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Big Eastern Conference games set for midweek
by Ridge Mahoney, July 16th, 2014 2:25AM

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[MLS: Week 19] There are 13 league games this week and a total of 25 before the end of the month as the domestic docket overlaps with a glut of international club friendlies. One of the busiest teams will be Columbus, which in a span of 11 days plays a friendly against Crystal Palace and three league matches, starting at home against Sporting Kansas City (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Live).

MLS WEEK 19, Schedule:
Wednesday, July 16
7 p.m. ET
Philadelphia vs. New York, ESPN2
7:30 p.m. ET
Columbus vs. Sporting KC
8 p.m. ET
Toronto FC vs. Vancouver
10:30 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. New England

CRUNCH TIME. Ethan Finlay, with a goal or an assist in six of his last seven matches, is in good form. His team is not. The Crew (4-6-8, 20 points) has just one win in its last seven games and is glad to be home after absorbing a 4-1 lashing at Red Bull Arena last Saturday. Finlay set up the first MLS goal scored by Adam Bedell but Thierry Henry ran away with the Player of the Week award by notching three assists when he wasn’t scoring the winning goal.

Federico Higuain started his first MLS game since June 4 and took over the attacking midfield role in New York. Head coach Gregg Berhalter will also have Bernardo Anor available. The MLS Disciplinary Committee on Tuesday rescinded the red card he received against the Red Bulls.

Jacob Peterson and Claudio Bieler scored the goals in a 2-0 SKC win over Columbus May 4, but Dom Dwyer is the main danger man. Second in the league with 14 goals, he scored both goals in a 2-1 defeat of Montreal last weekend that was the third straight road victory for SKC (8-5-5). Losses in the last four meetings with Sporting KC means the Crew hasn’t managed a point since a 1-1 tie at home on Oct. 7, 2012.

Sporting KC didn't exactly arrive in Columbus in a good mood. The team's senior 14 players were stuck in New York after an electrical storm wrecked havoc to their travel plans. The delay in the connection from Montreal to Columbus lasted 29 hours and included two canceled flights, a three-hour wait on the airport runway and an overnight stay in Manhattan.



LOCAL LISTING.There’s one other intraconference clash of Eastern Conference teams and that is a nationally televised I-95 showdown at PPL Park between Philadelphia and the Red Bulls (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

You already know about the Red Bulls (5-5-8), who edged into the playoff quintet by beating the Crew and have also won or tied each of their last five games. Bradley Wright-Phillips maintained his lead in the scoring race by tucking away a great feed from Henry for his 15th league goal

Philly (4-8-7, 19 points) is 2-2-1 in its last five games as interim head coach Jim Curtin goes about the difficult business of straightening things out. (Both of those wins came against struggling New England.) A 1-2-5 home mark at PPL Park is a good place to start.

The former centerback has tried various combinations in the middle and even though Philly blew a two-goal lead Saturday in a 3-3 tie with Colorado, he praised the work of Ethan White, who got his first start for the Union four months after being acquired in a trade with D.C. United for Jeff Parke.

There will be changes in central midfield. Both Amobi Okugo and Michael Lahoud, who had been paired by Curtin in each of his three matches in charge, are suspended. Coming off suspension is Maurice Edu, who started the season in midfield but has been moved to centerback since Curtin took over.

In the other two midweek games, Canadian rivals Toronto FC and Vancouver square off at BMO Field, and the Revs try to snap a five-game losing streak against Los Angeles at StubHub Center.

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
31 D.C. United 9-5-4 26/19
29 Sporting KC 8-5-5 25/16
24 Toronto FC 7-5-3 23/20
23 New England 7-8-2 23/24
23 New York 5-5-8 30/27
------------------------------------------------
20 Columbus 4-6-8 20/23
19 Philadelphia 4-8-7 29/33
19 Chicago 3-4-10 25/27
18 Houston 5-11-3 20/38
14 Montreal 3-9-5 17/29

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
38 Seattle 12-4-2 35/24
28 Real Salt Lake 7-4-7 27/24
27 Colorado 7-5-6 27/22
26 FC Dallas 7-7-5 30/29
25 Vancouver 6-4-7 27/25
------------------------------------------------
24 LA Galaxy 6-3-6 20/13
23 Chivas USA 6-7-5 20/27
21 Portland 4-6-9 30/302
16 San Jose 4-8-4 16/18
------------------------------------------------
MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
15 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
14 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
13 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
10 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC
9 Clint Dempsey, Seattle
8 Obafemi Martins, Seattle
7 Joao Plata, Ecuador
7 Jack McInerney, Montreal
7 Fabian Espindola, D.C. United
7 Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy

MLS WEEK 19, Schedule:
Friday, July 18
11 p.m. ET
Portland vs. Colorado, NBCSN
Saturday, July 19
6 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy, ESPN2
7 p.m. ET
New York vs. San Jose
7:30 p.m. ET
Columbus vs. Montreal
8:30 p.m. ET
Chicago vs. Philadelphia
9 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. New England
Houston vs. Toronto FC
10 p.m. ET
Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver
Sunday, July 20
8 p.m. ET
D.C. United vs. Chivas USA, UDN


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