Earthquakes-Real Salt Lake Preview
San Jose Earthquakes are looking to use the pain of missing out on the MLS Cup Playoffs to dent Real Salt Lake's own postseason aspirations.
The Quakes were beaten 2-0 by Portland Timbers on Wednesday to officially end their hopes of finishing in the top seven of the Western Conference.
With two games remaining - a trip to Salt Lake followed by a home match against FC Dallas - San Jose boss Matias Almeyda is out to finish 2021 as strongly as possible.
"I think many dreams came to an end in the last game, the sporting dreams that we had," he said.
"Even if we have two matches left, we need to finish in the best way, but that is the end of what we were preparing for."
RSL were late 2-1 winners against Dallas last time out to move into seventh with a game in hand on the sides around them, meaning they remain in charge of their own destiny.
It was a truly massive comeback victory for the Royals, one in which midfielder Albert Rusnak is hopeful his side can build on.
"It was huge," Rusnak said. "I am hoping that we are going to be above the playoff line, but I don't know who plays who.
"We don't care about that, we knew that we had to take care of our game first and then see what the other results are.
"We've done it many times this year on the road when we come back or at home where we go down and manage to find a way to win the game."
Real Salt Lake - Rubio Rubin
Rubin has scored in just one of his last seven appearances, but he has a good record in this fixture this year. The 25-year-old has scored three times against the Quakes in their two previous meetings in 2021, accounting for 37.5 per cent of his eight goals in all this campaign.
San Jose Earthquakes - Chris Wondolowski
Veteran striker Wondolowski may now be more accustomed to playing a back-up role, but he will always fancy his chances of finding the net against Real Salt Lake. The 38-year-old has scored 12 career goals against RSL - only Landon Donovan (13) has scored more often against them since they joined MLS in 2015 (including playoffs).
- San Jose won at Real Salt Lake on May 7, ending a six-match winless run for them at Rio Tinto Stadium (D3 L3). The Earthquakes have never won consecutive matches at Real Salt Lake.
- Real Salt Lake have won seven straight home matches, equaling NYCFC for the longest home winning streak of the season. The current run is the longest home winning streak in Real Salt Lake's MLS history.
- San Jose were eliminated from the playoffs with a 2-0 loss at Portland. The Earthquakes have not made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since doing so in five straight years from 2001-05.
- Damir Kreilach scored his 15th goal of the season in Real Salt Lake's win over Dallas on Wednesday. Only two players have scored more goals in a single season in RSL's history: Alvaro Saborio (17) in 2012 and Jeff Cunningham (16) in 2006.
Updated October 29, 2021