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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting the San Jose Earthquakes

Time to look at what San Jose brings to the table for tonight's game.

MLS: D.C. United at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Last week FC Dallas and the San Jose Earthquakes both rescued late draws at home against the Crew and DC United respectively.

Fallen Off

The Quakes started the season strong with two straight wins, but have fallen off in recent weeks with a loss to the LA Galaxy and a late home draw against the struggling DC United.

Their wins right now don't look nearly as impressive as you might think. They got a win against Colorado and a miracle goal against the struggling Timbers.

San Jose is a beatable team, who lack the talent and depth of the better MLS sides, that said they are playing decent right now and are looking to get somewhere in the West, don’t take them too lightly.

Western Conference Problems

San Jose is in 7th place on seven points, but with a win and some other results this week, could shoot up to 1st. The Western conference is once again a bloodbath. These inter-conference games are crucial to locking up a playoff spot and both teams know that. Something to think about heading into this one.

Potential Lineup

San Jose are missing a string of depth players including Clarence Goodson, Anibal Godoy, Marc Pelosi, Chad Barrett, Cordell Cato and Jordan Stewart. The Earthquakes play a 4-4-2.

GK: Davis Bingham; RB: Marvell Wynne CB: Andres Imperiale, Victor Bernardez; LB: Shaun Francis; CM: Tommy Thompson, Fatai Alashe; RM: Alberto Quintero; LM: Matias Perez Garcia; F: Quincy Amerikwa, Chris Wondolowski.

Key Matchup

Fabian Castillo vs Victor Bernardez. The last few meetings between these two teams have been interesting, but the one thing that has remained more or less consistent is Castillo being able to get through Bernardez. Castillo has his number and has burned him several times before. If San Jose want anything from this game than Bernardez will need to do better against the rapid little Colombian.

Keys to Three Points

Set Pieces… AGAIN. Last week I was worried about set pieces and this week is the same. San Jose have several players over six foot and definitely pose a threat from the corner. Zimmerman hopefully will start and provide some height to better defend these. Dallas has still yet to kick on from the corner offensively, but doing so would be beneficial to a firing attack.

Defensive Shape. There are going to be a lot of creative players on the field in this game. Tommy Thompson, Perez Garcia, Diaz and some others. It is important for both teams to be organized defensively otherwise one of those players will make something happen.

Flexibility. Not to harp on the man, because I love him to bits and this club would like be one of the worst in the league without him, but Pareja and the coaches need to be more flexible when things aren’t going right. Last week it was obvious by half time that our formation and players were not right. Should Diaz be absent again or someone else for that matter Dallas will need to be quicker about realizing the situation is in need of a change.

Prediction

Dallas comes roaring back after last week with Diaz in the lineup. Castillo, Urruti and Diaz all bag goals.

My Prediction: 3-0 FC Dallas.