Earthquakes-Impact Preview

Another late goal got the San Jose Earthquakes closer to their

first Supporters’ Shield in seven seasons.

Another win has the expansion Montreal Impact thinking about the

playoffs.

League-leading San Jose will try to end a three-game road

winless stretch Saturday night when it meets the Impact for the

first time.

After scoring in stoppage time in their previous match, a 1-all

draw versus Chicago on July 28, the Earthquakes (14-5-5) defeated

Seattle 2-1 last Saturday on Steven Lenhart’s goal in the 93rd

minute. That victory moved them four points ahead of Eastern

Conference-leading Kansas City for the best record in MLS.

It was a team-record seventh stoppage-time goal. Seventeen of

the Earthquakes’ league-high 47 goals have been after the 75th

minute.

“In case you haven’t heard, we never say die,” the team wrote on

its Twitter account last Saturday.

Lenhart should make another start in place of Alan Gordon, who

will sit out due to yellow-card accumulation.

Chris Wondolowski, the league’s top scorer with 17 goals, and

defender Steven Beitashour are expected to be in the lineup after

joining Gordon on the U.S. national team that defeated Mexico 1-0

on Wednesday at Azteca Stadium. Wondolowski has gone a season-high

four straight MLS games without scoring.

Defender Victor Bernardez and midfielder Marvin Chavez also

should be available after both were called up for Honduras’ 2-0

victory over Boca Juniors on Wednesday in Miami. Chavez found the

back of the net in the second half of the friendly.

Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop will return from a one-game

suspension for throwing a water bottle onto the field July 28.

San Jose, 0-2-1 in its last three road matches, will face a

Montreal club riding a season-best three-game winning streak. While

all but one of the Earthquakes’ five losses have been on the road,

eight of the Impact’s 10 wins have been at home.

A 1-0 victory at New England on Sunday was Montreal’s fifth win

in seven games overall following a 2-6-1 skid.

The Impact (10-13-3) are still out of the playoff picture but

just three points behind fifth-place D.C. United, which has four

games in hand.

“The fact that we have played more games and that it’s not easy

to predict results leaves us in a position where we can’t really

look too far,” coach Jesse Marsch told the team’s official

website.

This will be the first time Montreal plays the Earthquakes, but

new Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins faced them July 3 while with

Portland and made two saves in a 2-1 victory.

In his first start since being acquired from the Timbers in a

goalkeeper swap for Donovan Ricketts, Perkins turned aside four

shots Sunday.

The club has yielded a league-high 43 goals but none in the last

two matches.

“We’re doing well, the team feels good, the confidence is good,

so (we don’t need to) change anything,” Perkins told MLS’ official

website.

Montreal will be without defender Nelson Rivas after he was

red-carded for head-butting Philadelphia’s Antoine Hoppenot in a

2-0 victory Aug. 4.