Preview: Colorado vs San Jose, June 20, 2012

Rapids return home to host Earthquakes in battle of the west

COLORADO RAPIDS vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
June 20, 2012 (WEEK 16, MLS Game #134)
7:30 p.m. ET (Altitude; FM 93.7, AM 1510; FM 87.7)

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A crunch match in the Western Conference is ahead on Wednesday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park when the Colorado Rapids meet the San Jose Earthquakes. The Rapids are looking to move up the table, currently sitting in the last West playoff spot after a 1-0 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC last weekend. The Quakes are playing their first league contest since May 27, now sitting second in the division after a 2-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City in that game.

REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 1 games; FC/gm: 18.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 0

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INJURY REPORT:

  • COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); DOUBTFUL: DF Marvell Wynne (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Omar Cummings (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Jamie Smith (R knee ACL tear); MF Ross LaBauex (sports hernia); FW Conor Casey (R hamstring strain)
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: SJ: Jon Busch (through June 20)
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Ramiro Corrales, Alan Gordon
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Jaime Castrillon, Jeff Larentowicz, Tyrone Marshall

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (48 meetings): Rapids 18 wins (2 shootout), 64 goals… Earthquakes 21 wins (1 shootout), 69 goals… Ties 9
AT COLORADO (24 meetings): Rapids 10 wins (1 shootout), 31 goals… Earthquakes 10 wins (0 shootout), 27 goals… Ties 4
RETURN MATCHES: 8/25: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m. PT; 10/6: Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7 p.m.  MT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
8/13: SJ 1, COL 2 (Gjertsen 22 – Folan 39; Larentowicz 72)
9/24: COL 1, SJ 1 (Moor 71 – Wondolowski 18)
• Colorado’s 2-1 win at San Jose last Aug. 13 was their first in northern California since 2003. The Quakes had won three meetings in between, with four draws.
• The Rapids have won just once in their last seven home games vs. San Jose. That win came Aug. 7, 2010 in Commerce City; the Quakes have won on three of those trips to Colorado, with three draws.
• Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. SJ: first game … Frank Yallop v COL: P25 W8 L10 D7

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids return home after a 1-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. The Rapids are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 19 points from 14 games.

LAST MATCH

 

• Vancouver played the last half an hour down a man after a double booking for Darren Mattocks within a minute, the first one of which was for simulation, with the second for a late tackle on Drew Moor.
• But Whitecaps FC took the lead in the 80th minute, when Sébastien Le Toux got on the end of a wonderful crossfield ball from Davide Chiumiento to volley home and give the short-handed home side the only goal they would need.
• Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made three changes to the side that recorded a 3-2 win against the Montréal Impact at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Scott Palguta came into the back for the suspended Tyrone Marshall, and Brian Mullan and Edu entered the side in place of Wells Thompson and Andre Akpan.
• COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura (Conor Casey 72), Drew Moor, Scott Palguta, Hunter Freeman - Brian Mullan, Jeff Larentowicz, Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon - Edu, Tony Cascio (Kamani Hill 76).

TEAM NEWS
• The Rapids have followed each of their last five victories with a defeat, their only back-to-back victories on the campaign coming in the very first two games.
• “We felt like the rug’s been pulled out from under us,” said midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. “We're all pretty proud of the performance we put in. If you look at the last two games for us – Montreal and [Vancouver] – and they're almost carbon copies of each other. We came out on top of one but not on the other. It happens.”
• It was the sixth loss in the last seven away matches for the Rapids; FC Dallas, with seven, has the most road losses in MLS this season.
• “[It] was maybe one of our best games in terms of being intense and dominating,“ fullback Hunter Freeman said. “All those things come around full circle, soccer’s not always a fair game. It’s disappointing to walk out of there with not even a point. I thought we deserved at least a point, maybe three.”
• With Tyrone Marshall suspended after his double booking vs. Montréal, Scott Palguta maintained his place in central defense for his first league start of the season.
• “I felt like we worked pretty well offensively but defensively we were always chasing them and they got a lot more chances when they were a man down which shouldn't be that way,” said goalkeeper Matt Pickens. “It was a hard one on the road to drop points. Hats off to them, they beat us. We need to go back and see what we did wrong and try and correct it.”
• For the first time since joining the club, Edu started a league match, paired with Tony Cascio on the forward line.
• Conor Casey was also able to return to the team, coming on as a substitute after missing out on the Montréal match.
• “We did all we could to put the ball in the back of the net but we hit the post a few times and things didn’t bounce our way,” said Pareja. “In the first half we created chances, and the second half space opened up and we responded well. Our subs off the bench helped us to create dangerous plays, but I’m happy with what I saw from the Rapids.”
• Brian Mullan was able to make a return to the starting lineup after missing the last two league matches after suffering a knee sprain in the D.C. United match.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes return to league play for the first time since May 27, their last match a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park. The Quakes are in second place in the Western Conference with 27 points from 14 games.

