San Jose Earthquakes’ veteran striker Chris Wondolowski is convinced his team are in a good position to push on for a postseason spot, despite being “on the outside looking in.”
The ‘Quakes face Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, looking to bounce back from a defeat to Seattle Sounders in midweek.
San Jose are ninth in the Western Conference, two places and one point behind Vancouver, who drew 0-0 at Houston Dynamo on Wednesday.
“You look at the other results, today it didn’t do us too much damage, but that being said it would’ve been a perfect day to move up the table,” Wondolowski said after Wednesday’s loss to Seattle.
“We’re still outside looking in, but we have a huge one against Vancouver on Saturday and if and when we pick up three points there, we can really start to get a move in.
“The faith hasn’t wavered one bit in the locker room, and we still feel confident. We feel that we can do a lot of great things in these seven games and really start clicking.”
Vancouver were fortunate to come away from Houston with a point. The Dynamo had 17 attempts in total, compared to just five from the Whitecaps, and Vanni Sartini had no doubt it was a point gained rather than two lost.
He said “It’s one point gained. In any case, ties on the road are good, because the standings don’t seem as if they’re moving so much but then if we win on Saturday it’s a four-point swing, not a three-point swing.
“It’s a point gained and we have to be honest, they had more chances than us. Yes we had the chance in the last minute with the deflection but it would have been a robbery, like Money Heist on Netflix!”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Vancouver Whitecaps – Maxime Crepeau
Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau was on top form against Houston, making four saves.”I’m very happy because Max is a very good goalkeeper, a fantastic leader,” said Sartini.
San Jose Earthquakes – Cade Cowell
After making a strong start to the season, youngster Cade Cowell has now not found the net since mid-July. If the ‘Quakes are to push on for a playoff spot, getting the midfielder back into scoring form could be crucial.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Vancouver is unbeaten in its last two matches against the Earthquakes (W1 D1), holding San Jose to just one goal over the two games. The Earthquakes had won the previous four meetings, scoring a total of 13 goals over those games.
– Vancouver played a 0-0 draw with Houston this week, its third goalless draw this season, as many as in the previous three seasons combined (0 in 2020, 2 in 2019 and 1 in 2018).
– San Jose is looking for its first back-to-back wins away from home since July 2019. San Jose is unbeaten in its last eight games away from home (W3 D5), the longest such run in the club’s history.
– Four of the Whitecaps’ last six goals have been scored with a header. In fact, Vancouver has scored 35 per cent of its goals from headers (11/31), the highest ratio in MLS this season.
– San Jose has benefited from four own-goals this season, the joint-most in MLS alongside Columbus Crew. The last team to benefit from more own goals in a season was Orlando City in 2015 (five).