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San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire | MLS Match Preview

BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
July 23, 2014 (WEEK 20, MLS Game #181)
7:30 p.m. PT (NBCSN)

A pair of teams in need of victories to make moves up their respective conference tables meet when the San Jose Earthquakes play host to the Chicago Fire on Wednesday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are sitting at the foot of the Western Conference after seeing their current winless run stretched to five games last weekend in a 1-1 draw at the New York Red Bulls. The Fire are three points out of the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference following their 1-1 home draw with Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening.


REFEREE: David Gantar. AR1 (bench): Corey Rockwell; AR2 (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 29 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 2.7; R: 11; pens: 3

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SJ: Sam Cronin, Jordan Stewart, Alan Gordon … CHI: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Dilly Duka, Mike Magee

ALL-TIME (32 meetings): Earthquakes 8 wins (1 shootout), 35 goals … Fire 13 wins, 47 goals (0 shootout) … Ties 11
AT SAN JOSE (16 meetings): Earthquakes 6 wins (0 shootout), 18 goals … Fire 5 wins, 17 goals (0 shootout) … Ties 5

7/3: CHI 3, SJ 2 (Duka 36; Nyarko 47; Rolfe 84 – Gordon 14; own goal 72)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The teams met once last season, the Fire ending a five-game winless streak vs. the Earthquakes with a 3-2 win July 3 at Toyota Park.
  • It was the Fire’s first win in Bridgeview since 2009; Chicago’s last victory in the all-time series came in 2010, when they won 3-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • The teams of course met in MLS Cup 2003 at The Home Depot Center, as Landon Donovan scored twice in leading the Earthquakes to a 4-2 victory.
  • Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. SJ: first game … Mark Watson vs. CHI: P1 W0 L1 D0

The San Jose Earthquakes put an end to their losing skid but still saw their winless streak extended to five games, coming back for a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Quakes are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 17 points from 17 games.


  • The Red Bulls took the lead in the first half after Earthquakes striker Steven Lenhart clearly handled the ball in the area and referee Jose Carlos Rivero pointed to the spot. Bradley Wright-Phillips converted the penalty kick in the 33rd minute, his 17th goal of the season.
  • But the Quakes found a late winner as Lenhart atoned for his earlier transgression. A cross from the right flank took a deflection and Lenhart was first to it, clipping the ball up to himself before unleashing a hard volley that Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles could not stop.
  • Quakes head coach Mark Watson made four changes to the team that fell 2-1 to D.C. United at Buck Shaw Stadium. Shaun Francis and Jason Hernandez came into the back four in place of Brandon Barklage and Clarence Goodson, and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and Shea Salinas started in midfield for Atiba Harris and Khari Stephenson.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Shaun Francis, Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez, Jordan Stewart - Yannick Djalo (Atiba Harris 83), Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi (Khari Stephenson 69), Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas (Alan Gordon 90) - Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart.


  • The Quakes put an end to their four-game losing streak, but still had their winless run to five games. It matches their longest streak without a league win this season, after starting the year 0-2-3.
  • “It should give us a good boost as we have been going through a rough patch of late. We played well for stretches, especially in the first half. We had a bunch of chances early and probably deserved a couple of more goals,” Quakes coach Mark Watson said. “We pushed at the end and they got some chances as well. Our spirit to come back and get the point is a big boost, but guys still want more. We wanted the win."
  • The Quakes have scored just two goals over the five-game winless run ñ going three consecutive games without a goal. Their 17 goals for the season are the fewest in Major League Soccer.
  • “We are done with silver linings right now. It is halfway through the season so we need to get wins in games like that. We need to get better,” said Chris Wondolowski. “We had chances, I had chances and I could have done better. If we finish those chances, we would have walked out of here with three points and not one. We will just have to be better on Wednesday.”
  • Steven Lenhart scored his first goal of the 2014 regular season. It was his first goal in MLS since netting a pair last Sept. 21 vs. Real Salt Lake; he did score in the U.S. Open Cup fifth-round loss to Seattle Sounders FC.
  • “It is going to important for us and for him. With goal scoring, sometimes you score a bunch and sometimes you can't score at all,” Watson said. “Hopefully he has a bunch more in him in the upcoming games. He does a lot of work for us and he deserved a goal."
  • Jason Hernandez returned to the starting lineup for the third time in the last four matches, his first league starts since playing 67 minutes in the March 8 season opener before suffering a strained left quadriceps.
  • “Jason was really big for us,” Watson said. “And you know what? I wasn’t surprised. He’s the type of guy that, whenever he’s asked to play, he gives you 100 percent and scraps and fights. His overall play was very good, very competitive. He had to play against two very, very good players in [Bradley] Wright-Phillips and [Thierry] Henry, as well as seeing some good movement from midfield. I thought he dealt with it well.”
  • Hernandez made a couple of clearances off the line – including one in the 88th minute after the Quakes had tied the score. “On those goal-line clearances, he just never lets a play go,” Watson said. “He was in the right spot at the right time, kept us in the game and gave us a chance, ultimately, to get a point out of it.”
  • Shaun Francis also returned to the back four for his first start since May 31, playing the full match at right back. Francis was a halftime substitute the week before in the D.C. United loss.

