Santa Clara, CA – A pair of interconference rivals clash on Sunday as the San Jose Earthquakes welcome the Philadelphia Union to Buck Shaw Stadium.
San Jose enters the match sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference on 34 points, needing a victory to vault them closer to the playoff spots.
Last time out, the 'Quakes were thoroughly outplayed by their in-state rivals Los Angeles Galaxy, suffering a 3-0 loss at the StubHub Center.
Los Angeles took the lead in the 26th minute when Robbie Keane ran onto a ball in midfield and chipped it over the San Jose backline for Landon Donovan, who rounded San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch in space and ripped it into an empty net.
It was 2-0 for the Galaxy in the 43rd minute after San Jose defender Steven Beitashour dragged down L.A.'s Gyasi Zardes in the box and Keane calmly buried the ensuing penalty kick.
The Irishman then made it three for the hosts in the 67th after he volleyed home a Zardes cross to complete his brace.
"I wanted us to have a good defensive performance and prevent goals from going in. We knew that they're a very dangerous team, when they're on form they're the best team in the league and if we gave them time and space they were going to hurt us," San Jose head coach Mark Watson said. "I thought we were pretty good up until the first goal. I thought our shape was good, we worked hard, we had a bunch of chances and the really disheartening thing is that one of the main focuses in the short couple days that we had to prepare for them we talked about counter attacks and ultimately that was the first goal."
Philadelphia, meanwhile, is coming off a scoreless home draw with the East- leading Montreal Impact last week.
After leaking five goals against the New England Revolution the week before, recording a clean sheet against a good offensive club like Montreal was a positive for the Union, but they would have liked three points.
Both teams had chances to score, but the best opportunity came to Union forward Jack McInerney, who is currently stuck in a nine-game goal scoring slump, in the 77th minute when left back Fabinho served a perfect ball into the box and McInerney sent a glancing header just wide.
"I'll finish nine times out of 10 with my eyes closed," McInerney lamented. "It's one of those things where the team depends on me to score, and when I do get that one chance that they create for me, I have to do it. And I didn't do it tonight and I kind of let my team down."
In five all-time meetings between the clubs, San Jose holds a 3-1-1 advantage, including a 1-0-1 record against Philadelphia at Buck Shaw Stadium.