BLACKBURN – Now that the San Jose Earthquakes have found that winning feeling, there's confidence they can make a postseason push.
The Houston Dynamo have plenty of those good vibes at home, where they will try to strengthen their playoff position Saturday night versus the Earthquakes.
San Jose (6-10-11) ended a franchise-record 13-match winless streak last Saturday with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire, its first win since beating D.C. on June 11. While the Earthquakes are eighth in the Western Conference, they are only five points behind United for the final wild-card spot with five matches remaining.
"It's unbelievable," goalkeeper Jon Busch told the team's official website. "You would've thought that we'd won everything in there. ... We've been going through hell for the last whatever, 12 games. It's nice to finally get on the other side."
The Earthquakes play five of their next six matches on the road, where they are 2-6-4 and have netted only one goal in six matches.
Chris Wondolowski scored last Saturday for the second straight match, and he will be instrumental in San Jose having any chance of returning to the playoffs.
Wondolowski's next goal will give him 31 and tie Landon Donovan for second on the team's all-time list. The 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner likely will have better service with midfielder Bobby Convey slated to return after sitting out last Saturday due to suspension.
The Earthquakes also signed striker Maxwell Griffin on loan from Orlando City SC of the USL Pro Division. Griffin, who practiced with the team in the preseason, had nine goals in 22 matches.
Defender Justin Morrow is doubtful with a hamstring injury, but fellow backliner Chris Leitch returns from suspension. Rookie Rafael Baca is in line for his third consecutive start, and he'll be joined on defense by captain Ramiro Corrales.
Like San Jose, the Dynamo (8-9-12) know all about road woes - they are 0-6-9 outside Robertson Stadium following Wednesday's 2-all tie at Columbus. Houston salvaged a point on Calen Carr's goal in the 86th minute, but the team was left frustrated from falling behind after Columbus was reduced to 10 men in the 11th minute.
"We've got to learn how to not get in these positions, not do this to ourselves," midfielder Brad Davis told the team's official website. "There are a couple of negatives, but we've dug ourselves out of holes like that so many times this season. We've just got to have the mentality to see games like this off."
Houston has finished off opponents at home of late, winning three straight matches there and getting points in its last five (4-0-1) at Robertson. The Dynamo have 36 points and are third in the wild-card chase.
Coach Dominic Kinnear may have his first-choice forward tandem of Brian Ching and Carlo Costly back after the pair missed Wednesday's match due to injury and suspension, respectively. Ching has a team-high five goals, but Costly has yet to score in six matches since being acquired on loan from Mexican club Atlas last month.
San Jose won the previous meeting between the teams this season, 2-0 on June 4 behind second-half goals from Steven Lenhart and Simon Dawkins.