SAN JOSE, Calif.
7 pm PT (MSG)
Each of the last two seasons, these teams have produced some remarkable encounters. A year ago, they played to a 5-5 draw in San Jose; two years ago, it was an equally stunning 4-4 draw at Giants Stadium. They've met once this season, in New Jersey - and that one was settled by the only goal of the game. For the San Jose Earthquakes, they've lost just once in their last nine games and return home after a four-game road swing; the MetroStars have won just twice in their last eight matches, though they have four draws over that time.
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Chris Strickland; JAR (opposite): Emiliano Monje; 4th: Colin Arblaster
MLS Career: 14 games; FC/gm: 28.9; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 4; pens: 4
Games involving Rapids: P2 W0 L0 T2; FC/gm: 39.0; Y/gm: 4.5; R: 1; pens: 1
Games involving Earthquakes: P3 W0 L0 T3; FC/gm: 32.7; Y/gm: 3.7; 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); PROBABLE: DF Ryan Cochrane (L hip pointer); DF Eddie Robinson (R hamstring strain) ... METROSTARS - OUT: DF Tim Ward (L hamstring strain); GK Mike Ueltschey (R finger fracture); MF Amado Guevara (L quad contusion/knee sprain); DF:Tim Regan (R foot metacarpal fracture); QUESTIONABLE: MF Mark Lisi (L quad contusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: SJ: MF Brad Davis (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup)
SUSPENDED: MET: Michael Bradley (21 CP; through July 23)
WARNINGS: SJ: Ricardo Clark (16 CP); Danny Califf (10 CP in 2 gms); Brian Mullan (18 CP) ... MET: Chris Leitch (20 CP)
ALL-TIME (23 meetings): Earthquakes 12 wins (2 shootout), 38 goals ... MetroStars 6 wins (0 shootout), 31 goals ... 5 draw
AT SPARTAN STADIUM (11 meetings): Earthquakes 8 wins (2 shootout), 24 goals ... MetroStars 2 wins (0 shootout), 12 goals ... 1 draw
This is the second of two meetings this season between the teams, their only meeting this year at Spartan Stadium.
The San Jose Earthquakes went into Giants Stadium and came away with a 1-0 victory on May 7. 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 (60).
Here's Bob Bradley's team (4-4-2): Zach Wells - Chris Leitch, Carlos Mendes, Tim Regan, Tim Ward - Eddie Gaven, Michael Bradley, Mark Lisi, Amado Guevara - Mike Magee (Abbe Ibrahim 61), Sergio Galvan Rey
The Earthquakes were coached by John Doyle on the day, as Dominic Kinnear remained at home to deal with a family illness. 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)
A year ago, each team won one of the three meetings between the clubs, with the third ending in a remarkable draw for the second consecutive season.
The first meeting between the teams last year came on May 8, an incredible 5-5 draw at Spartan Stadium (Ching 13; Brown 24; Donovan 43; Ekelund 58 pen; Waibel 60 - Glen 6, 90; Vaca 25; Taylor 45; Guevara 64 pen), a year after the teams played an equally impressive 4-4 draw at Giants Stadium.
The Earthquakes claimed a 3-1 win on June 12 at home (Agoos 27, Ching 79, Mullan 89 - Parke 59), then the MetroStars returned the favor with a 2-0 home win on July 10 (Wolyniec 63, Guevara 90 pen).
The teams have played to a draw in each of the last six seasons. In the last seven matches played to a positive result, the Earthquakes have won five - but the Metros have won two of the last four (with one draw).
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v MET: P4 W2 L1 T1 ... Bob Bradley vs. SJ: P22 W8 L7 D5
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes finished off their four-game road swing in fine fashion, knocking off the Colorado Rapids for the third time this season, this time a 2-1 result in Denver on Wednesday night. The Earthquakes moved back into second place in the Western Conference with 31 points from 19 matches, three ahead of the Los Angeles Galaxy and now trailing FC Dallas by just three points.
The Earthquakes won for the fifth time in seven games - still with just one loss since May 28 - and took seven points of 12 possible on their travels.
The Earthquakes took the lead in the 20th minute after Brian Mullan received the ball at the top of the box, and after quickly juking defender Ritchie Kotschau with a step-over move, buried his shot in the bottom left of the net for his second goal of the season.
Mark Chung then doubled the lead with a goal against his former club in the 73rd minute. Dwayne De Rosario made a long dribbling run which attracted three Rapids defenders and allowed Chung to sneak unmarked to the top of the box where his first time shot off a De Rosario pass sizzled into the far corner of the net.
The Rapids pulled a goal back eight minutes later when Fabrice Noel was pushed over the penalty area, and Wolde Harris converted from the spot by sending Pat Onstad the wrong way.
Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that lost 3-0 to D.C. United the previous Friday at RFK Stadium. Danny Califf was suspended, so Ryan Cochrane came back into the team in central defense.
