Earthquakes can clinch West crown against Rapids

The San Jose Earthquakes can seal the Western Conference regular-season title Saturday, when they visit the Colorado Rapids in MLS.

San Jose leads the league with 18 wins and 61 points, three more than Sporting Kansas City for the Supporters' Shield for the best regular-season record.

The Earthquakes (18-6-7) can take the final step toward the West crown with a win or a draw this weekend, and close in on the Shield for the best regular- season mark.

But in addition to finishing first in the West, San Jose can clinch home field in the postseason with the best regular-season record. Should it reach the MLS Cup final on Dec. 1, it would host the match.

So there is a lot to play for against Colorado (9-18-4), which was eliminated from postseason contention Wednesday when Vancouver Whitecaps FC downed Chivas USA, 4-0.

San Jose tied FC Dallas, 3-3, last weekend to extend its undefeated streak to six matches, as Steven Lenhart scored the tying goal in the final minutes. But goalkeeper Jon Busch felt the team dropped points at home.

"When we get three goals at home, we should be winning those games. Not to put a negative into it - we'll definitely take the point - but I don't know how many more times we can go to the well," Busch said. "It keeps happening, but we can't keep putting ourselves in these holes.

"Eventually, luck runs out."

Colorado has played well at home this season with seven wins and three ties in 15 matches, but just seventh in the West, it could still drop to the foot with a poor finish to the season.

With a win and two draws in their last four games, the Rapids have played well of late. Colorado tied the Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-1, last weekend. It was just the latest sign the Rapids can play well, and they hope to build on the draw.

"I think I said at the beginning that this is an ongoing project and we don't want to use that to excuse ourselves when we don't get results. But definitely the team is looking good and I'm happy with their showing," said Rapids coach Oscar Pareja.

"Obviously we need to get better and we have three more games and I know this is a professional staff that we have in our locker room. We don't quit; we keep pushing for the points."