Ronnie Ekelund and the Quakes need a win Saturday in Denver.
Alan Yamamoto/MLS/

Weekly update: Reeling in the Rapids

This Week's Match-Up
The Earthquakes snapped a three-game losing streak with a 0-0 tie against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night. Now, the Quakes look to strengthen their playoff position when they travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Invesco Field at Mile High. The game kicks off at 6:00 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on 95.3 FM KRTY. The Quakes enter this week tied with the Dallas Burn for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Earthquakes All-Time Record vs. Colorado Rapids
MLS Regular Season: 16-16-3
Home: 9-7-2
Away: 7-9-1
Shootout: 1-2 (1996-99)
Overtime: 0-0-2 (2000-2003)
Playoffs: 0-0-0; U.S. Open Cup: 0-0-0
All-Time Scoring: San Jose - 55, Colorado - 54

Injury Report/Suspensions
Out: Chris Ronér (R - ankle surgery); Questionable: Chris Brown (R - hamstring strain; Probable: Richard Mulrooney (neck strain); Brian Ching (L - quad strain)

Last Match
Earthquakes 0, Los Angeles Galaxy 0
Saturday, September 25; Spartan Stadium; San Jose, CA
The San Jose Earthquakes moved into a tie for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 0-0 tie against the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of a sold-out Spartan Stadium crowd. The Quakes (9-10-8, 35 points) remained four points behind the Galaxy and Colorado Rapids, who sit in a tie for third place in the West with 39 points. Pat Onstad made four saves to earn his sixth shutout of the season. Ronnie Ekelund nearly put the Quakes on top in the 34th minute on an incredible free kick from almost 30 yards away. Jeff Agoos scooped the ball up on the restart, allowing Ekelund to volley a tremendous strike that appeared headed into the upper left corner of the Galaxy net until Kevin Hartman managed to leap and punch the ball of the cross bar and out of bounds. San Jose had another fine opportunity in the 43rd minute as Donovan controlled the ball in the middle of the field in transition. Donovan slipped a pass through the defense to a streaking Brian Mullan on the left, but his open shot went wide of the goal. In the 71st minute the Galaxy nearly scored when a pass deflected off an Earthquakes defender and into the open path of an on-rushing Ruiz. Ruiz's low, open shot went just wide of the far post. Despite some late pressure by the Quakes and four minutes of stoppage time in the second half, neither team could come up with the game-winner as the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

Last Match vs. Rapids
Earthquakes 0, Colorado Rapids 0
Saturday, August 28 2004; Spartan Stadium; San Jose, CA
The San Jose Earthquakes recorded their third straight shutout and extended their home-unbeaten streak to five games with a 0-0 tie with the Colorado Rapids at Spartan Stadium. The Quakes dominated the action and out-shot the defensive-minded Rapids 13-8, but could not record the winning goal. The Quakes had a chance to score in the 29th minute when Brian Ching got to a ball at midfield and popped up a pass over the Rapids defense that Donovan was able to run onto. Donovan entered the Rapids box with only Cannon to beat, but the Colorado goalkeeper slid and knocked Donovan's high, hard shot away. Donovan continued to keep the pressure on the Colorado goal in the 33rd minute following a nice build-up along the right side that saw Craig Waibel hit Ronnie Ekelund with a pass, and then Ekelund slip a pass through the Rapids defense to Donovan deep in the Rapids penalty area. Once again, however, a sliding Cannon was able to make the save. Onstad stuffed a dangerous Rapids opportunity in the 39 minute as a fallen Chris Henderson managed to cross the ball form the left side into the middle of the Quakes six-yard box, where the ball was popped up and sent toward goal before Onstad grabbed it. San Jose had perhaps their best chance to score in the 75th minute when Ching received a pass in the middle of the field and turned at the 18-yard line, sending a low shot past a diving Cannon and just inches away from the left post.

Misc. Notes

In September
The Earthquakes all time record in the month of September is 18-20-1.

Quakes Zero In On Playoff Race
Combined with their 0-0 tie with Los Angeles and the Dallas Burn's 2-0 loss to the MetroStars on Sept. 25, the Quakes climbed back into a tie with the Burn for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West. The Earthquakes currently hold the first tiebreaker with Dallas, which is head-to-head competition. San Jose is 2-1-0 vs. the Burn this year, however, the teams face each other in the final game of the regular season on Oct. 16. The Quakes now trail second place Colorado and Los Angeles by just four points and are nine points below conference-leading Kansas City.

