SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes may not have a home of their own just yet, but that doesn’t mean the New York Red Bulls want to let the Quakes keep crashing at their palatial pad.
San Jose go back to Red Bull Arena on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live) for their first visit since knocking New York out of the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 road victory last Nov. 3. The Quakes will be looking to get even more comfortable at RBA as they search for just their second victory in five matches despite controlling the action for a majority of time and often dominating play.
“The game at New York is coming at a good time, I think,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said. “We get a bit of a test away from home. After that game, we’ve got another home game [against Chivas USA], so hopefully we'll get a win ... but you can’t guarantee when you’re going to win, especially in this league.”
There weren’t any overt signs of braggadocio in Quakes camp this week, but Yallop made sure nevertheless to guard against overconfidence in his troops.
[inline_node:322680]“I wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, we won there, so it’s going to be easy again,’” Yallop explained. “No, for sure. Their last game was against us, to move on in the playoffs, and they’ll be ready to play against us, I’m sure. But our guys are just as ready to make sure we go in there with the right mentality and attitude and get a result.”
The teams aren’t exactly natural rivals, being 2,500 miles apart, so Quakes winger Bobby Convey sees this more as a chance for San Jose to establish themselves in their new ball-possessing guise than anything else.
“Obviously, [our win] was last year, so it was a different team, a different season,” Convey said. “Every time you start a new season, you always have to find your identity in the first five to 10 games. I think we’re still finding what we want to do.”
The Quakes and Red Bulls come into Saturday with matching 1-1-2 records, so a win by either side would make their start look significantly more rosy.
“You’ve got to look after 10 games,” Yallop said. “Three games – I mean, Colorado started 3-0, and they’ve lost a game, they go to Salt Lake, and they’re 3-2. And all of a sudden you go, well, is that a good start or a bad start? If we win the next two matches, we’ve had a great start.”
Yallop knows that the Red Bulls’ plans don’t include another home loss to San Jose in their résumé, not with Rafa Márquez and Thierry Henry highlighting the roster.
“I think they’re expected to win MLS Cup,” Yallop said. “When you spend all that money, you’re buying to be better than a lot of teams in the league.”
Whether “a lot” includes the Quakes will be seen on Saturday.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes