SAN JOSE, Calif. — If nothing else, the San Jose Earthquakes should have no trouble finding fresh motivation for their assault on Toyota Park on Saturday night (8:30 pm ET; Direct Kick, MatchDay Live).
With a 5-4 penalty-kick defeat to Chicago in US Open Cup qualifying play Tuesday fresh on their minds, the Quakes get the rare opportunity to exact instant revenge when they face the Fire.
“We’re going to go in there probably a little more hungry than they are, you would think, because they ended up winning the match,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said. “We’ll have our guys revved up and ready to go.”
This will hardly be a carbon copy of Tuesday’s affair, at least in terms of lineups. Probable or potential Saturday starters for San Jose who sat out Tuesday’s match include goalkeeper Jon Busch, center back Jason Hernandez and midfielders Bobby Convey and Joey Gjertsen. Forward Steven Lenhart and midfielder Khari Stephenson saw action as substitutes Tuesday should be available for selection as well.
Star forward Chris Wondolowski, the Quakes’ only field player to start all 10 league matches, is expected to take the field for his last game before joining the US national team as it prepares for the upcoming Gold Cup.
Yallop disagreed with the notion that there’s an additional challenge to facing the same team in back-to-back matches. The law of averages would suggest that it’s tougher for a team to win twice in a row against the same opponent, and the Quakes would love to provide proof and continue their three-match unbeaten string in league play.
“It’s like the playoffs [last year]. We played New York twice in a week, and it benefitted us,” Yallop said, referring to San Jose’s 3-1 win at Red Bull Arena that gave Quakes a 3-2 aggregate victory in their first-round series. “You look at any time teams play each other twice in succession, and I don’t think there’s any theme or continued dominance by one team or the other.
“We want to continue our run in MLS. Although we’re out of the [Open] Cup, you’ve got to let it go — we’re out. You can talk about it all day, it doesn’t matter now. What matters is Saturday, and our reaction to the result we had on Tuesday.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes