MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
07/22/2014 3:56 PM
07/22/2014 4:07 PM
Chicago (3-4-11) at San Jose (4-8-5), 10:30 p.m.
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 feeling."
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."
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