The Earthquakes (13-11-9) are not mathematically eliminated but in order to qualify for the playoffs, they would have to score at least 13 goals in this contest while Colorado would have to lose Sunday at Vancouver. FC Dallas has already been eliminated.
San Jose was forced into this predicament after last Sunday’s scoreless draw with Los Angeles left it three points behind the Rapids and Seattle. The Sounders have clinched a spot since they will finish with more victories than the Earthquakes, who have scored 12 fewer goals than Colorado.
With that postseason scenario in mind, the Earthquakes used most of their regulars Wednesday in a 1-0 home victory over Guatemalan club CD Heredia to clinch a quarterfinal berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“We came into this season having two goals,” forward Chris Wondolowski told the Earthquakes’ official website. “We didn’t accomplish one, but this was the other one, to advance. It’s something we can hang our hats on.”
Wondolowski scored in the 62nd minute for San Jose, which needed a victory to advance. He’s the only Earthquakes player to score in the club’s last four overall matches.
“It was definitely a frustrating time,” Wondolowski said of San Jose’s scoreless first half. “We knew that we had 45 minutes to regroup and get together, but to be honest, there was definitely some carryover frustration from Sunday. It was one of those things that you start pushing too much.”
Jon Busch posted his fourth straight shutout in all competitions for San Jose, which is 4-0-2 in its last six MLS matches.
FC Dallas (11-11-11) will play its final match under coach Schellas Hyndman, who announced last Friday that he will step down after taking over in June 2008.
He was forced to handle an odd disciplinary situation during last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Seattle in his final home game in charge. Midfielders David Ferreira and Jackson nearly came to blows and had to be kept apart when the players left the field after a scoreless first half.
Hyndman replaced Jackson with Blas Perez. Jackson and Ferreira have been fined by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
“When they came into the locker room, they were still going at each other and I decided to pull (Jackson) out of the lineup,” Hyndman told FC Dallas’ official website. “We can never reward bad behavior with professional athletes, or with children. We’re trying to win the game and if you can’t get it right in the locker room, you can’t get it right on the field.”
FC Dallas ended an 0-4-1 slide with the victory. The club is 2-8-6 on the road this season, and 3-11-5 in its last 19 visits to San Jose.
Saturday marks the final MLS match for Earthquakes midfielder Ramiro Corrales, the last remaining active player from the league’s inaugural season of 1996. He could see his first action since Sept. 14.