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Preview: Quakes stand strong as they host Fire

San Jose Earthquakes vs Chicago Fire, July 28

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SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs CHICAGO FIRE
BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
July 28, 2012 (WEEK 21, MLS Game #203)
7:30 p.m. PT (CSN-CA; NBC5.2)

The San Jose Earthquakes will be looking to solidify their standing at home when they take on the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are coming off a 2-1 loss in Vancouver last weekend, though they still sit atop the MLS overall table. The Fire return to action after a week off from league play, their last match a 1-0 defeat at the New York Red Bulls.

REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Ian Anderson; JAR (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 24 games; FC/gm: 21.7; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 5; pens: 10

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE HERE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury); QUESTIONABLE: MF Sam Garza (rib fracture); FW Steven Lenhart (concussion symptoms) … CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: DF Cory Gibbs (R knee meniscus repair)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: SJ: Steven Beitashour (caution accumulation; through July 29) … CHI: Marco Pappa (caution accumulation; through July 29)

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Alan Gordon … CHI: Gonzalo Segares
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SJ: Rafael Baca, Victor Bernardez, Marvin Chavez, Ramiro Corrales, Steven Lenhart … CHI: Dan Gargan, Sebastian Grazzini, Pavel Pardo, Patrick Nyarko

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (30 meetings): Earthquakes 8 wins (1 shootout), 32 goals … Fire 12 wins (0 shootout), 43 goals … Ties 10
AT SAN JOSE (15 meetings): Earthquakes 6 wins (0 shootout), 17 goals … Fire 5 wins (0 shootout), 16 goals … Ties 4

LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/28: CHI 2, SJ 2 (Oduro 56; Gibbs 80 – Corrales 50; Wondolowski 74)
9/10: SJ 2, CHI 0 (Wondolowski 10; Corrales 69)
•The Quakes won in the last meeting between the teams, a 2-0 victory last Sept. 10 at Buck Shaw Stadium, their first home win in the series since their return to MLS. Their last home win vs. Chicago had come in 2005.
•The Fire haven’t defeated San Jose at home since 2009. The Quakes won at Toyota Park in 2010; the teams played to a 2-2 draw in Bridgeview last year.
•The teams of course played in MLS Cup 2003, the Quakes winning 4-2 at The Home Depot Center.
•Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. SJ: P0 W0 L1 D0 … Frank Yallop vs. CHI: P18 W4 L7 D7

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes saw their two-game winning run come to an end, dropping a 2-1 decision to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday evening at BC Place. The Quakes lead the Western Conference with 43 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH
•Whitecaps FC opened the scoring after 20 minutes. Lee Young-Pyo hit a well-weighted through ball into the right side of the box, setting up Dane Richards to cut in and blast a ball past a sprawling Jon Busch.
•But the visitors were level seven minutes before the half. Alan Gordon got loose on the back post to head home a cross from Marvin Chavez, looping it over Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
•The winner came in the 61st minute, after Camilo went down under a rash Sam Cronin slide-tackle at the left corner of the six-yard box. After some discussion, Barry Robson stepped up to take the penalty and hammered a rising drive into the upper left corner of the goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: VAN v SJ

•Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made one change to the team that held on for a 2-1 win against FC Dallas at Buck Shaw Stadium. Simon Dawkins came into the team in place of Shea Salinas.
•SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez, Justin Morrow - Marvin Chavez (Shea Salinas 64), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca (Sercan Guvenisik 82), Simon Dawkins - Alan Gordon, Chris Wondolowski.

