Know Your Enemy: San Jose Earthquakes

Strong start key to three points for Dallas

Enemy: San Jose

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USA Today Sports Images

FC Dallas returns home this Saturday to host last year’s MLS Supporters’ Shield winners, the San Jose Earthquakes.

San Jose comes into this match with one win in its last five games. In fact, most of the Earthquakes' results this season have ended in a draw. The Quakes are 3-4-6 on the season and are currently tied with Seattle for sixth place in the Western Conference.

Last week, Frank Yallop’s team was at home against Colorado and had to battle back thanks to a Marvin Chavez free kick to tie the Rapids, 1-1.

In 2012, the Earthquakes got the better of FC Dallas, going 1-0-2 on the three game series with the lone win coming at home in the middle of July.

Injury Watch

Yallop spent most of the early part of this season dealing with injuries to key guys like former FC Dallas midfielder Marvin Chavez, defender Jason Hernandez, and forwards Alan Gordon and Stephen Lenhart.

Now the injury report for the Quakes mostly sees role players or guys further down the depth charts. Defender Nana Attakora has been dealing with concussion symptoms; midfielder Brad Ring has been out with a knee sprain; and first round SuperDraft pick Tommy Muller has been out with back spasms.

Key Matchup

Sam Cronin vs David Ferreira – Should Schellas Hyndman reinsert Ferreira back into the Dallas lineup, he’ll go up against a young and feisty player in Cronin. He’s a guy that loves to battle and typically does well at frustrating other players into mistakes. What makes Cronin tough to deal with is the fact that he doesn’t commit too many fouls and he doesn’t get booked that much.

Key Player for San Jose

Chris Wondolowski – The 2012 MLS MVP has been a terror for FC Dallas in the past. He’s scored three goals in the last five meetings against FCD. Wondo always seems to find a way to create chances or put himself into a position to finish other player’s chances. He currently has five goals on the season, which seems like a far cry from his 27-goal output in 2012, but he leads the league in total shots with 52 (19 of which were on target).

Projected Lineup

Yallop uses a very simple and traditional 4-4-2 formation. 

Goalkeeper: Jon Busch; RB: Steven Beitashour; CB: Victor Bernardez, Jason Hernandez; LB: Justin Morrow; RM: Marvin Chavez; CM: Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca; LM: Walter Martinez; FW: Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon

Keys to three points

San Jose is a team you can never quite count out of a match. So many times already this season they have found a way to battle back late in a match to get a win or a draw.

The last few weeks have been shaky for San Jose though. Only one win out of five with three draws may sound alright on paper, but given the way the club performed in those matches is a whole other story. The majority of those games, except for the 4-0 loss at Seattle, the Earthquakes had to battle from behind to get points. In other words, this San Jose team does not respond well early in matches.

FC Dallas will want to pack on the pressure early in this one, similar to what we saw out of Seattle against San Jose two weeks ago. Applying the pressure from the wings to spread this San Jose defense out is always a good move. San Jose does not defend well from the wings and are prone to mistakes in the back when dealing with speed.

Where Dallas has to be careful is with the long balls that San Jose likes to run on their offense. The Quakes love to do the “dump and chase” style of offense with Wondo and either Gordon or Lenhart. They love to battle up front and cause defensive miscues due to their physical play.

This is a game that FC Dallas has to control from start to finish. They’ve done well at home this year, but this isn’t a game they can relax in. If they play to their strengths up front and are calm and collected in the back, they’ll end the night with another three points.