Following back-to-back wins, Columbus Crew SC (7-14-3, 24 pts.) looks to make it three in a row as the Club travels west to Avaya Stadium and take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, August 3.
The Black & Gold are coming off a 3-2 comeback victory against the New York Red Bulls on July 27, marking the first time this season the team has earned three points after conceding the first goal.
The win upped the Club's point total to 24 as the Crew remains nine points behind the final playoff spot with 10 matches to go. To top the reigning Supporters' Shield winners on the road is a good starting point, as six of the Club's remaining 10 regular-season matches take place away from MAPFRE Stadium.
“We needed those points,” said midfielder Luis Argudo. “We went into a hard place to play in and we left there with three points and that is what is most important.”
Notably, Argudo and Pedro Santos are coming off respective career nights as Argudo, who grew up in Queens, tallied his first MLS goal in front of friends and family while Santos earned his first MLS-career brace with goals in the 46th and 84th minutes to secure the win.
“I think we had a fantastic game,” said Santos. “Of course, we need to be better. But if we keep up with this performance and keep fighting like we did, we can start again and look toward the 10 games as a new opportunity to make a run towards the playoffs. “
With Saturday’s win, Crew SC has tallied multiple goals in three straight matches for the first time this season. Head Coach Caleb Porter emphasized the Club's recent turn comes down to execution from the players.
"The players deserve all the credit because they are the ones that are out there making the plays," Porter said. "There were some games where we played really well, I have said it time and again, and you can do the stats. It comes down to the players making plays, and they are making plays. They deserve all the credit, not me," Porter continued.
Starting with the second-half comeback against Chicago, a game that ended 2-2 thanks to a late-header from newcomer Romario Williams, the confidence to pull out a result in one-goal games - which the Crew has had 16 of so far - is apparent.
“The guys are confident,” Porter said. “They are hungry. For me, we have to focus on the next game. And the next game is going be one of the toughest games of the year. We are playing a really good team and they are good at the way that they play. They play dominant football.”
As for San Jose (11-7-4, 37 pts.), they are coming off of a 3-1 win at home against the Colorado Rapids. In that match, the Earthquakes capitalized on a second-minute own goal from the Rapids before receiving scoring contributions from Vako and Shea Salinas.
Currently, the Earthquakes are third in the League in goal production (39), as San Jose's goal-scoring leaders include Chris Wondolowski (9), Vako (7), and Salinas (6).
After posting four losses in the month of March, San Jose has resurged and currently sits in fourth of the Western Conference. Additionally, the Quakes have not lost at home since March 30 and have scored a League-leading 23 home goals.
“I think they have a very clear way of playing and they are good at executing and the team has bought into it,” said Porter. “They continue to build. It has just built all year and they are in a good run of form.”
Meanwhile, Crew SC has had its share of struggles traveling to San Jose, going 0-3-3 on the road against the Quakes since 2008.
Going into Saturday’s match, Santos spoke on the similarities between San Jose and the Red Bulls and what the team needs to do come Saturday.
“It is very important for us to maintain our shape because we know we are a strong team,” said Santos. “We know transition will be key and that they keep the ball and press well. We are working for these moments.”
Kickoff is slated for 10 p.m. ET and supporters can watch the match on SportsTime Ohio, stream on FOX Sports GO, or listen on 97.1 FM The Fan or www.ColumbusCrewSC.com (English & Spanish).