[MLS PREDICTION]They may be the bottom-two teams in the Western Conference, and might finish the season there, yet San Jose and FC Dallas have plenty to prove when they meet at Buck Shaw Stadium Wednesday night.
SAN JOSE (7-12-7) vs. FC DALLAS (9-12-6), 10 p.m. ET, Direct Kick
The Quakes head into their home finale unbeaten in their last four matches yet severely depleted in midfield, with Ramon Sanchez, Arturo Alvarez (both El Salvador) and Simon Elliott(New Zealand) away on international duty. Normally, this would enable Dave van den Bergh and David Ferreira to run rampant in midfield while Daniel Hernandez and Dax McCarty bolt down the opposition, but the narrow confines at Buck Shaw may constrict the FCD staples of speed and combination play.
Opposing strikers Dallas' Jeff Cunningham (co-league leader with 16 goals) and Ryan Johnson (team-high 10) are both in good form. Both teams have conceded 43 goals; FCD has the more potent attack (45 goals scored to the Quakes' 32), and has won three of its last four games. The guile and touches of Ferreira (7 goals, 6 assists) may supersede FCD's terrible away record (2-9-2) and the absence of Atiba Harris and Andre Rocha (suspended).
Prediction: Quakes 1, FCD 2.
RIDGE MAHONEY'S 2009 PREDICTION RECORD
Last week: 3-4. Season:95-110.