- Western Conference
- Eastern Conference
- USL PRO
SANTA CLARA, CA—The quest for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference continues tonight. The San Jose Earthquakes (12-11-8) sit just four points behind the fifth and final playoff spot. One of the teams that holds that coveted spot is the very same team that comes into Buck Shaw on Wednesday night, the Colorado Rapids (13-9-9). The Rapids are currently tied with the LA Galaxy for fourth in the West with 48 points. Undoubtedly, with just three games left in the regular season, every game is must win.
Last week the Quakes came one step closer to their goal. In an uneventful first half, tempers flared as San Jose’s Steven Lenhart elbowed Chivas USA defender Steven Purdy in the face. The blow sent Purdy to the ground, and eventually to the hospital. He would later have surgery to repair damaged nose, cheekbone, and eye socket. Lenhart received a yellow card for the incident. Nothing else of note occurred in the first, but in the 81st minute, Lenhart was shown a second yellow after a mid-air collision with Chivas USA goal keeper Dan Kennedy and was sent off; he will miss this game due to that suspension. The Quakes were able to sneak in a goal in the 87th minute, just barely edging out the owners of last place in the Western Conference.
This year, the Quakes have a slight upper hand on the season series, leading 1-0-1. The last time these two faced off, back in June, the Quakes came away with a 2-1 win at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Tonight is crucial. San Jose has got to win. If the Rapids are able to overcome the Quakes, who are next to impossible to beat at home, they have the potential to clinch a playoff berth.
The Rapids roll into Buck Shaw with ridiculous momentum, having defeated the Seattle Sounders last week by a massive score of 5-1. After forward Deshorn Brown scored the second fastest goal in league history, it was all Rapids the rest of the 90 minutes. Brown will be one to watch tonight, as he lead his team in goals this season and is starting to gain speed after his two goal night against Seattle. Colorado’s Edson Buddle also presents a danger, as he has scored nine goals in 17 games against San Jose.
San Jose knows they need to win, and they just might have the confidence in each other and their coach to pull it off. In the final push for the playoffs, the Quakes are ready for anything.