Earthquakes-Whitecaps FC Preview
Off to the best start in franchise history, the San Jose
Earthquakes continued their roll with their biggest offensive
output in eight years – and the league’s leading scorer feels like
his team’s MLS-best goal total should be even higher.
The way the Vancouver Whitecaps’ defense has slowed down
opponents lately, though, scoring multiple goals in a team-record
sixth consecutive match could be a challenge for the MLS leaders
Saturday at BC Place.
Getting two goals apiece from Chris Wondolowski and Steven
Lenhart, who had his second consecutive two-goal effort, the
Earthquakes (7-1-1) won their third in a row and extended their
point streak to seven with a 5-3 victory over D.C. on
It was San Jose’s highest-scoring game since a 5-all draw with
New York/New Jersey on May 8, 2004.
“I’m a pretty harsh critic of myself and I think that I’ve left
some (goals) out there,” Wondolowski told the Earthquakes’ official
website. “So it reflects on the team, how well they’ve been
Wondolowski has a league-high 10 goals and has accounted for
half of his club’s total.
The Earthquakes last earned points in eight straight games
during a 4-0-5 run July 12-Sept. 13, 2008. If they can defeat the
Whitecaps (4-2-2) for the second time this season, they would have
their first four-game winning streak since a team-best six-game run
Aug. 20-Sept. 21, 2005.
San Jose will face a Vancouver club that has recorded three
consecutive clean sheets in all competitions since back-to-back 3-1
losses to the Earthquakes and Kansas City last month.
The Whitecaps also feel good about their offense after French
striker Eric Hassli and Atiba Harris scored their first goals of
the season Wednesday, giving Vancouver a 2-0 victory over FC
Edmonton in the semifinals of the Amway Canadian Championship.
“I think that will be good for him,” coach Martin Rennie said of
Hassli, who has no goals in his last 17 MLS matches. ” … I think
it can give him a little bit more confidence. Goal scorers thrive
in scoring goals.”
If that’s the case, Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon, a member of
the Earthquakes’ MLS Cup-winning team in 2001, could be in for
another challenging 90 minutes versus San Jose. Wondolowski scored
a pair of goals past Cannon on April 7 in that 3-1 win in Santa
Clara, with the first score ending the Whitecaps’ shutout streak at
427 minutes – a league record to start the season.
Wondolowski has five of San Jose’s six goals in the three
matches between these clubs.
The Earthquakes’ Jon Busch, 1-0-2 in those contests after making
five saves last month, has surrendered eight goals in the last five
matches after giving up one score in the first four of 2012.
“We have to stay level-headed,” Busch told MLS’ official
website. “… We’ve got another big challenge ahead of us on
Saturday – we’ve got to go into Vancouver and pick up some points
there against a very disciplined and organized team. So there’s no
time to dwell on this one.”
The Whitecaps host the Earthquakes again July 22.