San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Match Preview

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs REAL SALT LAKE
BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
Aug. 30, 2014 (WEEK 25, MLS Game #237)
7:30 p.m. PT (CSN-BA; KUCW-30)

The San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake meet for a second time this season in a key contest for both Western Conference clubs on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes return home following a 4-2 loss at Philadelphia Union last weekend that left them eight points out of the final playoff position in the division. Real saw their undefeated streak come to an end after six games last week in a 2-1 loss at FC Dallas, starting the weekend in a tie for third place in the West.

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REFEREE: David Gantar. AR1 (bench): Anthony Vasoli; AR2 (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 32 games; FC/gm: 25.3; Y/gm: 2.7; R: 11; pens: 4

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Victor Bernardez, Steven Lenhart … RSL: Olmes Garcia, Javier Morales, Chris Schuler
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SJ: Sam Cronin, Shaun Francis, Jordan Stewart … RSL: Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio, Luke Mulholland, Kyle Beckerman DISABLED LIST: SJ: Tommy Muller
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Earthquakes 7 wins, 29 goals … Real 7 wins, 31 goals … Ties 6
AT SAN JOSE (10 meetings): Earthquakes 4 wins, 20 goals … Real 4 wins, 16 goals … Ties 2
FUTURE MATCH: 10/11: Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m. MT

2014 (MLS):
3/15: SJ 3, RSL 3 (Wondolowski 6; Bernardez 75, 95+ -- Beckerman 11; Plata 32; Mulholland 49+)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Quakes center back Victor Bernardez scored two goals – including a dramatic equalizer five minutes into second-half stoppage time – to leave the teams in a 3-3 draw March 15 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • The Quakes have won at Rio Tinto Stadium each of the last two seasons, including a 2-1 victory last Sept. 21. All-time at Rio Tinto Stadium, each team has won twice in the all-time series, with three draws.
  • Coaches record: Mark Watson vs. RSL: P2 W1 L0 D1 … Jeff Cassar vs. SJ: P1 W0 L0 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Earthquakes took the lead in the sixth minute when Chris Wondolowski scored from point-blank range, using his right thigh to redirect Victor Bernardez’s flick header off a long free kick by Shea Salinas.
  • But Real Salt Lake equalized just five minutes later. Joao Plata laid off a ball into space for Kyle Beckerman to strike with his left foot from 27 yards, putting the ball in off the inside of the right post.
  • RSL made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute. Plata beat two defenders from the left wing, traded give-and-go passes with Luis Gil and deked a Quakes defender before pulling a 12-yard strike just inside the near post.
  • Luke Mulholland put RSL up 3-1 in first-half stoppage time, racing past a scrambled San Jose defense to pick up the rebound of Ned Grabavoy’s shot and slot home from 8 yards.
  • San Jose was given life in the 75th minute when Bernardez connected with a Salinas corner on a near-post run and skimmed his header inside the open back post.
  • Then there was yet again late magic from the Quakes. From a last-ditch cross from Shaun Francis, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando tried to punch clear, but the ball barely made it out of the visitors’ goal area, where Bernardez hammered it home with almost the final kick of the game some five minutes into stoppage time.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Cordell Cato, Jason Hernandez (Khari Stephenson 67), Victor Bernardez, Shaun Francis - Atiba Harris (Alan Gordon 63), Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi (JJ Koval 63), Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas - Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Aaron Maund (Carlos Salcedo 71), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Luke Mulholland (Cole Grossman 69) - Luis Gil - Joao Plata (Jordan Allen 82), Alvaro Saborio.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes saw their winless run extended to four games, falling 4-2 to Philadelphia Union on Sunday evening at PPL Park. The Quakes are in eighth place in the Western Conference with 25 points from 23 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Union took the lead after just 10 minutes. From a counter attack following a San Jose free kick, Sebastien Le Toux, who played a one-two with Conor Casey before chasing the ball down the wing. Le Toux then played a ball across the middle of the field to Andrew Wenger, who took one touch before blasting a tough-angle, left-footed shot into the top of the goal.
  • Just four minutes later, Union doubled their lead when San Jose’s Victor Bernandez cleared a Sheanon Williams cross right to Le Toux, who one-timed a shot past Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch.
  • But the visitors pulled level with two goals in 11 minutes after the break. San Jose made it 2-1 in the 59th minute when Sam Cronin hit an absolute rocket from long range into the top corner following a failed clearance off a long free kick. And in the 70th minute, Chris Wondolowski one-timed in a cross from Shea Salinas to tie the game at 2-2.
  • But the game-winner came in the 72nd minute. From a free kick near the corner, Williams got his head on the ensuing free kick from Le Toux while closely marked. Then Wenger completed his brace in the 79th minute with a dead sprint up the middle of the field and a powerful finish from the top of the box.
  • Quakes head coach Mark Watson made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 result with Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Cordell Cato came in on the flank in place of Atiba Harris.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Ty Harden (Shaun Francis 66), Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez, Jordan Stewart - Cordell Cato, JJ Koval (Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi 46), Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas - Tommy Thompson - Chris Wondolowski.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Quakes saw their overall winless run extended to four games, with two draws and two losses in that time. They also saw their away winless run stretched to five games, though a string of three consecutive draws was ended with the loss.
  • “I thought we showed a lot of character, spirit, and quality to come back from that. Obviously very disappointing once again to concede so early off a set piece so we got a tired, frustrated group right now,” said Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson. “We just seem not to be doing the little things right now to get results in games.”
  • The Quakes conceded four goals, their second-most in game this season – just a week after conceding five goals in the home loss to FC Dallas. The Quakes have allowed 10 goals over their last three games; they had allowed 10 goals over the previous 11 matches before the FCD loss.
  • “If you look at the last four, five, six games, we’ve been giving up a lot of chances and a lot of quality chances. So it doesn’t get easy sometimes. … So it’s frustrating. It really is,” said goalkeeper Jon Busch. “When we’re giving up as many shots as we are. We’re giving up too many chances. You can only do so much.”
  • Said midfielder Sam Cronin: “Those were four of the weakest goals we’ve probably given up all year. This was a really frustrating game. To work so hard to get back into the game and then to give up two more soft ones is very poor from us. We’ll for sure take a good hard look at things. We can’t continue to give up soft goals.”
  • Chris Wondolowski scored his 10th goal of the season, his second consecutive game with a goal and his fifth goal in eight games since returning from the World Cup. Wondolowski became just the third player in MLS history to score 10 goals or more in five consecutive seasons.
  • Sam Cronin scored his first league goal of the season, and has now scored a goal in each of the last three seasons. He has four goals over that span, after not scoring in either 2009 or 2010.
  • Tommy Thompson made his second career start, again filling the underneath forward role behind Wondolowski, and playing the full 90 minutes for the first time in an MLS game.
  • “We’re not looking at the standings right now. We got some stuff to figure out right now. We felt good going into this game. We had a good day at training and we came out flat and put ourselves on the back foot right away,” Busch said. “That’s happened too often this season. You dig yourself out of a hole and give it right back to them. It’s disappointing.”

REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake saw their undefeated streak put to an end after six matches, falling 2-1 to FC Dallas on Friday evening at Toyota Stadium. RSL are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 42 points from 25 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Just before halftime, after being fouled by defender Chris Schuler, FCD striker Blas Perez was shoved by Schuler and fell to the ground. Schuler was given a yellow card for unsporting behavior and Perez, who was already on a yellow card, was given a second yellow for simulation and sent off by referee Ismail Elfath.
  • But FC Dallas still scored first. In the 50th minute, Michel took a corner that deflected off of Schuler and into the path of Je-Vaughn Watson, who chested the ball into the goal from almost on the goal line.
  • The lead was doubled by FCD, still a man down, in the 74th minute. Fabian Castillo took a pass from Tesho Akindele into the area, rounded a defenderand stroked his shot into the far lower corner past goalkeeper Nick Rimando for the eventual game-winner.
  • RSL pulled a goal back in second-half stoppage time when Olmes Garcia put home a bicycle kick after Sebastian Velasquez chased down a corner and sent a cross back into the box, Garcia's effort deflecting off a defender and past goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, but it was too little, too late.
  • RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made one change to the team that defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Robbie Findley came back into the starting lineup in place of Olmes Garcia.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Olmes Garcia 57) - Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez 71), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Luis Gil - Robbie Findley (Devon Sandoval 80), Joao Plata.

TEAM NEWS

  • Real Salt Lake saw their three-game winning run and six-game undefeated streak overall put to an end. They also continued their dismal form at FC Dallas, now 1-10-2 there all-time in league games between the clubs.
  • “I don't think we were really exceptional in anything. We just weren't good enough. Obviously, defending the set play, giving up a goal from a dead ball situation, can really change the tide of the game,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. “We felt we were in a good position, had a mental lapse on a set play then from there we were chasing the game. … We didn't do a great job moving the ball quick enough and being dangerous and penetrating their two blocks of four. It just wasn't good enough the whole night.”
  • Said midfielder Kyle Beckerman: “We get a rematch at our place so hopefully we can respond well next week and stay with the pack that seems to be getting out up front, and get another crack at Dallas in Salt Lake and see if we can do better.”
  • Real allowed a goal from a corner kick, the ninth goal they’ve allowed from a set piece this season – tied for most in MLS (along with Philadelphia Union).
  • “There's two ways FC Dallas scores on you – set plays and counter attacks,” Cassar said. “We went over it and over it [in training]. And we couldn't deal with a corner kick, and they got us on a counterattack. It was a little bit naïve of us, and hopefully we'll learn from it and move on.”
  • Olmes García scored his third goal of the season, all of them having come in the last six matches, since July 24. García came off the substitutes’ bench after having started the previous two matches.
  • With FCD down a man and up a goal, RSL went to a 3-4-3 tactical scheme with the introduction of García, with fullback Chris Wingert sacrificed in the change.
  • “They were organized in the back. They had everybody behind the ball and that makes it difficult for us,” goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. “We go to three in the back and I don't think it's our bread and butter, and we're not as dynamic as we should be. All-in-all, we weren't sharp enough.”
  • New signing Sebastian Jaime has begun full training with the club and could be available for selection for the San Jose match.
  • “It's really up to how he progresses with the group and understanding the way we want him to play on both sides of the ball,” Cassar said, “but I anticipate him traveling to San Jose with us. So the opportunity will be there.”