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Western Conference teams go head-to-head
by Ridge Mahoney, August 20th, 2014 2:15AM
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[MLS PREVIEW: Week 24] Teams on either side of the playoff line in the Western Conference tangle on Wednesday, with Seattle hosting San Jose and the LA Galaxy visiting Colorado.

SOUNDERS SEEK REVENGE.One of several blemishes on Seattle’s recent record is a 1-0 loss to San Jose in front of a huge crowd, and on Wednesday (10 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick) at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders get a chance to turn the tables.

The Quakes opened the brand-new Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, Aug. 2 by beating Seattle on a Yannick Djalo goal in the 42nd minute. A crowd of 48,765 turned out to see struggling San Jose beat a first-place team. Such is no longer the case.

Since the World Cup break in mid-June, the Sounders have also lost to Vancouver and the Galaxy, and last Saturday, they were beaten, 2-1, by Real Salt Lake. A 10-point lead atop the Western Conference has evaporated but though Seattle has lost four of the last six games and trails leader RSL by a point, it has two games in hand. By beating the Quakes, it can regain first place and put pressure on RSL, which plays at FC Dallas Friday. Seattle also travels to Portland for a tough Cascadia Cup match Sunday, so management of minutes will be a high priority for head coach Sigi Schmid.

His San Jose counterpart, Mark Watson,is bothered by a  5-0 lashing handed out by FC Dallas Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium, the worst league loss in the team’s history. Fabian Castillo and rookie Tesho Akindele accounted for all five goals and a prime opportunity to get back in the game blew up when Chris Wondolowski skied a penalty kick over the crossbar in first-half stoppage time with the score, 2-0.

While Seattle is chasing the Supporters’ Shield and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, eighth-place San Jose is desperate for points that will keep afloat its sinking postseason hopes. The game in Seattle starts a run of four of five away matches, the next of which requires a cross-country trip to play at Philadelphia Sunday.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW. Also desperate for points are the seventh-place Rapids, and preparations to face the Galaxy (9 p.m., MLS Live/Direct Kick) took a blow Tuesday with news that defender Drew Moor will miss the rest of the season with a torn meniscus and ACL.

Moor, one of three remaining starters from the 2010 MLS Cup championship team, suffered the injury when he fell trying to prevent D.C. United from taking a 1-0 lead Sunday night in what became a 4-2 Colorado loss, its fourth straight setback. DefenderShane O’Neil, bothered by a sprained right knee for the past month, won’t play against the Galaxy and also could be out for the season.

Head coach Pablo Mastroeniwill have to reach deep into his roster -- rookie Jared Watts replaced Moor and will probably start Wednesday -- against the Galaxy, which absorbed a 4-1 pounding in Columbus last weekend. Colorado posted its third straight win against the Galaxy May 3 when Vicente Sanchez scored the game’s only goal.

The Rapids have won all three meetings by shutout, but given the depleted Rapids back line and the scoring form of Gyasi Zardes -- he scored in his fourth straight game against the Crew and has netted nine times in 10 games since earning a starting spot -- as well as the constant menace of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, posting another zero is unlikely.

MLS WEEK 24: Schedule:
Wednesday, August 20

9 p.m. ET
Colorado vs. LA Galaxy
10 p.m. ET
Seattle vs. San Jose
Friday, August 22
9 p.m. ET
FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake, NBCSN
Saturday, August 23
7 p.m. ET
New York vs. Montreal
Toronto FC vs. Chicago
7:30 p.m. ET
Columbus vs. Houston
New England vs. Chivas USA
8:30 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. D.C. United
10:30 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver
Sunday, August 24
5 p.m. ET
Portland vs. Seattle, ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes
8 p.m. ET
Philadelphia vs. San Jose, UDN

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
42 Sporting KC 12-6-6 36/23
40 D.C. United 12-7-4 36/26
32 Toronto FC9-8-5 33/34
30 Columbus
7-8-9 32/32
28 New York 6-7-10 35/34
---------------------------------------
27 New England 8-12-3 30/36
27 Philadelphia6-9-9 36/39
25 Houston 7-12-4 25/42
25 Chicago
4-6-13 29/35
17 Montreal4-14-5 23/41

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
42 Real Salt Lake
11-4-9 38/28
41 Seattle
13-7-2 38/30
39 FC Dallas 11-7-6 43/32
34 LA Galaxy9-5-7 35/23
33 Vancouver 7-4-12 33/29
-----------------------------------------
30 Colorado8-10-6 34/35
30 Portland 7-7-10 39/39
24 San Jose 6-9-6 25/27
24 Chivas USA 6-11-6 21/36
----------------------------------------

MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
18Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
16 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
14 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
12 Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy
11 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC
11 Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake
10 Will Bruin, Houston
10 Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy
10 Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia
9 Federico Higuain, Columbus
9 Clint Dempsey
, Seattle

MLS WEEK 25: Schedule:
Wednesday, August 27

10:30 p.m. ET

LA Galaxy vs. D.C. United
Friday, August 29
8 p.m. ET
Sporting KC vs. Houston, NBCSN
Saturday, August 30
4 p.m. ET
Seattle vs. Colorado
5 p.m. ET
Toronto FC vs. New England
7:30 p.m. ET
Montreal vs. Columbus
8:30 p.m. ET
Chicago vs. FC Dallas
10:30 p.m. ET
San Jose vs. Real Salt Lake
Vancouver vs. Portland
Sunday, August 31
2:30 p.m. ET
D.C. United vs. New York, NBCSN
8 p.m. ET
Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy, UDN



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