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SAN JOSE, Calif.
7 pm PT (FSN-SW)
An enticing clash is ahead at Spartan Stadium for a pair of teams that could get a real gauge on where their seasons could head. The San Jose Earthquakes return home after a draw and a victory on the road, now unbeaten in three games and with just one loss on the campaign. They face an FC Dallas team that also has just one loss after one of the hotter starts in the league this season, coming off an inspiring draw with the Kansas City Wizards where they overcame a two-goal deficit in the game's final quarter-hour.
REFEREE: Erich Simmons. SAR (bench): Emiliano Monje; JAR (opposite): Jose Corro; 4th: Kevin Stott
MLS Career: 12 games; FC/gm: 34.1; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 7; pens: 2
Games involving Earthquakes: P2 W0 L1 T1 FC/gm: 37.0; Y/gm: 4.5; R: 0; pens: 0
Games involving FC Dallas: P3 W3 L0 T0; FC/gm: 35.0; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 1; pens: 1
INJURY REPORT: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: DF Danny Califf (R knee MCL sprain); DF Craig Waibel (R knee torn LCL); QUESTIONABLE: DF James Twellman (R heel contusion); FW Orlando Ramirez (L oblique strain) ... FC DALLAS - NONE REPORTED
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DAL: MF Ramon Nuñez (Honduras U-20 national team)
YELLOW PERIL: none
ALL-TIME (32 meetings): Earthquakes 18 wins (4 shootout), 58 goals ... FC Dallas 13 wins (3 shootout), 37 goals ... 1 draws
AT SPARTAN STADIUM: (16 meetings): Earthquakes 11 wins (4 shootout), 34 goals ... FC Dallas 5 wins (2 shootout), 15 goals ... 0 draws
The Western Conference rivals come together for the first of four meetings this season. Their last meeting at the Cotton Bowl will come on July 2, then when they next meet for a Dallas home game on Sept. 3, it will be at the new Frisco Soccer and Entertainment Complex. The final meeting is set for Sept. 24 at Spartan Stadium.
A year ago, the Earthquakes won two of the four meetings - one at each ground - while the Dallas Burn claimed one (also away from home) with the final encounter a draw.
The Earthquakes claimed a 2-1 win in Dallas on May 15 (Johnson 66 - Donovan 13, Ching 45), but in their next meeting, July 7 at Spartan Stadium, Dallas returned the favor with a 2-1 victory (Corrales 10 - Quill 6, Valakari 89)
San Jose then captured a dominant 3-0 victory at home on Aug. 21 (Corrales 5, own goal 24, Ching 52), then with fourth place in the Western Conference and the final berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs on offer on Oct. 16 at the Cotton Bowl, the Earthquakes escaped with the point they needed thanks to a 2-2 draw, sending Dallas home for the winter (Johnson 12, Pareja 62 - Ching 34, Corrales 36).
Before the Dallas victory in the second game of last year's series, the Earthquakes had won the last seven meetings between the teams - the final two in 2003, all four in the 2004 season series and the opening match last season.
The Earthquakes have won 10 of the last 13 meetings between the clubs (with one draw), dating back to May 23, 2001.
The last Dallas home win in the series came on July 13, 2002, three Earthquakes wins and a draw coming since.
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. DAL: P4 W2 L1 D1 ... Colin Clarke v SJ: P5 W1 L3 T1
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes won for the second time in three weeks and ran their unbeaten streak to three, winning by the solitary goal away to the MetroStars on Saturday afternoon at Giants Stadium. The Earthquakes remained in third place in the Western Conference with nine points from six matches, now trailing new West leader Los Angeles Galaxy by three points, two points behind second-place FC Dallas.
The MetroStars were desperately unlucky to hit the woodwork twice in the opening 45 minutes. Amado Guevara sent a wicked blast from outside the area that beat Pat Onstad - only to come straight back off the post. Then Sergio Galvan Rey sent a nifty near-post flick header from a corner kick that glanced off the face of the crossbar.
After the break, the Earthquakes finally found the opener at the end of a wonderful movement. A neat backheel from Dwayne DeRosario set Brad Davis free on the left, and he whipped in another inviting cross that found Ronald Cerritos all alone at the back post for him to calmly head home.
