It's been a good news, bad news week for the San Jose Earthquakes. On Tuesday, playing inspired defense against an insipid Dynamo team, the Quakes collected their second intraconference road victory of the season 1-0 in Houston. Forward Adam Jahn tallied the winning goal, his first goal in nearly two years, and goalkeeper David Bingham saved a penalty kick en route to his second shutout of the season. The Earthquakes were flying high.
And then, late Thursday afternoon, the other shoe dropped, when news broke that designated player forward Innocent had undergone knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus and would be out 4 to 6 months. The Earthquakes biggest signing ever, and the most expensive player on the roster, could be shelved for the rest of the season. The San Jose front office surely must have felt snake-bit at the news.
So the Quakes travel to Colorado for a meeting with the Western Conference cellar-dwellers Rapids for a Friday night nationally televised game with a mixed bag of emotions. Star striker Chris Wondolowski, fresh off a sub-par performance at Houston, will again be the main man on offense for Dominic Kinnear's side, with Jahn his likely partner. Meanwhile, Innocent will be back in the Bay Area recuperating from surgery.
San Jose will be playing its third away game in eight days Friday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce, Colorado (kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Pacific time and the match will be broadcast live on Univision Deportes Network and online on MLS Live), and the club will be looking to carry over its defensive dominance that has been on display since they held Real Salt Lake to no shots on target in a 1-1 draw last week. Center backs Victor Bernardez and Clarence Goodson have been rock-solid for the Quakes, as the Honduran's own-goal against RSL has been the only miscue in the last two games.
Bossing the midfield for the Quakes is the ever important Matias Perez Garcia, who like Innocent suffered a devastating injury upon his arrival to MLS last summer. MPG has been a crucial catalyst in creating what offense the Earthquakes have mustered over the last month, as the Argentine's propensity to earn fouls has led to numerous set-piece opportunities for his team. A quick free-kick delivery from Perez Garcia in Houston was the assist on Jahn's goal in the 1-0 victory last Tuesday.
The match at Colorado may also be the last time Earthquakes fans get to see young midfielder Tommy Thompson before he leaves to join the U-20 U.S. men's national team for preparations ahead of the 2015 U-20 FIFA World Cup in June. Thompson made a late appearance for the Quakes against the Dynamo, replacing MPG with the game winding down. He has yet to score his first MLS goal, but the wide-open field at DSG Park may be just the place for Thompson to show off his speed and skill on the ball.
Following the match against the Rapids, the Earthquakes return to San Jose for a week of preparations ahead of their first home match in nearly a month. The Columbus Crew, with former Quakes forward Kei Kamara in the lineup, will visit Avaya Stadium next Saturday, May 16. Avaya Stadium will be the host of the U.S. women's national team this Sunday, Mother's Day, as they play Ireland in a tune-up match for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada this June.
For fans that want to follow the Earthquakes match at the Colorado Rapids along with the soccer experts here at Center Line Soccer and other fine websites, download the FanKave app today and join the #Quakes74 FanKave.