Carson, CA – The San Jose Earthquakes are eyeing a second successive road victory on Sunday when the club travels to the StubHub Center to tangle with last-place Chivas USA.
San Jose enters the weekend four points adrift of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and the team's 2-1 win at Real Salt Lake last weekend was crucial as the Quakes push for a postseason berth.
"It was a big win for sure," San Jose interim head coach Mark Watson said. "Just looking at the standings and the games remaining, we knew we had to be perfect on the way in. With five games left, we know we could very possibly need all 15 points. It's just kind of win the rest of our games."
Watson's side is in a good run of form having earned seven points from the last three games, and the boss will expect his team to continue that run against a Chivas side that has already been eliminated from postseason play.
The win over Salt Lake was also important because it was San Jose's first road victory since June 22, and the club will most likely need to win its final two away matches to have a chance at the playoffs.
Chivas is a team that is simply playing for pride, and the Goats will be hurting a bit after a heavy 5-1 defeat against the Houston Dynamo last weekend.
It was the worst defeat of the season for Chivas, which has one win in its last five games, and head coach Jose Luis Real recognizes the shortcomings of his side.
"Unfortunately a score like this, it's hard for everybody, it hurts," Real said. "The task at hand is to resolve just that; Chivas have to maintain a level, not 45, not 60, not 70, but the 90 minutes. I think defensively we had some errors, but we're not talking about just the defense, but the entire team, when they participated defensively, we had some problems."
It has certainly been a long season for Chivas, and midfielder Eric Avila knows that his team must press on over the four games, despite the fact that there is no possibility of the playoffs.
"Obviously it's been up and down during the season," Avila said. "But a game like this we just really have to sit down with the guys and motivate them to keep it going. It hurts us for the next game but we just have to continue on and help them know that there is still hope, because we're playing for us and the fans."