Santa Clara, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Western Conference rivals clash on Wednesday as the San Jose Earthquakes welcome Chivas USA to Buck Shaw Stadium.
Chivas USA has struggled for much of the season, but came away with an important three points last time out, downing 10-man Real Salt Lake, 1-0 at the StubHub Center courtesy of a spectacular goal from Erick Torres.
San Jose will be looking to bounce back after a 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy at Stanford Stadium last week in the California Clasico.
Chivas' only other wins this season came against Colorado on May 11, and the Chicago Fire on the opening weekend of the season back on March 9.
Despite their struggles, the Goats were handed a major lifeline early last week when young RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Martin Rivero.
The goal came 10 minutes before the intermission as Tony Lochhead picked up his head on the left flank and whipped an inch-perfect cross into the area.
Torres tracked the ball perfectly and struck it beautifully on the volley straight into the top right corner, leaving RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella with no chance.
"Today we needed to win at home," said Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera.. "It was a positive game for us. We scored an unbelievable and beautiful goal by 'Cubo' that gave us the possibility to administer the ball a little bit better. It was good to finish with three points, a win at home and zero goals against, and that's important for the players."
The win was the Goats' first clean sheet of the season, something not lost on goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
"I guess we had so many [games] against us, we were due to have one for us," Kennedy said. "Even though we had the game in North Carolina, it's always tricky coming back after long break to get going, so it's important we took that step forward today and win the game at home; 1-0, got a shutout, it's all good."
San Jose will need to rebound quickly and string some results together if they want to compete for a playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference.
The 'Quakes enter Wednesday's match with just 16 points from 14 matches, good for eighth place in the West, six points out of the final playoff spot in the West.
San Jose fell behind in the 61st minute when Marcelo Sarvas expertly brought down a long clearance on the edge of the penalty area. Zardes recognized his opportunity and made an intelligent run in behind Sarvas, who deftly laid the ball off to Zardes and he ripped it into the top right corner of the net.
The sides met back on April 26, also at Buck Shaw Stadium, and the Quakes claimed a 1-0 victory.