MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, August 22 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 

Match Odds: DC United 4/5 – Draw 5/2 – San Jose Earthquakes 7/2

Match Preview

DC United face San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night as the away side look to build on Wednesday night’s shock 5-0 win away at Sporting KC with a victory at the Supporters’ Shield leaders.

DC still top the MLS standings after 24 weeks and look on track to lift a first Supporters’ Shield since 2007. They are one point in front of LA Galaxy with eight games to play and need to keep winning as many games as possible to stay top of the pile.

A disappointing 3-1 loss at NYCFC last weekend ended a three-game win streak and a return to home comforts should see them restore celebration as they have won each of their last three league games at RFK Stadium.

They beat Panamanian side Arabe Unido 1-0 on Wednesday night in the Champions League and are rightly favourites for this one.

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San Jose went into their double gameweek looking like a side in trouble. Few would have predicted them getting anything from away trips to Sporting Kansas City and DC United but Wednesday night’s 5-0 win at Sporting Park stunned the nation.

That victory followed a 1-0 win over Colorado and they will now look to win a third-straight game for the first time this season.

They are now just three points behind Seattle in the hunt for the last remaining playoff spot with ten games to play and have plenty to play for.

The Quakes have all three games in which they have played away at Eastern Conference opposition this season so winning at DC will be a real test, even after their midweek success.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

DC won last season’s meeting 2-1 in San Jose and beat the Earthquakes 1-0 at RFK the year before in a game that ended a three-game losing streak at home to the Quakes.

Team News

DC United are still without Eddie Johnson and Chris Korb, while Fabian Espindola and Nick DeLeon are doubtful but could make the squad. Bill Hamid should return between the sticks along with a host of first-team players who were rested for the midweek CONCACAF Champions League tie with Arabe Unido.

San Jose Earthquakes will be without Innocent Emeghara, Steven Lenhart, Jordan Stewart, Matias Perez-Garcia and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi. Dominic Kinnear could name an unchanged lineup from the team that thumped SKC on Wednesday night.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: L/W/W/W/L

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: L/D/L/W/W

Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes have won three of the last four meetings between the two when DC United have been at home.

Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – The Quakes forward netted twice in the stunning midweek win over Sporting KC, taking his tally with San Jose to 100. He also became the first player in league history to score at least 10 goals in six consecutive seasons and will be a real threat on Saturday evening too.

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Score Prediction

DC United 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes – Expecting San Jose to really challenge DC on Wednesday night after their midweek success. But that game may see them tire towards the end of this clash and DC should edge it by the odd goal.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers 

Venue: Avaya Stadium – Sunday, August 2 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: San Jose Earthquakes 7/5 – Draw 5/2 – Portland Timbers 7/4

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes host Western Conference rivals Portland Timbers on Sunday night as they will be hoping to end a run of four losses on the bounce in MLS.

Having been without star man Chris Wondolowski for the duration of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, San Jose have struggled to cope and need to pick back up quickly to keep playoff hopes alive.

With them now seven points off the playoffs, its a longshot, but in a league where anything can happen, San Jose are still in with a shot.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

San Jose Earthquakes’ 2015 record in MLS: P20 – W7 – D4 – L9

Portland come into the tie with no win in three and have stepped off the gas in recent weeks after an impressive run of form that propelled them into the playoff spots.

After a 1-0 win the reverse fixture last month, Portland will be looking for a repeat of that result to solidify their playoff position as the regular season end draws ever closer.

Portland Timbers’ 2015 record in MLS: P22 – W9 – D5 – L8

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Team News

San Jose Earthquakes are without Innocent Emeghara, Steven Lenhart and Mike Fucito through injury. Clarence Goodson is a doubt with a leg injury. Chris Wondolowski returns after Gold Cup duty with the USMNT.

Portland Timbers will be missing Ben Zemanski who is still out with a serious knee injury. Fanendo Adi could return to the starting lineup after being benched in the 4-1 loss to Dallas.

Key Points

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: W/L/L/L/L

Portland Timbers’ last five: W/W/L/D/L

Key Stat: Portland have won the last three meetings in MLS between the two sides.

Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – ‘Wondo’ is back and extremely influential to the Earthquakes. Especially considering he has a total of nine goals so far this term.

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Score Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 Portland Timbers – Both sides are without a win in three and we expect a tight game which neither will want to lose. Score draw seems most likely.

MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: StubHub Center – Friday, July 17 – 23:00 ET (04:00 BST)

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 4/9 – Draw 16/5 – San Jose Earthquakes 11/2

Match Preview

LA Galaxy face the San Jose Earthquakes in the third Californian Clasico in less than three weeks at StubHub Center on Friday night in a game that should see Steven Gerrard make his MLS debut.

All eyes will be on Gerrard as he plays his first game in Major League Soccer but the former Liverpool captain will be focused on trying to seal all three points to move LA into top spot in the Western Conference for at least a few hours.

A Galaxy win would see them move onto 34 points, just one behind Supporters’ Shield leaders DC United so this is a crucial game for last year’s MLS Cup winners.

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The fact that it’s against their fiercest rivals in MLS will only intensify pressure and the home crowd will be desperate for revenge following their 3-1 defeat to San Jose in the reverse league fixture at the end of June.

LA did beat San Jose 1-0 in the US Open Cup a few days after that defeat but it’s results in MLS that mean most to fans. The loss to San Jose was their only league defeat in their last five and they’ve won their last three at home, scoring 14 and conceding just one.

The Earthquakes will have a tough task winning at StubHub Center as they haven’t done so since 2012 and come into the game off back-to-back losses to Portland and Houston without scoring a goal.

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Steven Gerrard has played 90 minutes over two games so far for the Galaxy but Friday night will see him make his MLS debut in front of his own fans and it’s tough to see San Jose spoiling the party.

Team News

Brian Perk is out for the season but is LA’s only injury concern heading into this one. But Jaime Penedo, Omar Gonzalez, Gyasi Zardes and Alan Gordon are all away at the Gold Cup as is new signing Giovani Dos Santos so none of those will feature here.

San Jose boss Dominic Kinnear is still without Innocent Emeghara and Steven Lenhart. More worryingly, Chris Wondolowski and Cordell Cato, who both scored in the 3-1 win over the Galaxy last month, are away at the Gold Cup with the USA and Trinidad and Tobago respectively.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five in MLS: D/W/W/L/W

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five in MLS: D/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have scored at least four goals in their last three home matches in MLS, conceding just once.

Key Player: Steven Gerrard – Impossible to overlook the midfield enforcer as he will be desperate to start his MLS career with a victory against the Galaxy’s fierce rivals.

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Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes – Both sides missing players but the Galaxy to get revenge for last month’s loss with a win by the same scoreline. Expect Gerrard to be involved with plenty of positive play going forward.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competitions: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, July 5 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports)

Match Odds: Portland 8/15 – Draw 16/5 – San Jose 5/1

Match Preview

Portland Timbers take on Western Conference rivals San Jose Earthquakes for the first time this season when the two meet on Sunday night.

Both sides are coming into the game after midweek disappointment as both were eliminated from the US Open Cup on Wednesday night.

Portland fell 2-0 to Real Salt Lake but will be looking back at their 4-1 Cascadia Cup win over Seattle Sounders last week for inspiration ahead of this one.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Caleb Porter’s team have won five of their last six MLS games and are now just four points off top spot in the West.

San Jose are also looking strong as they have won their last two games, including a special 3-1 victory over fierce rivals LA Galaxy in last week’s Californian Clasico.

Dominic Kinnear has his side looking solid and they are just one point off the playoff places in a very competitive Western Conference.

Their last away trip saw them win 2-0 in Seattle so they will be hoping for another successful journey to the North West as they look to win in Portland for the first time.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

The two sides met three times last year, with Portland winning twice and the sides playing out a 3-3 draw.

Team News

Portland have two injury worries coming into this one. Ben Zemanski is still out, while Dairon Asprilla is a doubt with an ankle sprain.

