Earthquakes versus Red Bulls preview
While the New York Red Bulls are having trouble scoring goals, the San Jose Earthquakes have yet to score one away from home.
Two of the worst offenses in MLS will be on display Friday night at Giants Stadium when the Red Bulls meet the Earthquakes, who have gone 265 minutes without a goal in league play.
New York (1-5-2) has lost three straight, and its five total goals are tied with New England for fewest in the league. Last weekend, the Red Bulls were shut out for the fifth time -- 1-0 at Los Angeles -- also their fourth one-goal loss.
"At some point, this is going to turn around," New York coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. "We've been in all the games, except for the first game in Seattle, and we certainly deserve a lot more points than we've shown at the moment."
San Jose (1-4-2) is enduring similar woes as it enters its fourth match without striker Darren Huckerby, who is out with a quadriceps strain. In the Earthquakes' first match without Huckerby on April 18, Pablo Campos scored their lone goal in the fifth minute of a 1-all tie with Los Angeles.
San Jose hasn't scored in an MLS contest since, falling 2-0 at Seattle on April 25 and 1-0 at home last Saturday to Chivas USA. The Earthquakes' seven goals tie FC Dallas for the lowest total in the Western Conference. Both of their road games this season have resulted in shutout losses.
"I'm tired of trying to point the finger," Earthquakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon said after Saturday's defeat. "I'm going to take this game and just say I'll put it on my shoulders. . . . It's unfortunate. It's something different every game, but we do need to start finding answers."
Perhaps both clubs' offenses will heat up against each other. When they met April 29 in the U.S. Open Cup, New York pulled out an entertaining 2-1 win behind goals from Mike Petke and John Wolyniec. Campos had the lone goal for the Earthquakes.
"Going to New York next week will be different. We will be playing on turf field, which will make the ball bounce high; also it will play a lot faster," San Jose forward Ryan Johnson said. "We need to come out defensively in order to get a clean sheet and then try to get the goals."
Earthquakes defender Chris Leitch will make his return to New York for the first time since he was traded to San Jose on March 2. He has recorded a career-high three assists in seven games in 2009, after he had only two all last season with the Red Bulls.
Leitch is part of a defensive unit that will try to contain New York star Juan Pablo Angel, who has scored twice this season and ranked fourth in MLS with 14 goals in 2008.
Like San Jose, New York has done all of its scoring at home, where it is 1-1-1.