Chester, PA (Sports Network) - The San Jose Earthquakes moved to the top of the
Western Conference for the first time since returning to MLS last weekend, and
the club will try to maintain that lofty perch with a win at the resurgent
Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
The 'Quakes secured a 3-1 win against Real Salt Lake last Saturday, the club's
fourth in five games, and defender Steven Beitashour believes his team will
just continue to do what it has done to reach its current status.
"We're still going to do what we do, regardless of whether we're at the bottom,
middle or top [of the table]," Beitashour said. "We're just going to keep
working hard, get better every day and never be content even if we're in third,
second or first. We've just got to keep working and give 100 percent effort,
and I think we'll stay up there."
San Jose's depth will be tested in the coming week as the club faces a string
of three games in eight days, leaving head coach Frank Yallop with some lineup
decisions to make.
"There will be lineup changes," Yallop said. "You can't travel all the way over
[to Philadelphia], come back and be dynamically fresh Wednesday night, if
you've played 90 minutes. I've got to look at what we're trying to do over the
three matches. A lot of the guys are going to get minutes. I've just got to
figure out the combinations that are going to play well against Philly."
After earning only one point from its first four games this season, the Union
has collected two successive wins to turn their season around.
"At the beginning of the season for a couple of weeks, it wasn't pretty," Union
manager Peter Nowak said. "But right now it looks we found a good recipe to be
hard to play against."
Part of that recipe includes a stout defense that has not given up a goal in
332 minutes, the third-longest streak in MLS this season.
That streak could be jeopardy Saturday as defender Gabriel Farfan was sent off
in the 1-0 win over Chivas USA last weekend, and he received an additional two-
match suspension on Friday from the league for "the egregious nature of the
challenge itself as well as for failing to leave the field in an orderly
Nowak himself will miss the next two games through suspension after being sent
off late in the win over Chivas.
"I know I was in the wrong spot," Nowak said in his weekly press conference on
Wednesday. "I shouldn't have been on the field. So that's my fault to get
involved like this."