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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting San Jose Earthquakes

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Stopping Chris Wondolowski and Quincy Amarikwa are key tonight.

MLS: FC Dallas at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas travel to San Jose after a convincing 4-0 demolition of Orlando, while the Earthquakes return home after a 1-0 defeat in Chicago.

Home Field and Playoff Dreams

San Jose are in a solid fight for a playoff spot. Despite this San Jose have been a decent side throughout the season. Undefeated at home, the Earthquakes have turned Avaya Stadium into something of a fortress, with five wins and three draws in their house. What threat does San Jose pose, and how can Dallas break down San Jose at home?

Potential Lineup

A slew of injuries will make San Jose weaker in this game, with the following players injured; Marc Pelosi, Mark Sherrod, Clarence Goodson. Several other players are questionable including; Victor Bernardez, Kofi Sarkodie, Jordan Stewart, Andres Imperiale, and Kip Colvey. Fatai Alashe is suspended on yellow card accumulation.

GK: David Bingham; LB: Shaun Francis; CB: Victor Bernardez, Marvell Wynne; RB: Kofi Sarkodie; CM: Anibal Godoy, Simon Dawkins; RW: Alberto Quintero; LW: Matias Perez Garcia; FW: Chris Wondolowski, Quincy Amarikwa.

Key Matchup

Walker Zimmerman vs. Quincy Amarikwa. Walker Zimmerman has been so solid in the last few weeks, and currently has the highest percentage of aerial duels won in the MLS, but he is still young and error prone. Amarikwa will be looking to make runs and open up space for Wondolowski. Zimmerman is great at defending in the air, but will he rise to the task of defending the speedy forward, or will Amarikwa’s pace burden the Dallas defense.

Keys to Three Points

More Providers

Many of Dallas worst games are when Mauro Diaz is relied upon as the sole creative option going forward. It gives teams the ability to shut down Dallas by shutting down one player. In recent weeks more players are getting involved; Kellyn Acosta, Victor Ulloa, Maxi Urruti, Fabian Castillo, and Michael Barrios. With all of them threatening, more space will open up for the midfield maestro to make magic.

Clean Sheets

Dallas has two straight clean sheets in MLS. This will be tougher to achieve on the road and especially against a strong forward combination of Wondolowski and Amerikwa. It is important for the midfielders and wingers to track back and defend to prevent too many crosses, otherwise San Jose will pick apart Dallas defense, which has been suspect on the road this season.

Finally Form

Dallas has done well so far this season, despite the poor form of Castillo and Urruti. Over the last two weeks those two have really begun to shine and with those two in form and Barrios and Diaz continuing to play well Dallas have the ability to really start a run for the Supporter’s Shield. Dallas need to remain composed and see off San Jose if they want to begin to pick up points on Colorado.

Prediction

Dallas continue to impress and very capably see off an occasionally threatening San Jose.

My Prediction: FC Dallas 2-0.