Here's Kinnear's team (4-4-2): Pat Onstad - Kelly Gray, Ryan Cochrane (Wes Hart 89), Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Brian Mullan (Julian Nash 76), Ricardo Clark, Mark Chung - Dwayne De Rosario - Ronald Cerritos, Alejandro Moreno
"All in all the team held together great tonight. We moved the ball around well and we could have scored even more goals," Kinnear said. "Overall, the guys were excellent tonight. I am really proud of the effort, especially coming at the end of a lot of travel."
The Earthquakes ended their four-game trip with a pair of victories and a draw, the only down point the 3-0 loss to D.C. United.
"Looking back at these four games with the conditions and the travel, we are very happy to finish 2-1-1. We played well in Columbus and we played well again tonight," Kinnear said. "Last week we struggled against D.C., but tonight I think that we deserved to win and we are glad to get three points here."
It also helped to have the Rapids match come as quickly as it did. "This was huge for us tonight, especially coming off last week's game against D.C. It was a quick turnaround to play tonight so it was fantastic to get the win and keep moving up the standings," Barrett said.
It was a nice homecoming for Mullan, giving the Quakes the early lead. "That is the first time I have been able to score coming back to my hometown, so that was great. I just got the ball and made a fake to the inside and luckily Ritchie Kotschau bit and I was able to get the shot past Joe (Cannon)," he said.
The MetroStars saw their three-game unbeaten streak come to an end in very disappointing circumstances, the only goal of the game coming in second-half stoppage time as the Columbus Crew claimed a victory Wednesday night at Crew Stadium. The MetroStars are now in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 25 points from 18 matches, one behind D.C. United, four behind the Kansas City Wizards and just seven ahead of the last-place Crew.
The Crew won for the first time since June 11 thanks to Jamal Sutton's late heroics, teaming up with another substitute in Marcus Storey and Knox Cameron for a lightning-quick game-winner two minutes into added time. Jonny Walker earned his first shutout for the Crew, against his former club.
After chasing down a long ball from Cameron played over the top of the MetroStars defense two minutes into stoppage time, Storey ran past a defender and laid the ball back to Sutton as Tony Meola came off his line. Sutton one-timed the ball into the net to earn the Crew full spoils.
MetroStars head coach Bob Bradley made three changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids the weekend before. Tony Meola made his first start since his return to the MetroStars and MLS, replacing Zach Wells in goal. Amado Guevara was out after undergoing surgery, while Youri Djorkaeff was also injured, meaning Mike Magee came into the midfield and Sergio Galvan Rey came in to partner Ante Razov in attack.
Here's Bradley's team (4-4-2): Tony Meola - Chris Leitch, Carlos Mendes, Jeff Parke, Jeff Agoos - Michael Bradley, Mark Lisi - Eddie Gaven, Mike Magee - Sergio Galvan Rey, Ante Razov (Abbe Ibrahim 77)
"We were on our heels most of the night. When you're in a game like that there is some value to just taking a shutout, taking a point and just saying it wasn't a good night," Bradley said. "To make a mistake at the end and see the shutout go down the drain and lose makes it especially hard."
Bradley told Meola he was thinking about putting him into the starting lineup when the team arrived in Columbus.
"I thought I'd be back in two or three more weeks, but Bob said to me yesterday when we checked into the hotel, 'What do you think?' We had kind of chatted about it last week and threw it around, but I didn't know anything definite until he said 'What do you think about taking one or two of these games?' I said, 'Whatever game you need me and more.' He thought that with Amado [Guevara] going down and Tim Regan going down, and a few of the downers we've had the past 24 hours, and with Youri [Djorkaeff] not being here that some leadership in this game would help."
Meola last played in a competitive match last August, after suffering an Achilles tendon injury late last season that saw him lose his place as the Kansas City Wizards starting goalkeeper - which then paved the way for his release over the winter. He underwent surgery on it over the winter and is still working his way into top match fitness.
"To be honest, I was a little bit uncomfortable and nervous before the game. It is difficult when you are not 100 percent," said the veteran of three World Cups. "You get so used to doing things one way your whole life and then you have to change little things."
Said Bradley: "I thought Tony played very well. He read the game well and was in very good positions all night. It makes it even more frustrating that we let something develop right at the end."
Amado Guevara underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus the day of the match, and he is expected to be out of action for around a month. Youri Djorkaeff was also unavailable through injury, and while Bradley knew that the loss of the two key playmakers would limit his team's offensive capabilities, he still expected a better all-around performance.
"It obviously hurts you on the field, but nonetheless I thought we were a step slow all night," said Bradley. "We just didn't have a good enough team effort. We weren't sharp enough."
Djorkaeff traveled to France to have his hamstring examined, then played just 45 last Saturday on his return. He didn't figure at all on Wednesday. "What the 45 minutes on Saturday told us is that we still need to go step by step," said Bradley. "We need to make sure that we're working properly and moving him forward so that he can enjoy himself again. There's a lot left from Youri, but we've got to do our job to push him along."
Fullback Tim Regan could be out indefinitely after apparently suffering a stress fracture in his foot a few weeks ago.