'Quakes face Union, look for first road win since May

'Quakes face Union, look for first road win since May
August 24, 2014, 3:30 pm
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We still believe that we can make this playoff push and we need to start picking up three points, whether it's at home or on the road.
Chris Wondolowski

The Philadelphia Union's excellent play at home has kept them close in a tight Eastern Conference playoff race. It's a trend they have a good chance to continue against the San Jose Earthquakes, who haven't won on the road since late May.

The Union look to extend their undefeated run at PPL Park to eight matches across all competitions Sunday night when they try to prevent the Earthquakes from winning for just the second time in 10 road contests this season.

Following a slow start, Philadelphia (6-9-9) turned things around with a 4-1-4 stretch in MLS play before suffering its first loss since early July, 2-0 at Houston on Aug. 15.

The Union were shut out for the first time since May 10, a span of 12 league games, and have been held without a goal on just four occasions all season.

"We have to regroup and get back on track," interim manager Jim Curtin told the league's official website. "We have seven of our last 10 at home, which is positive."

Curtin's club has outscored opponents 18-10 while going 5-0-2 over a home stretch that includes three U.S. Open Cup wins.

Sebastien Le Toux has five goals over his last five MLS home games, and eight in his last 10 in league play overall. Conor Casey has scored four times over his last four MLS matches at PPL Park.

Defender Amobi Okugo provided the only tally in regulation for Philadelphia on Aug. 12 when the club reached the U.S. Open Cup finals for the first time with a 2-1 victory on penalty kicks at FC Dallas.

The resurgent Union, who rank among the conference leaders with 36 goals, trailed New York by just one point for the East's fifth and final playoff spot heading into Saturday.

Now Philadelphia looks to bounce back from only its second league loss in eight games under Curtin as it takes on a San Jose team that sat just one point ahead of West-worst Chivas USA heading into Saturday.

The Earthquakes are also 1-4-4 away from home following their third straight road draw, 1-all at Seattle on Wednesday.

Chris Wondolowski helped San Jose (6-9-7) recover from a franchise-worst 5-0 home loss to Dallas four days earlier by scoring his team-leading ninth goal against the Sounders.

"We still believe that we can make this playoff push and we need to start picking up three points, whether it's at home or on the road," said Wondolowski, who has three goals and three assists in six MLS matches since returning from the World Cup.

The Earthquakes have played well with a 4-1-1 record in the all-time series against Philadelphia. Midfielder Shea Salinas scored in San Jose's 1-0 home win in the most recent meeting on Sept. 8, 2013.

Recent acquisition Matias Perez Garcia is expected to miss at least four weeks for the Earthquakes after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to fix meniscus damage in his knee. 

 

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