MLS at Week 18: Dallas hosts red-hot Toronto, Cali Clasico and more

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MLS Rivalry Week may have officially taken place last weekend, but one of the league’s most-fierce battles will take shape on Saturday, while a cross-conference matchup pits two of the top sides against another.

All eyes will be on Avaya Stadium on Saturday night when the San Jose Earthquakes host California rivals LA Galaxy as both clubs currently sit in playoff positions out west.

Meanwhile, league-leading Toronto FC will travel down to Dallas to face Oscar Pareja’s group.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s a look at this weekend’s full slate of matches around MLS.

Real Salt Lake vs. Orlando City — 9:30 p.m. ET on Friday

A battle between two of the league’s most-struggling sides takes shape at Rio Tinto as RSL and Orlando desperately seek a win. The Lions enter Friday’s contest having won just one of their last 11 matches, the worst record in that span of any MLS side.

Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 7 p.m. ET on Saturday

Is there anybody hotter than the Chicago Fire right now? Simply, no. Veljko Paunovic is an early leader for Coach of the Year after leading his side from dead last in the East a season ago to within a point of Toronto FC. The Whitecaps — on the other hand — are starting to find their groove as well after picking up a three-match unbeaten run heading into the weekend.

FC Dallas vs. Toronto FC — 7 p.m. ET on Saturday

In the biggest clash of the weekend we’re served with two of the leagues top sides. Greg Vanney’s men have lost just two matches all season, including a current run of 10 unbeaten in their last 11. Meanwhile, Dallas has hit a bit of a bump in the road after racking up just one league win since May 20. Both sides boast potent attacks, but don’t expect goals galore as Dallas and Toronto are tied for the second-fewest goals allowed in MLS.

Sporting KC vs. Portland Timbers — 7 p.m. ET on Saturday

This one has the makings of a Western Conference final, and it could surely be the case come playoff time. Sporting’s backline continues to shine after allowing just 12 goals thus far through 18 matches, an astounding statistic. The Timbers are hovering at .500 in league play, and with the team struggling to find wins over recent weeks, a win at Children’s Mercy Park would be exactly what the doctor prescribed for Caleb Porter and Co.

Montreal Impact vs. D.C. United — 7 p.m. ET on Saturday

Although these two sides sit at the bottom of the East on 18 points, a win on Saturday could put one of them within three points of the sixth spot. That just shows how clogged the Eastern Conference playoff race is going to be.

Columbus Crew vs. Atlanta United — 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday

See the above match. With the Crew and Atlanta currently in a battle for a playoff position, this is the type of match both would seriously benefit taking three points from, particularly Tata Martino’s men.

Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo — 9 p.m. ET on Saturday

As bad as the Rapids have played this season, they still have two games in hand compared to most of the league, which could prove to be all the difference. Back-to-back losses halted the club’s momentum, and a visit from the Dynamo certainly isn’t a walk in the park.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy — 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday

Ah, another Cali Clasico is upon us. The last five times these two sides have met are about as even as you’d expect a rivalry to be, with the Galaxy taking home two wins, the Quakes picking up one of their own and a pair of 1-1 draws to show. With both clubs fighting for another step in the right direction towards the postseason, this match means a lot to the fierce rivals.

Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution — 5 p.m. ET on Sunday

A heartbreaking Open Cup loss is fresh on the minds of the Union, but Jim Curtin’s group will have to turn around quickly in order to get ready for the Revolution — who are losers of two straight against Toronto and Chicago.

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New York City FC 3-1 Minnesota United (MLS Snapshot)

Wagner on shock upset: “Small Huddersfield have beaten Man Utd”

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While Jose Mourinho was lamenting his team’s poor performance at the John Smith’s Stadium, his counterpart was thrilled with the latest step in its amazing journey.

Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner, the ex-USMNT player, watched his team top Manchester United 2-1 on Saturday for its first win over the Red Devils in 65 years.

[ MORE: Recap | Mourinho reacts ]

As proud as he’s ever been, the Town manager spoke after the win. From the BBC:

“If this is our moment, we have to grab it, which is what the players did. Small Huddersfield have beaten Man Utd and it one of the proudest moments in my managerial career.

