Preview: San Jose host Vancouver in vital Western battle

SJ_VAN_DL

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The San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps FC meet in a vital game for both clubs on Wednesday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium as each looks to get going in the other direction. The Quakes are winless in six games, with draws in four of those, after a scoreless tie last weekend in Columbus. Whitecaps FC saw their weekend home game with Real Salt Lake abandoned, still in the throes of a four-game losing slide in league play.

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REFEREE: Paul Ward. SAR (bench): Darren Clark; JAR (opposite): Philippe Briere; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 23.3; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 10; pens: 6

INJURY REPORT:
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DF Ike Opara (L foot injury); DOUBTFUL: DF Steven Beitashour (R leg injury); QUESTIONABLE: MF Bobby Convey (L knee contusion); FW Alan Gordon (R quadriceps strain)
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: DF Jay DeMerit (R adductor strain); MF John Thorrington (R calf strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Russell Teibert (R hip flexor); PROBABLE: MF Davide Chiumiento (R hamstring strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES:
none

SUSPENDED:
VAN: Jordan Harvey (caution accumulation; through July 20)

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
SJ: Ramiro Corrales
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
SJ: Sam Cronin, Alan Gordon, Jason Hernandez, Steven Lenhart, Brad Ring
VAN: Camilo, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Earthquakes 0 wins, 1 goal … Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1
  • The teams played to a 1-1 draw in their first meeting, May 11 at Empire Field. Davide Chiumiento scored in the final minute to give Whitecaps FC the draw, after Chris Wondolowski staked San Jose to a first-half lead.
  • Coaches' records: Tom Soehn vs. SJ: P4 W1 L2 T1… Frank Yallop v VAN: P1 W0 L0 T1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • 5/11: VAN 1, SJ 1 (Chiumiento 90 – Wondolowski 39)
  • San Jose broke through in the 39th minute. After Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly did well to save a long-range shot from Brad Ring, Ryan Johnson got to the rebound first and sent the ball back towards goal, finding Wondolowski for a backheel goal from inside the six.
  • But seconds after the 90th minute passed, Davide Chiumiento picked up the ball along the right touchline and swung in a left-footed cross toward the back post that somehow snuck through the entire penalty area and beat San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch inside his right-hand post.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-1-3-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara, Bobby Burling, Ramiro Corrales - Brad Ring - Scott Sealy (Khari Stephenson 64), Sam Cronin, Ryan Johnson - Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly – Wes Knight (Jay DeMerit 75), Greg Janicki, Mouloud Akloul, Alain Rochat - Shea Salinas (Russell Teibert 72), Terry Dunfield, Jeb Brovsky, Davide Chiumiento - Camilo, Eric Hassli (Omar Salgado 66)

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes played to a second consecutive scoreless draw, this time with the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Quakes have 23 points from 18 games on the season, sitting in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • William Hesmer made five saves for the Crew in keeping the clean sheet, while Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch was called upon to make six saves.
  • The Earthquakes nearly took the lead before the game was a minute old, but Khari Stephenson saw a low drive clatter off the base of the goalpost.
  • Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with Philadelphia Union at Buck Shaw Stadium. Steven Lenhart and newcomer Jacob Peterson came into the team, for Anthony Ampaipitakwong and the departed Ryan Johnson.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-1-3-2): Jon Busch - Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Ramiro Corrales - Brad Ring - Jacob Peterson (Rafael Baca 62), Khari Stephenson, Chris Wondolowski - Simon Dawkins (Sam Cronin 93+), Steven Lenhart (Scott Sealy 73).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Earthquakes saw their winless streak reach six games (0-2-4), matching a six-game winless run they had earlier this season, when they went 0-3-3 from April 2-May 11.
  • “I think if we would have been asked before we came here to come into Columbus and play against a very good Crew team, ”would you take a point ?”, we probably would,” said said Earthquakes assistant coach Mark Watson, in charge of the club with the suspension of head man Frank Yallop. “It was a good game. You know I thought there were chances at both ends, I thought both teams did quite well, and I think we are pretty happy with the point.”
  • The Earthquakes have gone 292 minutes without scoring a goal after back-to-back scoreless ties, the fifth-longest streak in MLS this season. Vancouver has the longest, 332 minutes (June 25-July 9).
  • “We didn’t play our best and sometimes when that happens, you just have to bear down and get a result,” Quakes defender Chris Leitch said. “We did that tonight. It would have been nice to have grabbed three points at the end, but we will take point and move forward.”
  • Jon Busch has recorded back-to-back shutouts in goal for the first time this season for San Jose.
  • “Jon’s been great for us. He’s a great goalkeeper, his positioning is excellent and it puts him in good spots to make saves,” said Earthquakes assistant coach Mark Watson. “A couple times tonight we really needed him and he came up big for us.”
  • Since returning from the U.S. national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Chris Wondolowski has not scored in four games. However, a season ago, he went two months between goals (June 2 to Aug. 14) – before reeling off 12 goals in the final 13 games of the season.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC return to league action after an unexpected weekend off. Still with a four-game league losing streak after a 2-1 loss at the Colorado Rapids, Whitecaps FC have 14 points from 20 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

