The Earthquakes will travel to Kansas City knowing they have secured a spot in the MLS playoffs, but with no idea who their playoff oponent may be. The extreme imbalance between the Western and Eastern Conference and MLS's odd playoff structure means that San Jose could be playing any of four teams on October 30th in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs. Today's game will be intriguing if only to see how much effort San Jose puts into a game that arguably the Quakes could be better off losing.
If San Jose fails to move higher than their current position of 7th overall they would be matched up against either New York or Columbus, which might be considered preferable to an opening game against Los Angeles or Dallas, the two best teams in the MLS. On the other hand, three points could secure San Jose a spot in next year's US Open Cup competition and the pride of a higher Western Conference finish. Seattle's match against Houston and Colorado's match against Real Salt Lake will be the games to watch with implications for San Jose's playoff spot.
My suspicion is that Frank Yallop and the Quakes will make every effort to win while still testing the health of players like Ramiro Corrales and the form of players who may be iffy to make the starting eleven in the playoffs. San Jose has a logjam at forward/midfield. Geovanni and Wondolowski will certainly be on the field, but players like Ryan Johnson, Eduardo and Arturo Alvarez will be looking to state their case against the Wizards.
The other major storyline will be Chris Wondolowski's assault on San Jose's goal scoring record book. He currently has 17 goals on the season, tied for first with Edson Buddle of the Galaxy. Those 17 goals have already broken the previous franchise record of 15 in a season. He's also scored the last 9 San Jose goals, tying the MLS record. All of these accomplishments have created a sudden but legitimate MVP push for San Jose's offensive spark.