SAN JOSE, Calif.
7 pm PT (ONN)
The San Jose Earthquakes have faced huge turnover in their roster and a debilitating series of injuries this season - and begin the second half riding a rich vein of form and tied for the Western Conference lead with FC Dallas. They also booked what's sure to a bitterly contested quarterfinal with the Los Angeles Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals this week. They play host to a Columbus Crew side that has yet to lose in league play under interim head coach Robert Warzycha, but were dumped out of the Open Cup in a loss to FC Dallas at midweek.
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Emiliano Monje; JAR (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Colin Arblaster
MLS Career: 15 games; FC/gm: 28.9; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 4; pens: 4
Games involving Earthquakes: P3 W1 L0 T2; FC/gm: 35.7; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 1; pens: 1
Games involving Crew: P2 W2 L0 T0; FC/gm: 32.5; Y/gm: 4.5; R: 1; pens: 1
INJURY REPORT: 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); DF Ryan Cochrane (L hip pointer) ... COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: MF Mario Rodriguez (R hamstring strain); FW Edson Buddle (L Achilles tendonitis); DF Stephen Herdsman (L groin strain); MF Duncan Oughton (R knee surgery); MD Ross Paule (post-concussion syndrome); GK Jon Busch (R knee)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
WARNINGS: SJ: Brian Mullan (18 CP)
ALL-TIME (25 meetings): Earthquakes 10 wins (3 shootout), 40 goals ... Crew 15 wins (2 shootout), 49 goals ... 1 draw
IN SAN JOSE (13 meetings): Earthquakes 8 wins (3 shootout), 25 goals ... Crew 4 wins (0 shootout), 23 goals ... 1 draw
This is the second of two meetings between the clubs this season, the only one set for Spartan Stadium, as both meetings this season came separated by less than a month
The San Jose Earthquakes won for the first time in Columbus in nearly a decade, getting a late goal to claim a 2-1 victory against the Crew on July 9
The Earthquakes had never won a league game in Crew Stadium, and hadn't beaten the Crew on their own ground in a regular-season contest since July 20, 1996. They did win MLS Cup 2001 at Crew Stadium - where they beat arch-rival Los Angeles Galaxy, along the way defeating the Crew in Columbus in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Center back Chad Marshall gave an early sign the streak might be continued, heading home a corner kick after 19 minutes for his first career MLS goal. He beat Eddie Robinson to reach David Testo's service and saw his header come down off the underside of the crossbar and spin back out onto the field, but it was adjudged to have crossed the line.
But just 11 minutes later the Quakes pulled level through Robinson, who shook off Marshall to reach a Ronald Cerritos free kick whipped in from the left corner and head home the equalizer. Cerritos then scored the match-winner just after the hour. Ricardo Clark and Alejandro Moreno played a neat one-two, Clark rounding the defense at the byeline before laying a pass back for Cerritos who sent a first-time shot home from the heart of the area (63).
Here's Andrulis's team (3-4-2-1): Jonny Walker - Mark Schulte, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall - Chris Wingert (John Wolyniec 79), Simon Elliott, Danny Szetela, David Testo (Jamal Sutton 67) - Mario Rodriguez, Chris Henderson - Edson Buddle (Knox Cameron 46).
Here's Kinnear's team (4-4-2): Pat Onstad - Wes Hart, Kelly Gray, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Brian Mullan (Ian Russell 81), Ricardo Clark, Danny O'Rourke, Mark Chung - Alejandro Moreno (Julian Nash 85), Ronald Cerritos
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.
While San Jose's win against the Crew earlier this year snapped a long stretch of futility in Ohio, 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 six times in 24 meetings in the series, and just twice in the last 12 matches between the clubs (though there was one draw).
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v CLB: P3 W1 L2 T0... Robert Warzycha vs. SJ: first game
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes enter the second half of the season tied for the top spot in the Western Conference with 34 points from 20 matches, tied with FC Dallas though they've played one more match, both five points ahead of Los Angeles Galaxy in third place. The Earthquakes went into the All-Star break with a 2-1 victory against the MetroStars at Spartan Stadium on July 23, their second win on the trot and sixth win in eight games.
The Earthquakes allowed their first goal at home in three months but still hit back for a victory against the MetroStars that moved them into a first place tie for the Western Conference lead.
The Quakes allowed their first goal at home in 537 minutes - since a goal by Kansas City's Chris Klein on April 23 - in unfortunate circumstances. A Ryan Suarez cross from the right flank deflected off Ricardo Clark and looped high in the air over San Jose 'keeper Pat Onstad and under the crossbar (32).
But it took the home side less than a minute to answer. Alejandro Moreno cut back on the right before laying the ball off to Dwayne De Rosario, and he curled in a cross that Mark Chung streaked in at the back post to head home for the equalizer.
The Quakes then hit for the game-winner after the break. A long ball from the back was controlled well by Chung, and after bringing it down he slipped De Rosario through as the Canadian international was making a steaming run out of midfield. He held off a retreating MetroStars defender before beating Tony Meola with a low shot inside his right-hand post (53).
Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that knocked off the Colorado Rapids 2-1 the previous Wednesday in Denver. Danny Califf came back into the team from suspension, replacing Ryan Cochrane.
