At 7:00 pm tonight San Jose will be looking to end a damaging two game losing streak and gain three points against a mediocre Kansas City Wizards side. With only one win in their last eight league games, San Jose desperately needs to hold serve at home against an Eastern Conference team unlikely to be involved in the playoff race. The Wizards have just one win and four goals in eight away contests, a run of form that bodes well for the Quakes. But San Jose's inability to find goals and injury ravaged defense means that no game will be easy.
The Earthquakes carry a few unanswered questions into this game. Among them include:
Who starts in goal? - Jon Busch has generally shown excellent form in front of the net, but his ugly own goal against Seattle has reopened the battle for starting minutes with Joe Cannon. Frank Yallop has yet to announce his decision. Despite the uncertainty, this is still San Jose's most worry-free position because both are usually solid choices.
Are there enough bodies left to play defense? - Defenders Chris Leitch, Ike Opara and Ramiro Corrales are all out with injuries. Bobby Burling is probable with a toe contusion, but if he is unable to play San Jose may truly be in dire straits. The injury situation is so bad that Frank Yallop floated the idea of playing attacking winger Bobby Convey at left back, a move that strikes me as detrimental for the offense and the defense.
Can any strikers create pressure in front of goal? - Ryan Johnson, Cornell Glen, Chris Wondolowski, Arturo Alvarez, Scott Sealy. Yallop has tried all of them in various combinations and none have resulted in a consistently dangerous offense. Some of that blame surely falls on the midfielders, who have trouble maintaining possession and linking up with the forwards. Still, San Jose needs somebody to step up and find the back of the net so the season risks falling further towards irrelevancy.
Player to Watch:
Kei Kamara, Kansas City Forward - The South African dominates Kansas City's attack. He has nearly twice as many shots as any other teammate and half of his team's goals. Stop him and KC's weaker players will be forced to step up. The question of this game may be if San Jose has anybody left on the back line capable of holding him in check.