While FC Dallas has a chance to move into the Western Conference playoff picture this weekend, a road matchup against the league’s best team wouldn’t appear to help their cause.
FC Dallas tries for just its fourth win in 25 matchups against the San Jose Earthquakes, who aim to extend their unbeaten streak at Buck Shaw Stadium to 17 and take another step toward clinching the Supporters’ Shield on Saturday night.
After improving to 4-1-1 over its last six matches with a 1-0 win over Vancouver on Sept. 15, sixth-place FC Dallas (9-12-9) sits two points behind the Whitecaps for the West’s fifth and final playoff berth.
A win Saturday and a Vancouver loss to Seattle would move Dallas into fifth place.
“I think we’re fairly fortunate to be where we are right now to keep hoping for additional things to go our way,” goalkeeper Kevin Hartman told the club’s official website. “(A negative result for Vancouver) would be nice, but it’s certainly not something we’re counting on. I think as professionals, we have to concentrate on the things we can affect.
“It’s one of those things that we’re watching Vancouver out of the corner of our eye. We know that we’ve got four results left and if we’re able to capture a majority of those points, then we have a very good chance of making it in.”
FC Dallas, though, is likely to have its hands full with the Earthquakes, who have compiled an MLS-best 60 points thanks in part to their dominance at home.
Including matches played at AT&T Park and Stanford Stadium, San Jose has gone 10-1-4 at home in league play this season, posting a 9-0-4 record at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Earthquakes (18-6-6) have also outscored opponents 14-4 during a 4-0-1 run overall to find themselves on the verge of a franchise record-tying 19th victory, a mark set in 1999.
San Jose has had its way with FC Dallas of late, going 12-3-9 over the last 24 matches in this series while scoring 45 goals and allowing 22. The clubs played to a scoreless draw July 7 in Texas before the Earthquakes pulled out a 2-1 home victory 11 days later.
While Chris Wondolowski didn’t score in that game, he enters this one on quite a roll. Wondolowski notched his fourth goal in three matches last Saturday, leading the Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Seattle with his league-record 10th game-winner in the 30th minute.
Victor Bernardez settled a corner kick before finding Wondolowski in the 6-yard box for an easy tap-in.
“I appreciate a lot of their assists - they put it on platters for me,” said Wondolowski, who with 22 goals has a commanding lead in the Golden Boot race. “A lot of them are team goals, but I take pride in scoring goals that are game-winners, because those mean a lot.”