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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting San Jose Earthquakes

The Quakes enter Saturday's game on a four game unbeaten run.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday marks a big Western Conference clash between FC Dallas and the San Jose Earthquakes.

So far this season San Jose has gotten the best of FC Dallas on two previous occasions, both ending in a 2-1 scoreline. Each of those games were back in May when FC Dallas was struggling through injuries and suspensions too.

Injury Report

San Jose has several players on the injury report, including a couple key players.

Out: Tommy Muller (lower back spasms), Andy Gorlitz (R ACL surgery); Clarence Goodson (L 1st Toe sprain); Steven Lenhart (R knee arthroscopy); Yannick Djalo (R quad strain);

Questionable: Billy Schuler (L ankle sprain).

Probable Lineup

San Jose's Mark Watson continues to use a 4-4-2 formation that sees one striker sit just above the other.

Goalkeeper: Jon Busch; RB: Shaun Francis; CB: Victor Bernardez, Jason Hernandez; LB: Jordan Stewart; RM: Atiba Harris; CM: Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Sam Cronin; LM: Shea Salines; FW: Matias Perez Garcia, Chris Wondolowski

Key Matchup

Shaun Francis vs Fabian Castillo - The wings are still where FC Dallas can win this game and a lot of that has to do with Castillo and his speed. Francis has a little bit of speed to his game but if FC Dallas can focus on getting Castillo in space in one-on-one situations with Francis, the edge will certainly swing over to the visitors.

San Jose Notes:

Second half toughness. Despite allowing a second half goal on Aug. 8 against the LA Galaxy, the Quakes still lead MLS with the fewest goals allowed in the second half. They have allowed just seven goals after the interval in 2014.

Scoring first. The Quakes are

5-0-2 so far in 2014. They were 11-1-3 when scoring first in 2013.

Keys to Three Points

Limit Wondo. This is always easier said than done but the best way to slow down the Quakes is to limit what Wondolowski can do on and off the ball. He always finds good pockets in the defense to make runs and now with Matias Perez Garcia, he has a serious partner to do damage if the defense isn't careful.

Feed Fabian. This game really rests on Castillo's feet in my mind. You get him in space, allow him to pick up the dribble in one-on-one situations and the offense will have some life. San Jose will be looking to possess the ball more in this one being at home and that plays perfectly into what FC Dallas has been able to do lately in the 4-4-2 formation with Castillo driving at players on the counter.

Be sound in the defense. This goes with the first key but really it is a big one. San Jose will be looking to pressure and possess the ball in this one. FCD has done well lately with getting the counter attack and driving the attack with speed on the wings. That does mean the defense will be put under some pressure and at times some big pressure from the Quakes. As long as the tired legs don't let in an early goal, and they don't allow San Jose to dictate the physicalness of this game we could see FCD spark an upset on the road.