While the San Jose Earthquakes don't have an SBnation team-specific blog as of yet, they have been getting coverage from the SBnation Bay Area hub's Nicolas Kranz, who I asked a couple of questions - actually three - in preparation for the game tomorrow. His answers to my questions are below in regards to the Earthquakes, you can see what I said about the Colorado Rapids, including some of the worst grammatical errors I've ever made in print (never typing my answers into an email without proofreading again!) by going to the Bay Area hub here.1. San Jose's team at first glance is pretty much just the Wondolowski show. Obviously there are some pretty good guys on the team when it comes to feeding him the ball, are there any other pure scorers like CW to look for on the Quakes?
A. To be honest, it's been tough finding any consistency outside of Wondo. Frank Yallop has tried just about everybody as a second striker (Cornell Glenn, Ryan Johnson, Scott Sealy) but none of them have been successful. Eduardo was supposed to be the guy, but constant injuries have really prevented him from making any kind of impact.
They brought in Geovanni as a designated player with the problems at striker specifically in mind, and while he's shown flashes and could easily have more goals than his current tally (just 1) he hasn't had the constant, dangerous presence everybody hoped he would, and has struggled with endurance. He still has the individual talent to pull something fancy out of nowhere, but without a little more support from the midfield to take the pressure off he's unlikely to be the difference maker.
2. How exciting is it to have your team in the playoffs only a couple of years after being re-expanded after the Houston incident?
A. It's been a fun ride, and it's great that the Quakes are somewhat relevant for the first time since Landon Donovan. It has been a slow road back since the 'original' Quakes left town and the team isn't getting a ton of attention, but the club is definitely taking strides in the right direction. Having a partnership with a successful team like Tottenham has sparked some fan interest, and making a surprisingly splash with a designated player also built some buzz. With a new stadium opening in time for the 2012 season the current ownership seems to be making all the right moves to keep the Earthquakes relevant and profitable. Hopefully this year's unexpected success helps accelerate those plans.
Watching the team throughout the year, I was never really convinced that they would necessarily make the playoffs, let alone upset the Red Bulls. But just about anything can happen over one or two games, so you never know...
3. If the Quakes defeat the Rapids and make the final - if that happens I'll be rooting for them over the "Western conference" winner, by the way - who would you rather meet there, FC Dallas or the LA Galaxy? Which team could the Quakes unique set of skills better face?
A. The Galaxy scare me just a little more I think. San Jose actually earned four points against L.A. this year, but they were extremely fortunate to do so. In both games San Jose scored early goals and L.A. controlled possession and attacked for the full 90 minutes. Jon Busch was peppered with shot after shot and it was a minor miracle that both games ended without L.A. scoring a bucket full of goals. San Jose's midfield doesn't match up well at all with the Galaxy and it would take another herculean effort from Busch and the back line to get a win (or make it to PKs) and I don't want to put that kind of pressure on them.
Dallas isn't a much better matchup - the simple fact is that these teams (Colorado included) are all more talented and/or more cohesive. But I'd give San Jose a better chance of holding Dallas to a clean sheet, and once the game is into overtime and PKs anything can happen.