Two teams that can look at their 2004 season in both positives and negatives face off in Denver in a Western Conference showdown. The Colorado Rapids are unbeaten on the young campaign and have owned considerable stretches of their games so far – yet twice they’ve failed to hold a lead in playing to two draws. It took the San Jose Earthquakes more than 450 minutes to find the back of the net from run-of-play (scoring once from the penalty spot) – yet they showed a sign of last year’s championship form when hit for three goals in the second half last weekend.
REFEREE: Ali Saheli. SAR (bench): George Gansler;
JAR (opposite): Steven Taylor; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 54 games; FC/gm: 33.0; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 9; pens: 13
Games involving Rapids: P12 W7 L5 T0; FC/gm: 30.3; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 1; pens: 2
Games involving Earthquakes: P11 W6 L4 T1; FC/gm: 35.3; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 5; pens: 5
INJURY REPORT: COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF
Jeff Stewart (R knee); DOUBTFUL:MD Seth Trembly (L knee); PROBABLE:
FW Zizi Roberts (R knee); DF Pablo Mastroeni (L hip pointer) …
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: DF Chris Roner (R ankle surgery);
DOUBTFUL: DF Todd Dunivant (L quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: MD Brian
Mullan (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: DF Ryan Cochrane (L torn meniscus);
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
YELLOW PERIL: noneHEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (32 meetings): Rapids 15 wins (2 shootout), 52 goals …
Earthquakes 15 wins (1 shootout), 52 goals … 2 draws
• This is the first of four meetings between the two clubs this season, the first of two in Denver, in a series that is absolutely even after eight seasons.
• The next two meetings will be in San Jose – on July 17 and Aug. 28 at Spartan Stadium – before they play for the final time in the league campaign on Oct. 2 in Denver.
• A year ago, the Rapids won both meetings in San Jose, the ‘Quakes winning once in Denver with the other match a scoreless draw.
• The Earthquakes won the season-opening match between the two clubs at Invesco Field on April 12 (Roberts 46 – Ching 1, Dunivant 22), but the Rapids won the next two, both at Spartan Stadium. They won 2-0 on July 12 (Kotschau 34, Chung 49), then 2-1 on Aug. 30 (Mullan 59 – Chung 21, Spencer 67), before the scoreless draw in San Jose on Oct. 10.
• The victories in San Jose for the Rapids last year snapped a four-match winless streak (three consecutive losses) for Colorado away in the series. The Rapids loss at home to San Jose in the season opener last year snapped a three-match home winning streak for Colorado in the series.
• Mark Chung leads current Rapids players with 5 goals, 5 assists in his career v San Jose, but only 4 goals, 1 assist have come while with Colorado. Chris Henderson has 3 goals, 7 assists v San Jose, with 1 goal, 6 assists while with the Rapids. John Spencer and Ritchie Kotschau have 3 goals each v San Jose, Spencer also with four assists.
• Landon Donovan has 3 goals, 5 assists v Colorado, leading all active ‘Quakes and second on the club’s all-time list (behind Ronald Cerritos). No other current Earthquakes player has more than 1 goal v Colorado, though Brian Mullan has four assists, and Jeff Agoos and Richard Mulrooney have three each (all of Agoos’s assists with D.C. United). Ian Russell has 0 goals, 5 assists.
• Coaches record: Tim Hankinson v SJ: P18 W10 L6 T2 … Dominic Kinnear vs. COL: first meeting
The Colorado Rapids settled for a share of the spoils for a second
successive week, once again taking a lead before being pulled back,
this time in a 1-1 draw with Los Angeles Galaxy in their home opener
at Invesco Field. The Rapids haven’t lost on the young season
yet are in last place in the Western Conference with two points,
three behind the pace-setting Galaxy.
• Haiti international Jean-Philippe Peguero headed home a corner kick in the ninth minute to give the Rapids the lead, but Carlos Ruiz pounced on a pullback by Jovan Kirovski after a neat bit of skill in the corner to pull the Galaxy even in the 20th minute.
