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MATCH PREVIEW: Quakes can clinch postseason berth on Sunday vs. LAFC

The San Jose Earthquakes earned three critical points in a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. Two goals by Chris Wondolowski and a defensive shutout led by goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski were enough to see San Jose jump into seventh place in the West.

With news of standings now being determined by points per game instead of points earned, the Colorado Rapids have reentered the picture as a playoff contender despite playing several fewer matches than the rest of the league. In fact, Colorado has climbed into eighth place in the Western Conference, leapfrogging Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and are now hot on San Jose’s heels.

Regardless, the Quakes are still able to clinch on Sunday vs. LAFC, provided results elsewhere also go their way. Here are the two scenarios in play:

1.San Jose Earthquakes win vs. Los Angeles Football Club AND Vancouver Whitecaps FC lose or tie vs. Portland Timbers

2.San Jose Earthquakes tie vs. Los Angeles Football Club AND Vancouver Whitecaps FC lose vs. Portland Timbers AND Real Salt Lake – LA Galaxy tie

Let’s take a more in-depth look at San Jose’s upcoming opponent:

Standings

LAFC are currently in fifth place in the West with a 9-7-4 record and 1.55 points per game average.

Recent Form

LAFC are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and 3-1-1 in their last five. They only won three of their first 10 matches this season but have since found their stride and are playing their best soccer of the season. The good news for San Jose is that LAFC have been abysmal away from home this year, holding a 1-5-1 road record with losses to the LA Galaxy, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Real Salt Lake among them.

Key Players

You don’t talk about LAFC without mentioning Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi. Rossi, 22, is expected to win the league MVP award with a league-high 13 goals to date. Vela, last year’s MVP, has missed most of the season to injury but has returned as a substitute in each of their last two matches and scored one goal and 50 minutes.

History

The bad: San Jose is 1-5-0 in their six meetings with LAFC all-time in MLS play. The good: San Jose won their most recent matchup, a dramatic 2-1 victory on Sept. 27, which sparked their terrific run of form over the last eight matches.

The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports California, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.

 

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