Another late goal got the San Jose Earthquakes closer to their first Supporters’ Shield in seven seasons.
Another win has the expansion Montreal Impact thinking about the playoffs.
League-leading San Jose will try to end a three-game road winless stretch Saturday night when it meets the Impact for the first time.
After scoring in stoppage time in their previous match, a 1-all draw versus Chicago on July 28, the Earthquakes (14-5-5) defeated Seattle 2-1 last Saturday on Steven Lenhart’s goal in the 93rd minute. That victory moved them four points ahead of Eastern Conference-leading Kansas City for the best record in MLS.
It was a team-record seventh stoppage-time goal. Seventeen of the Earthquakes’ league-high 47 goals have been after the 75th minute.
“In case you haven’t heard, we never say die,” the team wrote on its Twitter account last Saturday.
Lenhart should make another start in place of Alan Gordon, who will sit out due to yellow-card accumulation.
Chris Wondolowski, the league’s top scorer with 17 goals, and defender Steven Beitashour are expected to be in the lineup after joining Gordon on the U.S. national team that defeated Mexico 1-0 on Wednesday at Azteca Stadium. Wondolowski has gone a season-high four straight MLS games without scoring.
Defender Victor Bernardez and midfielder Marvin Chavez also should be available after both were called up for Honduras’ 2-0 victory over Boca Juniors on Wednesday in Miami. Chavez found the back of the net in the second half of the friendly.
Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop will return from a one-game suspension for throwing a water bottle onto the field July 28.
San Jose, 0-2-1 in its last three road matches, will face a Montreal club riding a season-best three-game winning streak. While all but one of the Earthquakes’ five losses have been on the road, eight of the Impact’s 10 wins have been at home.
A 1-0 victory at New England on Sunday was Montreal’s fifth win in seven games overall following a 2-6-1 skid.
The Impact (10-13-3) are still out of the playoff picture but just three points behind fifth-place D.C. United, which has four games in hand.
“The fact that we have played more games and that it’s not easy to predict results leaves us in a position where we can’t really look too far,” coach Jesse Marsch told the team’s official website.
This will be the first time Montreal plays the Earthquakes, but new Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins faced them July 3 while with Portland and made two saves in a 2-1 victory.
In his first start since being acquired from the Timbers in a goalkeeper swap for Donovan Ricketts, Perkins turned aside four shots Sunday.
The club has yielded a league-high 43 goals but none in the last two matches.
“We’re doing well, the team feels good, the confidence is good, so (we don’t need to) change anything,” Perkins told MLS’ official website.
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