San Jose Earthquakes will be without Sanna Nyassi as the winger is suspended, while Innocent Emeghara and Steven Lenhart are both still injured. Chris Wondolowski is with the USMNT ahead of the Gold Cup and his absence could be critical.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ last five in MLS: W/WW/L/W

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five in MLS: D/L/D/W/W

Key Stat: San Jose have never won away at Portland. The Timbers have won three and drawn three of the six previous meetings.

Key Player: Matias Perez Garcia – The Quakes playmaker has been exceptional recently. He has one goal and three assists in his last two MLS games and will need to be at his best if San Jose are to have any chance of winning here.Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes – The Timbers look very strong at the moment, particularly at home, and should be too good for the Quakes this weekend. Chris Wondolowski’s absence will hurt San Jose. Home win.

Where would the San Jose Earthquakes be without Chris Wondolowski?

By Drew Farmer – Twitter: @Calciofarmer

In Chris Wondolowski’s first five Major League Soccer seasons, the San Jose Earthquakes’ striker tallied a combined seven league goals. In the five seasons that came next, Wondolowski notched 86, including 27 goals in 32 games during the 2012 campaign.

This season, the former fourth round MLS Supplemental Draft pick has been on fire, scoring eight goals in 13 appearances for the ‘Quakes. Second in MLS in scoring, Wondolowski has contributed 57% of the team’s goals. The remainder of San Jose’s 14 strikes have been spread across six different players, each with one goal.

So where would San Jose be without Chris Wondolowski?

Right now the Earthquakes are just outside the last playoff place in the highly competitive Western Conference. After a mediocre opening month to the season, San Jose have been solid since the beginning of May. Two wins, three draws and a loss currently place the Earthquakes fifth in the MLS overall form table.

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During their current run, Wondolowski has been in brilliant form, bagging five of his eight goals. In that time, the former Houston Dynamo striker has scored from all areas, including four goals from open play, three penalties and one set piece, according to Whoscored.com.

His last two goals have come from the penalty spot as the club’s attack produced few chances in front of goal. Worryingly San Jose have shown an inability to score when Wondolowski can’t find the back of the net.

One move that has paid off for Dominic Kinnear’s ‘Quakes has been Wondolowski’s move to midfield. In an attempt to get their best players on the pitch this season, Wondolowski leading by example, moved positions. In eight matches, the San Jose captain has scored five times from the centre of midfield.

On May 24, Wondolowski became the ninth MLS player to score his 100th MLS goal. His ability to reach the century-mark was proof that sticking with a player with potential can pay off. Too often in the current MLS climate, teams trade and disregard young American or Canadian players based on a run of bad form.

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Wondolowski benefitted from mid-2000s MLS and teams hanging on to hardworking players. That time allowed him to learn to be one of the best strikers in the North American game.

Though he is a former two-time MLS Cup winner with Houston in 2007 and 2008, Wondolowski tallied a total of two goals over those cup winning seasons. Currently with a “small market team”, Wondolowski’s chances of adding to his trophy collection could be limited.

Despite the Earthquakes winning the 2012 Supporters’ Shield thanks to a team built on graft and teamwork, San Jose were no match for the more glamorous MLS teams in the playoffs.

While San Jose may be an outsider to win an MLS Cup this year or next, Wondolowski would be an obvious upgrade for many of the teams around the league.

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However, it would take an extremely ambitious general manager and/or owner to pull off such a move. A move that could deplete a team for the long-term to obtain short-term rewards. And as most know, MLS teams try to build for the long-term. In regards to salary, Wondolowski was guaranteed $650,000 in 2014 – a Designated Player contract that several teams in MLS could take on.

With San Jose knocking on the door for a playoff place, San Jose will continue to covet their prized jewel, which, for San Jose supporters is just fine. A fan mutiny at the newly opened Avaya Stadium could ensue if Wondolowski were to be traded.

And losing their best player is the last thing the ‘Quakes want to happen at the house that Wondolowski built.

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that has written for Forza Italian Football and World Soccer Talk. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, English football and USA soccer.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes 

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, May 30 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 1)

Match Odds: Toronto 8/11 – Draw 5/2 – San Jose Earthquakes 4/1

Match Preview

Toronto FC entertain San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening, live on Sky Sports 1 as two of the most inform MLS players are on show.

