Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting San Jose Earthquakes

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose has one win on the season, so are they as bad as the record suggests?

FC Dallas remains on the road as they take a weekend trip to San Jose.

FCD has lost three straight games and are completing a three games in seven days stretch here. They've blown leads in their last three of the last four games, including Wednesday night's loss to Seattle.

The San Jose Earthquakes aren't doing too well these days either as their 1-3-4 record isn't anything major to write home about here this season. Their lone win was against Chivas USA, the only team below them in the Western Conference standings at the moment.

Just like FC Dallas, the Quakes were in action on Wednesday night as they hosted the Colorado Rapids at Buck Shaw Stadium. Both teams struggled to generate any offense as the game ended 0-0.

The Quakes are 3-1-3 against FCD at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Injury Report

I'll stick with the league's injury report as the Quakes have quite the growing list after Wednesday's game against Colorado.

Out: D Andy Gorlitz (right torn ACL), D Tommy Muller (lower back spasms), M Tommy Thompson (right knee arthroscopy).

Questionable: D Yannick Djalo (left groin tightness), D Clarence Goodson (right calf contusion), F Atiba Harris (left hamstring tightness), D Jason Hernandez (left quad strain), F Steven Lenhart (left MCL sprain).

Projected Lineup

Mark Watson uses a 4-4-2 formation.

Goalkeeper: Jon Busch; RB: Brandon Barklage; CB: Clarence Goodson, Victor Bernardez; LB: Jordan Stewart; RM: Cordell Cato; CM: JJ Koval, Sam Cronin; LM: Shea Salines; FW: Alan Gordon, Chris Wondolowski

Key Matchup

Fabian Castillo vs Brandon Barklage - Speed is a tough thing to defend. Barklage has struggled this season against speedy wingers, including last week's loss at Vancouver when he was going up against players like Darren Mattocks and Kekuta Manneh.

Keys to Three Points

Spread them wide. Like I mentioned above, San Jose isn't a team that has handled pressure from the outside very well this season. Last weekend against Vancouver, when the Whitecaps pushed them up front with their speed, good things happened in their attack. FCD will need to rely on their speed with Castillo (should he actually start this one) and force San Jose to be pinned back defensively in their end.

Make the most of set pieces. Even though San Jose has been known these last few years for being a physical team, this year's bunch do not foul a ton. That means there will be limited number of free kicks for the big guys to get a head on. Corner kicks will be a premium that need to be taken seriously as well. San Jose has big bodies in the box and will cause issues on both end.

Be discipline. This one is a big one for me this weekend. FCD has shown lately that they are a frustrated team. Things aren't going their way and they are letting everyone know it. But with that frustration the team has to be smart about it. Oscar Pareja needs to get his team to have a level head about things. San Jose is the type of team that will capitalize at home on these mental lapses that FCD seems to be good at committing at the moment.

Limit what Wondo can do on and off the ball. Wondolowski is naturally the most important player on this San Jose team but that doesn't mean FCD can let up when he isn't on the ball either. Salines has proven to be able to put a good ball into space for Wondo and company to be dangerous with up top. But when he is on the ball, especially near the penalty box, FCD has to make sure to limit his chances on goal. The guy is a natural goal scorer and will may you pay for any additional space you give him.

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