The San Jose Earthquakes have a chance to make history in their next game but might have a sparse corps of midfielders in that bid.
They’ll face a Philadelphia Union team missing one of its top playmakers Saturday night.
The Earthquakes (11-10-5) became just the league’s third team to register four consecutive shutout victories after a 1-0 win over Los Angeles on Aug. 28. They also extended their scoreless streak to 374 minutes – the longest in MLS this season – with David Bingham’s 10th clean sheet.
Bingham is one shutout behind Portland’s Adam Kwarasey for the league lead and has given up two goals in his last six games.
"The defense has played good in front of (Bingham), and that’s a sign that they’re listening to his instruction," coach Dominic Kinnear told the team’s official website. "And when he’s been called upon, he’s made some real good saves. … I’m sure he’ll push a lot of the credit to the team in front of him, but he’s done a great job."
No team has ever recorded five straight shutout wins, and San Jose will try to set that mark while moving into playoff position. The Earthquakes have matched sixth-place Seattle’s 38 points in the Western Conference but have one fewer victory.
San Jose, which is also chasing a franchise-best fifth consecutive shutout, will face a Union team without Cristian Maidana. The league’s assists leader (14) is suspended for two matches – reduced from an original three-match ban – for spitting his gum toward New England midfielder Lee Nguyen in a 1-0 loss last Saturday.
Swiss midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta, signed July 29 out of the German Bundesliga after spending last season with Schalke 04, is expected to take his spot.
Philadelphia (7-14-6) also likely won’t have goalkeepers Andrew Blake (international duty) or Brian Sylvestre (hand) available. John McCarthy, who has yielded 15 goals in eight starts, is expected to make his first since a 3-all draw with Chicago on Aug. 16.
Maurice Edu (groin), Zach Pfeffer (groin) and Fred (quad) are considered questionable.
"We have to the ‘next man up’ mentality," coach Jim Curtin said. "We’ll have to adjust and have to get points on the road."
The Earthquakes, meanwhile, could be missing as many as seven midfielders. Anibal Godoy, Sanna Nyassi and Marc Pelosi are on international duty, and they hope Cordell Cato can return in time for this game.
Fatai Alashe (leg), Matias Perez Garcia (leg) and Jean-Bapitste Pierazzi (foot) have been dealing with injuries.
That could hinder San Jose’s attempt to add to its longest win streak since a team-record six in a row in 2005 and improve to 3-0-1 at home against Philadelphia. The Earthquakes are 4-2-1 overall in the series but had a three-game unbeaten streak snapped with a 4-2 loss Aug. 24, 2014.
Sebastien Le Toux had a goal and three assists in that game, and enters this one having scored four of his six goals in the last six matches. Andrew Wenger, who had a pair of goals in the win, returned from a concussion in last week’s defeat.
Philadelphia is two points out of playoff position in East and earned four in its two road games last month.