SAN JOSE, Calif.
7:30 pm PT (FSC; HDnet; CSN-DC)
A pair of teams still trying to figure out which way the 2005 season will lead meet in Silicon Valley. The Earthquakes have scored just three goals in their last five matches as they try to retool following a quartet of significant injuries, but they've also won only once on the tight confines of the usually difficult Spartan Stadium. D.C. United has traded wins with losses for the past four weeks - and for the last seven weeks, alternated being shut out and hitting for three goals. Their last match was a 2-0 loss to FC Dallas, which followed a 3-2 win against Kansas City.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): George Gansner; JAR (opposite): Emiliano Monje; 4th: Ramon Hernandez
MLS Career: 28 games; FC/gm: 31.1; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 6; pens: 14
Games involving Earthquakes: P6 W4 L1 T1; FC/gm: 28.2; Y/gm: 2.2; R: 1; pens: 1
Games involving United: P6 W4 L1 T1; FC/gm: 36.3; Y/gm: 4.8; R: 1; pens: 2
INJURY REPORT: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: DF Craig Waibel (R knee torn ACL/LCL); FW Brian Ching (R hamstring strain); MF Brian Mullan (L ankle avulsion fracture); DF Troy Dayak (L knee torn ACL) ... D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Steve Guppy (Achilles tendonitis)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DC: MF Clyde Simms (USA; June 4 v Costa Rica); FW Freddy Adu (U.S. U-20 national team; FIFA World Youth Championship)
YELLOW PERIL: SJ: DF Danny Califf (10 CP in 2 gms)
This is the first of two scheduled league meetings between the clubs this season, the only one set for Spartan Stadium. They'll play at RFK Stadium on July 15.
Last year, the teams split their season series, each winning once at home with one draw. The teams opened the season at RFK Stadium on April 2, United coming back to claim a 2-1 win (Moreno 12, Eskandarian 39 - Ekelund 19 pen)
The next two matches were played at Spartan Stadium. On May 1, they played to a 1-1 draw (Dayak 33 - Kovalenko 66), then on Aug. 7, the Earthquakes claimed a 2-0 victory (Mullan 17, De Rosario 82)
United haven't won in San Jose since a 4-0 victory on June 3, 1998, a span of seven matches. The Earthquakes have won four of those (one by shootout), with draws in the other three.
The Earthquakes have won six of the last 11 meetings in the series since Aug. 19, 2000. United have won three in that time, with two draws.
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. DC: P3 W1 L1 D1 ... Peter Nowak v SJ: P3 W1 L1 D1
ALL-TIME (22 meetings): Earthquakes 11 wins (3 shootout), 34 goals ... United 8 wins (0 shootout), 37 goals ... 3 draws
AT SAN JOSE (11 meetings): Earthquakes 6 wins (1 shootout), 18 goals ... United 2 wins (0 shootout), 14 goals ... 3 draws
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The Wizards won their second game of the week at home by a 1-0 margin, this time against the Earthquakes, who lost for the second time on their three-game road trip.
Halftime substitute Jack Jewsbury was the hero, knocking the rebound of a saved shot for his fourth goal of the campaign. Jewsbury was set free and saw his first shot saved but then spilled by San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad and he picked up the rebound and rounded the 'keeper to drive it home.
"I think this was one of those games that always happen to you at least once a year - where you dominate the game and have a majority of the chances and the other team gets one chance and buries the chance," San Jose defender Danny Califf said. "You keep knocking on the door and keep knocking on the door and it never opens for you."
Quakes boss Dominic Kinnear made no changes to the team that knocked off the Colorado Rapids at midweek in Denver. Here's Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Chris Aloisi, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett (Wes Hart 72) - Mark Chung (Ian Russell 79), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis - Dwayne De Rosario - Alejandro Moreno, Ronald Cerritos
"We had great possession in the first half and we were moving the ball around very well. I think that we tired a bit in the second half, but we still had most of the ball. I am surprised that we lost the game tonight with the way that we played. We just couldn't quite finish our chances tonight."
The San Jose Earthquakes completed their three-match road swing with a 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium. Despite the loss the Earthquakes remained in third place in the Western Conference with 13 points from 10 matches, two points ahead of Real Salt Lake and six behind the Los Angeles Galaxy, now eight out of first place.
