SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Frank Yallop might not have a copy of the 16th-century satire Die Narrenbeschwörung in his home library, but this week the San Jose Earthquakes coach appropriated a proverb from author Thomas Murner:
Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Sure, the Quakes are hosting Portland exactly one week after suffering a 1-0 defeat against the Timbers at JELD-WEN Field. But even in the wake of that mostly lifeless performance, Yallop told reporters that he’s not planning on making radical tactical adjustments before completing the home-and-home series Sunday night at Buck Shaw Stadium (11 pm ET, UniMas).
“We’ve played well up to now, other than [in] Houston for half a game,” Yallop said. “We can’t get carried away with one game of us not playing well. I think we just didn’t get to grips with the whole game, from the start, i.e., we couldn’t handle the ball well. Usually, we’re pretty good at that. ...
“You can’t just sort of throw everything away and say, ‘We’ve got to change this and that.’ We’ve got a good team that’ll be ready to play [Sunday].”
Despite the physical nature of the game in Portland — and frustration that boiled over in the form of forward Alan Gordon’s outburst, which earned him a three-game suspension on top of his one-game red-card ban — Quakes star Chris Wondolowski doesn’t think that necessarily portends a repeat this weekend.
“Any time you play an MLS opponent, it’s going to be physical,” Wondolowski told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “There will definitely be some tackles. But I don’t think there’s anything getting carried over into this game. We want to play better. That’s our main objective.”
Quakes midfielder Rafael Baca isn’t so sure the flames have died out between the growing West Coast rivals.
“I think there will be [portions] of the game where it’s going to get physical, just because of what happened in Portland, and now they’re coming here to our house,” Baca told MLSsoccer.com. “But I feel we’re going to try to come out and play our game.
"I think it got physical [last week] because we didn’t put the ball on the ground. I think coming back home, we’re going to do what we know how to do — keep the ball, keep possession. When we’re at home, with our crowd, with our fans behind our back, I think we’re able to do that.”
There will be lineup changes made out of necessity. With Gordon on an enforced break, Wondolowski should pair with Steven Lenhart up top. Defenders Jason Hernandez (strained right calf) and Ty Harden (osteitis pubis) are not expected to be available, meaning Nana Attakora will step in alongside Víctor Bernárdez in the center of San Jose’s backline.
The intriguing questions come on the flanks. Marvin Chávez, out since mid-January due to a strained knee ligament, should suit up for the first time this season, although potentially as a reserve rather than in the starting XI. Shea Salinas is hoping to play after taking a week off to rest the bone bruise in his left knee.
Yallop even told MLSsoccer.com on Friday that “I think we’ve got a good chance” of seeing right back Steven Beitashour play for the first time in 2013 after two offseason surgeries were needed to fix a sports hernia.
“It would mean we have another great player out there, especially attacking-wise,” Wondolowski said of Beitashour. “He brings in a lot of crosses, and that’s something we can use right now.”