Preview: Quakes look to stay hot as Revs head west

The San Jose Earthquakes and New England Revolution face off in an intra-conference tussle when the clubs meet Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes won for the first time at their Buck Shaw Stadium home last weekend, a 3-0 defeat of the Columbus Crew. The Revolution have posted back-to-back shutouts, last a 1-0 home win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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REFEREE: Yader Reyes. SAR (bench): Peter Balciunas; JAR (opposite): Adam Garner; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 13 games; FC/gm: 25.9; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 3; pens: 1

INJURY REPORT: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Simon Dawkins (R/L bilateral fasciotomy); MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DOUBTFUL: DF Tim Ward (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Scott Sealy (L hamstring strain) …
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION – OUT: MF Ousmane Dabo (R adductor strain); MF Marko Perovic (L knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Didier Domi (L quadriceps strain); FW Rajko Lekic (L knee contusion)

SUSPENDED: SJ: Brandon McDonald (through May 22)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SJ: Sam Cronin … NE: Shalrie Joseph; Stephen McCarthy

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (33 meetings): Earthquakes 17 wins (0 shootout), 61 goals … Revolution 11 wins (2 shootout),, 42 goals … Ties 5
AT SAN JOSE (16 meetings): Earthquakes 8 wins (0 shootout), 34 goals … Revolution 5 wins (2 shootout), 22 goals … Ties 3
RETURN MATCH: 8/3: New England Revolution vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 8 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/17: SJ 2, NE 0 (Wondolowski 57; Opara 72)
5/15: NE 0, SJ 0
•    The Earthquakes have not won at Gillette Stadium since their return to the league. Their last win in Foxborough, in 2005, was the end of a seven-game unbeaten streak in New England for the Quakes, with six wins and a draw dating back to 2001. Since, the Revs have two of three (with one draw).
•    The Revolution’s win at Buck Shaw Stadium in 2009 was their first in northern California since 2000, when they defeated San Jose 2-1 at Spartan Stadium. The Quakes won four of the six games in between, with two draws.
•    Coaches record: Frank Yallop v NE: P15 W8 L5 D2 … Steve Nicol vs. SJ: P15 W3 L8 D4

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes snapped their winless run at six games with a breakout performance, rolling to a 3-0 win against the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes have 9 points from 9 games on the season, sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    The Earthquakes took control of the match in the second half with three goals in the space of 12 minutes. San Jose opened the scoring when Ryan Johnson put in a cross from the left wing and Chris Wondolowski snuck in at the back post to volley home.
•    The Quakes doubled the lead in the 59th minute when Steven Lenhart powered a header toward goal off a Joey Gjertsen corner kick that bounced off the back of Brandon McDonald and into the goal.
•    Three minutes later, the lead was 3-0. Bobby Convey found Khari Stephenson through a dummy played by Lenhart as he was clattered into from behind, and Stephenson lashed home a shot from outside the box.
•    Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop made six changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Empire Field. There was an entirely new back four of Chris Leitch, Brandon McDonald, Jason Hernandez and Bobby Convey for Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara, Bobby Burling and Ramiro Corrales, and Joey Gjertsen and Khari Stephenson came into the midfield for Scott Sealy and Sam Cronin.
•    SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Chris Leitch, Brandon McDonald (sent off 79), Jason Hernandez, Bobby Convey - Joey Gjertsen (Anthony Ampaipitakwong 61), Brad Ring (Sam Cronin 72), Khari Stephenson, Ryan Johnson - Chris Wondolowski (Ike Opara 82), Steven Lenhart.

TEAM NEWS
•    The Earthquakes’ win against Columbus was their first at Buck Shaw Stadium this season, previously the only team in MLS without a win on their home ground (Sporting Kansas City still has yet to play at home).
•    “It’s been coming for a while now. We have put some good performances together the past 3-4 games but we hadn’t gotten the results,” Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop said. “Columbus played well, but we scored three good goals. I am very pleased for the whole squad, not just the guys that played tonight but everybody in that locker room. They put a lot of work in the past few weeks.”
•    Chris Wondolowski moved into a tie for third place in the MLS Golden Boot race with his fifth goal of the season against Columbus – his third game in a row with a goal.
•    “Our confidence just keeps building; we have confidence in our ability in our play. I think we found our fight. Our tactical and technical ability is showing,” Wondolowski said. “It’s all coming together and we’re really happy with what we’ve done over the last couple of games. Tonight was a good building block for us.”
•    The three goals scored by San Jose were a season-high and only the second, third and fourth goals the Quakes have scored in the second half this season.
•    “We weren't traveling with the ball much. They were forcing us to knock long balls up to Lenny [Lenhart] and Wondo [Wondolowski],” Yallop said of the first half. “When we did that, I didn't think Khari [Stephenson] and Brad [Ring] were squeezing, I didn't think the back four was getting out quick enough, then the ball was dropping down, then there was a big gap, and then they were running at us.”
•    Ryan Johnson was credited with an assist for a second consecutive game while Steven Lenhart was credited with his first – which at first appeared might be a goal, a header that bounced off defender Brandon McDonald on its way to goal.
•    "I think you've got to give a lot of credit to Lenhart and Ryan Johnson," McDonald said. "Lenhart puts his body up there, his body on the line the whole game, and R.J. running down that left wing, it's trouble. I think they were doing well, and Wondo running off that, it's a great combination for us."
•    With Lenhart taking over a starting role in attack for the last three games, after overcoming a hamstring injury suffered in preseason, and Chris Wondolowski serving as his partner in a twin-striker setup, Johnson has moved to a wide midfield spot for the last two games. He started the first five in attack, before moving to the substitutes’ bench.
•    “Guys that have watched us over the last three years [know] Ryan does well when he’s drifting wide and he’s making his own sort of chances rather than us trying to find him all the time,” Yallop said. “He’s better at just kind of falling onto the ball rather than us [using him as a] focal point, trying to get him the ball.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution recorded a second consecutive shutout, this time for a 1-0 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution have 13 points from 10 matches, in a three-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference.
 

LAST MATCH
•    The game's lone goal came four minutes after halftime. Benny Feilhaber collected a loose ball just inside the Vancouver penalty area and was taken down by Wes Knight. From the resulting penalty, Shalrie Joseph coolly slotted home into the lower left hand corner.
•    Revolution head coach Steve Nicol made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Colorado. Darrius Barnes came in at left back as Ousmane Dabo dropped out through injury, and Zak Boggs returned to the starting XI on the right flank in place of Kenny Mansally.
•    NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes - Stephen McCarthy - Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 74), Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Chris Tierney - Rajko Lekic (Kheli Dube 81).

TEAM NEWS
•    After going eight games without a shutout, the Revolution defense has now kept back-to-back clean sheets and has not allowed a goal in 222 minutes.
•    “It’s great. I mean, we’re going to have to win games 1-0 if we want to be a great team,” said goalkeeper Matt Reis. “There were times tonight when we were really, really good. But at times toward the end, we made it a little difficult on ourselves.
•    Shalrie Joseph scored his fourth goal of the season – his second from a penalty kick – to give the Revolution the win against Vancouver. The four goals already match his league total from last season, after he scored a career-high eight in 2009.
•    “We don’t concentrate enough and we don’t take of the ball, but we had some good possession a little bit tonight and we’re going to work on it coming up this week and try to be better in San Jose,”Joseph said. “But it’s all about inconsistency. That’s what’s killing us right now.
•    It was the first goal for the Revolution in 236 minutes, the last an 83rd-minute Rajko Lekic game-winner against Sporting Kansas City on April 23.
•    “The first half was certainly not our best, as far as I was concerned,” said Revs boss Steve Nicol. “When you give the ball away, you only put yourself under pressure, and we just encouraged them in the first half, without a shadow of a doubt. The second half was better ... but we’re looking to do better, and we won the game.”
•    Rajko Lekic suffered a left knee contusion and had to come off, replaced by Kheli Dube. Lekic is listed as questionable for the San Jose match.
•    With Darrius Barnes filling in at left back for a second time this season, Chris Tierney was able to move forward to a left-sided midfield role for a second time this season, as Marko Perovic missed his third straight game.
•    “I don't know if we'll really have too much to build off on the performance,” Tierney said. “It wasn't the prettiest win and we kind of had to grind it out, but the three points were definitely crucial. It was a game we felt like was a must-win at this stage of the season. We'll take the three and move on.”
•    A theme in recent weeks, as the Revolution have gone to a five-man midfield anchored by Joseph, Feilhaber and McCarthy in the middle, is to ensure the wide players operate more as out-and-out wingers.
•    “Once crosses start coming in, their backs have to step out wide and it opens up space in the middle,” Tierney said. “We're happy to do that because we've got one of the best central midfield pairings in the league. If they want to step out on us, fine, we'll let Shalrie and Benny play. If not, we'll keep swinging them [into the area].”