Despite claiming just three points of a possible nine on the road trip, the Quakes still came away from their travels in good spirits. "I thought that the team played better as the trip went on. Tonight we played very well and it was tough not to come out of here with three points or even a tie. Overall, the team is playing well, but we just have to get some results," Kinnear said.
The Earthquakes were shutout for the second time in 10 games. "They defended their box well with their two middle guys (defenders Jimmy Conrad and Shavar Thomas)," Kinnear said. "We played a lot of stuff in the air. I just thought that out last pass and our final run to the box just wasn't there because of a number of factors."
The game grew physical at times. Referee Ricardo Salazar called 23 fouls on the Wizards and 16 on the Earthquakes. The unusual thing about that statistic was that entering the game the Earthquakes led MLS in fouls committed while Kansas City was last.
Ruiz moved atop the league's scoring table with seven goals on the season to keep FC Dallas atop the Western Conference.
The first goal from the Guatemalan international was top-class and an early candidate for Goal of the Year honors. Roberto Mina sent in a chip from the right that Ruiz hit with a full overhead kick, driving the ball inside Nick Rimando's left-hand post (49).
Ruiz then doubled the advantage when he converted his own penalty after he was bundled over from behind in the heart of the box.
United coach Peter Nowak was forced into making two changes to his team that knocked off the Kansas City Wizards 3-2 at home the weekend before, both in his midfield. Clyde Simms was away on international duty with the USA and Josh Gros was suspended, meaning Freddy Adu came back into the team and Dema Kovalenko made his first start of the season.
"Dallas was good at just sitting in," said Freddy Adu. "They wanted to counter, and they got a couple of goals. We tried all night to break them down, but the defense was too compact and it was real hard to slide in through balls and to get in behind them."
Here's Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Nick Rimando - Bryan Namoff, Bobby Boswell, Brandon Prideaux - Freddy Adu, Ben Olsen (Santino Quaranta 81), Brian Carroll, Dema Kovalenko - Christian Gomez - Alecko Eskandarian, Jaime Moreno
"We were too predictable," said Nowak. "When we had a chance to go forward, we took five, six, seven, eight touches. We played too slow and too predictable, and it was easy to cover all these angles and runs. We have to do a better job than that. At this level you have to play with one, two touches."
D.C. United saw their modest two-game home winning streak come to a crashing halt, a double within seven minutes from Carlos Ruiz giving FC Dallas a 2-0 victory on Saturday night at RFK Stadium. The defending MLS champion fell to fifth place in the Eastern Conference - and out of the playoff picture - with 11 points from nine matches, one point behind the MetroStars, just one out of last place and a full 10 points behind first-place New England Revolution.
One of United's few bright spots was the return of Dema Kovalenko, who made his first start of the season and played the full match on the left wing, though he was disappointed to waste several good scoring opportunities.
"Tough game," he said. "I had a couple of chances - I missed one from two yards out. I'm glad to be back, and play 90 minutes for the first time in six months, but I was a little rusty."
Adu started on the right flank in what will be his last United match for several weeks. Next week he departs for the FIFA World Youth Championship in Holland.
"Obviously we could've played much better, myself especially," said Adu. "I felt like the whole team, for whatever reason, we were a step slower. (FC Dallas) were getting to every first ball. It's one of those things you can't explain, it just sort of happens, and great teams find a way to fight through it. Today we were very unlucky."
Clyde Simms made his full international debut, coming on in stoppage time of the USA's 2-1 loss to England on Saturday in Chicago.
United have given a release to former El Salvador international Eliseo Quintanilla at his own request. Quintanilla did not make a full league appearance this year, missing all of last season with a broken leg. "It's sad," he told The Washington Post. "I feel I need to play and I'm not getting the opportunity. I want to go somewhere so I can play."
After the loss, United spent part of the last week at Phil Anschutz's sprawling Eagles' Nest Ranch in Colorado. "It's been an emotional year," said Olsen to The Post. "There's been a lot of ups and downs. It will be good to get away and relax with the guys and have a laugh. Then we get back at it on Thursday. We've got an important game, and we need a win."