Will the Fire be able to end July on a high note? They take
on the Earthquakes in San Jose as hefty underdogs and we've got our soccer pick
We'll start off first with the dogs in Saturday's MLS match,
with the Fire quoted at +345 at 5Dimes.
As for the Earthquakes, they're around the -140 mark, though
more value can be found at the sportsbooks if you shop around.
These teams haven't met yet this season, but last year's two
results finished with a 2-2 draw in Chicago and then a 2-0 win for the
Earthquakes in San Jose. Chris Wondolowski (who else?) scored a goal in each of
Despite their latest setback to Vancouver (Vancouver play Salt Lake Friday), the Earthquakes
remain at the top in the West, five points clear of Real Salt Lake, their only
competition right now.
After RSL, the next closest team is the Whitecaps and
they're 12 points back right now of the conference leaders. San Jose has to
love how things have shaped up in the first five months of the season.
As we mentioned though, the Earthquakes did meet their match
last weekend, losing to Vancouver 2-1.
Alan Gordon scored the only goal for San Jose, who actually
doubled the Whitecaps' shots (18 to nine) and held more possession. In the end,
giving away a second half penalty cost the Earthquakes their shot at least a
No time to drop their heads though, as San Jose now stays at
home, where they've excelled, for two matches in a row, first against the Fire
and then versus the Seattle Sounders.
It's hard to get a good gauge on the Fire as they're one of
the more inconsistent teams out there in Major League Soccer.
After a hard-fought 1-0 win over Vancouver on July 14,
Chicago followed that up with a 1-0 defeat to New York last weekend. Even
though Thierry Henry's goal was special, the Fire fully deserved to lose as
they were outplayed for the most part.
The good news was that, despite losing to the Red Bulls, DC
United also lost over the weekend, meaning the Fire are still just two points
behind DCU for fourth place in the East. They're also just three back of
Houston for third.
Chicago hasn't been terrible away from the Windy City
either, winning three, drawing two and losing five thus far.
Of course, we shouldn't read too much into that considering
they haven't played a team of San Jose's caliber just yet.
The Earthquakes enter Saturday's match having lost just once
in ten home fixtures. They've scored 25 goals and allowed 12 in those games.
They're also on a three-match winning run at Buck Shaw
Stadium, including victories over the L.A. Galaxy (4-3), FC Dallas (2-1) and of
course that 5-0 humiliation of Real Salt Lake a couple weeks back.
We do believe the Fire will show character and fight, in
turn keeping the score relatively close, but at the end of the day San Jose's
firepower could prove to be too much to contain.
Wondolowski, who scored in the MLS All Star game against
Chelsea, has just been unstoppable this season, scoring a league-leading 17
goals. He also has been getting help from Gordon, who has nine goals himself,
and ultimately quality in front of net should be the difference.
San Jose Earthquakes 2 Chicago Fire 1