TEAM NEWS
•The Earthquakes have now gone three games winless on the road, with two losses and a draw since a two-match winning trip to Colorado and Salt Lake.
•“It’s not easy playing on the road. We played against a good team tonight and they’re good at home. Anytime you go on the road and get a point, it’s good, and if you get a win, it’s great,” said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. “I thought we could’ve got something out of this game.”
•“I think if you look at where we’ve played and who we have played we have battled; just a couple things haven’t gone our way,” said Chris Wondolowski. “We’re not getting blown out, we’re playing well – I mean were doing fine. Our road record has spoken for itself so I think were fine.”
•Alan Gordon has scored goals in three consecutive games, and with nine goals for the season has more than he scored in the 2010 and 2011 seasons combined.
•Chris Wondolowski has not scored in back-to-back games – he has not gone more than two consecutive games without a goal since August 2011.
•“We had chances after that to score but it was a bit of a game changer so I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t at least get a point,” said Yallop. “Probably from the 60th minute to the 75th – we looked weary and didn’t have our legs, but we at least had the ball in their end a lot afterwards. I liked that we kept going and had chances at the end.”
•Marvin Chavez set up the Gordon goal with his ninth assist of the season, pulling him into a tie for second in MLS, along with LA’s David Beckham, one behind Dwayne De Rosario of D.C. United.
•Simon Dawkins returned to the Quakes starting lineup for the first time since June 23. He had missed three games before coming on as a substitute in back-to-back contests.
•“It’s tough to try to get up every game when you have three games in a week, we’re trying to get guys healthy and every game we’re in is pretty much a battle,”said goalkeeper Jon Busch. “We’re not cruising through games, so guys have to battle for 90 minutes. And it wears you down after a while. So it’ll be good to get back to one game every week.”

CHICAGO FIRE
The Chicago Fire return to action after a weekend off, their last match a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on July 18 at Red Bull Arena. The Fire are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 31 points from 19 games.

LAST MATCH
•The game's lone goal was a stunner on 71 minutes. Sebastien Le Toux hit a diagonal aerial ball to a streaking Thierry Henry, who chested the ball down before hitting a left-footed volley that flew over outstretched goalkeeper Sean Johnson, stung off the far post and crossed the goal line.
•Fire head coach Frank Klopas made two changes to the team that defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 at Toyota Park. Dan Gargan came into the back four for the suspended Arne Friedrich,and Marco Pappa replaced Patrick Nyarko in midfield.
•CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Dan Gargan, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause (Orr Barouch 75) - Chris Rolfe, Alex (Patrick Nyarko 46), Marco Pappa - Dominic Oduro (Rafael Robayo 61).

TEAM NEWS
•The Fire were shut out for a third time in the last four league games. “I think our ability to be good in possession with the ball, I think we didn’t do a good enough job of that in the first half,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “We gave a lot of balls away, and there wasn’t really a lot of movement. They were better in the first half with that, and obviously in the second half they did have a couple chances and Henry made the difference.”
•The Fire had just one shot on goal for the match, matching their season-low which occurred three matches earlier in the scoreless draw in Houston.
•“The heat was really affecting [the team],” Fire forward Dominic Oduro said. “We tried to play as a team but obviously you can’t just run 100 percent all day, so we were trying to stick with the game plan: to keep the ball and hopefully get one or two chances. But it was just unfortunate we couldn’t just come up with the offensive plays we wanted to.”
•Said Klopas: “You’re playing away, being compact getting behind the ball and being good in possession, all that stuff is essential. And playing very direct; we’re trying to not get stretched and it’s and up and down game because it’s very difficult to sustain that rhythm.”
•The Fire announced the acquisition of striker Sherjill McDonald. Last with Belgian Pro League side Beerschot AC, who he joined in 2009 and tallied 15 goals in 82 matches through the 2012 campaign, McDonald tallied 47 goals in 217 appearances over the course of his 10-year career in Belgium, the Netherlands and England.
•    “Sherjill is a goal scorer who can hold the ball up, attack with pace and is very technically sound,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “He has competed at a high level in Europe and will bolster our attack as we make a push toward the MLS Cup Playoffs.”
•The Fire loaned striker Federico Puppo to Defensor Sporting Club in Uruguay for the remainder of the season.
•On their weekend off, the Fire played host to Aston Villa FC of the English Premier League, falling 1-0. The game’s lone goal came on a 29th-minute header from Gabriel Agbonlahor.
•Here’s the Fire team:Jay Nolly (Paolo Tornaghi 46’); Dan Gargan (Tony Walls 69’), Arne Friedrich (Gonzalo Segares 68’), Austin Berry (Jalil Anibaba 46’), Hunter Jumper; Daniel Paladini (Michael Videira 68’), Rafael Robayo; Corben Bone, Alex, Marco Pappa (Patrick Nyarko 62’); Orr Barouch (Dominic Oduro 61’)