NEW YORK – It may be his way of lulling the opposition into a false sense of superiority or it may just be the plain truth, but San Jose Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop admits to being a great admirer of the team that stands between him and a shot at MLS Cup.
“I like Colorado’s team,” Yallop said on a media conference call on Tuesday. “They’re crisp, clean, they move the ball sharply and they’re dynamic in the final third when the forwards get moving. … I just enjoy watching them.”
The Earthquakes will travel to Denver on Thursday night, 48 hours before the Eastern Conference Championship between them and the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (9:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel).
Yallop will be going head-to-head against another England-born coach, Gary Smith, for whom Yallop reserved some special praise.
“Gary has done a good job of getting results,” Yallop said. “It’s not an easy league to coach in, but he’s done a good job. They’ve looked good all year.”
The two-time MLS Cup champion highlighted the addition of central midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, the dynamic wingers and the play of the Rapids’ dynamic duo in Conor Casey and Omar Cummings.
“They’re dangerous and difficult to contain, especially in their place," Yallop said. “They’re pretty much injury-free and they look good. … We have our hands full.”
Yallop has two things going for him. San Jose have the most all-time wins of any team to visit Colorado (10) in league history, and this year the Earthquakes have collected the second-most points on the road behind only the Supporters’ Shield-winning LA Galaxy.
"We’re going to be on our game like we were in New York and ride our luck," Yallop said. "Hopefully we can stop those guys and come out on top.”