Whitecaps FC-Earthquakes Preview
Facing the San Jose Earthquakes on the road might not help the Vancouver Whitecaps end their current struggles.
With both clubs currently out of playoff position in the Western Conference, the Earthquakes look to extend their home winning streak to seven and remain undefeated there against the Whitecaps on Saturday night.
Vancouver (10-10-7) and San Jose (10-11-7) both have 37 points and sit five points out of playoff position.
"There are a lot of games left to play," Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said. "Lots of points to play for."
The Whitecaps have 10 more goals than the Earthquakes and posted a 2-0 victory at home in the teams' most recent meeting Aug. 10.
However, that is Vancouver's only victory during a 1-5-2 stretch. Since that triumph, the Whitecaps have been outscored 8-3 while going 0-3-1.
Rennie hopes his club can only improve after it allowed two goals in the final five minutes of last Saturday's 3-1 loss at FC Dallas - the team three points ahead of Vancouver and San Jose in the West.
"It shows you how cruel the game can be," said Rennie, whose team has scored four times during an 0-3-2 road stretch.
"But as disappointing as that is, we can bounce back from it. We need to do well in the next couple of games but I don't think that hurts our confidence. It's a performance we can definitely build on."
That could be a tall order for the Whitecaps, who played to a 1-all draw April 6 at San Jose, where they are 0-1-2. They're also facing an Earthquakes club that has outscored opponents 10-3 while winning six in a row at home.
In the midst of its longest home league winning streak since a 14-match run that spanned the 2001 and 2002 seasons, San Jose is 9-0-4 there since dropping its opener 2-0 to Real Salt Lake on March 3.
The Earthquakes ended an 0-2-1 slide and two-match scoreless drought when Shea Salinas scored in the 15th minute of a 1-0 home victory over Philadelphia on Sunday.
"They're a good team; they make it hard on you," Union coach John Hackworth told the league's official website. "They bring so much pressure."
San Jose star forward Chris Wondolowski has one goal in his last five matches but seven in seven contests against the Whitecaps. He opened the scoring in the 18th minute of the teams' April meeting at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Vancouver midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker has two assists in his last 12 matches, but both came against the Earthquakes last month.
A victory for San Jose would be the 200th in the history of the franchise.