San Jose Earthquakes’ team spirit has been crucial to their two recent wins, according to midfielder Jackson Yueill.
The ‘Quakes sit 10th in the Western Conference, but are not out of the hunt for a playoff spot after winning their last two games, including a 2-0 victory over Los Angeles FC last time out.
Next up is a home match against Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders, who head into Wednesday’s game on the back of a win over rivals Sporting Kansas City.
And Yueill believes everything is still to play for.
“I think there are still a lot of games left,” Yueill said. “It’s still really close and these two games were important for us.
“We’ve narrowed down to the last third of the season. We learned from our first year to last year of when to push and when to hit our stride. We hit a really good stride last year going into the playoffs and that helped us a lot.
“I think the team is in a really good spot. Collectively, as a group, how we’re interacting, the motivation and dialogue in the locker room is really positive.
“Even though it’s going to be close up until the end, the guys have the desire to push for the playoffs and try to get up in the table as high as we can and play as best as we can.”
Seattle, meanwhile, are set to soon be buoyed by the return of Jordan Morris, who suffered a serious knee injury while on loan at Swansea City last season.
“Jordan’s on a medical timeline.” Brian Schmetzer said.
“I believe the plan is after the San Jose game to get him included in more of training, in full training.
“I know everybody would love to have Jordan on the field, but we have to follow the medical protocol. But the kid’s doing great. He’s chomping at the bit.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
San Jose Earthquakes – Javier Lopez
Javier Lopez has scored six goals in his last three matches, the first player to do so this MLS season.
Seattle Sounders – Raul Ruidiaz
Raul Ruidiaz is scoreless in his last four MLS appearances, the second-longest scoring drought in his MLS career.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Lopez is the second Earthquakes player to score at least six goals in a three-match stretch along with Chris Wondolowski, who did so in May-June 2019.
– The Earthquakes ended a 14-match winless run against Seattle (D6 L8) dating back to 2015 with a 1-0 win at Lumen Field on July 31. Seattle hasn’t lost any of its last seven visits to San Jose (W3 D4) dating back to a 1-0 defeat in August 2014 equaling its longest away unbeaten run against a single opponent in club history.
– San Jose has lost only two of its last 15 matches (W5 D8) after consecutive wins over Austin and LAFC. The two wins mark the Earthquakes’ first winning streak since April-May when they won three in a row, a run ended with a home loss to Seattle.
– Seattle beat Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, in Kansas City on Sunday, the Sounders fifth win in their last six away matches (L1). Seattle’s eight away wins this season are tied for the most in MLS this season (New England Revolution) and one off the most in a regular season in club history (nine in 2011).