United face trap game in San Jose

United face trap game in San Jose
July 10, 2014, 11:15 am
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On Friday night in San Jose D.C. United knows it needs to play the role of the villain. Striker Chris Wondolowski is back from World Cup duty with U.S. Men’s National team in Brazil and is eager to celebrate by helping the Earthquakes find the net again. 

Wondolowski is also looking forward to putting his World Cup miss behind him. In the closing moments of the U.S. match against Belgium Wondolowski admits he leaned back too much when he failed to finish an opportunity from four yards out. Had Wondolowski scored the U.S. likely would have booked a spot in the quarterfinals.

It’s a chance that Wondolowski, who has scored more goals than any other American player in the last four years, usually finishes. The Earthquakes need Wondolowski to rediscover his scoring touch. The Quakes have lost three straight games, all 1-0 defeats, and have not scored in 315 minutes.

D.C. United is alone in first place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference and secured that spot with a resolve testing 2-1 win on the road over Toronto FC. The Black and Red needs to turn that character into an extended run. Despite all its success in 2014 United has only won consecutive matches once this season.

Ben Olsen:

“We have to worry about ourselves. This is a trap game. We need to get on a winning streak and San Jose is dangerous. They just haven’t been scoring goals, but are better than their current record indicates.”

The challenge

1.     Stay focused. Buck Shaw Stadium, the home of the San Jose Earthquakes, has a good playing surface, but is considered to have a tight field. Olsen believes that will make the game more physical and more of a battle. The team arrived in California on Wednesday to get used to the conditions and time change. When playing the Earthquakes Olsen says “you have to be on edge because on their field the game can change quickly.”

2.     The attack needs to be better. Winning on the road without Fabian Espindola was encouraging, but it should only be considered a beginning. Eddie Johnson continues to impress with his work rate and ability to free space for others by occupying the center backs. All that is great and appreciated, but Johnson knows he needs to score goals. Nick DeLeon showed more and scored against Toronto and that has to continue. Luis Silva’s role in front of Davy Arnaud and Perry Kitchen should give him the freedom to be more aggressive. Silva was sensational against Montreal, but has been quiet the last two games. Silva needs to be busier than he has been against San Jose.