Welcome Back, Levesque
Forward Roger Levesque was once again on the bench for the Earthquakes on Saturday, Sept. 25. Levesque, who had been on loan to the Seattle Sounders of the A-League for much of the season, returned to the Quakes last week after helping the Sounders to the A-League Championship Game on Sept. 18. The Sounders lost 2-0 to the Montreal Impact, and Levesque was back in San Jose training with the Quakes several days later. The former Stanford University star will be available for selection for the remainder of the Quakes season.

Defense Holding Strong
Since the all-star break, the Earthquakes defense has been strong, allowing just six goals in ten games and ranking the team fourth in MLS in fewest goals allowed with 32. The team has posted six shutouts in those ten games, including four in a row from Aug. 14 - Sept. 4. The Quakes have only allowed on team, (Los Angeles, Sept. 11) to score more than one goal in a game since the all-star break. The Quakes defense has also allowed just 298 shots this season, the second lowest total in the league.

Onstad On
Earthquakes goalkeeper Pat Onstad recorded his sixth shutout of the season on Sept. 25. The Quakes now have a total of seven shutouts in 2004, with six of them coming after the July 31 all-star break.

Robinson Returns To Starting Lineup
Earthquakes defender Eddie Robinson returned to the starting lineup on Sept. 25 for the first time since rupturing the tendon in his left hamstring on April 24 in Colorado. Originally thought to be sidelined for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery, Robinson first returned from injury on Aug. 28, and made his first start on Saturday, playing 90 minutes.

De Rosario Back On The Field
For the first time in almost a month, Earthquakes forward Dwayne De Rosario returned to action for the club on Sept. 25. De Rosario came on as a second-half substitute for Chris Brown and played 23 minutes. It was the first action for De Rosario since Aug. 28. The Canadian National Team forward had missed the first two games of September while playing in World Cup Qualifying, and then was forced to miss the Quakes game on Sept. 11 against L.A. and the Sept. 18 game vs. Kansas City with a left groin strain.

There was a sell-out crowd of 27,030 on hand for the Sept. 25 0-0 tie with the Los Angeles Galaxy at Spartan Stadium. The sell-out was the first for the Quakes since Sept. 21, 2002, and the 27,030 was the third-largest crowd in Earthquakes history. It was the largest crowd at Spartan Stadium for a Quakes game since the inaugural 1996 season.

Streak Busters
The Quakes managed to snap their second three-game losing streak of the season on Saturday, Sept. 25 with a 0-0 tie with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Ching Missing In Action
Earthquakes leading goal-scorer Brian Ching was forced to miss the Quakes 0-0 tie with Los Angeles on Sept. 25 due to a strained left quadriceps. Ching suffered the injury earlier in the week during practice and was ruled out after undergoing a fitness test prior to the game. The U.S. National Team forward is listed as probable for this week's game in Colorado.

League Leaders
Earthquakes forward Brian Ching is the league leader in goals scored with 11...Ching is also fifth in MLS in points with 26 on 11 goals and four assists...Quakes forward Landon Donovan has the 9th most points in the league (21) and is third in assists with nine...Three Quakes (Richard Mulrooney, Brian Mullan and Brian Ching) are all amongst the top ten most fouled players in MLS. Mulrooney has been fouled 74 times, Mullan 66 and Ching 62 times.

Earthquakes defender Troy Dayak moved into third place all-time in San Jose history for starts (114) when he started the Quakes-Galaxy match on Saturday. Dayak is also third all-time in games played (121).

Ching Moving Up
In just 38 games, Earthquakes forward Brian Ching has moved into a tie with Dwayne De Rosario for fifth place on the Earthquakes all-time goal-scoring list. Ching has scored 17 career MLS goals for the Quakes to place him even with De Rosario, who has scored his 17 goals in 78 career games.

Offensive Quakes
Despite struggling to score recently, the Earthquakes have the third-highest goal total (38) in the league, trailing only the MetroStars (44 goals) and Los Angeles (39 goals). The Quakes also lead MLS in assists with 41 and have accumulated the second highest point total (117) in MLS. However, since a 3-0 defeat of Dallas on Aug. 21, the Quakes are 1-3-2 and have been outscored 4-2.

