Earthquakes-Rapids Preview

Home has not been kind to the San Jose Earthquakes lately, so

they’ll look for better results on the road.

The injury-plagued Earthquakes try to extend their unbeaten

streak against the struggling Colorado Rapids to 13 on Saturday

night.

Seeking its first victory at Buck Shaw Stadium since May 8, San

Jose (6-5-5) lost 1-0 to Seattle Sounders FC last Saturday and

dropped to 0-2-2 in its last four at home.

“I think when we’re on the road, there’s this

us-against-the-world mentality,” right back Jason Hernandez told

the Earthquakes’ official website. “… At home we haven’t seemed

to figure out a way to press the other team and make it difficult

for them without giving up space for them to play. That’s something

we need to work on.”

San Jose, 2-1-2 in its last five road games, is 1-0-1 at

Colorado since returning to MLS in 2008. The teams played to a

1-all draw at Dick’s Park on Sept. 23, with Earthquakes forward

Chris Wondolowski and Conor Casey scoring on penalty kicks.

Wondolowski, expected to be in the lineup after coach Frank

Yallop used him as a second-half substitute Saturday, scored in a

1-0 victory over the visiting Rapids (6-5-6) on May 1. That moved

San Jose to 6-0-6 versus Colorado since a 1-0 loss in Denver on

April 24, 2004.

If the Earthquakes are going to continue their dominance of the

series, they’ll have to do it without standout defender Ike Opara.

The rookie of the year candidate suffered a broken left foot last

Saturday and is expected to be out at least six weeks.

“It is (a big loss), but I just said to Ike, we’ve won some

games without him, so let’s get back to being strong and dynamic on

defense,” Yallop said. “… We have options.”

One of those could be veteran Tim Ward, acquired from Chicago on

Friday for a conditional pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. Ward

could immediately step in for a club also looking to replace

defenders Steve Beitashour (fractured right hand) and Chris Leitch

(left hip strain).

“Tim is someone we think can come in and address some of our

depth issues and help us right now,” said John Doyle, Earthquakes

general manager of soccer operations.

With eight goals during its 0-2-5 stretch, Colorado (6-5-6)

needs help putting the ball in the net. Casey leads the club with

seven goals, but could miss his second straight match due to the

effects of a head-to-head collision suffered July 25.

Without the star forward, the Rapids played to a 1-all draw with

visiting FC Dallas on Saturday.

Colorado midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy converted a penalty kick

four minutes after teammate Julien Baudet scored an own-goal.

“I thought we had gotten over all the voodoo,” said coach Gary

Smith, whose team has gone 2-0-3 in its last five home games.

“Otherwise, we had excellent chances, but didn’t have enough

finishes.”

San Jose leads the series with Colorado 21-16-8.