The San Jose Earthquakes continue to look for the kind of result that will spark a turnaround in their season, and the club will hope to deliver that performance on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake.
San Jose's 1-0 defeat to FC Dallas last weekend left the club with just one win from its last 10 league matches, while the Earthquakes were unable to advance in the US Open Cup, falling 1-0 to the Charleston Battery on Tuesday.
"You look at the game as a whole, we missed a ton of chances again," San Jose head coach Frank Yallop said after Tuesday's defeat. "They stuck to the task, stopped us from scoring and, in the end, got their goal. Disappointing. We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we've got to soldier on. We've got to keep going."
The only option the Earthquakes have is to keep going, but Yallop's comments after the defeat to the Battery sound very familiar based on results from the past few weeks.
After scoring goals by the handful last season, San Jose has yet to score more than two times in any game this season, with the club's wastefulness in front of goal proving costly.
Salt Lake has had no such trouble in recent weeks, putting together a run of three wins from its last five games, which very easily could have been four wins from five if not for a late lapse against Chicago last weekend.
RSL took a 1-0 lead into the final 10 minutes of the game, but allowed a long throw-in to be finished off by Quincy Amarikwa in the 84th minute, forcing Salt Lake to settle for a point.
"We dominated in the game. Those are the games that you keep in the back of your head that something can break down," RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando said of the draw with the Fire. "It was a set piece and we broke down and lost the mark and they capitalized on it. There's a lot of things that probably happened in that play that we could have done better."
Chicago took a very defensive approach to the match, which made it difficult for Salt Lake to break them down.
But midfielder Ned Grabavoy knows that for his side to reach the next level, the club must pay more attention to the smaller details of the game.
"When teams play that defensive and negative, they'll get results," Grabavoy said of Chicago. "Obviously we need to break them down earlier. An early goal would change that game. We still scored and had the lead there going in with seven, eight minutes left in the game. We've got to pay attention to the details because right now we're a decent team. It's the details that could make us a great team."