Preview: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Columbus Crew
Coming off their first loss of the season, the Columbus Crew are looking to rebound as they hit the road. Their next opponent will also be trying to bounce back after a losing an impressive streak of their own.
The Crew look to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes for the third straight time Wednesday night in their first of two road games this week.
Columbus (6-1-2) fell 2-0 to Los Angeles on Saturday in a matchup of the only unbeaten teams in MLS. The Crew had won four straight both at home and overall, but were unable to solve Donovan Ricketts, who made four saves. They lost despite outshooting the Galaxy 21-3.
"We can win the game on a stat sheet, but obviously you have to finish your chances," coach Robert Warzycha said. "We played very well today and created chances, but like I've said in previous games, you have to defend well."
While it was only their first loss, the Crew continue to have trouble scoring, placing additional pressure on goaltender William Hesmer. Saturday marked the third time in four games that the club scored one or no goals.
The Crew will try to get on track offensively while looking to improve their 2-0-2 road record. Columbus, with a four-point lead over second-place Toronto in the Eastern Conference, plays at Colorado on Saturday.
"We're going to be fine," Warzycha said after the defeat to Los Angeles. "We played the game the way we wanted. It wasn't like somebody came here and did damage to us mentally. We played very well and we didn't win."
Columbus swept the season series with the Earthquakes (5-3-1) last year, outscoring them 5-1 in the two games.
San Jose suffered its first loss in five games Saturday, 3-1 to Toronto. The Earthquakes did not allow a goal during their 3-0-1 streak.
San Jose's Joe Cannon went 393 minutes without giving up a goal during the unbeaten run, but allowed the game's first score in the 31st minute and was beaten two more times in the second half.
"Once you concede a goal and you don't get going, you're not confident," coach Frank Yallop told the team's official website. "We were not confident tonight until maybe it was too late."
Ramiro Corrales scored his first goal of the season in the 76th minute to cut the lead to 2-1.
"From the front line to the back, nothing was as crisp as it was the past few weeks," Cannon said. "I think we all know that. It's nothing to overanalyze - just a bad night. We'll learn from it, move on, and look forward to a good night against Columbus."
The Earthquakes' schedule doesn't get any easier, as San Jose hits the road to take FC Dallas on Friday. The MLS goes on hiatus for the World Cup after this week.