The Chicago Fire couldn’t make it two wins on the trot, Philadelphia Union hitting for a late equalizer to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 18 games.


  • The Fire took the lead in 60th minute. Harry Shipp put in a corner from the right and Jeff Larentowicz freed himself for a clear header from the heart of the box.
  • But the match turned in stoppage time. A speculative volley from Sebastien Le Toux at the top of the box hit Gonzalo Segares on the upper part of his right arm, and referee Geoff Gamble awarded a spot kick. Le Toux made no mistake with the ensuing penalty and Union came away with a crucial point from the road.
  • Fire head coach Frank Yallop made no changes to the team that defeated the New England Revolution 1-0 at Gillette Stadium.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Gonzalo Segares - Alex, Matt Watson, Jeff Larentowicz, Harry Shipp (Grant Ward 75) - Quincy Amarikwa (Matthew Fondy 79), Mike Magee.


  • The Fire had their home winless streak extended to four games in the 1-1 draw with Philadelphia. Their last win at Toyota Park came May 18, a 2-1 victory against Sporting KC.
  • “I think that we’re going to have to really look at the positive side of things. We don’t have time to dwell on a decision that was made or points that were lost.  For me, we played well, you can only do what you can on the field,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “Looking forward to San Jose, it’s a quick turnaround … we’re right there. We hate to say it week in and week out, but we’re not in a bad spot.  With a win on the road and win in our next home game we’re right in a playoff spot.”
  • Said Fire head coach Frank Yallop: “I wanted a lot of interchanging of positions. I thought, to be honest, if you look at the game, I thought we did enough to win the match. I thought our defenders and our defending was excellent.”
  • Jeff Larentowicz scored his fourth goal of the season, his most in a season since recording his career single-season high in 2011 with the Colorado Rapids. Two of his goals have come on headers on Harry Shipp corner kicks; two have come on penalty kicks.
  • Harry Shipp recorded his fifth assist this season, his first since May 10. He has six goals this season to lead all MLS rookies.
  • “The coaches do a good job every week of setting set pieces up, this week was no different. I had a similar opportunity in the first half,” Larentowicz said. “Harry’s service is consistent – it’s always there, it’s always good.  I was lucky that I got a second chance.”
  • The Fire have allowed just three goals over their last four games, though they were not able to string together consecutive shutouts for the first time this season.
  • “It should have been a clean sheet. I thought the back four was excellent. I thought they battled, they fought, they worked together,” Yallop said. “Philadelphia scored three goals in the last game, I think three before that; they’re free-flowing, they’re good, they’re active. I thought we did a nice job on them tonight. I thought we deserved to win the match.”
  • Said Gonzalo Segares: “I think defensively that the past couple of games we have done well.  We’ve been pretty solid and haven’t given them many chances. [Saturday] was the same, but unfortunately the only one they had was a PK, other than that we were able to contain them.  We have to keep improving because we’re doing well.”
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Season Stats

San Jose EarthquakesChicago Fire FC
17Games Played18
19Goals Conceded28
68Shots on Target82
200Fouls committed261
200Fouls suffered224

Goals Scored


Goals Conceded

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