San Jose Earthquakes v Real Salt Lake – Sunday 15th July – Buck Shaw Stadium, California (04:30)

San Jose Earthquakes v Real Salt Lake

The USA MLS title race still looks wide open and this weekend will see the top two sides clash for vital points. San Jose will have home ground advantage as they look to keep their place at the top of the table when they host Real Salt Lake who have a chance to reclaim top spot as they lie just one point below San Jose.

San Jose Earthquakes return to their home ground after picking up just one point in their last two matches away from home. San Jose were held to a goalless draw by FC Dallas who showed great fighting spirit and cleared a couple chances off the line from San Jose’s danger man Chris Wondolowski. Wondolowski was named MLS Player of the Month for June and is also the top scorer in the league for the past three seasons, including this year with 14 goals so far. These sides have met twice already this season with “Wondo, Wondo, Wondo!”, as he is affectionately known by the fans, scoring in both victories for the Earthquakes.  San Jose have lost just one game at home this season and that came in their first home game of the season. Since then they have gone seven games unbeaten, scoring 18 goals. Unlike previous campaigns, San Jose added plenty of interesting attacking players as goalscoring was a major problem last year. Their 33-year-old creative midfielder Tressor Moreno has been excellent since his arrival. The Colombian has the tools and creativity to galvanize the San Jose attack and has struck up a good understanding with Wondolowski. Such chemistry will be critical for the Quakes to have success.

Real Salt Lake were at one stage clear of San Jose by five points at the top of the table. They then suffered three consecutive losses but are coming off an excellent 3-0 victory at home over Portland Timbers that has kept them just one point off their opponents. Forward Alvaro Saborio scored all three goals in the span of 15 minutes during the second half. His three-goal haul is the second MLS hat-trick since the establishment of the MLS in 1996. The experienced Costa Rican has scored 10 goals this season and 26 overall since the beginning of last season. He will be looking to add to that tally against the log leaders. Salt Lake’s downfall has been their away form as they have won just four of their nine travels. The side has improved and looking to build on their third place finish last season. Salt Lake had success in reaching the CONCACAF Champions League last season, creating history by being the first MLS team to do so since the new format. Their stand out player is attacking midfielder Javier Morales. The Argentine maestro pulls the strings for his side who always try playing the passing game and he is sure to be a problem no matter which team he comes up against.

San Jose have won both previous league meetings against Salt lake this season. They beat them 3-1 at this stadium in April and 2-1 away from home last month. San Jose relish playing at home and should beat a Salt Lake side that have won just one out of their last five matches.

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