The marathon that is the 8 month MLS regular season comes to an end tonight as FC Dallas travels to Silicon Valley to face the San Jose Earthquakes, a team that was never really out of it but never really in it as far as the MLS playoff race goes. The Quakes have never really had a great run this year or a bad run, with only one streak of 3 losses and no streak of 3 wins in a row, but the 14 draws have been their downfall.
What's on the line? To rise up to the #3 overall seed, Dallas must better Real Salt Lake's result at home against a Portland side with nothing to play for. It seems unlikely that RSL would drop any points against Portland, but it's always a possibility. As Drew mentioned earlier this week, the #3 overall seed will likely quality for a Champions League spot as well, so that is kind of sort of on the line tonight.
Bringing the reserves According to this week's FCD Notebook, Schellas Hyndman will be giving a first start in goal to Chris Seitz while only John, Loyd, Benitez, Cruz and Santos made the trip from the first 18. That means likely starts for Fabian Castillo, Jack Stewart, Bruno Guarda, Bobby Warshaw, Maykel Galindo and even possibly Moises Hernandez or Bryan Leyva.
For San Jose... It's all about Wondo today. With nothing else to play for, Chris Wondolowski's run at the MLS Golden Boot is the main purpose. He sits one goal behind Dwayne DeRosario and two goals ahead of anyone else who could challenge him so a couple of goals for Wondo tonight would give him his second straight Golden Boot.
Keys to the game
Just Play It's tough to find keys to this one as I don't think anyone could guess the lineup for tonight and with little on the line it's just about playing with passion and heart. Many players will get a chance to prove why they should be brought back in 2012 so that's pretty much what this game is all about.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott.
SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Brian Poeschel;
4th: Yader Reyes
San Jose gave Dallas their first loss of the season with Chris Wondolowski scoring both goals. I think he does it again tonight and bags the Golden Boot in the process. The reserves will play well, but San Jose nips them in the end. Don't worry, my predictions are always wrong.
2-1 San Jose