Can SJ break FC Dallas' 13-game unbeaten streak?
"No team is invincible," San Jose Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop, circa 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, September 9
Is FC Dallas invincible? Obviously not.
However, since a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire on May 27, FC Dallas has been the hottest team in MLS. Unbeaten in their last 13 - including a 2-0 win against the Earthquakes on June 5 - FC Dallas has built an aura of invincibility.
San Jose appears undeterred heading into Saturday's tilt. The Quakes have won three of their last four despite a spate of injuries and suspensions. With Bobby Convey expected to return to left mid and designated player Geovanni finding his form, San Jose fully expects to end FC Dallas' run.
Don't believe the Quakes can do it? Here's 13 reasons why San Jose has what it takes to beat the streak:
1. The Buck Stops Here
Depending on the coin flip, Buck Shaw Stadium's location could be a positive or negative for FC Dallas. The sun has forced many goalkeepers to wear a hat when facing the West End for the first 45. San Jose's playing surface can also become a factor - the Quakes like it slick and footing is never easy.
2. NorCal's Weather vs. Texas Heat
Despite a warm forecast for Saturday's match, whatever the sun dishes out will be better than the sweltering heat at Pizza Hut Park on June 5.
3. San Jose's Samba
Both teams have a Brazilian presence, but all eyes will be on the Quakes designated player Geovanni. Can FC Dallas stop San Jose's star on the counter attack?
4. The 1906 Ultras
Hopefully FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman brought ear plugs because for 45 minutes San Jose's most fervent supporter's group will be close by.
5. Unlucky No. 13
Yes, FC Dallas achieved the superstitious anomaly by virtue of their 1-0 win over Toronto FC, but the real challenge will be getting to No. 14.
The Quakes only had two full days to recover between a 2-2 draw against the Columbus Crew on June 2 and the 2-0 loss against FC Dallas on June 5. Playing on short rest in the sweltering Texas heat is no easy task.
7. Central Defense
FC Dallas has a banged up back line - much like the Quakes - but with starting center back George John out, San Jose has the opportunity to attack newcomer Jackson Gonçalves.
8. Tony & Alba's > Pizza Hut
Authentic Italian over commercialized deep dish any day of the week. 'Nuff said.
9. San Jose's Ringer
Brad Ring, that is. The rookie midfielder is anxious to make his second-career start and he's poised for a breakthrough game.
10. Busch's Barricade
The Quakes haven't allowed a goal at home in their last two matches. Welcome to Buschland!
11. Clash & Burn
The Quakes are 11-6-3 all-time at home against FC Dallas dating back to the days of the San Jose Clash and Dallas Burn. San Jose also holds an all-time +20 goal differential against FC Dallas - the largest margin vs. any other MLS club.
12. Friendly Wagers
San Jose Earthquakes Executive Vice President David Alioto made a friendly wager on tonight's game with FC Dallas President Doug Quinn. Quote Alioto: "I'm looking forward to going to Armadillo Willy's after the match for some high-quality Texas bar-b-que. This is our Alamo and we'll defend Buck Shaw to the last man!" Them's fightin' words!
One could argue the Quakes 2-0 loss to FC Dallas on June 5 was among the low-points of the 2010 campaign. San Jose is pumped up for this match and wants to prove - once-and-for-all - that they are legitimate MLS Cup contenders. Game on!