Toronto come into this one with just one loss in their last five. They beat Portland Timbers 1-0 last weekend and are sitting 5th in the Eastern Conference.

Sebastian Giovinco has been in brilliant form since his move to MLS, scoring five in ten games and he has quickly become a fan favourite.

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Greg Vanney’s side have played just twice at home this season, so their chances of making the playoffs is looking strong given they have already played eight times on the road.

San Jose Earthquakes haven’t lost in their last five games and are looking strong in a very competitive Western Conference.

The Quakes have some tough fixtures coming up, against FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy, so picking up points here is a must.

Chris Wondolowski has been in sensational form this season. He netted his 100th MLS regular season goal last weekend and he has seven in 12 games so far this season.

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Team News

Toronto have six injury concerns. Jozy Altidore, Clement Simonin, Collen Warner, Steven Caldwell, Robbie Findley and goalkeeper Joe Bendik are all set to miss out.

San Jose Earthquakes have five injuries. Innocent Emeghara, Mark Sherrod, Steven Lenhart, Shaun Francis and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi look to be unavailable.

Key Points

Toronto’s last five: W/W/L/D/W

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: D/W/D/W/D

Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes have failed to win in 17 of their last 19 games on the road in MLS.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – the Italian is in fine form and he will be keen to score in front of his adoring fans.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes – The two sides locked in a tight game with the Giovinco and Wondolowski to score once again.

Wondolowski’s 100th goal will ‘slowly sink in’ and praises Kinnear

Chris Wondolowski netted his 100th MLS regular season goal this weekend from the penalty spot against Orlando City.

Celebrations were subdued as San Jose Earthquakes were behind at the time and Wondo is happy that his goal earned Quakes a share of the spoils and is pleased with the historical value of the goal.

“It’s good to come back and get a point, but it’s a bit frustrating,” he is quoted by saying by MLSsoccer.com. “I’m very grateful, I know the historic value [of the goal], but it’s one of those things that will slowly sink in; it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

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The Quakes talisman praised his manager and thinks Dominic Kinnear is one of the best coaches in the league.

“He drafted me and gave me a chance. He gave me an opportunity, and I’ve learned from him. I’m grateful to be playing for him again; he’s one of the best coaches in this league.”

The 32-year-old goal-machine is delighted at netting his 100th as a fan of the club and he now sits second in the Major League Soccer scorers this season.

“It’s a bit surreal,” he said. “Right now, it’s fun. I enjoy going out there and whatever happens, happens.

“I grew up a fan of this club, so to be able do it for my hometown team in front of my friends and family is pretty cool. I got to give my dad a hug after, and he had tears in his eyes. He was my first coach and has helped me along the way. That’s what makes it special.”

We can expect Wondo to continue causing defenders problems and remain grounded as he will do what he does best, poach goals.

MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Orlando City

Venue: Levi’s Stadium – Sunday, May 24 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: San Jose 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Orlando 12/5

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes take on Orlando City in the final game of this weekend late on Sunday with both sides looking to build on impressive wins last time out.

The Earthquakes beat Columbus Crew 2-0 in front of their own fans at Avaya Stadium to move up to fifth in the Western Conference last weekend and will hope to extend their unbeaten streak to five this weekend.

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Orlando City are also fifth, over in the Eastern Conference, and last weekend’s 4-0 win over the LA Galaxy sent a message across the league so they will be hoping to build on that.

San Jose will not be taking this game lightly though, and Chris Wondolowski will be hoping to net his 100th goal in the game in front of a nationwide audience on Sunday night.

Orlando may have won their first home game of the campaign last week but they have still picked up more points on the road in their inaugural MLS season.

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They have only won one of their last five games but that huge win last week will have injected an enormous amount of confidence into the side.

Team News

San Jose Earthquakes will be without striker Innocent Emeghara for the long-term, while Mark Sherrod, Steven Lenhart, Shaun Francis and Jean Baptiste-Pierazzi are all doubts.

Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath still has a few injury worries as Pedro Ribeiro and Kevin Molino remain sidelined, while Lewis Neal, Tony Cascio and Aurelien Collin remain doubts. Tally Hall and Martin Paterson both made their first appearances for the club last week and will be pushing for starts.

Key Points

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: L/D/W/D/W

Orlando City’s last five: L/L/D/L/W

Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes have recorded the lowest average possession statistic in MLS this season with 45.1%. Orlando have the third-highest record with 52.6%.

Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – All eyes will be on Wondo this weekend as he looks to score his 100th MLS regular season goal against the Lions. He will become just the ninth player to do so if he can grab a goal here.

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Score Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes 2-2 Orlando City – Expecting goals in this one but neither side looks likely to win it. Orlando will be buoyed from their result last week and should avoid defeat but the Quakes have been really solid of late so a tie could be the outcome here.

STATS: Who is the most prolific striker in MLS?

With the 2015 MLS season well underway, it’s a great time to look at the top goalscorers in the league and just how prolific they really are.

Using statistics from Squawka, we take a look at the strikers who have scored five or more goals so far this term, and how their conversion rates compare:

Striker Goals Scored Total Shots Conversion Rate (%)
Clint Dempsey 7 18 39
Kei Kamara 7 43 16
Obafemi Martins 6 16 38
Octavio Rivero 6 43 14
Chris Wondolowski 6 34 18
Giles Barnes 6 38 16
Bradley Wright-Phillips 5 31 16
Jozy Altidore 5 16 31
Blas Perez 5 13 38

According to the statistics above, Clint Dempsey is the most prolific striker out of the pack as he has a conversion rate 39%.

There is a clear advantage with the Seattle Sounders going forward as both their forwards register conversion rates over 35% – further proof that Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are an incredible strike force.

However, notice must be taken of how prolific Blas Perez has been for FC Dallas (38% conversion rate) as has Jozy Altidore on his return to MLS (31% conversion rate).

Who do you think has been the best striker in MLS this season?

MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Avaya Stadium – Saturday, May 16th – 10:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: San Jose Earthquakes 8/5 – Draw 11/5 – Columbus Crew 7/4

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes entertain Columbus Crew on Saturday evening as they look to build upon a three-game unbeaten streak. The Crew have won three of their last four, so both sides are looking strong heading into this tie.

Dominic Kinnear’s side picked up a point last weekend away at Colorado Rapids and he will be looking for his side to make home advantage count in this, the first of two home games on the bounce.

The Quakes have lost four games so far this season and are sitting fourth in the Western Conference. They are one of four sides on 14 points so they cannot afford to fall behind the pace in the chase for a playoff spot.

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Chris Wondolowski has five goals this season, contributing to half of his side’s overall tally of ten. He will be hoping for his teammates to start hitting form as Adam Jahn and Sanna Nyassi have just two goals between them.

Gregg Berhalter’s Crew are also on 14 points over in the Eastern Conference. They picked up an impressive three points at home to Seattle Sounders last weekend so their confidence will be sky-high heading into this one.

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Goals from Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain saw off the Sounders and the two have been in great form so far this season. Kamara is the joint leading scorer on seven from nine appearances this campaign and the Quakes will need to stop service into him to halt his brilliant run of form.

Team News

San Jose Earthquakes have five injury concerns going into the game as Mark Sherrod, Steven Lenhart, Shaun Francis, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and Innocent Emeghara all remain sidelined. The Quakes have no suspensions to note.

Columbus Crew have just the one injury concern to Wil Trapp and Berhalter has no other worries with his squad heading into this one. Hernan Grana has left the team and returned to Argentina so Hector Jimenez is likely to start at right-back again.

Key Points

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: W/L/D/W/D

Columbus Crew’s form: D/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Stalemate – The last four meetings between the sides have all ended in a draw.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – The Crew forward cannot be ignored as the key player for this tie. He boasts the equal best scoring form so far this season and is proving very difficult to stop.

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Score Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes 2-2 Columbus Crew – The sides once again will prove difficult to be separated. Crew haven’t won on the road in five and will be hard pushed to break that trend here as a score draw looks the most likely outcome.