San Jose Earthquakes vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs D.C. UNITED
BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
July 11, 2014 (WEEK 18, MLS Game #159)
11 pm ET/8 pm PT (NBCSN, live stream on NBCSports.com)

The San Jose Earthquakes will look to put an end to their losing and shutout streaks when they play host to D.C. United on Friday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Quakes have suffered three consecutive 1-0 losses, last a defeat at Chivas USA before a 10-day layoff from league play. United have won back-to-back away matches for the first time in seven years following their 2-1 win at Toronto FC last weekend.

REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. AR1 (bench): Baboucarr Jallow; AR2 (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Juan Guzman
Marrufo MLS career: 166 games; FC/gm: 23.5; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 33; pens: 48

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:SJ: Steven Lenhart, Sam Cronin, Jordan Stewart ... DC: Fabian Espindola, Lewis Neal
DISABLED LIST: SJ: Tommy Muller
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (34 meetings): Earthquakes 16 wins (3 shootout), 53 goals … United 12 wins (3 shootout), 56 goals … Ties 6
AT SAN JOSE (17 meetings): Earthquakes 8 wins (1 shootout), 28 goals … United 3 wins (3 shootout), 23 goals … Ties 6

LAST YEAR
6/22: DC 1, SJ 0 (Pontius 11)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • D.C. United won the only meeting between the teams a season ago, a 1-0 victory June 22 at RFK Stadium. It was United’s first home win against the Quakes since 2008; San Jose won the next three visits to the nation’s capital.
  • United’s 2-1 win at Buck Shaw Stadium in 2011 was their first on the road against San Jose since 1998.
  • Normal service was resumed in the most recent meeting between the clubs in northern California, a 5-3 Quakes victory in 2012.
  • Coaches' records: Mark Watson v DC: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Ben Olsen vs. SJ: P5 W2 L3 D0

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

The San Jose Earthquakes suffered their third consecutive defeat by a 1-0 scoreline, falling to Chivas USA in their last match July 2 at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 16 points from 15 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 53rd minute. A cross from Mauro Rosales from the right side glanced off the heads of two Quakes defenders and fell to Erick Torres at the far post, and the Mexican forward slotted it home to give Chivas USA a lead they would not relinquish.
  • The best chance for the Earthquakes came in the 81st minute when Ty Harden’s header forced Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to make a diving save, one of his three stops recorded on the evening.
  • Quakes head coach Mark Watson made no changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Brandon Barklage (Victor Bernardez 79), Jason Hernandez, Ty Harden, Jordan Stewart (Mike Fucito 89) - Cordell Cato, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Sam Cronin (Alan Gordon 71), Yannick Djalo - Khari Stephenson, Steven Lenhart.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Earthquakes have lost three consecutive games by 1-0 scorelines and have now gone 315 minutes since scoring their last goal, the fourth-longest such streak in MLS this season.
  • “It's hard to look at positives when you lose at home, but I thought there were some good moments in the game,” Quakes coach Mark Watson said. "It was a slow start, but we worked our way into the game, and moved the ball well at times and created chances in the first half. We were probably in terms of the play, thebetter team, but it's not about that; it's about finishing your chances and not conceding. We gave up a sloppy goal. In the end they scored one and we didn't.”
  • The Quakes have not allowed more than one goal in a game since the 3-2 loss at Vancouver on May 3. They’ve allowed 6 goals in the 8 games since – going 3-4-1 in that timeframe.
  • “We're playing well at times, and defensively we're playing very well. It just seems the last couple of games, one play is the difference. You look at [Chivas USA], we handled what they had, then they got two guys on the back post on one play, and they scrambled and knocked it in,” goalkeeper Jon Busch said.
  • After featuring in a midfield role in the LA Galaxy match, Khari Stephenson lined up as an out-and-out striker against Chivas USA, partnering Steven Lenhart in attack.
  • “We had to change things around for various reasons once again, but I thought for that group being thrown together there were some good moments and some positive things, but not enough. In the end, it's about winning games,” Watson said.
  • Victor Bernárdez made his first appearance since May 10, coming on as a substitute after his after his return from the Honduras national team and the FIFA World Cup.
  • “Anytime you are looking to form a back line you want it to be steady. You want it to be disciplined, but you also want that chemistry,” said Jason Hernandez, who started his second consecutive game. “Unfortunately we've had injuries and international call-ups resulting in a rotating door for our backline. At the end of the day we are all professionals. We all take our craft very seriously. Whoever steps in should be ready to do the job.”
  • The Quakes will have Chris Wondolowski available for the match following his return from the U.S. national team and the FIFA World Cup.
  • “Right now my whole focus is trying to beat D.C. next week,” Wondolowski said. “I’m ready to go. The past is the past. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost three games or missed a chance in the World Cup, it’s past now and we’re going on and try to get a win. I think we’ve had a little bit of a tough spell the last few games, and I want to do everything I can to help us get back on the right step so we can make a playoff push and try and go for the MLS Cup. That’s all my concentration now.”
  • Said midfielder Sam Cronin: “He is one of our better players, as is Victor . They are both World Cup-caliber players. It's good to have our high quality players back. Victor came back tonight; should be with us next week. It is probably sooner than they would have hoped for but this team needs a boost. We are getting them at a pivotal moment of our season.”

