FC Dallas Looking to Hold on to First, San Jose Searching for Third Victory
Photo provided by provided by Stewart F. House-special contributor to Sports Day of Dallas News.

First place FC Dallas will be hosting fellow Western Conference foe, seventh place San Jose Earthquakes for the 29th time on Saturday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

There is Some Chippy History Between Dallas and San Jose

These two Major League Soccer (MLS) originals have faced each other a total of 56 times. The Quakes hold the edge in this series with a record of (W-T-L) 25-12-19 and positive 20 goal differential. However, when the two clubs have clashed in Texas the Hoops have a slight advantage. Dallas holds a 12-6-10 record against the Earthquakes at home.

In the last five matches played at Toyota Stadium Dallas had won three of them and only lost once. The last time they were defeated by San Jose in Frisco was on May 31st, 2014. The Toros took an early 1-0 lead with former forward Blas Pérez scoring in the 16th minute. However, before the half ended the Quakes knocked in two goals to win the match 2-1.

Maximiliano Urruti has enjoyed a fast start with his new club, scoring three goals in four matches for Dallas. Photo provided by provided by Stewart F. House-special contributor to Sports Day of Dallas News.
Maximiliano Urruti has enjoyed a fast start with his new club, scoring three goals in four matches for Dallas. Photo provided by provided by Stewart F. House-special contributor to Sports Day of Dallas News.

The two most recent matches at Texas have been close victories for the Hoops. Dallas has outscored the Northern California club 3-1 in those matches. In fact, the last five matches, four of them have been one goal victories and the other game was a 2-2 draw. These two clubs tend to have close final score lines and physical matches. In the last five matches at Dallas, there have been a combined 142 fouls and 144 tackles between the two.

A Victory Will Keep the Toros in First

Dallas is currently sitting in first place in the West with 10 points. Failing to pick up three points in this match might see the Hoops drop to as low seventh, since only three points separate first from seventh. If Dallas wants to hold on to not only first place in their conference and also first in the Supporters’ Shield race, then a victory becomes a must. At the moment the Toros has the best record in both conferences (First place in the East, Orlando City with eight points.), if they hold on to that position when the regular season ends then they will have the home field advantage throughout the post-season.

Will Mauro Díaz be ready for Saturday's home clash against San Jose. Photo provided by USA TODAY Sports.
Will Mauro Díaz be ready for Saturday's home clash against San Jose. Photo provided by USA TODAY Sports.

For the Hoops to earn three points at home they will need the likes of Fabián Castillo and Michael Barrios to run at the defense and create gaps. In result, that will give Argentinean forward Maximiliano Urruti the time to punish the Quakes with his pace and creativity. If Dallas’ playmaker Mauro Díaz is fit to play in this match, then San Jose will need to rethink a new game plan to shut him down. The Argentinean maestro runs the rapid and lethal Dallas offense. He has the vision to spread the field and the skill to complete passes in tight spaces.

With Díaz on the pitch the Hoops have a different gear to their attack. However, that is if he is ready to play in this match as of Friday he is still placed on the questionable list for Dallas with an undisclosed injury.

San Jose Need to Pick Up the Three Points

The Quakes need to get back to winning ways on Saturday. The Northern California club started the season on fire with a perfect 2-0-0 record. San Jose was even able to defeat the defending MLS Cup Champions the Portland Timbers 2-1 on March the 13th at the Avaya Stadium.

Without Chris Wondolowski three goals this season, San Jose would only have two goals in four games. Photo provided by ISI Photos.
Without Chris Wondolowski three goals this season, San Jose would only have two goals in four games. Photo provided by ISI Photos.

In those first two games the Quakes were able to outscore their opponents 3-1, since then they have given up four goals. Three of them came against their rivals the Los Angeles Galaxy on March 19th when they were soundly defeated 3-1 at the StubHub Center. Then their next match was a 1-1 draw against winless D.C. United on Saturday at home.

Lack of Scoring Options 

Even though they are only three points away from first place Dallas, another defeat can easily see that gap begin to grow. The key question for the Earthquakes is where will the goals come from if Chris Wondolowski does not score? The U.S. international has scored three of San Jose’s five goals thus far. If the Quakes are going to make a run up the standings, then Quincy Amarikwa will need to start producing more consistently. Since that breathtaking goal he scored against the Timbers back in March, the speedster has failed to register anything since.

Quincy Amarikwa will need to step up for the Earthquakes on Saturday against FC Dallas. Photo provided by USA TODAY Sports.
Quincy Amarikwa will need to step up for the Earthquakes on Saturday against FC Dallas. Photo provided by USA TODAY Sports.

The midfielders of the Quakes also need to get involved in the goal scoring department. If San Jose fails to produce another scorer for this match, then Dallas’ defense will just smother Wondolowski. If that happens then the only way for the Earthquakes leave with a point is if U.S. international goalkeeper David Bingham is able to come up with multiple saves and frustrate the Hoops offense.

Prediction: FC Dallas 2, San Jose Earthquakes 0 

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