After the end of the All-Star festivities this week, the Quakes have a date with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday, marking the second matchup of the season between the clubs, but not the last.
It was San Jose who came out with the win last time with a dominating 3-1 victory on May 11. Since then, the Dynamo have posted a 2-3-5 record, stumbling into last place in the Western Conference. That being said, Houston has not allowed more than a goal in six straight games. While the results may not be there, they are competing at a very high level, making minimal mistakes. The Texan team had been shuffling goalkeepers back and forth when we last saw them in May, with Joe Willis and Tyler Deric switching off. As of late the coaching staff seems to be more committed to Deric who has started seven of the last nine games posting four shutouts and a 0.42 GAA during that span. With more continuity in the net, this unit may be able to start concentrating more on their offense, making them an even tougher team to beat.
As for the Quakes, injuries have been the issue as of late, especially on the back line. Since the last game against Houston, it’s been a game of musical chairs on defense having Kofi Sarkodie, Victor Bernardez, and Marvell Wynne limited by injuries. With Bernardez and Wynne coming to a full recovery and Sarkodie on the way, things look bright for the Earthquakes in their hopes for a playoff push. As for the offense, the scoring woes have been cured, getting on the board first in their last two games, including a goal from captain Chris Wondolowski, his first since his return from Copa America play with team USA.
These teams will look to put their first half struggles behind them as they square off early in the second half of the season. With San Jose still in search for that first road win, Sunday becomes a golden opportunity with the hunt for the postseason heating up.