Quakes coming up against yet another in-form opponent
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Facing a D.C. United team riding a seven-match unbeaten streak might be daunting for some clubs.
For the San Jose Earthquakes, it’s just a typical 2012 matchup.
HIGHLIGHTS: PHI 1, SJ 2
So far this year, the Quakes have beaten teams sitting tied for first (Real Salt Lake), third (Vancouver) and fourth (Seattle) in the Western Conference, and gathered a road tie with a New York team that was then No. 2 in the East.
Wednesday night, San Jose (6-1-1) — whose own unbeaten streak is at six games and counting — host D.C. (4-2-3) in what promises to be another exciting clash of teams at or near the top of the their respective tables (10 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
“Teams have been in form when we play them, but each game is tough, no matter who you’re playing,” San Jose head coach Frank Yallop said. “We feel good that when we go up against guys in form, it’s good. It’s good that we can do that right now with this team. We feel the team can play with anybody in this league right now.”
Given the Quakes’ success against other top clubs — their only defeat came at the hands of Houston (2-2-2) in a game they dominated — you might expect to hear a little woofing from their locker room. However, San Jose have been silent on that front.
“It doesn’t do any good to talk about it or to Tweet about it,” Quakes star Chris Wondolowski told MLSsoccer.com. “The only thing to do is to try to live it, and to perform. We feel we can go out there and produce. And that’s all that matters.”
Part of it is the sheer volume of matches left to play. Yes, the Quakes have pulled 19 points out of a possible 24 to this point — the second-highest percentage in the league, trailing only Sporting Kansas City, who have 21 points out of 24. But San Jose aren’t even a quarter of the way through their schedule, a point that Yallop made sure to hammer home last week before the team traveled to Philadelphia and beat the Union 2-1 with a stoppage-time game-winner from Steven Lenhart.
“I had a meeting with the guys and I just said, ‘Hey, we’ve had a great start to the season, exactly what we wanted to do, but we cannot get carried away with it, because that’s not us as a club, us as players or me as a coach,’” Yallop said. “We’ve played well enough [to win] in games last year, and we didn’t get anything [points-wise].”
Strictly in terms of an organizational demeanor, Yallop and the Quakes put heavy impetus on stock doing things in the right manner, alongside striving to gain positive results.
“Things can change, but our standards have been set now,” Yallop said. “We’ve got to expect to go out and perform well each game. Whether that turns into a victory, we don’t know. But I’ve been very pleased with the performances.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com.