Crew-Earthquakes Preview

BY foxsports • May 18, 2012

Chris Wondolowski could miss the San Jose Earthquakes' final two matches this month if he makes the U.S. national team's 23-man roster.

That won't help the Columbus Crew.

Wondolowski and the Earthquakes look to extend the franchise's best start Saturday night when they host a Crew team trying to match a season high by winning two straight.

The MLS leader with 11 goals, Wondolowski has given U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann every reason to name the 2010 Golden Boot winner to next week's training camp roster that will prepare for three friendlies this month and two 2014 World Cup qualifiers in June.

If Klinsmann puts Wondolowski on the final roster May 25, he would miss San Jose's match against Los Angeles on Wednesday and next Sunday's game versus Kansas City.

"We'd miss Chris, for sure, but we've got other players that are capable of (stepping in)," Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop told MLS' official website. "Chris gets to play every week, so it will be a chance for someone else to get a run up top if he does go."

Wondolowski, though, will be available Saturday when San Jose (7-2-2) tries to extend its home unbeaten streak to nine following last Sunday's 1-all draw against Chivas USA.

While hoping to slow down Wondolowski, Columbus (3-2-4) also could have its hands full with Steven Lenhart. The former Crew forward has four goals in his last four games.

"It's going to be challenging for our guys. They have to step up and make sure they don't give too much freedom to (Wondolowski and Lenhart)," Crew coach Robert Warzycha told the club's official website. "They have to know where they are at all times."

Columbus defenders Sebastian Miranda, Eric Gehrig and Josh Williams also will have to keep an eye on striker Alan Gordon, whose 88th-minute goal against Chivas was the equalizer. Gordon had missed the previous three games with a hamstring strain.

"It's about believing in yourself. I believe myself and Gehrig can compete with anybody in the league," Williams said. "Just doing our homework and playing intense, knocking them, and making sure it's not easy for (the Earthquakes)."

While the Crew have been getting solid play from goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and their back line - giving up two total goals in their last three matches - the offense must continue to improve as they enter a busy stretch. Columbus has scored eight goals in nine games, including only one in four road matches.

The Crew had gone more than 260 minutes without a goal before Justin Meram and Sebastian Miranda scored in a five-minute span of the second half in a 2-1 win at Dallas last Saturday.

This contest begins a tough 10-day stretch in which Columbus plays three league games and a third-round U.S. Open Cup match.

The Crew could get a boost Saturday with the possible return of midfielder Dilly Duka and forward Olman Vargas, who have been nursing hamstring injuries.

Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch, who played for Columbus from 2002-06, has not allowed a goal in three matches against his former team since joining San Jose in 2010. Busch made five saves in a 3-0 victory May 14, 2011, that helped San Jose end a three-match home winless stretch in this series.

Columbus' lone win streak this season was back-to-back victories March 24 and 31.


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