San Jose Earthquakes: Chris Wondolowski found the net once more against Vancouver with a close-range backheel thanks to an assist from Ryan Johnson, who showed vast improvement from previous outings. The central midfield tandem of Brad Ring and Sam Cronin did a great job of limiting the creative influence of Davide Chiumiento and would have been hard pressed to do anything about his equalizer. Finally, Earthquakes fans got to see what a healthy Ike Opara can add to the defense. While he didn't grab one of his trademark set piece goals, he read the game incredibly well and snuffed out the threat posed by Eric Hassli and Camilo with ease.
Columbus Crew: Emilio Renteria has the Crew's last 4 goals, and the Venezuelan is just one goal short of his tally from all of last season. Renteria, or "El Toro Negro" to the Crew faithful, attributes his recent run of form to a visit made by his girlfriend as a reward for good play. Whatever the reason, the Black and Gold will need more goals from Renteria if they are to continue their league best seven game unbeaten streak. In a mirror of the club's record, half of Renteria's goals are from the penalty spot. Two out of his four have come from twelve yards, while the club has four spot kick goals out of eight.
San Jose: While Jon Busch provided a steady presence for most of the game, he found himself caught out for Vancouver's equalizer, the decisive moment of the game. While he was certainly expecting someone to get a head to it, he was caught cheating a little too close to the near post, and didn't have time to react as the ball sailed past.
Columbus: Andres Mendoza. The club's other South American striker has not found the net quite as often as Renteria, with just one penalty goal so far this season. Columbus' $600,000 man has not lived up to his salary, and patience is beginning to wear out in Columbus. When he entered the game around the hour mark, he was greeted with more than a few boos, but while he did not grab a winner, his play was an improvement, and his 90th minute free kick forced another quality save out of the brilliant Kasey Keller. However, when the penalty was given, Renteria wanted La Pantera, as Mendoza is known, to take the spot kick but he declined.
San Jose: Against Vancouver, Frank Yallop went with a lineup almost identical to the one that defeated Portland in the U.S. Open Cup and will likely go with something similar against Columbus. Sam Cronin and Brad Ring formed an effective partnership in the center of midfield and will likely stay in a similar formation against Columbus. Yallop could go for a different option on the right wing as Scott Sealy faded in and out of the game against Vancouver. Still, 4-4-2 seems to be the way forward in San Jose at the moment, and while the results aren't coming quite yet, the play has improved and it may take only a few more tweaks to get everything in working order.
Columbus: While the wins are not piling up as much as Robert Warzycha would like, a seven game unbeaten run is hard to argue with. It is hard to change tactics or line ups when your team has not lost since the opening game of the season. Last week against Seattle, the Crew recorded a 57-43% advantage in possession, and the figure was undoubtedly higher in the second half, when the home team registered the last 12 shots of the game, but did not get the win they thought their play deserved.
San Jose: Once again, can the 'Quakes pull off a result at home? They have collected just two points from four home games, which has severely hindered an already faltering push for the playoffs. The team plays three of its next four games at home, and if it can't collect at least two wins, it will start to see its playoff chances slip away.
Columbus: This is the second straight week for the Crew facing a team that played a midweek road game. A draw was all they were able to get out of their first game, the onus is on the Black and Gold to secure maximum points this time around.
Nick Rosano: The time has come for the Earthquakes to win at home, 2-1 will be the final score.
Justin Henley: San Jose is winless in six, and the Crew are unbeaten in seven. Both streaks continue, as the visitors eke out all three points by a narrow 1-0 scoreline.
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