“It’s another chapter in the fairytale we started nearly two years ago. It has shown everything is possible in football.”

The win probably felt extra nice for goal scorer Aaron Mooy, who rose to prominence on loan from Man City.

Liverpool’s Brewster sends U.S. out of U-17 World Cup

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The attempts were nearly even. The finishing was anything but.

The United States fell 4-1 to England on Saturday at the U-17 World Cup quarterfinals in India.

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to 1st loss ]

Captain Josh Sargent scored the lone United States goal at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, pulling the Baby Yanks within two goals before Liverpool man Rhian Brewster completed his hat trick with a stoppage time penalty.

Here’s Sargent’s goal:

Morgan Gibbs-White of Wolverhampton scored England’s other goal.

Ajax defender Sergio Dest took a red card in that added time, ensuing the U.S. would finish its World Cup with 10 men.

The U.S. took 20 of the matches 39 shot attempts, but England put 12 on target compared to the Americans’ four.

Mourinho: “We deserved the punishment of defeat”

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We haven’t heard a lot of scornful Jose Mourinho this season, and that changed Saturday.

Manchester United could not recover from a lackluster first half at the John Smith’s Stadium, only getting a Marcus Rashford goal in a failed comeback bid and 2-1 loss to Huddersfield Town.

[ RECAP: Town 2-1 Man Utd ]

It was the first time United has lost this season, and it’s first loss to Town since 1952. To say Mourinho was displeased would be an understatement, as United dipped five points behind leaders Man City.

“I was surprised by our performance, I was not expecting that. The team that started with emotion, aggression, intensity and desire, the team that played the game of their lives was the team that won,” Mourinho said. “Maybe in the second half we wanted it a little more and maybe we could get a draw, but I honestly think we deserved the punishment of the defeat.”

After first saying he wanted to evaluate the players, and shy away from criticizing them in the media, Mourinho had a nugget to share which really bothered him. From the BBC:

“I heard Ander Herrera in the flash interviews said the attitude and desire was poor, oh my God. When a player thinks that then I think all players should go to the press conference and explain why because I can’t explain.”

The man was seething, and United was honestly second best on the day. That must drive Mourinho nuts, as Aaron Mooy and Co. drove hard all day and United looked like a team expecting an easy win.

Newcastle United 1-0 Crystal Palace: Magpies leave it late

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  • No shots on target for Palace
  • Out attempts NUFC
  • Merino nabs winner off corner

Mikel Merino scored his first goal since 2015, leading Newcastle United to another win.

The Magpies have lost just once since dropping their first two matches of the season, and now sit sixth after a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Stoke and West Ham losses keep Palace five points shy of safety, their three points coming last week versus Chelsea.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

There was pace but sloppiness to the opening 20 minutes, with a card handed out to Florian Lejeune for a step on the heel of ex-Newcastle star Andros Townsend.

Rob Elliot rescued a ball through the six as Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp combined in the 24th minute.

Matt Ritchie earned the Magpies a corner kick with a shot partially blocked by Mamadou Sakho.

Ex-Magpie midfielder Yohan Cabaye looked to have given his former team a man advantage with a scissor tackle on DeAndre Yedlin, but there was only a yellow to be found.

Christian Atsu dizzied Joel Ward to tempt the net, but fired his shot off the outside of the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

A very haphazard second half for Newcastle allowed Palace to adventure a bit, and Andros Townsend very nearly scored with a left-footed shot in the 65th minute.

Mohamed Diame subbed into the game and made room to zip a shot that Julian Speroni dove to catch. It was the first shot on target of the match.

Then Shelvey forced Speroni into a parried save in the 74th minute.

Newcastle kept piling on the pressure, but it was Patrick Van Aanholt who couldn’t get on the end of sub Ruben Loftus-Cheek‘s invitation to the back post.

That’s when the 21-year-old Merino, recently made permanent from Borussia Dortmund, out-leapt James MacArthur to nod Matt Ritchie’s corner kick beyond Speroni. 1-0, 86′.