VS. REAL SALT LAKE
Whitecaps FC scheduled match against Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon was abandoned because of an unplayable pitch at Empire Field following heavy rain. The match has not been rescheduled.

LAST LEAGUE MATCH

  • The Rapids took the lead in the 25th minute. Jamie Smith played a cross over the Whitecaps defense into the path of Conor Casey, and he settled before snapping a quick angled shot past Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
  • Colorado doubled the lead at the three-quarter mark of the match. Casey powered a header on goal from a free kick that Cannon couldn't hold, and substitute Scott Palguta slammed home the rebound.
  • Whitecaps FC pulled a goal back in the 77th minute, when Nizar Khalfan released Camilo behind the Rapids defense. The Brazilian rounded Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens and slid his shot inside the post, but no equalizer was to come.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the Columbus Crew at Empire Field. Jordan Harvey made his Whitecaps FC debut, coming into the team with Michael Nanchoff for Wes Knight and the suspended Shea Salinas.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-1-1): Joe Cannon - Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat, Michael Boxall (Greg Janicki 57), Jordan Harvey - Nizar Khalfan, Peter Vagenas (Jeb Brovsky 71), Gershon Koffie, Michael Nanchoff - Omar Salgado (Long Tan 46) - Camilo.

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC have now lost four consecutive games in MLS play, and five in all competitions – the longest losing slide of their inaugural season.
  • “We gave a lot of young guys some time,” Whitecaps FC coach Tom Soehn said. “They’re starting to understand the way we want to play. We created enough opportunities that you feel disappointed not getting the result. I feel we’re getting close, and I commend [the players] on their effort today - they never stopped battling.”
  • On Monday, Whitecaps FC played host to Manchester City FC of the English Premier League. Camilo staked Vancouver to a first-half lead, but goals from John Guidetti and Shaun Wright-Phillips over the final quarter of the match gave Man City the 2-1 victory.
  • “We’ve been working very hard to come up with an identity of how we want to play, and I thought today, especially in the first half, you started to see that,” Soehn said. “We did a good job of possession through the middle of the park. We got our [defenders] into the attack and gave our flank guys license to run at people, and Shea [Salinas] and Camilo were a handful for their [defenders]. We got our forwards involved as well and got a lot out of that. We’re still growing as a unit, but there are some real positive signs that the work we’re putting in is starting to show.”
  • Here’s the Whitecaps FC team: Jay Nolly; Jeb Brovsky (Wes Knight 46), Michael Boxall (Greg Janicki 46), Alain Rochat (Bilal Duckett 46), Jonathan Leathers (Jordan Harvey 46); Shea Salinas (Nizar Khalfan 46), Pete Vagenas (Philippe Davies 46), Gershon Koffie (Alexandre Morfaw 46 / Blake Wagner 85), Camilo (Michael Nanchoff 46); Eric Hassli (Omar Salgado 46), Mustapha Jarju (Long Tan 46)
  • The game also served as the Whitecaps FC debut for striker Mustapha Jarju, signed as a Designated Player.
  • “It was important to get Mustapha a feel for the guys around him,” Soehn said. “They have to understand that between the three of them, if they can start linking up – Camilo, Eric [Hassli] and Mustapha – they can be a real handful.”