Here's Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Kelly Gray, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Mark Chung - Dwayne De Rosario - Ronald Cerritos, Alejandro Moreno
"I give credit to New York for not putting their heads down and making it difficult for us. I think we were a little bit sharper, and if we were a bit more deadly near the goal the game could have been over in about the 70th minute. But, I give full credit to our guys, I am happy for them for the way they have played over the first half of the season going into the All-Star break here. I hope a lot of people are taking notice, because I think we are a very good team."
While the Earthquakes were on a bit of a roll, they were looking forward to the All-Star break. "We've certainly been playing well of late, but we're coming off a four-game road trip," said Califf. "The last few games have been extremely hot and have taken a lot out of us, so the break comes at a good time. It's a good mental break as well."
On Wednesday, the Earthquakes advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup after a 2-0 victory against the Portland Timbers of the USL First Division (second tier) at PGE Park in Portland. Wade Barrett gave the Quakes the lead in the 27th minute when he turned home a cross from the left flank from Brad Davis, then just after the hour, Ian Russell put in a cross from the other side that Brian Mullan ran onto to flick home past Portland 'keeper Josh Saunders.
"It took us a little bit of time to get into it, but then we started to play well," said Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear. "We did some good stuff in both halves and created problems for them. We moved the ball well and I don't think we showed too much rust."
Here's Kinnear's team: Jon Conway, Kelly Gray, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett (Kevin Goldthwaite 46), Ian Russell (Chris Wondolowski 80), Danny O'Rourke, Dwayne De Rosario, Brad Davis (Mark Chung 70), Brian Mullan (Julian Nash 86), Alejandro Moreno
Next up for the Earthquakes will be seeing if they can put another streak to rest. They take on the Los Angeles Galaxy in the quarterfinals - set for Spartan Stadium on Wed., Aug. 24. The Galaxy knocked out the Earthquakes in the quarterfinals three successive years, from 2000-2002, once winning on penalties and once on a golden goal, also winning twice in northern California (one at Spartan Stadium).
The Quakes waived defender Wes Hart, who played in 25 matches for the club over the past two seasons after coming from Colorado in a trade before the 2004 season. He made 93 league appearances, scoring two goals and recording five assists.
The Columbus Crew begin the second half of the campaign in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points from 19 matches, seven points behind the fifth-place MetroStars and eight out of the final playoff spot. They entered the All-Star break on the strength of successive wins and a three-game unbeaten run under Robert Warzycha after a 2-0 victory against the Kansas City Wizards on July 23 at Crew Stadium.
Knox Cameron scored his first two MLS goals - literally on each side of halftime - to give Robert Warzycha a second consecutive victory and extend his unbeaten run to three games since taking over as the Columbus head coach.
In the final minute of the first half, Simon Elliott found Kyle Martino on the right flank, and after rounding a defender, he drove a ball to Cornell Glen at the back post. Glen couldn't handle it, but it fell to Cameron who blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Then almost directly off the second half kickoff, Martino found Henderson who passed the ball to Elliott. He one-timed the ball back to Martino, who served a low ball to Cameron at the near post. The University of Michigan product directed the ball into net to extend the Crew's lead with the half barely a half-minute old.
Warzycha made no changes to the team that knocked off the MetroStars 1-0 on a stoppage-time goal the previous Wednesday at Crew Stadium. Here's his team (3-4-2-1): Jonny Walker - Chad Marshall, Chris Wingert, Robin Fraser - Chris Henderson, Simon Elliott, Eric Vasquez, David Testo (Mario Rodriguez 71) - Kyle Martino (Danny Szetela 88), Cornell Glen - Knox Cameron (John Wolyniec 65)
"Overall I was very happy about the three guys in the back - Robin Fraser, Chris Wingert and Chad Marshall. We had some issues against New York especially in the second half, when Ante Razov got free two times and had the chance to actually do something with ball," Warzycha said. "But today I thought they played very, very well. There was support and cover, and Kansas City didn't score a goal, so we have to be happy."
Kyle Martino has thrived under Warzycha's tactical shift to a single target forward and two players underneath, coming from wide positions.
"Too often, you slip away from one guy and then get double-teamed. It is too hard to get isolated one-on-one," said Martino on the difficulties in the center of the field. "He [Warzycha] wanted me to be a little more dangerous out wide, take people one-on-one, get crosses in, and try to get chances that way."
On Wednesday, the Crew were eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup when they were reduced to nine men in extra time then allowed two goals in a 3-1 loss to FC Dallas at Crew Stadium. Carey Talley knocked home an Oscar Pareja service in the 29th minute, but the Crew equalized seven minutes later as Kyle Martino finished off a lovely passing sequence.
The draw stayed intact into extra time, when Danny Szetela and Frankie Hejduk were sent off with direct red cards within four minutes by referee Ricardo Salazar for fouls on Arturo Alvarez. Abe Thompson's powerful drive gave FC Dallas the lead in the 113th minute, then Eddie Johnson converted a penalty three minutes later after he was taken down by Jamal Sutton to provide the final margin.
Here's Warzycha's team: Jonny Walker, Chad Marshall, Chris Wingert, Robin Fraser, Frankie Hejduk, Simon Elliott (Danny Szetela 74), Eric Vasquez, Chris Henderson (Mario Rodriguez 73), Kyle Martino, Knox Cameron, Cornell Glen (Jamal Sutton 74).
"I thought we had a grip on the game. I thought we had them because they were cramping and had so many yellow cards," Warzycha said. " ... We were trying to get through the game and get to penalty kicks. It is not possible some times."