The Earthquakes are finding themselves in foreign territory as the season moves closer to its conclusion: playoff contenders and perhaps away favorites. But they will almost certainly face a tough task against Toronto FC today. If San Jose earns the away win Toronto's playoff chances would be crippled - they would fall eight points back with just six games left. But a win and Toronto's playoff deficit would be just two. So this is a huge swing game for both teams and a win will leave San Jose feeling very secure in their postseason ambitions.
Toronto does not come in to this game in good form. A 2-1 win over Colorado stands as their only win in any competition since mid August. That 2-1 win is also the only game in that span in which Toronto has scored multiple goals. Jon Busch and the San Jose defense will like their chances to hold onto a clean sheet at home today.
For San Jose a major question will be the health of Khari Stephenson, who struggled in San Jose's last game with an ankle sprain. He has had a full 10 days to recover, but if he's not ready to go it will be interesting to see how Frank Yallop structures the San Jose attack and who will play at forward and attacking midfield.
Players to Watch:
Dwayne De Rosario: Toronto's captain and first choice striker has been the driving force in their attack all season, continuing his long career of MLS success. With 11 league goals he has accounted for almost half of their production on the season.This won't come as any surprise to Frank Yallop, who coached De Rosario for a number of years earlier this decade in San Jose. If Yallop and the Quake defense control him it's unlikely Toronto will find another source for goals.
Stefan Frei: Rarely can we say that a Swiss international player is also a local boy, but as a Cal and De La Salle student and potential Swiss goalkeeper of the future Frei indeed maintains both labels. Frei captured the starting goalkeeper position in Toronto very quickly out of college and is generally considered one of the better keepers in the MLS.