Coming off arguably the biggest victory of its inaugural season, Orlando City could find the going a bit tougher in its first meeting with the surging San Jose Earthquakes.
As Orlando tries to win back-to-back matches for the first time, Chris Wondolowski looks to reach a MLS milestone while helping the Earthquakes extend their unbeaten streak Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium.
Orlando City (3-5-3) had been outscored 9-3 during a 0-3-1 stretch before breaking out with a season-high goal total and its third clean sheet in last Sunday’s 4-0 home win over defending champion Los Angeles.
Brazilian midfielder Kaka scored to end his four-game goal drought and also added an assist. Forward Cyle Larin scored in his third consecutive contest, matching Kaka with a team-high four goals on the season.
Orlando has scored seven times over its past three matches, but the expansion club now faces a San Jose team that has yielded just one goal over its last three. David Bingham, who ranks among the league leaders with 38 saves, earned his second shutout over that span with five stops in last Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Columbus.
The Earthquakes (5-4-2) have held opponents to one or fewer goals in eight of 11 matches, including each of the past four. They’re seeking their first three-game shutout streak at home since recording four in a row in 2010.
"I have a lot of respect for (San Jose coach Dominic Kinnear), and I’m not surprised that they’re doing well," Orlando coach Adrian Heath told the team’s official website. "His teams don’t give away much, and we know it’s going to be tough."
The Earthquakes also have one of the league’s top offensive threats in Wondolowski, who has scored in three of his last four matches. The veteran forward, who ranks among MLS leaders with six goals, needs one more to become the ninth player in league history to reach 100 in his career.
"(Wondolowski is) one of the best goal-scorers this league has ever seen," said Orlando City assistant Mark Watson, San Jose’s head coach from 2013-14. "So he’s obviously someone that we’ll mention and look at closely."
Matias Perez Garcia has also been a key contributor for the Earthquakes with two assists in his last three matches. He’s cherishing this matchup as San Jose seeks its longest unbeaten streak (2-0-2) since going 5-0-2 late in 2013.
"It’s an honor to play against Orlando City and Kaka," Perez Garcia told the team’s official website. "However, it’s more important to focus on our team instead of the opposition. This is a home match and it’s important for us to get the win."
The Earthquakes have won three of four at home, though this will be their only game in Santa Clara. In their inaugural match at Levi’s Stadium last August, Wondolowski assisted on the only goal in a 1-0 win over Seattle.
Forward Mark Sherrod, acquired via trade from Orlando City in December, could be available as he recovers from right knee surgery. French midfielder Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi (ankle) also might play after returning to training this week.