While Minnesota United looked to get back on the winning track when it hosts teetering San Jose on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the Earthquakes are the ones in real desperation mode with MLS’ worst record and a seven-game skid.
The Earthquakes have never lost to Minnesota, but will have to turn up their game to keep that streak alive.
Minnesota returns home after a 2-0 loss to upstart Los Angeles FC on the road Wednesday as the Loons (4-6-0) had their two-game winning streak snapped.
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The Loons, playing the middle game of three in eight days, started a revamped midfield of Collin Martin, Maximiano and Harrison Heath, the latter two making their debuts for Minnesota. The Loons rested Ibson and had Rasmus Schuller come off the bench to rest him for Saturday match against San Jose.
“It was difficult for our players, going against a team that had a lot of possession,” Minnesota coach Adrian Heath said of LAFC, which had 58 percent of the balls. “They have good rotation in midfield, and they are all comfortable on the ball and then because of the threat they have in front men, they are difficult to contain.”
Minnesota played Wednesday’s match without two strikers and was cautious with a third. Mason Toye was suspended for the red card he received Saturday and Abu Danladi didn’t make the trip because of an ankle injury.
Christian Ramirez traveled and trained as he works back from a hamstring injury, and was available off the bench; Heath said he didn’t really consider putting him as a sub.
Minnesota centerback Francisco Calvo took the blame for both of LAFC’s goals, which he considered “soft.” The Loons, who are 3-1-0 at home, don’t usually concede such bad goals in front of the home crowd.
“As soccer players, we need to switch our minds,” Calvo said. “We need to go to sleep tonight, and then next day, think of Saturday’s game.”
San Jose will begin a two-match road trip when they travel to Minneapolis. The Earthquakes come into Saturday game off a 1-0 loss at home to Portland on May 5 in which the Timbers scored the game’s lone goal in the 88th minute.
The loss was the third straight for San Jose (1-5-2). The Earthquakes have not won since the last time it played Minnesota, on March 3, and are currently at the bottom of MLS’ 12-team Western Conference table. Their winless streak is now at seven games, worst in the league.
New San Jose coach Mikael Stahre is surely receiving a baptism by fire in his first few months at the helm. The Earthquakes are buoyed by the fact that despite the rough start they are still within reach and there’s plenty of time to make a move.
All eight Earthquakes matches to date this season have finished or been decided by one goal or tied.
“It’s definitely frustrating to not get a victory after so long,” San Jose defender Shea Salinas said. “We have 26 games left. That’s a lot of soccer left in the season, so it’s time to just put our heads down, keep working hard, look at what we’ve done well and get to correcting our mistakes.”
San Jose has won all three matches it has played in its short series with the Loons, including the 3-2 home victory in the season-opening match. Earthquakes forward Danny Hoesen notched a brace and designated player Vako also found the back of the net for San Jose.