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San Jose needs to stay afloat in August
by Ridge Mahoney, August 18th, 2013 4:10AM
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[MLS: Playoff Push] The San Jose Earthquakes, the 2012 Supporters' Shield winners, fell far off the pace, resulting in the departure of their only coach, Frank Yallop. They need wins over the likes of Sporting Kansas City Sunday night to stay in contention.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES:
Record: 8-10-6
First 10: 2-3-5
Last 10: 5-5-0

THE STORY SO FAR. After scraping through a miserable first half of the season decimated by injuries, the Quakes cut ties with Yallop and installed assistant Mark Watson as interim head coach. They are 5-4 under Watson in league play after a 2-0 loss in Vancouver last weekend that ended a three-game winning streak. They host Sporting Kansas City Sunday.

RECENT MOVES. Goodson, formerly of FC Dallas, played solidly in his Quakes debut against Chivas USA but was burned when Nigel Reo-Coker burst past him to set up Camilo for the first ‘Caps goal. Salvadoran midfielder Jaime Alas, another recent signing, has looked lively in his two appearances as a sub. Englishman Jordan Stewart, signed a month ago, has played the last three league games at left back in place of Justin Morrow, a starter since late 2011 who’s struggled this year.

STYLE POINTS. Jon Busch gives the Quakes a strong presence in goal and 2012 league MVP Chris Wondolowski leads a potent group of forwards. In recent weeks, Honduran centerback Victor Bernardez has raised his intensity and the addition of Goodson adds additional height and experience.

NEEDS WORK. San Jose simply gives up too many good chances too often because of breakdowns in many parts of the field. Center mids Rafael Baca and Sam Cronin are sharper than at the start of the season but still have not been as crisp and cohesive as they were last year. On the flanks, the Quakes are potent offensively but sluggish when the ball turns over and nobody, not even Wondo, has been able to score consistently.

FINAL ANSWER. The Quakes were trending in the right direction but that was a costly loss to Vancouver -- which came after they kept all their starters out of their Concacaf Champions League opener at Montreal. They need to stay afloat and then sweep a three-game homestand Sept. 8-17. Otherwise, it’s over.

REMAINING SCHEDULE:
August 18: Sporting KC
August 24: @FC Dallas
August 28: @Heredia (CCL)
August 31: @LA Galaxy
September 8: Philadelphia
September 14: Vancouver
September 17: Montreal (CCL)
September 21: @Real Salt Lake
September 29: @Chivas USA
October 9: Colorado
October 20: @LA Galaxy
October 23: Heredia (CCL)
October 26: FC Dallas


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