Earthquakes' playoff chances improve one match at a time
Earthquakes Odds of Making MLS Cup Playoffs
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***Odds based on numbers provided by
Considering where the Earthquakes stood in mid July, interim coach Mark Watson says the club is “pretty happy” about where it is with four games left in the regular season.
“A couple months ago things looked pretty difficult, but we just kept working through it and followed probably the biggest cliché in the game in taking things one at a time and focused on our next opponent," Watson said.
“We worked on a bunch of things in training. Now we’re in a spot where it’s still going to be difficult, but we have a good chance. We have only four games left, and all four games are important.”
Overall, it’s been a September to remember for the Earthquakes, who are 2-0-1 in MLS play this month and 3-0-1 in all competitions.
The Quakes’ confidence was buoyed by a 2-1 road win over Real Salt Lake on Sept. 21, courtesy of two brilliant, and eerily similar, header goals by Steven Lenhart, in the 18th and 21st minutes. That clutch team effort came on the heels of a 3-0 thumping of the Montreal Impact in CONCACAF Champions League group play, on goals by Chris Wondolowski, Shea Salinas and Marvin Chavez
The fact that Montreal beat CD Heredia-Guatemala 2-0 in CCL play means that San Jose can advance to the knockout stage with a victory over CD Heredia at Buck Shaw Stadium on Oct. 23.
Watson said the team has worked extensively in the last couple months on its attack; first in how to get into the attacking third and then on how to create quality chances on their arrival.
Lenhart offered a textbook example of finishing at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It was nice to see Lenny get on the end of two great crosses and have two great finishes,” Watson said.
Watson is optimistic that center back Clarence Goodson, who took “a knock” against Real Salt Lake, can play on Sunday at Chivas USA.
"He hasn't trained all week. He's been doing his rehab stuff," Watson said of Goodson. "I think he's got a good chance of playing on Sunday, but hopefully, he can train (Saturday) and be involved in the game on Sunday."
Watson expects to field the same starting lineup against Chivas USA he used against Real Salt Lake. That means fans will get to see more of emerging 150-pound Trinidadian midfielder Cordell Cato. Watson has been impressed with Cato’s attacking prowess and his hard work on defense.
“He’s really developed over the last couple of months and shown he deserves to be in the team every week,” Watson said of Cato. “He’s a young guy who was still kind of learning the game. He’s had a couple of opportunities, and he’s done really well.”
-- Richter Media