Earthquakes take unbeaten streak into Atlanta (Jul 04, 2017)

BY AP • July 3, 2017

Atlanta United, coming off one of its most complete performances of the expansion franchise's inaugural MLS season, returns to raucous Bobby Dodd Stadium to take on the visiting San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday in a Fourth of July showdown in Atlanta.

The United (8-7-3) recorded a 2-0 road win at Columbus on Saturday, behind two goals from Tito Villalba and keeper Alec Kann's second straight clean sheet.

"We played a serious game, a solid game without many mistakes on our part and being opportunists," Atlanta coach Gerardo Martino told reporters after Saturday's victory. "We had five clear chances on goal and we converted two. I think that makes us the clear victors."

The Earthquakes also are in good form, setting up what should be a competitive game between two teams squarely in the playoff race in their respective conferences.

San Jose (7-6-5) is riding a five-game unbeaten streak that includes two wins in open play and most recently an inspiring comeback in a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy in California Clasico on Saturday.

Forward Chris Wondolowski and midfielder Shea Salinas each scored to give the Earthquakes the win.

San Jose coach Chris Leitch jokingly said the comeback, which was capped by Salinas' goal, caused him to "black out" for a minute.

"Really exciting ending, really happy to see our fans go out of this building on an extremely high note and really proud of the group," Leitch told reporters after the win. "In a very short amount of time we've had three games, so for these guys to dig deep and never quit and pull it out in the end is something special and speaks to their character."

Now, the Earthquakes must maintain that energy, handle a cross-country trip and then keep their composure in what has become of one of loudest environments in the MLS -- Bobby Dodd Stadium. Atlanta is 5-2 at home.

"Thankfully we are going to friendly confines," United defender Michael Parkhurst said after the win over Columbus. "Where we are on a roll, and we know it is just as tough, if not tougher for them because they haven't even kicked off yet. They also have to travel across the country. It's a tough challenge for them as well.

"For us, it's just focusing on getting the body ready, you know, taking care of it, getting the travel out of our bodies tomorrow. And, hopefully taking the adrenaline from the crowd into the game and playing a smart, smart game."



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