FCD's defense looks to string two wins

July, 18, 2012
7/18/12
11:28
AM CT
The San Jose Earthquakes avoided matching their longest winless streak of the season with their most lopsided victory of 2012 last week. Now, they'll look to solidify their MLS lead when they take on an FC Dallas club that's played strong defense during a four-game unbeaten run.

The Earthquakes face Dallas for the second time in three games as they try to continue their home dominance in the series Wednesday night.

San Jose (12-4-4) played Dallas to a scoreless draw July 7, failing to break through as Dallas twice cleared the ball off its goal line and Kevin Hartman made spectacular saves on Shea Salinas and Chris Wondolowski in the final 10 minutes.

That left the Earthquakes on the verge of tying their season high of three straight games without a victory, but they convincingly averted that Saturday. Wondolowski recorded a hat trick to give him a league-best 17 goals as San Jose defeated Real Salt Lake 5-0.

Wondolowski, held to three goals in his previous seven games, earned MLS player of the week honors.

The victory moved the Earthquakes four points up on Salt Lake in the Western Conference. San Jose can further expand its lead Wednesday in advance of Salt Lake's next contest this weekend, but the league's highest-scoring team will take on a Dallas club that has been tough to crack defensively of late.

Dallas (4-7-9) has given up two goals in going 1-0-3 in its last four and earned its first victory in 14 games Saturday, 2-1 over Colorado. Fabian Castillo's goal in the 81st minute put Dallas in the win column for the first time since April 14.

"Once we start collecting more wins then we can start thinking about celebrating," said Castillo, who also assisted on Carlos Rodriguez's tying goal in the 60th.

Hartman has only faced 12 shots over the last four games after opponents put 36 on goal in the previous six. Dallas went 0-5-1 in that stretch as Hartman allowed 12 goals.

"We're a group that really works hard and it has been disappointing to put together a winless streak as long as it was," Hartman said after the victory. "There hasn't been a lot of rewarding ourselves lately, so to have gotten a win in a very difficult environment tonight, it means a lot to us."

San Jose has proved to be a challenging environment for Dallas to earn victories, going 1-2-4 in its last seven there. The Earthquakes won 4-2 on Oct. 22 in the last matchup at Buck Shaw Stadium, with Simon Dawkins scoring twice for San Jose.

Dallas has been shut out in four of those last seven road meetings and is 1-1-7 away from home this season.

Wondolowski had recorded three goals in the previous two matchups with Dallas before he was denied by Hartman on July 7. One of the shots Dallas cleared off the goal line also came from Wondolowski.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?


AUDIO HIGHLIGHTS

ESPN Dallas' Soccer Today

Marc Stein and Steve Davis reflect on Adnan Januzaj's meteoric rise from Dallas Cup participant in April to Manchester United's savior in October before moving on to discuss DC United's victory over Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup final.

ESPN Dallas' Soccer Today

Steve Davis welcomes Marc Stein back to the studio from his European travels just in time to discuss the miserable weekend in the Premiership for both Manchester clubs.

ESPN Dallas' Soccer Today

Marc Stein and Steve Davis discuss the big City v United game and Stein's trip to West Brom for the Paolo Di Canio show.

ESPN Dallas' Soccer Today

Marc Stein and Steve Davis cover all the ins and outs of the United States' comprehensive victory over Mexico that clinched a seventh straight trip to the World Cup.

ESPN Dallas' Soccer Today

Marc Stein and Steve Davis look ahead to Tuesday night's big USA vs. Mexico showdown.

ESPN Dallas' Soccer Today

Pedro Pinto analyzes the Champions League draw, and Rodney Marsh discusses Liverpool's flying start.

ESPN Dallas' Soccer Today

Marc Stein and Steve Davis discuss Clint Dempsey's home debut and the weekend's marquee match in MLS: Seattle vs. Portland.

ESPN Dallas' Soccer Today

Broadcasting live from FC Dallas Stadium, Marc Stein and Steve Davis reflect on the absolute footy feast that was Saturday's TV bonanza featuring seven live games from the Premiership followed by a full MLS slate.