COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM
7:30 pm ET (FSC; FSN-BA)
Two teams heading in seemingly opposite directions face off as the Columbus Crew welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to their own private house of horrors. The Crew are currently in a four-game winless skid, and have won just two games over nearly the past three months to leave them at the foot of the Eastern Conference. The Earthquakes meanwhile are one of the hottest teams in the league, on a six-game unbeaten string that has pulled them into second place in the West. But the Quakes haven't won in Columbus since their first-ever trip here - in 1996.
REFEREE: Andrew Chapin. SAR (bench): Rob Fereday; JAR (opposite): Jorge de la Bandera; 4th: Jeff Mellen
MLS Career: 6 games; FC/gm: 28.0; Y/gm: 5.2; R: 2; pens: 1
Games involving Crew: P1 W0 L1 T0; FC/gm: 24.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 0
Games involving Earthquakes: P1 W0 L0 T1; FC/gm: 34.0; Y/gm: 6.0; R: 1; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: GK Matt Jordan (lower back strain); MF Duncan Oughton (R knee surgery); MD Ross Paule (post-concussion syndrome); GK Jon Busch (R knee); QUESTIONABLE: DF Stephen Herdsman (L groin strain); PROBABLE: MF Danny Szetela (concussion) ... SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: DF Craig Waibel (R knee torn ACL/LCL); DF Troy Dayak (L knee torn ACL); FW Brian Ching (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Eddie Robinson (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Ryan Cochrane (L ankle sprain)
CLB: DF Frankie Hejduk (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup); FW Cornell Glen (Trinidad & Tobago; CONCACAF Gold Cup) ... SJ: MF Brad Davis (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup); MF Dwayne De Rosario (Canada; CONCACAF Gold Cup)
SUSPENDED: CLB: Kyle Martino (through July 9) ... SJ: Danny Califf (through July 9)
WARNINGS: CLB: Robin Fraser (20 CP)
ALL-TIME (25 meetings): Crew 15 wins (2 shootout), 48 goals ... Earthquakes 9 wins (3 shootout), 38 goals ... 1 draw
IN COLUMBUS (12 meetings): Crew 11 wins (2 shootout), 25 goals ... Earthquakes 1 win (0 shootout), 13 goals ... 0 draws
This is the first of two meetings between the clubs this season, the only one set for Columbus. They will be meet for the final time in league play this year at Spartan Stadium in less than a month, on Aug. 6.
A year ago, the Crew won both meetings between the clubs, claiming 1-0 victories on each team's home ground.
On May 29 at Crew Stadium, the Crew continued their home dominance of the Earthquakes behind the game's lone goal from Jeff Cunningham on 69 minutes. Then on Sept. 8 in San Jose, Tony Sanneh hit for his first goal in Major League Soccer in nearly six years, hitting in the first minute of second-half stoppage time to give the Crew the victory.
The Earthquakes won in their first-ever appearance in Columbus, a 4-3 win on July 20, 1996 - and haven't won since. Two of the Crew wins over the next three years came by shootout after a regulation draw, but San Jose hasn't take a single point from their visits to Ohio in 11 matches.
But Columbus hasn't had much success in San Jose either. The Crew's 1-0 victory last year was their first victory in Silicon Valley since Aug. 2, 2000 (a stretch of seven matches). The visiting team has won just five times in 24 meetings in the series, and just once in the last 11 matches between the clubs (though there was one draw).
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v CLB: P2 W0 L2 T0... Greg Andrulis vs. SJ: P11 W6 L4 T1
The Columbus Crew saw their winless streak extended to four, losing for the third time in that span though under unlucky circumstances, an own goal giving D.C. United a 1-0 victory on Saturday night at Crew Stadium. The Crew find themselves in last place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 15 games, seven behind fifth-place MetroStars, eight out a playoff spot and fully 18 behind joint leaders Chicago Fire and New England Revolution.
D.C. United hadn't won a game in Columbus in almost exactly five years, and in the first half the Crew seemed certain to be ready to extend that streak when John Wolyniec was bundled over in the box. But United 'keeper Nick Rimando flew to his right to turn aside the resulting penalty from Mario Rodriguez.
Then United were grateful to accept a little more good fortune. A poor clearance from a Jamil Walker attempt at goal fell right to Christian Gomez's feet in the area, and he tried to drive a pass to the opposite post. But Crew center back Chad Marshall stepped in and saw the ball bounce off his leg into the back of the net for the match-winner (64).
Crew head coach Greg Andrulis made two changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the Kansas City Wizards the Wednesday before on the road. Ryan Kelly came into the back four for the injured Stephen Herdsman, while Jonny Walker made his first appearance with the Crew since his acquisition from the MetroStars, coming in between the posts for Bill Gaudette.
Here's Andrulis's team (4-3-1-2): Jonny Walker - Ryan Kelly (Stephen Armstrong 78), Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Mark Schulte - Mario Rodriguez (David Testo 61), Simon Elliott, Chris Henderson - Kyle Martino - Edson Buddle (Knox Cameron 86), John Wolyniec
"We obviously have to take it a game at a time. We had a good performance on Wednesday night. It was all about getting three points tonight and we didn't get the job done," said Crew coach Greg Andrulis. " ... Clearly [it] was trifecta of bad things we weren't able to overcome, with the missed penalty kick, own goal and red card. You can't paint yourself in a worse corner than that."
TEAM NEWS Jonny Walker finally made his Crew debut after training with the team for better than a week, while the deal to get him from the MetroStars was done (as they secured the rights to sign former Kansas City Wizards 'keeper Tony Meola).
