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D.C. United and Galaxy revive historic rivalry
by Ridge Mahoney, August 26th, 2014 10:41PM

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[MLS: Week 25] Not since the early years of MLS has a matchup of D.C. United and the LA Galaxy meant as much as it will Wednesday at StubHub Center (10:30 ET, MLS Live/Direct Kick).

Between them the teams have won eight of the 18 MLS Cup titles since the league started up in 1996, but some lean years for United -- it has missed the playoffs in each of the past six seasons except for 2012 -- has drained away some of the rivalry’s intensity even though former D.C. head coach Bruce Arena coaches the Galaxy. He took over in 2008 just as United’s fortunes hit a tailspin, and the howdown that produced an unforgettable, inaugural MLS Cup final that United won, 3-2, in overtime during a fierce nor’easter, turned into just another game.

Rapid expansion required a change in scheduling that limits games between Eastern and Western Conference teams to one per year. The teams played a 2-2 tie last year at RFK Stadium and the Galaxy prevailed at home, 3-1, in 2012. United hasn’t beaten the Galaxy since administering a 4-1 thumping in 2008 – during the short and comical reign of ex-head coach Ruud Gullit -- and is winless in Carson since 2005. (A few months later in 2008, Arena engineered a 5-2 thumping in the return match.)

But having clobbered defending champion Sporting Kansas City, 3-0, last weekend at Sporting Park, United’s players believe they can beat anybody, anywhere has. They have also won at Toronto, Montreal, Philadelphia and San Jose, and last Saturday briefly took over first place in the Supporters’ Shield race by belting SKC with goals by Fabian Espindola, Chris Rolfe, and Perry Kitchen. A record of 13-7-4 leads the Eastern Conference and, like the Galaxy, United is riding a two-game winning streak and has won four of its last six.

After conceding nine goals in three games, the Galaxy regained its defensive mojo in shutting out Vancouver, 2-0, last weekend. Both goals came from fluky misplays by Robbie Keane, yet still the Galaxy improved its overall record to 11-5-7. For one of the few times in the past five years, these traditional rivals square off with both in good form and certainly capable of meeting again the first week of December.

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

MLS Standings:
EASTERN CONFERENCE

PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA

43 D.C. United 13-7-4 39/26
42 Sporting KC
12-7-6 36/26
33 Toronto FC 9-8-6 35/36
33 Columbus
8-8-9 35/32
31 New York 7-7-10 39/36
---------------------------------------
30 New England 9-12-3 31/36
30 Philadelphia 7-9-9 40/41
26 Chicago 4-6-14 31/37
25 Houston 7-13-4 25/45
17 Montreal 4-15-5 25/45

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
45 Seattle 14-7-3 43/33
42 FC Dallas 12-7-6 45/33
42 Real Salt Lake
11-5-9 39/30
40 LA Galaxy 11-5-7 41/26
33 Vancouver 7-5-12 33/31
-----------------------------------------
30 Colorado 8-11-6 37/39
30 Portland 7-8-10 41/43
25 San Jose 6-10-7 28/32
24 Chivas USA 6-12-6 21/37
------------------------------------------------
MLS: Leading Scorers
G PLAYER, TEAM
20 Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York
16 Dom Dwyer, Sporting KC
14 Erick Torres, Chivas USA
13 Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy
11 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC
11 Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia
11 Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake
10 Clint Dempsey, Seattle
10 Obafemi Martins, Seattle
10 Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy
10 Chris Wondolowski



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