Thu, 21 Mar 2019

Earthquakes, Rapids look to reverse course

Sports Xchange
10 Aug 2018, 13:16 GMT+10

It isn't exactly a match for the ages, but Saturday's game between San Jose and Colorado is a chance for one of the clubs to generate some momentum heading into the stretch run of the MLS season.

Both teams ended winless streaks last weekend. The Rapids (5-12-5) beat the L.A. Galaxy 2-1 for their first win in six matches. The Earthquakes (3-12-7) ended a 12-match slide with a 3-1 win over FC Dallas.

Now with a little wind at their backs, the teams face off at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

The teams are meeting for the first time in more than a year, since a 1-0 San Jose win on July 29, 2017, and as the MLS season moves forward it is a battle to stay out of the Western Conference cellar. Colorado sits 11th, four points ahead of last-place San Jose.

Neither team is focusing on staying out of the basement; instead the goal is to build on rare wins. San Jose's win was more impressive -- and unexpected -- because Dallas is in first place in the Western Conference and had not lost a home match all season.

"Of course it's really nice to get a victory finally. I think we haven't had a win for 80 days or something like that so it was really important to win, especially against a top team like Dallas," Earthquakes coach Mikael Stahre told reporters after the game. "We weathered the conditions, and I'm really happy with the performance."

Colorado's win over LA was a little more dramatic. The Rapids trailed 1-0 at halftime before tying it early in the second half. They won it on Sam Nicholson's goal in the 90th minute, which pleased coach Anthony Hudson.

"I think the performances have been steadily building," Hudson told reporters. "Even way back to Houston at home (on July 14), we're building more and more confidence. Saturday was another big step forward for ourselves. I was really, really pleased with the players. It was an incredible week in terms of their preparation and the focus is now to make sure we push it up a gear, we keep forcing forward."

The Rapids made a minor move during the week when they traded midfielder Micheal Azira to the Montreal Impact for a fourth-round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. The move comes two weeks after Colorado acquired midfielder Kellyn Acosta from Dallas.

Acosta scored the Rapids' first goal against the Galaxy and has a goal in each of his two games with Colorado.

San Jose also made a deal with Montreal this week. The Earthquakes sent forward Quincy Amarikwa to the Impact in exchange for forward Dominic Oduro. Oduro was used sparingly with Montreal and could see more time with San Jose.

The Earthquakes are his eighth MLS team, which is the most in league history. The veteran has played 341 MLS matches.

"We look forward to welcoming Dominic to San Jose," Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a statement. "He's a proven MLS veteran that has pace and a solid record in terms of scoring and assisting goals."

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