"I was pretty happy with the way things went. There was some good dialogue between myself and the defense. We kept one of the better teams from really having a whole lot of offensive things going on. If you took a look at the production that the other team had I think the real danger they had was a free kick and one shot from medium distance, which is 25 yards out. Everything else, due to a lot of yelling and defensive guys stepping up, created a very light evening from my standpoint," Walker said.
While the Crew have come away with just a point from their last two games, they allowed just two goals - one directly from a free kick, and one on an own goal. "We seem to be getting better every week. The last two games have been a lot better," defender Robin Fraser said to The Columbus Dispatch. "We're moving in the right direction but we've got to stop talking about it and get it done."
Still, the Crew have needed a stout defense with just 12 goals on the season - shutout seven times in 15 matches. "We're creating better and better scoring chances. The attacking movement is better," Fraser said. "We know we're getting there, but our record is not good enough. We all know that."
Rodriguez came off on the hour, after missing the penalty kick in the first half. It continued the Crew's difficulty from the spot this season - they've missed three of four this season, and had missed their last two a year ago (both in the playoffs).
"He [Rodriguez] ran out of gas. He was cheating defensively. They were getting behind him six, seven times in a row. We needed to get some energy out there. He left his heart on the field Wednesday night and we just felt he was out of gas," Andrulis said.
The Crew had hit 20 penalty kicks in a row before the two misses in the return leg of last year's Eastern Conference semifinal against the New England Revolution. They have missed two spot kicks at home this season.
"All of them would have altered the momentum of the game," said Andrulis. "We never talked about a 20 in a row streak, but you miss a few and it is the hot topic. At the end of the day, you are supposed to be making them, not missing them."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes extended their unbeaten run to six matches, twice immediately answering FC Dallas goals as the teams played to a 2-2 draw on Saturday evening in the final match ever at the Cotton Bowl. The Earthquakes remained tied with the Los Angeles Galaxy for second place in the Western Conference with 25 points from 16 matches, nine points behind MLS overall leader FC Dallas.
FC Dallas played their final home game in the venerable downtown Dallas stadium before moving to Pizza Hut Park for the opening of their new ground on August 6.
With the full three points guaranteeing Clarke would coach the MLS All-Star team, Arturo Alvarez gave the Hoops a dream start, getting onto the end of a pinpoint Bobby Rhine cross and neatly side-footing home from close range after just four minutes.
Yet just two minutes later the Quakes responded, Brian Mullan getting behind the defense as the flag stayed down despite a hint of offside, pulling inside past FCD 'keeper Scott Garlick and driving the ball into the unguarded goal.
The Earthquakes were left a man down after 35 minutes when center back Danny Califf received his second booking of the match, and after the break FC Dallas finally took advantage, Chris Gbandi playing a neat one-two with Alvarez on the left before skipping forward and letting fly with a low drive from the corner of the area that took a deflection or two before settling into the back of the net (57).
Yet the Quakes again responded within just two minutes with the eventual equalizer, Ricardo Clark making a smooth pull-back at the top of the area before turning and hammering a drive past Garlick into the upper right corner of the goal.
Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that knocked off the Colorado Rapids 1-0 at midweek at Spartan Stadium. Dwayne De Rosario left to join the Canada national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Danny O'Rourke coming back into the team for his first start since May 21.
Here's Kinnear's team (4-4-2): Pat Onstad - Kelly Gray, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson (Ryan Cochrane 20), Wade Barrett - Mark Chung, Ricardo Clark, Danny O'Rourke, Brian Mullan (Wes Hart 62) - Ronald Cerritos, Alejandro Moreno (Julian Nash 70)
"It's a long story, and then we come back and that was great when we were 10 men down for 60 minutes. We were down 2-1, 10 men down, it's a hot night and the cards are stacked against you and Ricardo Clark pulls off a great individual effort," said Kinnear. "You knew they were going to push forward, which they did. You hope that they didn't take good chances and that our defense plays well. We got a combination of the two, so we are happy with getting a point tonight."
TEAM NEWS After pulling level again, Kinnear made a primarily defensive substitution, bringing on Wes Hart - generally a fullback - wide in the midfield for Brian Mullan.
"It's about 100 degrees out there and we're down a man, and we just played Wednesday night. You're switching guys around and your center backs are coming off of injury. We were on the road, Dallas is a tough club, and we have to hold our ground," Kinnear said. "It's just the game, we didn't do it on purpose. That's just the way it happened."
The Earthquakes last lost on May 28, when they fell 1-0 to the Kansas City Wizards on the road. But Columbus has been the club's own house of horrors over the Quakes history.
"I think it's good, I know we have won three in a row at home. Anytime you go on a run unbeaten, at home and away, it's good for the team. The guys are all covering for each other - we may have made mistakes, but someone was there to pick him up and we got timely goals tonight, thank goodness," Kinnear said. "It's a combination of all-around team effort and I think the guys like each other and they don't want to let each other down."
Kinnear's starting center back tandem of Eddie Robinson and Danny Califf will likely both be out for the Crew match however. Califf will be suspended after being sent off in Dallas, and Robinson is listed as doubtful after suffering the right hamstring strain. Together in central defense, the pair had seen just two goals allowed in the seven matches together prior to the Dallas match, keeping five clean sheets.
Kinnear said if Robinson is unavailable in Columbus, Ryan Cochrane will likely move into the center with either usual right back Kelly Gray or the man he replaced after his arrival from Chicago, Chris Aloisi.