READ: Wondo ready to put The Miss behind him


D.C. UNITED

D.C. United returned to their winning ways, going to BMO Field and coming away with a 2-1 win against Toronto FC on Saturday evening. United are in back in first place in the Eastern Conference with 28 points from 17 games.

LAST MATCH

  • United took the lead in the 54th minute. Nick DeLeon collected the ball on the right touchline, raced forward into the penalty area and after cutting back to put a defender to ground, curled a right-footed shot past TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
  • But TFC were level six minutes later. Jermain Defoe saw his shot from inside the area parried by United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, and Luke Moore was able to slide in and reach the ball first to push the rebound home for the equalizer.
  • Yet United took the lead for good in the 69th minute. Substitute Lewis Neal swung in a corner from the right, and Perry Kitchen carved out space to head home with ease for the eventual game-winner.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to the Seattle Sounders at RFK Stadium. Davy Arnaud came back into the side in place of Lewis Neal.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Chris Korb - Nick DeLeon (Conor Doyle 79), Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe (Collin Martin 84) - Luis Silva (Lewis Neal 62), Eddie Johnson.

TEAM NEWS

  • United have now won back-to-back road games – their first consecutive away wins since the 2007 season, when they won away at Toronto FC (Aug. 25) and FC Dallas (Sept. 1).
  • “This season is more of a 2012 season,” Nick DeLeon said. “Things are feeling really good, things are clicking. It’s pretty nice after what we put ourselves through last year, honestly. Everything feels like it’s going our way; we’re catching some of the breaks that we weren’t catching last year. We’re playing good soccer. Right now, we absolutely believe we’re No. 1.”
  • DeLeon scored his second goal in the last three matches, his first two goals of the season. He scored just two goals last year in 25 league appearances.
  • “It’s been encouraging that I can see progress in every game,” DeLeon said. “I’ve been getting chances but haven’t been putting them away. I’ve been fortunate enough recently to get a couple of goals, so I can ride that now and keep moving forward.”
  • "I think you get a lot of hard work going forward and backwards from Nick,” United head coach Ben Olsen said. "I’d like a bit more quality in the final third. … He hasn’t been at his best. What you know you get from him, though, is the work ethic going forward going forward and tracking back. He’s such a good player in that respect, that he makes himself invaluable to this team.”
  • Making a fourth consecutive start in his return from injury, Luis Silva recorded his first assist of the season, two games after netting a hat trick for his first three goals of the year.
  • Coming off the substitutes’ bench after making his first start since May 21, Lewis Neal recorded his first assist of the season.
  • The back four remained unchanged, with Chris Korb starting a second consecutive match following the departure of Cristian Hernández.
  • “We have continued to grow. We have lost a few players and have some starters out with [Fabian] Espindola, Parke, we have lost a left back, so we are still evolving to see who we are going to be this year,” said Olsen. “In the meantime we need to get points.”

READ: DeLeon hopes goal sparks return to form of breakout rookie season