San Jose, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Earthquakes return home on Saturday after a grueling road trip to welcome Columbus Crew SC to Avaya Stadium.
San Jose played three away games in the span of eight days and came away with five points, winning one and drawing two of those matches during a tough stretch that included games at Real Salt Lake, Houston and Colorado.
Head coach Dominic Kinnear had to be pleased with the performance of his team, but San Jose was on the verge of taking even more points from the trip as the club took a 1-0 lead into stoppage time in its last outing in Colorado.
Chris Wondolowski's 19th-minute goal gave the 'Quakes the advantage, but the team failed to hold that lead just before the final whistle as Colorado's James Riley struck from a set piece to snatch a point for the Rapids.
Another point on the road can't be considered a disappointment, but the fact that San Jose was so close to another three points was a bit discouraging for Wondolowski.
"We had three road games in a week in tough places - heat, humidity and altitude - so to come away with a point, we will take it, but it's very frustrating to lose the lead, especially late in the game on a set piece," said Wondolowski. "We take pride in being very strong on set pieces and in our defensive third, so it's a little bitter taste in our mouth, but we will still take it."
San Jose proved to be road warriors during that eight-day stretch, which is something that Columbus must now try to emulate.
The Crew has been a very different team when playing at home as opposed to away from MAPRFRE Stadium so far this season.
In five games in the friendly confines of MAPRFRE so far Columbus has posted a 4-1-0 record, outscoring the opposition 13-5.
Yet things have gone the other way on the road with the Crew earning only two points from four away games, while being held without a goal in three of those four contests.
Columbus owns respectable draws at Vancouver and New England, and leading scorer Kei Kamara feels that his team can pick up results on the road if they just play their game and bring the right mentality.
"No matter where we are going, everybody just needs to focus and bring the same energy," said Kamara, who is the only player to score away from home this season for Columbus. "If we can just play our game, play our style, it doesn't really matter [where we play]."
The two teams have played to draws in each of their last four meetings, so three points may be difficult for either side to attain on Saturday if recent history is any indication.