Earthquakes - Rapids Connections
Earthquakes defender Todd Dunivant is originally from Wheat Ridge, Col. and played for the Boulder Rapids Reserve team of the PDL in 2002 ... Earthquakes defender Wes Hart is from Littleton, Col. and played four seasons for the Rapids before joining the Earthquakes in a trade on Feb. 23, 2004 ... Midfielder Brian Mullan grew up in Littleton, Colo and was the 1997 Colorado High School Player of the Year at Regis Jesuit High School ... Earthquakes defender Craig Waibel played in two games for the Rapids in 2000 ... Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear played for the Rapids in 1996 and also played under current Colorado head coach Tim Hankinson in Tampa Bay in 1999 and 2000 ... Colorado defender Jeff Stewart went to college at Santa Clara University ... Colorado goalkeeper Joe Cannon played four seasons in San Jose, winning the 2001 MLS Cup and the 2002 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award. Cannon is still the Quakes all-time leader in wins and shutouts.

History vs. Rapids
The Earthquakes series against the Rapids has been very close since 1996, with two teams tied in the all-time series 16-16-3, while the Quakes hold a slim edge in goals 55-54 ... Last year the Rapids became the first team since Columbus in 1999 to defeat the Quakes twice in one season at Spartan Stadium...The Quakes last won in Colorado on April 12, 2003 in a 2-1 victory.

Earthquakes Leaders vs. Colorado
Landon Donovan is the Earthquakes leading scorer against the Rapids, scoring four goals and registering seven assists in 14 games. Midfielder Richard Mulrooney has scored one goal and recorded four assists against Colorado in a Quakes uniform.

Rapids Leaders vs. Earthquakes
Forward John Spencer has scored three goals and registered five assists for 11 points in 14 career games vs. San Jose, while midfielder Mark Chung now has four goals and one assist in 11 games against the Quakes while with Colorado.

Quakes Lead the League
The Earthquakes lead MLS in assists with 41 this season. San Jose is also the league leader in three-goal games with six.

Quakes Set Unbeaten Streak Record At Home
The Earthquakes set an MLS record with their August 7 win against D.C. United, extending their unbeaten streak at home to 46 games when scoring first. That streak now stands at 47 games after San Jose's win over the Dallas Burn on August 21. It started on April 3, 1999.

Slim Losses
In all but one of their nine losses this year, the Earthquakes have only lost by one goal. The only game decided by more than one goal was on July 10 against the MetroStars in a 2-0 loss. However, forwards Landon Donovan and Brian Ching, the teams leading scorers, missed the game while traveling with the U.S. National Team. The Quakes own a 2-9-0 record in one-goal games.

Mulrooney Is Quakes Only Constant
Earthquakes midfielder Richard Mulrooney is the only member of the San Jose roster who has started and played 90 minutes in all 27 games for the Quakes in 2004. In his 2,430 minutes of play, Mulrooney has scored one goal and notched eight assists for ten points, which is the fifth highest point total on the Quakes. Mulrooney is tied for second with the most minutes played in MLS.

Quakes Closing In On .500
The Earthquakes are closing in on bringing their all-time regular season MLS record to the .500 mark. The Quakes all-time regular season MLS record is 116-120-34.

Halftime Success
If the Earthquakes enter the half-time break with the lead, recent history suggests they will keep it. Since the beginning of the 2000 season, the Earthquakes are 42-0-5 in games when leading at the half, including 8-0-1 in 2003 and 7-0-1 in 2004.

Making The First One Count
The Earthquakes were 25-2-2 in 2001 and 2002 when finding the back of the net first. The Quakes only gave up leads two times in 2002, losing 2-1 to Los Angeles on July 4 and falling 2-1 to Kansas City on July 27. The team continued that trend in 2003, possessing an 11-0-1 mark in the regular season when they scored the first goal. In 2004, the Quakes are 8-1-1 when scoring first. The Quakes gave up their lead to Los Angeles on July 4, 2004 for the first time since July 27, 2002 against Kansas City. Dating back to the 2000 season, the Earthquakes own a 47-3-4 record in their last 54 matches when they score the first goal of the game. The Quakes are also impressive in the playoffs when scoring first, posting a 6-0-0 record.

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