MLS Countdown: Rivals wrap up season series early

There won’t be a another renewal of two of the league’s top rivalries in 2016 unless they meet in the playoffs.

Let's start with San Jose and the LA Galaxy. Their 16th  games of the season -- to be played Saturday (10 p.m. ET, Univision) at Stanford Stadium and followed by an annual fireworks show -- will also be the third and final regular-season meeting. In two games at StubHub Center, the Galaxy (5-3-7, 22 points) has taken four points -- a 3-1 victory and 1-1 tie -- and is just one point ahead of San Jose (5-4-6, 21 points) in the standings.

Yet the Galaxy is in fourth place. Because of tiebreakers, the Quakes are seventh though also tied for fifth place on points with Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver. This annual encounter at Stanford has produced 4-3 and 3-2 Quakes victories in recent years and though both teams are deprived of some attacking firepower a typically large crowd and intense battle is expected.

International duties and injuries have taken away several marquee names: Robbie Keane, Robbie Rogers, and Gyasi Zardes leave several big holes for the Galaxy to fill, and San Jose’s prolific scorer Chris Wondolowski -- tops on the team with seven goals –-- is also not available. Jack McBean, formerly a first-team regular but until recently a starter for the Galaxy II reserve squad, was signed as a Homegrown Player prior to a 0-0 tie with Colorado on Wednesday.
BOSWELL SUSPENDED. If timing is everything, nothing is going right for D.C. United.

Already shorthanded by centerback Steve Birnbaum’s callup to the U.S. team, United received word Thursday that his central partner, captain Bobby Boswell,  has been suspended and fined by the MLS Disciplinary Committee. He’ll miss the game Saturday against New England, which like United is scratching to gain a foothold in the playoff tier.

New England is clinging to the sixth and lowest playoff spot with a 4-4-7 record (19 points). United is two points back at 4-6-5. As is the case in the Cali Clasico, United and the Revs are playing their last matchup of the regular-season prior to its midpoint and New England has yet to score.

The teams finished goalless at Gillette Stadium on the second weekend of the season and two months ago, United prevailed at RFK, 3-0. Since then, the Revs have snapped up striker Kei Kamara when his petulant insistence on taking a penalty kick triggered a departure from Columbus. He’s yet to score in four appearances but in those games the Revs are 3-1-0 and have tallied two goals in each game.
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