The Earthquakes were coached by John Doyle on the day, as Dominic Kinnear remained at home to deal with a family illness. There were no changes to the San Jose lineup from the team that grabbed a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake on the road the previous weekend. Here's the Quakes XI (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Craig Waibel, Troy Dayak, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Brian Mullan (Ian Russell 84), Danny O'Rourke, Brad Davis -Dwayne De Rosario - Brian Ching, Ronald Cerritos (Alejandro Moreno 80)
"I think that in previous games, we defended well and had good organization, but we had a bad break here and there,'' said Doyle. "It is nice to get a shutout and nice for the guys to say we can close a team down.''
TEAM NEWSOnce again, Dwayne DeRosario figured in the goal from his attacking midfield role. "Dominic Kinnear switched him into that role a couple of weeks ago," said Doyle, "and since then we've had a win, a tie and a win, so something is working." Added DeRosario: "I'm very comfortable in this role now, playing attacking midfield. I'm able to determine and dictate how the attack should go, how I want it to flow, and I feel comfortable in that position."
For the Earthquakes, it was their first victory at Giants Stadium since Sept. 22, 1999. Every game they have played this year has been a tie, or decided by a single goal.
The Earthquakes suffered a blow on Tuesday, when defender Craig Waibel went down with a torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee during a scrimmage against Santa Clara University. Waibel will undergo surgery next week, and will be out for 4-5 months.
The early expectation is that Ricardo Clark - who started the first three matches in a central midfield role - will take over at right back. Kinnear can also call upon MLS veteran Wes Hart, as well as Chris Aloisi.
Then another blow hit the club on Monday, when Hugh Fremont Kinnear, father of head coach Dominic, passed away. He was 70 years old.
FC Dallas rebounded from their first loss with a gritty performance, coming back from a two-goal deficit over the final 14 minutes to snatch a 3-3 draw with the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium. FC Dallas fell out of first place in the Western Conference with the result, now with 11 points from six matches, one behind the Los Angeles Galaxy (who have a match in hand).
The Wizards again scored first, as they have in every game this season, but for the fourth time came away without the full three points. The teams traded goals early in the first half, with Sasha Victorine heading home a corner after just four minutes, before Eddie Johnson headed home a cross powered in from the right to pull the Hoops level (16).
The Wizards then hit for two goals within three minutes shortly after the break. Josh Wolff converted from the spot after Bobby Rhine was adjudged to have pulled over Jose Burciaga Jr. (51), then Burciaga found Chris Klein all alone in the heart of the area with a long ball from nearly the halfway line, and he neatly slipped it past FCD 'keeper Scott Garlick.
But Dallas pulled a goal back on 76 minutes through a neat header from Ronnie O'Brien, whose backward redirection from a Bobby Rhine service found home. Then Carlos Ruiz hit for the equalizer six minutes later, turning to escape his marker at the top of the area and lashing a low, left-footed shot inside Bo Oshoniyi's left-hand post.
FC Dallas boss Colin Clarke kept his starting team the same for the third consecutive week, though with a slight tactical re-fit, as Ronnie O'Brien played more of a midfield role. Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Scott Garlick - Bobby Rhine, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr - Ronnie O'Brien, Richard Mulrooney, Simo Valakari, Carey Talley (Arturo Alvarez 68) - Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz.
"It was pretty end to end. I thought we had the better first half. We had some good opportunities and could have been ahead at halftime. Then we came out and had a five- or six-minute spell where we were horrible and conceded two goals," Clarke said. "Full credit to the boys to come back and could have won it."
TEAM NEWSThe comeback meant a lot to FC Dallas in that they might well have a team that can contend for a lot of honors this season. "It is a brick in the wall for us this year, we have to know that we can come back from 3-1 with 20 minutes to go," O'Brien said. "We have to prove to us that we can do this, and Kansas City had our (rears) here last year, so this is a big deal to us. Hopfully we can build on it."
O'Brien said the result was fortunate - because if he were coach, he would not have been on the field to score the second FCD goal.
"Honestly I would have beat myself senseless over it when I was younger and it wouldn't even have been worth me coming out in the second half," he said. "But now I am older and I know my game well. I was actually smiling at halftime, thinking that I would have taken myself off after 20 minutes, but since I am still on the field I might as well pick it up and luckily enough I had a good second half."
Ramon Nuñez has been called into the Honduras under-20 national team for a pair of friendlies this week, one against the Canada U-20 national team, both to be played in the USA.