Just past the halfway point of the season, the San Jose Earthquakes have a lot of ground to make up if they hope to make the MLS playoffs.
San Jose (2-10-6, 12 points), which enters Saturday night’s game at Montreal in last place in the Western Conference, is 14 points behind sixth-place Vancouver for the final playoff spot with 16 games to play. But the Earthquakes, who are 0-5-4 in their last nine MLS matches, need look only across the field at Saputo Stadium to see how quickly a season can turn around.
Montreal (8-12-0, 24 points) enters the contest in sixth place in the Eastern Conference despite a pathetic 3-10-0 start. The Impact, who had a four-game win streak snapped by New York City FC on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, have won five of their last seven matches, four of them by shutouts.
San Jose, coming off a 2-1 loss at Portland last Saturday, plays nine of its final 16 games at home. The Earthquakes had tied three straight matches prior to the loss to the Timbers.
“I think we just all need to step up,” Earthquakes goalie Andrew Tarbell told MLSsoccer.com. “Every one of us. We need to have better performances. Just focus on working harder and playing better and results will start coming our way.”
“Even though we have had too many defeats, we are still in every single game,” San Jose coach Mikael Stahre said. “We have lost by one goal in just one game, but they are still defeats. We have to win games.”
Montreal will be trying to bounce back from the ugly 3-0 loss at NYCFC on Wednesday night, a game in which it didn’t manage a shot on target. The Impact had compiled four shutouts in their previous six matches and yielded a total of three goals over that span.
“We expected to be a bit better,” goaltender Evan Bush told MLSsoccer.com. “I think the energy was good, and the effort was there. ... We wipe this one clean and we focus on Saturday.”
“We can’t let this result break our spirit,” added midfielder Samuel Piette.
—Field Level Media