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MLS Midweek Preview: D.C. United host Red Bulls, Quakes travel to LAFC, and more

One of the oldest rivalries in MLS headlines a busy slate of midweek action across the league.

Ben Olsen’s D.C. United host the New York Red Bulls at Audi Field on Wednesday. Both teams remain in the thick of the playoff race as the Black and Red sit a point higher than their rivals in the table.

Elsewhere, league leaders LAFC welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday night. NYCFC hosts the Columbus Crew in the early fixture on Wednesday, while Minnesota United travels to Sporting KC a day later.

Here’s a closer look at the top two matches of MLS midweek action:

D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls – Wednesday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)

A point separate these East Coast rivals who will meet for the first time this season.

D.C. United holds a slim advantage in the table, but begin a busy part of their schedule against a trio of Eastern Conference sides. The Black and Red fell 1-0 in Vancouver last weekend, in a match which saw them struggle once again offensively. Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta headline the attack and will try to turn the tide in what could be a pivotal match in the playoff race.

Chris Armas’ Red Bulls tied the New England Revolution 1-1 at home on Saturday and will try for the full three points on Wednesday. Aaron Long and Tim Parker will have the task of dealing with the ever-dangerous Rooney, while Kaku and Daniel Royer try to create in attack. Veteran forward Bradley Wright-Phillips could have a part to play if the Red Bulls need a goal late in D.C.

LAFC vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

Matias Almeyda’s San Jose Earthquakes face a trip to the the current supporters shield leaders looking to keep hold of a playoff spot.

San Jose are only a point clear of eighth-place FC Dallas and will try to knock off the league’s No. 1 side. The Quakes are 3-1-1 in their last five league matches and have the counter-attacking ability to make LAFC uncomfortable. Vako and Magnus Eriksson are the two likely targets to lead the counters, while veteran Chris Wondolowski will go up against a tough centerback duo.

LAFC clinched a playoff berth last weekend after picking up a win in Salt Lake City. Carlos Vela continued his MVP-worthy season by registering his 39th point so far. The Mexican playmaker will be keyed on by San Jose, so look for Diego Rossi and the in-form Adama Diomande to be called into attack as well.

LAFC has defeated San Jose by a combined score of 8-1 in their two prior meetings in all competitions this season.

Here’s a full schedule of MLS midweek action:

NYCFC vs. Columbus Crew – Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls – Wednesday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)

LAFC vs. San Jose Earthquakes – Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

Sporting KC vs. Minnesota United – Thursday, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

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