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Plenty of reasons to keep hope against San Jose: Goals, midfield, attack and more

Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Earthquakes claimed a late equalizer last night against Toluca in CONCACAF Champions Leauge Play. And we play them Saturday.

Oh, and they haven't last at home in MLS play in over a year.

You'd think we'd have reason to be scared, but one thing -- among a slew of other reasons -- should give us hope.

In fact, we'll let Alvaro Saborio illustrate it.

It was a fantastic run of play from us a year ago, and it's the sort of play that San Jose probably remains vulnerable to. They're not a side known for great midfield play -- when we talk about the Earthquakes, we'll talk about their forwards and defenders and not much between.

Sure, they've got Khari Stephenson back, and they have some talented players there, but if we remain resolute at the back, we'll have opportunities at the front -- but only if we keep our play through the midfield.

So while they might not have lost at home in a year, they haven't seen us at Buck Shaw since March 3, 2013 -- and that must give us hope. Here are three more reasons:

  • We kept a clean sheet against some potent goalscoring threats last Saturday. While that may partly be down to heroics from one Nick Rimando, the defensive effort was top-notch. Chris Wondolowski might be a good striker, but he's no Robbie Keane, and Steven Lenhart certainly is no Landon Donovan.
  • Our midfield easily tops the San Jose midfield and, arguably, every other midfield in the league. If we keep our movement fluid, and we keep our full backs active in maintaining possession, we will be better able to probe for openings.
  • Our movement up top will pull defenders around — we saw this last weekend, particularly for the goal — which creates openings for the midfield. Alvaro Saborio's movement is difficult to spot at times, but it's game-changing; while Joao Plata more obviously pulls defenders away.