The San Jose Earthquakes are shaking up the Western Conference landscape.
The Quakes will look to win for the fifth time in their past six matches when they visit the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
San Jose began the season with five losses in six contests before engineering a strong turnaround. The Earthquakes (9-7-4, 31 points) now reside in fifth place in the West on the strength of a 6-1-2 surge.
San Jose outclassed the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 on July 12, marking its second win over the Galaxy — the third-place team in the West — in a 14-day span.
Quakes forward Danny Hoesen said the confidence level has grown as the wins and ties have piled up.
“We just like to go fight for each other,” Hoesen told reporters. “If somebody is out of position, another one takes over, and we’re willing to get hurt for each other. Let me say it that way. That’s an amazing thing to have as a team, and we’re starting to believe we can keep going this way.
“I don’t believe we’re going to win all games, but even if we lose a game, we continue the same way, and we still keep believing.”
Vancouver (4-10-8, 20 points) is sliding in the other direction with four straight losses and seven consecutive winless matches (0-4-3). The Whitecaps are tied for last place in the West with the Colorado Rapids.
Vancouver was thoroughly dominated in its last match when it lost 4-0 on Wednesday to the New England Revolution. The Whitecaps were outshot 33-6 and put zero shots on target while New England peppered the net with 12.
During the four-game skid, Vancouver has been outscored by a startling 14-1.
Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos is aware his club is in fragile shape as it searches for a win.
“We have to be strong mentally. We have to react well,” Dos Santos told reporters. “It’s an opportunity to show how well and strong we can react. We have to show up on that day and make sure we are ready for that game.”
On the positive side of the ledger, Vancouver is 7-1-3 all-time at home against San Jose.
Forward Fredy Montero leads the Whitecaps with six goals, while forward Chris Wondolowski leads the Earthquakes with eight.
San Jose midfielder Carlos Fierro, acquired on June 25 from Mexican top division team Cruz Azul, began training with the team this week and could make his MLS debut.
–Field Level Media