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San Jose Earthquakes vs. Columbus Crew SC | 2017 MLS Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Columbus Crew SC
2017 MLS Regular Season
Avaya Stadium — San Jose, California
Saturday, August 5 – 10:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE

The San Jose Earthquakes are within reach of a playoff spot in the West, but a Columbus Crew SC side that is eager to avoid falling below it in the East stands in their way.

The Earthquakes are set to lock horns with Crew SC on Saturday night, and both clubs will be keen on picking up three points given where they stand in their respective conferences. San Jose are currently in seventh place and one point off of a playoff spot in the West while Columbus are in sixth in the ast but only by a two-point cushion, so there will be plenty at stake when they collide at Avaya Stadium.

Neither of the two teams enter the tilt on an excellent run of form, however. While the Earthquakes were triumphant in their last meeting, they lost their previous three games. Crew SC, meanwhile, have started their current road swing by picking up just one point from two matches.

San Jose Earthquakes

The Earthquakes got back to winning ways last weekend, and it was rookie defender Nick Lima that led the way.

Lima was an active contributor on both sides of the ball and scored the lone goal in San Jose's 1-0 home win over the Colorado Rapids. His decisive tally was a thing of immense beauty, too, as he connected sweetly on a half-volley from distance that found the top right corner of the net.

“This team fought from beginning to end and we ended up getting the three points,” Lima said after the game. “Getting the shutout shows the whole team has bought in. We were fighting, winning our set-piece battles, winning the second balls. I think at times, you saw that we were getting away from that and the guys were able to dig deep and get back to that.”

Being tough to play against will again be key on Saturday, as Crew SC have plenty of attacking punch with the likes of Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Kekuta Manneh. That said, the Earthquakes' attack will need to improve since it is unlikely that Lima once again comes to the rescue with a moment of magic.

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D Harold Cummings (ankle surgery), M Anibal Godoy (knee), M Mark Pelosi (knee); QUESTIONABLE: M Jahmir Hyka (hamstring)

Projected Starting Lineup (4-4-2, left to right): David Bingham – Florian Jungwirth, Andres Imperiale, Victor Bernardez, Nick Lima – Shea Salinas, Darwin Ceren, Jackson Yueill, Valeri Qazaishvili – Marco Ureña, Chris Wondolowski

Notes: Six of the last nine meetings between these two teams have ended in a draw. San Jose have the slight edge over this time, going 2-1-0 in the other three games. ... San Jose have won three consecutive home games. The last time they won four or more home games in a row in league play was a six-game streak from June 29 to September 8, 2013. ... Nick Lima’s goal against Colorado was his first in his last 17 MLS appearances.

Columbus Crew SC

This current road swing has not been all that kind to Crew SC, but things could change for the better if they cap it off with a victory here.

Columbus have picked up just one point in their last two matches, and now have to visit an Earthquakes side jostling for playoff positioning. The good news for Crew SC is that they managed to get a result the last time they stepped on the field, playing Real Salt Lake to a 2-2 draw. Columbus should have picked up some confidence from tying at Rio Tinto Stadium, especially Kamara after coming through with a brace.

“With Ola, we saw the focus and the fire in him coming into this game," said Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter after the match in Sandy, Utah. "He desperately wanted to be part of this game and he showed it from minute one."

Berhalter will also have the benefit of having a deeper squad to choose from for this meeting. Defenders Jonathan Mensah and Lalas Abubakar were suspended against RSL after being ejected in the previous road game against the Philadelphia Union, and their potential reintroductions should only help to boost Columbus' chances of grabbing a victory before heading back home.

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D Gaston Sauro (left PCL surgery), M Ben Swanson (right ankle surgery); QUESTIONABLE: D Harrison Afful (right thigh strain), M Federico Higuain (right knee sprain)

Projected Starting XI (3-4-3, left to right): Zack Steffen – Lalas Abubakar, Alex Crognale, Jonathan Mensah – Waylon Francis, Wil Trapp, Artur, Hector Jimenez – Kekuta Manneh, Ola Kamara, Justin Meram

Notes: Columbus won the most recent meeting between these two teams – 2-0 on August 27, 2016. ... Columbus have lost five of their last seven MLS road matches (1W-1D) and have conceded 2.4 goals per game across that run. The 25 road goals they have conceded this year are the fourth most in MLS. ... Ola Kamara’s brace against Real Salt Lake last weekend was his first multi-goal game of the season and his first in 26 matches for the Crew SC. He had four multi-goal games in his first 22 regular season appearances.

All-Time Series

Crew SC are ahead in this series by five wins, and are no strangers to pulling out victories in San Jose. The Western Conference club has prevailed more often than not at home, however.

  • Overall: San Jose 14 wins (57 goals), Columbus 19 wins (65 goals), 7 draws
  • At San Jose: San Jose 11 wins (30 goals), Columbus 6 wins (26 goals), 4 draws

Referees

Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Michael Kampmeinert, Brian Dunn
Fourth Official: Alex Chilowicz
VAR: Jon Freemon

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