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Three MLS games to watch
by Ridge Mahoney, July 4th, 2014 3:49AM

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[PREVIEW: Week 17] The second week of league play following the World Cup break kicks off Friday with five fourth of July games, including a NBCSN doubleheader, and runs through Sunday.

TIMBERS TRAVEL SOUTH. The nationally televised Friday two-fer (11 p.m. ET, NBCSN) concludes in StubHub Center with the Galaxy (5-3-5) hosting Portland (4-5-8). Both teams are in sixth place with 20 points but otherwise seem vastly different.

Los Angeles ran its unbeaten streak to five games Saturday by defeating San Jose, 1-0, in front of 50,006 fans at Stanford Stadium. Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane had rather quiet games, but Gyasi Zardes -- getting a rare start at forward rather than midfield -- latched onto a layoff from Marcelo Sarvas to drill a missile into the top corner.

Portland lost to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, 1-0, three days after beating SKC, 3-1, in the U.S. Open Cup. The loss ended a two-game league winning streak and it marked the 12th time in the last 17 games Portland had conceded the first goal, yet it has won its last four road games in all competitions.

REVS, RSL NEED TO REBOUND. New England has lost three in a row and Real Salt Lake has not won in its last five games heading into their meeting Saturday (10 p.m., MLS Live) at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Both teams suffered discouraging defeats last weekend. RSL lost to Chivas USA, 1-0, and the Revs were beaten at home by Philadelphia, 3-1, in the Union head coaching debut of Jim Curtin.

NOISE IN THE NORTHWEST. The Sounders have the best record in the league (11-3-2) but must fill two gaping holes in the middle when they visit the Whitecaps Saturday (10 p.m. ET, MLS Live) as the Cascadia Cup series resumes. Playmaker Gonzalo Pineda and defending anchor Osvaldo Alonso are suspended, which could provide the ‘Caps a grand opportunity to bounce back from the 2-0 loss to Colorado last week that snapped their eight-game unbeaten streak.

Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin are not expected to play against Vancouver yet during their World Cup absences the Sounders posted a 4-0-1 record. Steven Beitashour didn’t play for Iran at the World Cup and will suit up on Saturday. Beitashour started each of the first 10 games for Vancouver, which posted a 4-2-4 record during that span.

MLS WEEK 17, Schedule:
Friday, July 4
8:30 p.m. ET
Houston vs. New York, NBCSN
9 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia
9:30 p.m. ET
Colorado vs. Columbus
10 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. New England
11 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Portland, NBCSN
Saturday, July 5
7 p.m. ET
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United
10 p.m. ET
Vancouver vs. Seattle
10:30 p.m. ET
Chivas USA vs. Montreal
Sunday, July 6
3 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. Chicago, ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes

MLS WEEK 17, Results:
Wednesday, July 2

Chicago 1 Toronto FC 1.

TOR: Jackson (Jermain Defoe) 42
CHI: Harry Shipp (Mike Magee) 56
Att.: 13,153.

San Jose 1 Chivas USA 0.
CHV: Erick Torres 53.

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
25 Sporting KC 7-5-4 22/14
25 D.C. United 7-5-4 22/17
23 New England 7-6-2 22/21
21 Toronto FC 6-4-3 18/16
19 New York 4-5-7 24/24
------------------------------------------------
19 Columbus 4-5-7 18/18
18 Philadelphia 4-7-6 25/28
17 Houston 5-10-2 16/32
15 Chicago 2-4-9 23/26
14 Montreal 3-7-5 16/26

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
35 Seattle 11-3-2 33/23
25 Colorado 7-5-4 23/18
25 Real Salt Lake 6-3-7 25/22
23 FC Dallas 6-7-5 28/28
22 Vancouver 5-3-7 25/22
------------------------------------------------
20 LA Galaxy 5-3-5 17/11
20 Portland 4-5-8 28/28
16 San Jose 4-7-4 15/16
17 Chivas USA 4-7-5 16/26
------------------------------------------------
MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
12 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
11+1 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
11 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
8 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC
8 Obafemi Martins, Seattle
8 Clint Dempsey, Seattle
7 Jack McInerney, Montreal
7 Fabian Espindola, D.C. United
7 Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy


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