LAST MATCH

• Sporting took the lead after just five minutes. Kei Kamara took a pass from Graham Zusi on the right flank and drove the ball into the area. C.J. Sapong slid in at the back post and slammed a left-footer first time into the back of the net.
• SKC doubled the margin in the 39th minute. Right back Chance Myers drove across the field and releasing an overlapping Michael Harrington on the left. Harrington cut back and fired a picture-perfect cross that Kamara nodded down and past Quakes ’keeper Jon Busch.
• The Earthquakes pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute. Simon Dawkins took a headed pass from Ramiro Corrales, turned and dribbled to just outside the penalty area. Given space at the top of the box, he looped his shot just out of reach of a diving Jimmy Nielsen.
• Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made five changes to the team that stormed back for a 3-2 victory against the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Ramiro Corrales came into the back four for Ike Opara, while Brad Ring, Khari Stephenson, Marvin Chavez and Alan Gordon also all came into the team, in place of Sam Cronin, Tressor Moreno, Sercan Guvenisik and Steven Lenhart.
• SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-5-1): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow, Ramiro Corrales - Rafael Baca (Ike Opara 65), Brad Ring (Tressor Moreno 71), Simon Dawkins, Khari Stephenson, Marvin Chavez - Alan Gordon (Cesar Diaz Pizarro 61).

TEAM NEWS
• The loss snapped a three-game unbeaten run for the Earthquakes and was just their second defeat over a two-month span.
• “Despite a difficult first half, we still had that fight in us and we didn’t feel that we were out of it," said Quakes head coach Frank Yallop. "That is a great trait to have and helped us in this difficult stretch. We have scored a lot of late goals this year and we really felt like we were going to get something out of the game at the end. It didn’t happen [in KC], but I am proud of the effort to get back in it.”
• Simon Dawkins scored his second goal of the season, the first coming April 21 vs. Real Salt Lake as the first of two in stoppage time to claim a victory.
• “When Simon scored, I thought that we were going to come back and get a result again,” said defender Ramiro Corrales. “They have some big defenders though and they did a good job of seeing the game out at the end. We had them on their heels during the second half a bit, but it was too little too late.”
• Alan Gordon made his first league start of the season, after coming off the substitutes’ bench in each of his first six appearances of the year.
• Cesar Diaz Pizarro made his MLS debut, coming on for the final half-hour as a substitute for Gordon. “Cesar came on there, tried to help us out. I think he did a good job for his first [MLS] game ever, and I think I missed him by 2 inches on the far post,” said right back Steven Beitashour. “I felt that we were just going to get that one. We’ve been doing it all season, never quitting.”
• Brad Ring also made his first league appearance of the season, starting and playing 71 minutes.
• The Quakes will be without goalkeeper Jon Busch for the Colorado match, following a ruling by the MLS Disciplinary Committee after the SKC match. Goalkeeper David Bingham will likely make his second career league start, his first this season.
• “I'm not worried about what happens, it's just another game." Bingham told the San Jose Mercury News. "I've played two Open Cup games, and we've got two wins. I'm going into this game with the same mindset. We've just got to get some wins.” Said Busch: “He's a good young kid that's developing and learning, and it will be good for him to get a game.”
• Two days after the SKC loss, the Earthquakes won their third-round match in the US Open Cup, defeating the NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 at Cagan Stadium at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Sam Garza scored in the 63rd and 70th minutes as the Quakes overcame a first-half deficit.
• Here’s the Earthquakes team from the Fort Lauderdale match: David Bingham, Brad Ring, Ike Opara, Justin Morrow, Josh Suggs (Steven Beitashour 65), Sam Cronin (Simon Dawkins 56), Jean-Marc Alexandre, Tressor Moreno, Sam Garza, Steven Lenhart, Sercan Guvenisik (Rafael Baca 88).
• Then, in the fourth round on June 5, Steven Lenhart’s 85th-minute header gave the Quakes a 1-0 win against Minnesota Stars FC, also in Palo Alto, and sent San Jose into the quarterfinals.
• “We’ve had chances, it’s just the way it’s worked out that we got our goals late," said Yallop. When [goals] come, you can’t pick and choose when that is."
• Here’s the Quakes team from the Minnesota match: David Bingham, Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara, Jason Hernandez, Ramiro Corrales, Sam Garza (Simon Dawkins 65), Jean-Marc Alexandre, Tressor Moreno (Sam Cronin 88), Marvin Chavez, Alan Gordon (Rafael Baca 77), Steven Lenhart.
• Following the second Open Cup match, Yallop gave his squad nearly a full week off. “We have a nice six- or seven-day break, so the guys can heal and get some rest that they need. I want to make sure we come out of the break with some good, rested players, and are hungry and ready to go,” Yallop said.
• With the return of Chris Wondolowski from international duty, Shea Salinas and Victor Bernardez have also returned to full training and are available for selection – meaning Yallop should have his full first-choice side ready. Bernardez played in the Honduras World Cup qualifiers vs. Panama and Canada.
• “I feel a lot better, totally recovered,” Bernárdez said through an interpreter. “I’m feeling good physically. [I had] three games and no problems. I’m looking forward to contributing to the team again.”