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Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes | MLS Match Preview

Sept. 27, 2014 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #281)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude; CSN-BA)

Two teams in need of victories to stay alive in the hunt for playoff positions meet when the Colorado Rapids take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids come into the game eight points out of fifth place and the final playoff position in the Western Conference, three points ahead of the Quakes. Both teams enter the game on nine-game winless streak, the Rapids coming off a 5-1 loss at Real Salt Lake last weekend, while the Earthquakes fell 2-0 at the Montréal Impact.


REFEREE: Juan Guzman. AR1 (bench): Paul Scott; AR2 (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 48 games; FC/gm: 25.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 16; pens: 12

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Thomas Piermayr … SJ: Victor Bernardez, Sam Cronin, Shaun Francis, Jordan Stewart
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Carlos Alvarez, Marc Burch, Nick LaBrocca, Shane O’Neill … SJ: Shea Salinas, Jason Hernandez, Atiba Harris, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi

ALL-TIME (56 meetings): Rapids 18 wins (2 shootout), 69 goals … Earthquakes 26 wins (1 shootout), 83 goals … Ties 12
AT COLORADO (28 meetings): Rapids 10 wins (1 shootout), 34 goals … Earthquakes 13 wins (0 shootout), 35 goals … Ties 5

2014 (MLS)
4/19: COL 0, SJ 0 5/7: SJ 0, COL 0

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, having played to a pair of scoreless draws, April 19 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and May 7 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • The Rapids last defeated San Jose in the first meeting in the 2011 season. The Quakes have won five of the nine meetings since, with four draws.
  • The Quakes have taken points on their last four trips to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids haven’t defeated San Jose at home since the 2010 season.
  • Coaches record: Pablo Mastroeni vs. SJ: P2 W0 L0 D2 … Mark Watson v COL: P4 W2 L0 D2


  • Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin made seven saves – several of the spectacular variety – to keep the clean sheet. None were bigger than an 88th-minute deflection of Chris Wondolowski’s attempt from seven yards, which caromed off the post and back out.
  • Quakes 'keeper Jon Busch was credited with four saves at the other end.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Andreas Gorlitz (Brandon Barklage 46), Ty Harden, Victor Bernardez, Jordan Stewart - Atiba Harris (Cordell Cato 77), Khari Stephenson (JJ Koval 81), Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Shea Salinas - Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Thomas Piermayr, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Kamani Hill, Dillon Powers (Nathan Sturgis 70), Jared Watts, Charles Eloundou (Dillon Serna 77) – Gabriel Torres, Edson Buddle.


The Colorado Rapids had their winless stretch extended to nine matches, with Real Salt Lake easing to a 5-1 victory on Friday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Rapids are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 31 points from 29 games.


  • The Rapids took the lead in the 21st minute. Left all kinds of space when a rebound fell to his feet, Jose Mari had plenty of time to tee it up a 30-yard shot just inside the left-hand post.
  • But RSL leveled the score 11 minutes later. Taking a pass from midfielder Ned Grabavoy on the left, Joao Plata took the ball inside the area and drilled it into the upper right corner of the net past Colorado goalkeeper Joe Nasco.
  • Just a minute later, Javier Morales drove a corner kick straight into the goal, the ball taking a slight touch off Rapids defender Thomas Piermayr as it sailed into the net. Then three minutes later, Nasco couldn't get the handle on a corner kick – and RSL defender Chris Schuler was quickest to it to push it over the line off his stomach.
  • The score was 4-1 just before halftime when Morales sent a ball into the area for Plata, and after he tried to put the ball goalward under a challenge, Nasco turned the ball into his own goal while trying to retreat between the posts.
  • The long night for Nasco was complete in the 63rd minute when the Rapids 'keeper couldn't handle another corner kick, and after he fumbled it, young RSL defender Carlos Salcedo slammed it into the net for his first MLS goal.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made three changes to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Joe Nasco came back in between the posts for John Berner, and Dillon Serna and Gabriel Torres came into the team in place of Dillon Powers and the suspended Nick LaBrocca.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Joe Nasco - Marvell Wynne, Thomas Piermayr, Shane O'Neill, Marc Burch - Kamani Hill (Marlon Hairston 46), Jose Mari, Dillon Serna, Carlos Alvarez (John Neeskens 82) - Gabriel Torres, Deshorn Brown (Charles Eloundou 82).


