Real Salt Lake vs. Earthquakes: What to watch for

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Real Salt Lake vs. Earthquakes: What to watch for

Programming note: The Earthquakes kick off against Real Salt Lake Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.

The last two times these clubs met, the San Jose Earthquakes moved ahead of Real Salt Lake for the Western Conference lead.RSL will try to return the favor this time.San Jose goes for the season sweep of Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.After Simon Dawkins and Chris Wondolowski scored in second-half injury time to lift San Jose to a 3-1 home win over RSL on April 21 - moving the club atop the West for the first time since returning to MLS in 2008 - the Earthquakes (11-4-4) posted a 2-1 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 23 to move a point ahead of Real Salt Lake.Now with that same edge over second-place RSL (11-6-3), San Jose will try to avoid a season high-tying three-match winless stretch following last Saturday's scoreless draw at conference-worst FC Dallas.Down a man in the 80th minute when captain Ramiro Corrales was sent off for picking up his second yellow card, the Earthquakes still had a number of opportunities to find the back of the net."Whether you're down a man or up a man, when you're one-on-one with the goalkeeper, you still need to finish it and we didn't do that," said Wondolowski, the league leader with 14 goals.The suspended Corrales now has to hope his team can finish the sweep of RSL without him."(It would be) a big, big confidence boost," he told the league's official website. "Obviously, they're one of the better teams in the league, that's why they're one point behind us. ... I'm very disappointed I won't be a part of that, but I think the guys can do the job."Wondolowski has one goal in each of the two matches with RSL in 2012 after going scoreless in his first five games against Real Salt Lake.RSL forward Alvaro Saborio is scoreless versus San Jose this season, but he's coming off the second hat trick in club history in last Saturday's 3-0 win over Portland. Saborio, third in MLS with 10 goals, snapped the club's 249-minute scoreless stretch in the 60th minute."The goal - it opens everything," he said. "We finally scored first and got a win."Forward Justin Braun could make his Real Salt Lake debut Saturday when the club goes for its first back-to-back victories since a 3-0 run May 12-June 16.Braun, a Salt Lake City native, was acquired from Montreal on Wednesday for a 2014 conditional draft pick."Really excited to add Justin," general manager Garth Lagerwey told RSL's official website. "Big, athletic player that I think can play either one of the forward spots for us."In six games against San Jose while with Chivas USA, Braun had four goals and an assist.The Earthquakes should have forward Steven Lenhart back after coach Frank Yallop gave him last Saturday off to rest.Alan Gordon, who replaced Lenhart in that match for his third start of 2012, scored and set up Wondolowski's goal last month in Sandy, Utah.San Jose has never won three in a row against Real Salt Lake.

Earthquakes suffer first home loss of season, drop Cali Clasico to Galaxy

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USATSI

Earthquakes suffer first home loss of season, drop Cali Clasico to Galaxy

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Cali Clasico fans have come to expect fireworks on the pitch every time the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy face off in one of Major League Soccer’s best rivalries.

And the first affair of 2017 was no exception. Five goals in the first half got the match off to a roaring start but, much to the chagrin of San Jose fans, L.A. handed the Earthquakes their first Avaya Stadium loss of the season with a 4-2 final.

Giovani Dos Santos notched a pair of goals including the backbreaking tally 20 minutes into the second half.

Chris Wondolowski got the first half flurry going with an easy-money strike on a volley after a perfect backpost cross from Danny Hoesen in the 10th minute.

Saturday’s match was Hoesen’s best performance of the season, by far.

Los Angeles equalized nine minutes later when Joao Pedro took advantage of a sneaky ball between two defenders from Dos Santos. The Brazilian turned and struck the ball true to beat David Bingham.

It was the first sign of the San Jose nightmare that is the Mexican national.

The Galaxy took their first lead of the match in the 35th minute when Dos Santos finished a penalty kick earned after Kofi Sarkodie clothelined Bradley Diallo in the box.

But two minutes later, it was Hoesen getting off the proverbial schneid by notching his first goal as an Earthquake. It was a classy finish off a low cross inside the box from Tommy Thompson, who picked up his second assist of the season on the play.  

Disaster struck one minute before halftime though, when a diving Victor Bernardez deflected a Diallo cross after the defender found himself back in the San Jose 18. The ball beat a shocked Bingham.

San Jose came out aggressive in the second half and Los Angeles made them pay on the counterattack to put the game away. Romain Alessandrini raced down the left flank, took a look up and struck gold on a left-footed cross to Dos Santos on the back post that could not have been hand-placed any better. Dos Santos arrived perfectly to head the ball past Bingham.

The loss moved San Jose’s home record to 3-1-3.

Turning point: The final marker gave L.A. a two-goal win, but any momentum San Jose had after Hoesen equalized evaporated on the Bernardez own goal. Not only did the goal somewhat deflate the home team, but put San Jose in the position of aggressor – and it’s a position the Galaxy exploited to score the fourth goal.

San Jose’s Man of the Match: The pressure has been on Hoesen since the forward arrived on loan from the Netherlands. In 12 previous games, the man from Heerlen only had one assist to show for his efforts. On Saturday, Hoesen assisted on the first goal with a world-class cross and picked up his first goal of the season on an equally exquisite finish.

History watch: Wondolowski’s first half strike was his eighth goal against the Los Angeles side and 127th all-time in MLS. He is now just six behind Jaime Moreno, who sits third on the MLS’ all-time list.

Attendance: As expected, the San Jose Earthquakes announced a sell out for the marquee match on their schedule.

Up next: The Earthquakes head north to take on the Portland Timbers. The June 2nd matchup is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start. 

Earthquakes hand FC Dallas first loss of season, win 1-0

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Earthquakes hand FC Dallas first loss of season, win 1-0

BOX SCORE

FRISCO, Texas -- Jahmir Hyka scored on a spectacular move in the 81st minute and the San Jose Earthquakes handed FC Dallas its first loss of the season, 1-0 on Saturday night.

Hyka took a pass from Marco Urena and touched the ball straight up over defender Matt Hedges as he raced by before putting the ball in off the post for his third goal.

David Bingham made three difficult saves for his fifth shutout, the 25th in his seven seasons with San Jose (5-4-4). The Earthquakes, who played Wednesday night, had just one win in their previous 12 road games and had been shutout six times and outscored by 13.

Hyka's goal also ended a string in which Chris Wondolowski had scored or assisted on the last seven Quakes goals.

Dallas (5-1-4) was unbeaten in its previous eight games with San Jose, outscoring the Quakes 12-4 with five clean sheets.

Dallas dominated most of the game with 62.3 percent possession and Jesse Gonzalez only made one save.