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San Jose Earthquakes versus Philadelphia Union: Philly news wrap

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Beautiful PPL Park plays host to the San Jose Earthquakes and the Philadelphia Union this Saturday afternoon.
Beautiful PPL Park plays host to the San Jose Earthquakes and the Philadelphia Union this Saturday afternoon.

After a lengthy hiatus due to some technical difficulties, Quake, Rattle, and Goal! is back better than ever. And just like the early season on field performances of the San Jose Earthquakes, which currently resides atop the MLS Western Conference — first place in the west, baby! — there looks to be a whole lot of shakin’ going on here on the website. The site is expected to get a makeover in the coming months as part of a network-wide effort to provide the best on-line soccer coverage imaginable, and QRG aims to be your first-stop portal for all the news and views surrounding the First Place Quakes (here’s hoping that phrase won’t need to be retired for some time).

Kicking things off this morning, with the Earthquakes already safely arrived in the City of Brotherly Love ahead of their weekend match with the Philadelphia Union, is a look around the web for the news you need to know about the Quakes’ opponent. Yes, they will be without their coach, who as a matter of MLS procedure was given a touchline ban for his actions during the team’s fracas at The Home Depot Center in the Union’s 1-0 victory over Chivas USA last Saturday, and a pair of influential players for their red card earning one game suspensions. However, backed into the corner like some South Philly stray dog, expect the Union to come out fighting on Saturday afternoon against the Quakes as they look to extend their winning streak to three games. No matter that the team has barely dented the back of the net so far in 2012, players and supporters alike are expectant of an offensive revival along the shores of the Delaware River.

Over at The Goalkeeper blog at Philly.com, captained by the indefatigable Jonathan Tannenwald, we get a breakdown as to what we can expect to see (and not see) from Union head coach Peter Nowak this Saturday as he serves the first game of a two match suspension. No word on whether he will have access to the delicious Union branded pretzels that are a staple at PPL Park, but I am sure Jonathan will provide the scoop when it comes to light.

Meanwhile, as the Union celebrate a franchise record shutout streak, they address their biggest concern of the weekend — trying to contain red-hot Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski. Stories as this seem to appear every week from the Quakes’ upcoming opponent, and Wondo shrugs them off and scores a goal anyway. 16 goals in his last 16 matches in case you lost track, leading to one Bay Area sports fan on Twitter asking the pertinent question:

If you have a few minutes of time to burn listening to soccer podcasts this morning, then why not give the Philly Soccer Show a shot at brightening your day. With special focus on the sad fact that the Union have only scored 4 goals all season — Steven Beitashour has that number in just assists so far this season — the podcast tries to figure out where the Union scoring is going to come from. Plus, special guest star Frank Yallop gets the call from the Philly hosts, and the Earthquakes head coach gives the requisite answers to the requisite questions.

Lastly, if just-the-facts-ma’am match previews are more your style, check out the exhaustive offering from the fine folks at The Philly Soccer page. This article is worth it just to watch all the cataloged highlights from all the matches in the history of the San Jose Earthquakes versus Philadelphia Union rivalry. Okay, so the rivalry only goes back two years, but the stroll down recent-memory lane is worth a few minutes out of your day — plus it offers a glimpse of Arturo Alvarez’ greatest moment as a member of the Earthquakes!

Both the Earthquakes and the Union are looking to extend unbeaten streaks this weekend when they face off at PPL Park — guaranteeing a draw — as the best in the West meets a beast from the East. Who takes the spoils? Does Wondo make it 17 goals in 17 games? Will the River End fans be more creative and entertaining then the team they support? Be sure to check back soon for all the answers to those questions, and more, at Quake, Rattle, and Goal!