  • The Rapids had their winless streak stretched to nine games in the defeat by Real Salt Lake. The streak is one game away from the club record set in 2007.
  • “I think we played we probably our best 25 minutes of the season, coupled with probably our worst 25 minutes of the season,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “I think anytime you’re gifting goals the way we did tonight, it’s impossible to win.”
  • The Rapids have been hit for three or more goals six times during the winless skid, conceding 13 goals in their last three games. They have allowed 11 goals in their two away losses.
  • “Someone has to stand up and put this team on their back and be the leader. Not say it, but show it. I think there were some really good performances from really young players. We need everyone to lift their game. Again, this is going to be solved on the field on Saturday,” said Mastroeni. “The reasons why we’re conceding goals and the reasons why we’re losing is a mentality and a mindset that occurs between the white lines for 90 minutes. We need someone to step up and really take this team by the scruff of their neck.”
  • Midfielder Dillon Powers missed his first match since early May, falling ill in the hours leading up to the match and unable to feature.
  • Dillon Serna returned to the starting lineup after coming off the substitutes’ bench the week before, his first start since being taken off after just four minutes in the 6-0 defeat at the LA Galaxy on Sept. 5 when Nasco was sent off in the first minute.
  • “I think Dillon Serna went in and had a tremendous game. I think Serna showed a lot of heart. Serna exemplified the kind of character that we want on this team moving forward. Like I said, the first 25 minutes were probably the best 25 minutes we’ve played all year,” said Mastroeni. “To go from that to the way the game ended is inexcusable at this level, and you get punished for it. If you can do it for 25 minutes, experienced players now will be able to last for 90. I think that is our biggest void at the moment – having a lot of people that have been in these situations to be able to pull the guys. We have young guys stepping up and really doing a lot of that lead work. We’ve got to find a way, and we’ll continue working.”
  • Gabriel Torres made his first league start since July 30 and played the full 90 minutes for the first time since May 7, coming into the attack alongside Deshorn Brown.
  • José Mari made his third consecutive start and his seventh in the last eight league matches after missing two months to injury. He scored his fourth goal of the year, his first since June 7.
  • “From an experience standpoint, you need to have a couple guys on the field that are willing to take the sting out of the game and understand what situation we are in. Being as young as we are, a bit naïve in those moments, having our hand in a lot of their goals – can’t happen,” Mastroeni said. “These are obviously experiences that you hope, after going through what we have in the last two months, you’d rectify. Again, that can only be done on the field. These are moments that you can train all you want, you can choreograph sessions, you put them in difficult situations, but when bolts are flying and the stadium is filled, you need characters out there that can solve these problems as they’re occurring. We didn’t have enough of that, and the result spoke to that.”
  • Nasco returned between the posts after serving a one-match ban, after he was sent off in the first minute of the loss to the LA Galaxy. Clint Irwin conceded six goals in relief that night, then John Berner was in goal for the 2-2 draw with Portland.
  • “Those are mistakes that can’t happen at this level,” Mastroeni said. “Joe is by no means the only one making gaffes, unfortunately for him, when he makes a gaffe, it’s marked on the scoresheet. ... I think I do a pretty decent job of staying in touch with [the goalkeepers] and letting them know what I’m thinking, what we’re thinking as a staff. [Irwin] is definitely available [for Saturday] and he’s been training well.”


The San Jose Earthquakes had their winless run stretched to nine games, falling 2-0 to the Montréal Impact on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. The Quakes are in eighth place in the Western Conference with 28 points from 28 games.


  • Both of the game's goals came in the final 10 minutes. The match-winner arrived in the 81st minute. San Jose ‘keeper Jon Busch dove to his left to tip a curling Marco Di Vaio effort wide, but Jack McInerney found the rebound, bundling the ball over the line from close range with his knee.
  • Dilly Duka added the insurance goal in the 88th minute. Collecting a pass on the left side of the area, Duka twisted and turned to avoid his marker before curling a shot inside the far post.
  • Quakes head coach Mark Watson made four changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy at Buck Shaw Stadium. Pablo Pintos and Victor Bernardez came into the back four and Cordell Cato and JJ Koval started in midfield, coming into the team in place of Shaun Francis, Ty Harden, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and Tommy Thompson.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Pablo Pintos (Tommy Thompson 84), Jason Hernandez (Ty Harden 46), Victor Bernardez, Jordan Stewart - Cordell Cato, JJ Koval, Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas (Matias Perez Garcia 78) - Atiba Harris, Chris Wondolowski.


  • The Quakes had their winless streak stretched to nine games in the loss at Montréal. It’s their longest stretch without a victory since the club-record 13-game winless run set during the 2011 season.
  • “We can’t do anything other than look at our next game and try to get the result,” Quakes head coach Mark Watson said. “It’s a tough situation right now. The guys are disappointed, obviously. We seem to just find ways to lose games right now. It has to turn around for us to have any chance.”
  • It was also the second consecutive shutout defeat away from home for the Quakes, who are 1-7-5 on their travels and have scored 13 goals in 13 road games, tied for second-fewest in the league (behind Houston’s 10).
  • “I thought over the course of 90 minutes, we created a bunch of good chances,” Watson said. “We just have to be a bit more clinical in the final third.”
  • Said Atiba Harris: "I thought we had the chances to win the game. Personally, I should have put away one for sure and I wish I could get that one back. We had the chances and we didn't convert them and then they got one out of nothing. Sometimes that is the way the game goes. On another night, maybe we score one or two of those and we get the win."
  • It was also the third time in the last six matches were San Jose conceded goals in the 70th minute or later to concede points, allowing a game-winning goal to Philadelphia on Aug. 24 after that mark, and the game-tying goal to Portland on Sept. 7.
  • “To concede a goal against the run of play like that, it was just too soft,” Watson said. “It’s been happening too much recently. It’s a disappointing night for us. Again.”
  • Said midfielder Sam Cronin: “At this point in the season, we need the win. It was disappointing to give those two late goals away. I think individually it was poor defending and we need to do better than that.”
  • Matias Perez Garcia was able to come off the substitutes’ bench for the final 12 minutes, his first appearance after missing the last six matches with a knee injury that followed three consecutive starts.
  • JJ Koval returned to the midfield after a one-match absence, his fourth start in the last seven games, his first in the first XI since a three-game span from April 26-May 7.
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Season Stats

Colorado RapidsSan Jose Earthquakes
29Games Played28
53Goals Conceded41
146Shots on Target108
334Fouls committed343
299Fouls suffered333

Goals Scored


Goals Conceded

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