The San Jose Earthquakes picked the perfect moment to finally stop losing players.
The Quakes came out of their 0-0 draw against FC Dallas last Saturday without anybody facing suspensions for yellow or red cards and no new injuries – only the second time that’s happened in their last six matches.
Add to that the fact that right back Chris Leitch played the full 90 minutes for just the second time since June 5, and forward Eduardo made just his second appearance of the season, and San Jose are about as well-prepared as a team can be to work on short rest.
And that’s a good thing, since – ready or not – the Philadelphia Union are coming to Buck Shaw Stadium on Wednesday night.
“It’s going to be tough,” Quakes captain Hernandez said of the short rest. “The midweek games are always tough ones, but especially after a game like [the tie against FCD on Saturday], where guys are fighting and scrapping for every inch.
“It’s going to be a tough turnaround,” he continued, “but it’s something that we’ve seen coming, and we have to do it. It won’t be the first time it’s happened.”
The Quakes took the obvious precaution of keeping things deliberately light in practice during the week – especially important on a team where so many players seem to keep aggravating pre-existing conditions that have set a number of players back for another couple weeks.
The latest example of that is Scott Sealy, who strained his left groin last week in practice and went back on the injured list.
“It’s going to be ice baths every day,” San Jose right back Chris Leitch told MLSsoccer.com. “Hopefully a massage here or there, [as well as] late practices.
“Our coaching staff knows how to condition guys. They’ve been around for a while,” Leitch added. “We have all the confidence that they’ll back off [rigorous training sessions] in the next couple of days and get us ready to play on Wednesday.”
Not having a full week may cost the Quakes a chance to get key midfielder Khari Stephenson back from his sprained left ankle; with a full week, he’d almost certainly be ready to go against Philadelphia.
Stephenson practiced Monday with a brace on his left foot and put his chances at 75 percent, but head coach Frank Yallop will ultimately make that call on Wednesday.
“We’re all in pretty good shape,” Stephenson said. “We maybe won’t be 100 percent, but we’ll be good enough to give our best and win the game.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes.