Santa Clara, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Earthquakes will be aiming
to halt a five-match winless run on Wednesday when the club welcomes the
Chicago Fire to Buck Shaw Stadium.
San Jose is coming off of a 1-1 draw at Red Bull New York, its first point
since it claimed a 2-1 win at FC Dallas on May 31.
But a poor run of form, specifically on home soil, followed as the 'Quakes
suffered three straight road defeats after a narrow loss at Toronto FC.
The winless streak has dropped San Jose (17 points) to the bottom of the
Western Conference where it sits five points back of Chivas USA.
The Fire, meanwhile, will be looking to extend their unbeaten run in league
play to five games, but much of the pre-match hype surrounds head coach Frank
Yallop, who will be facing the Earthquakes for the first time in his career.
Yallop was at the helm of the 'Quakes for a total of eight-and-a-half years
(2001-03, 2008-2013), but even with a stint as head coach of the Los Angeles
Galaxy in-between, the 50-year-old never faced San Jose.
"I never thought about that but you're right," Yallop told Chicago's official
website on Monday. "It's going to feel really different. You go back to a
place that you were at for such a long time - it'll be an interesting
The Fire are coming off of a 1-1 home draw with the Philadelphia Union, a
match that saw the hosts dominate large periods of the affair only to squander
two additional points by conceding a questionable penalty late in the contest.
Chicago is no stranger to draws this term as it has tied 11 of its 18 regular
season games, leaving the club third from bottom in the Eastern Conference
table with 20 points.
"We're feeling the frustration, I certainly felt it on Saturday," Yallop
continued. "I felt hard done by - we should have two more points. You factor
that in with taking our penalty kicks earlier in the season vs. New England
and Philadelphia and we're much higher up the table."
There is still reason for optimism, however. The Fire, who have lost just four
league games thus far, are only six points back of third-place Toronto FC and
will be hoping to close in on a playoff berth with a strong showing in the
second half of the season.
"There have been disappointments this year but we've persevered and we keep in
mind that we're three points out of the playoffs with games in hand on almost
everyone in front of us," Yallop told the Fire's website. "We have opportunity
to make up ground Wednesday."