Fire-Earthquakes Preview

San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch has been red-hot, and

he’ll have more than a little extra motivation to continue his

dominant play in his next game.

Busch will face the team that released him earlier this year for

the first time when the Earthquakes host the Chicago Fire on

Wednesday night.

San Jose (11-7-6) appears headed for the playoffs, while it’s

likely Chicago (6-10-8) will miss out for the first time since

2004. One of the reasons for the Earthquakes’ surge is Busch, who

has a 0.92 goals-against average in 12 matches.

Busch, the MLS goalkeeper of the year in 2008, started every

game the last two years for the Fire before being released the week

before the 2010 opener in a stunning move. He was a fan favorite in

Chicago.

While Joe Cannon started in San Jose’s 2-1 victory at Chicago on

April 10, Busch will get the nod this time. The game comes two

weeks after he said of Fire technical director Frank Klopas and

first-year coach Carlos de los Cobos: “At the end of the day, they

know they made a mistake.”

Busch told MLSsoccer.com that he has “no ill will” toward his

former team, but that may not be the case given what was said in

the past.

“It’s just another game and for us,” Busch said. “If we get our

three points, we’re one step closer to the playoffs, and that’s all

we’re concerned about. There’s no old grudges.”

Chicago released Busch in favor of Andrew Dykstra, who had never

played an MLS game and has since lost his job. Busch was originally

backing up Cannon with San Jose, but has excelled in starting the

last six games with Cannon out with a broken ankle.

Busch may not recognize many of the players on his old team,

which has lost three straight 1-0 games and is 0-5-2 in its last

seven MLS matches.

De los Cobos indicated that rookie defenders Steven Kinney and

Kwame Watson-Siriboe will start Wednesday while designated player

Nery Castillo will not make the trip due to a hamstring injury.

Defender Steven Kinney is expected to return from a left quad

injury.

Freddie Ljungberg, Gonzalo Segares and Bratislav Ristic missed

Monday’s practice, and their status is uncertain. Ljungberg and

Ristic played the entire match in a home loss to Seattle on

Saturday.

The Earthquakes improved to 3-0-1 this month with Saturday’s 3-2

victory at Toronto FC behind Chris Wondolowski’s hat trick.

Wondolowski has 12 goals to put him a three-way tie for third place

in MLS.

“He does everything that’s asked of him and more, whether or not

he’s been playing up front, out wide, in the middle,” defender

Chris Leitch said. “He’s been playing everywhere, doesn’t say

anything about it, puts his head down and accomplishes his goal,

game-in and game-out.”