• The Galaxy were greatly aided by the woodwork, Kevin Hartman happy to see both on a John Spencer bicycle kick and a long-range effort from Antonio de la Torre almost at the center stripe come back off the crossbar.
• Rapids coach Tim Hankinson made just a single change to the team that played in the season-opening 1-1 draw in Dallas, forced when Chris Henderson was sent off for a second bookable offense in that contest. Matt Crawford replaced Henderson on the right side of the Colorado midfield.
• Here’s Hankinson’s team on the night (4-4-2): Joe Cannon – Antonio de la Torre, Nat Borchers, Gary Sullivan (Zach Kingsley 56), Ritchie Kotschau – Matt Crawford, Kyle Beckerman, Darryl Powell, Mark Chung – John Spencer, Jean-Philippe Peguero (Zizi Roberts 86).
• "The biggest thing, in the last two games, that keeps us from creating better chances more often is the lack of possession. It seems like we're happy with two or three passes and then sending it towards goal, hoping that someone gets on the end of it," said Hankinson.
• Despite not having lost, the Rapids are in last place. Yet, they haven’t been happy with their performances thus far. "What I'm pleased about is that we all came in the changing room and nobody was happy," midfielder Darryl Powell said. "The captain (Spencer) had a little go at everybody and said we didn't pass the ball well enough. I thought we were more assertive than them and looked more dangerous on the attack. On another day, we would have had two or three more goals. We just need to be a little more patient."
• Powell has fit into a slightly more advanced central midfield position, ahead of Kyle Beckerman, with the main attacking thrust still coming from Chris Henderson and Mark Chung from wider positions. "He's what we call a box-to-box runner," Hankinson said of Powell. "There's a lot of north-south running, not really as a playmaker, but to disrupt their short passing attack."
• Center back Pablo Mastroeni is still far from certain for a return this weekend from a hip pointer. "It's still day to day. I'm still not 100 percent," Mastroeni said. "It will be another game-time decision, but with a sense of optimism."
The San Jose Earthquakes finally found the back of the net from
run-of-play as they came from behind in dramatic fashion against
the New England Revolution for a 3-1 victory at Gillette Stadium
on Saturday. The ‘Quakes are now on four points from three
matches on the season, one of three teams tied for second place,
a point behind Los Angeles.
• Taylor Twellman tapped home a pass from Joe-Max Moore when both got behind the Quakes' back four to give the home side the lead just after the break (49) on a goal that had just the slightest hint of offside.
• But a wonderful bicycle kick from Dwayne DeRosario pulled San Jose level four minutes later, the ‘Quakes first goal from run-of-play this season. Arturo Alvarez then slotted home a Landon Donovan cross just two minutes after that to give the Quakes the lead.
• San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad kept the Revs at bay with a number of quality saves, then Donovan set up Brian Ching, who lashed home a first-time drive from outside the area to kill off the match with 15 minutes left.
• Earthquakes boss Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that battled to a scoreless draw with Chicago Fire at home the weekend before, the suspended Ramiro Corrales replaced by Ian Russell on the left side of the midfield.
• Here’s Kinnear’s team on the night (4-4-2): Pat Onstad – Wes Hart, Troy Dayak, Eddie Robinson, Jeff Agoos – Brian Mullan (Arturo Alvarez 47), Ronnie Ekelund, Richard Mulrooney, Ian Russell – Landon Donovan, Dwayne De Rosario (Brian Ching 70).
• It was Kinnear’s first win as head coach after taking for Frank Yallop during the offseason, when Yallop left to take over the Canadian national team after winning the MLS Cup. “It feels good to get that first win. You want to start the season out winning and after the first two games we were looking up at the rest of the teams in the West. I am glad we got a win and pulled ourselves out of that position,” Kinnear said.
• Kinnear pointed to a pair of point-blank saves Onstad made on Twellman shortly after the ‘Quakes second goal as the key to the match. “I think that really was the turning point because it was a great save,'' said Kinnear. “He pulls off the saves he needs to, especially the important ones, and that's all you can ask of a keeper.''
• Landon Donovan and Richard Mulrooney were named to the U.S. national team for their April 28 friendly against Mexico at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.