If the Vancouver Whitecaps are going to edge their way into the playoffs in 2018, conventional logic says they’d better take care of business on Saturday night at home against the last-place San Jose Earthquakes.
The Whitecaps (10-9-7, 37 points) begin the weekend in eighth in the Western Conference, but only a point beneath the playoff line after a dramatic 3-2, come-from-behind win in San Jose last Saturday. The victory came through a rapid comeback early in the second half after a halftime scolding from Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson.
“It’s no coincidence that we’ve scored three goals in nine minutes,” Robinson said. “We’ve done that before, and when we’re on the front and we’re playing with confidence and we’re all hunting the ball, we do it. So it was just a combination of a lot of things. But we defended very well towards the latter part of the game as well.”
San Jose (4-14-8, 20 points) may have the extra motivation after giving up a two-goal lead following goals from Yordy Reyna, Cristian Techera and Kei Kamara. But they could also have tired legs after a 4-3 home victory against FC Dallas on Wednesday night while Vancouver was idle.
Vancouver is unbeaten in its last five matches, but its schedule only gets tougher after Saturday. Six of their last seven games come against teams currently above them in the West standings.
San Jose is searching for its first back-to-back wins of the season after completing an improbable season sweep against FC Dallas.
Chris Wondolowski scored the deciding goal Wednesday, his eighth of the season and 142nd of his career to move three away from Landon Donovan for the all-time MLS record.
The victory was the Quakes’ first at home since their season opener in early March. Aside from the Dallas, San Jose has wins over only one other MLS team, also sweeping the season series against Minnesota United.
“I commend our team for our character,” Wondolowski said afterward. “I think sometimes when you’re beaten down so many times, you have a tendency to give up and I thought that our guys could have given up three times probably this game. Kept fighting, kept their heads up and I’m proud to be a part of this group still.”
—Field Level Media