1. Hitting the reset button: After a rough July, the Earthquakes have ample incentive for a big effort against the Timbers. Expect a passionate, but disciplined, 90-minute performance with Matias Perez Garcia connecting the dots in transition. Perhaps San Jose will channel its previous MLS win -- a robust 3-1 triumph over the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium in June. With MPG in full flight in that version of the Clasico, the Quakes received first-rate goals from Chris Wondolowski, Clarence Goodson and Cordell Cato. Wondo should benefit from a full week of training with coach Dominic Kinnear's squad after rushing back from the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the Vancouver game at BC Place. The Quakes are a solid 3-2-1 at Avaya Stadium this season and have only allowed two goals in their past four at their new fortress. Quincy Amarikwa has three goals in his first three games with the Quakes, and is the kind of high-energy, positive-minded attacker the team can look to in its push in the final three-plus months of the season.
2. Timbers Remain Hungry: Looking to rebound like the Quakes, Portland has been outscored 12-1 in its past three away games. The Timbers are coming off a 4-1 loss to red-hot host FC Dallas, which marked the debut of Portland's new Designated Player Lucas Melano, a 22-year-old Argentine forward who created the goal by drawing a foul in the box after entering in the 64th minute. Melano figures to take another forward step as he adapts to MLS play. He only needs to ask fellow Argentine Perez Garcia, the league's most fouled player, about the perils of holding possession too long in transition. Portland's most recent win was a heartbreaker for the Quakes at Providence Park. San Jose fought gallantly for 90 minutes before a fluky goal by Jack Jewsbury in stoppage time produced a 1-0 Portland triumph.
3. Possible Avaya Stadium debut for Pelosi: After extended time in the Liverpool system, young Marc Pelosi is on his game in his South Bay home turf. After making his club debut as a substitute against Manchester United in the International Champions Cup at Avaya Stadium, he made his MLS debut as a substitute in Vancouver. Now the polished midfielder will be looking for his first MLS action at Avaya. Soon enough, he will surely achieve a few more firsts: goal, assist and start. Clearly, Pelosi wasn't in England just for the tea and crumpets. After excelling in the Liverpool reserve system, he was put on the first team for the Europa League before suffering a broken leg. But the Quakes have been impressed with his fitness. He figures to be in the mix with fellow midfielder and U.S. U-23 teammate Fatai Alashe.