core; Matt Besler is with the U.S. team, and Aurelien Collin has been battling a hamstring injury. SKC is winless in its last five games.

The loss of Brad Davis (USA) and Oscar Boniek Garcia (Honduras) has obviously impaired the Dynamo offensively -- it has failed to score in its last three games -- but it’s not defending well, either. In those three games the opposition has scored eight goals and its goal difference of minus-11 (16 scored, 27 conceded) is tied for 17th-worst of the 19 teams. SKC forward Dom Dwyer, second in the league with 10 goals, is on his way to perhaps a Best XI season.

QUAKES ARE CATCHING UP. After finishing 2013 strongly to narrowly miss the playoffs, San Jose stumbled out of the gate in March and soon tumbled into last place in the Western Conference. Wins in three of the last four games has pushed the Quakes back into playoff contention, and they finish off the pre-break schedule in Toronto Saturday (4 p.m. ET, MLS Direct Kick).

TFC pulled off some of its own comeback magic last weekend, twice scoring equalizers against Columbus -- Jermain Defoe netting both times -- and then snatching a win with a Doneil Henry header in stoppage time. The victory continued a reversal of momentum -- TFC has seven points in its last three games after losing three in a row -- though still the central midfleld without Michael Bradley looks disjointed.

RSL LOOKS TO REBOUND. Its unbeaten streak to start the season ended at a record-tying 12 games last weekend in Seattle, and Real Salt Lake gets back home to Rio Tinto Stadium to face a Portland team still sorting out major problems (10 p.m. ET, MLS Direct Kick). One game of that streak was a 1-0 defeat of Portland at Rio Tinto April 19 on a Ned Grabavoy goal.

The Timbers followed up a two-game winning streak by losing a Cascadia Cup cracker, 4-3, at home to Vancouver. After taking an early lead, Portland conceded four straight goals and its late-game rally fell short. Fanendo Adi’s incredible juggling assist added to his growing reputation, but head coach Caleb Porter can’t seem to find ways to stop the opposition. The Timbers have given up at least two goals in five games this season.

MLS WEEK 14, Results:
Wednesday, June 4
Columbus 1 Real Salt Lake 1
RSL: Luis Gil 56
CLB: Ethan Finlay (Ben Speas) 88.
Att.: 11,121.

Colorado 0 Chicago 0
Att.: 13,402.

MLS WEEK 14, Schedule:
Friday, June 6
8:30 pm ET
Houston vs. Sporting KC, MLS LIVE
Saturday, June 7
4 pm ET
Toronto FC vs. San Jose, MLS LIVE
6:30 pm ET
D.C. United vs. Columbus, MLS LIVE
7 pm ET
Philadelphia vs. Vancouver, MLS LIVE
8:30 pm ET
Chicago vs. Seattle, MLS LIVE
8:30 pm ET
FC Dallas vs. Colorado, MLS LIVE
10 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Portland, MLS LIVE, UDN
Sunday, June 8 
5 pm ET
New England vs. New York, MLS LIVE
8 pm ET
LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA, UDN

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
23 New England 7-4-2 21/146
21 D.C. United 6-4-3 18/14
19 Sporting KC 5-5-4 19/14
17 Houston 5-8-2 16/27
16 Toronto FC 5-4-1 15/13
------------------------------------------------
17 Columbus 4-5-5 18/18
15 New York 3-5-6 20/22
14 Philadelphia 3-7-5 19/24
14 Chicago 2-3-8 20/22
10 Montreal 1-7-4 11/22

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
29 Seattle 9-3-2 29/21
25 Real Salt Lake 6-1-7 24/18
22 Colorado 6-4-4 19/15
20 Vancouver 5-2-5 22/17
18 FC Dallas 5-7-3 23/24
------------------------------------------------
16 LA Galaxy 4-3-4 15/10
16 San Jose 4-4-4 15/13
16 Portland 3-4-7 23/204
10 Chivas USA 2-7-4 13/25
------------------------------------------------
MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
11 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
10 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
8 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
8 Clint Dempsey, Seattle
7 Fabian Espindola, D.C. United
7 Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy
6 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC
6 Obafemi Martins
, Seattle
6 Gaston Fernandez, Portland
6 Federico Higuain, Columbus
6 Joao Plata
, Real Salt Lake
6 Will Bruin, Houston
6 Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake

MLS WEEK 15, Schedule:
Wednesday, June 11
7:30 pm ET
Montreal vs. D.C. United, MLS LIVE
10 pm ET
Portland vs. FC Dallas, ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes



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