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