Earthquakes look to continue great run against Crew
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The Columbus Crew's modest run of good fortune will be put to the test on Saturday when they visit the MLS's hottest team in the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Crew (7-14-3, 24 points) answered a disastrous 0-8-2 stretch by extending their unbeaten streak to three matches with back-to-back victories.
Nice numbers to be certain, but they pale in comparison to a San Jose side that is attempting to match its longest winning streak since 2005.
The Earthquakes (11-7-4, 37 points) have won four in a row and are a staggering 10-2-4 in their last 16 matches overall.
"We just want to keep climbing. We just want to keep catching teams in front of us. We don't even really think about the teams behind us," said Shea Salinas, who extended his career-best goal total with his sixth in San Jose's 3-1 win over Colorado last Saturday.
Fellow midfielder Valeri "Vako" Qazaishvili demonstrated fancy footwork before finishing with his sixth goal in seven matches for the Earthquakes, who boast an 8-0-1 mark in their last nine home games.
San Jose, which has outscored its foes 23-5 during that stretch, owns a 3-0-3 mark in its last six home matches against Columbus.
The Crew, however, find themselves building momentum after following up a 2-1 win versus Montreal on July 20 with a 3-2 triumph against the New York Red Bulls last Saturday.
"The players deserve all the credit because they are the ones that are out there making the plays," Columbus coach Caleb Porter said. "... I have said it time and again, and you can do the stats -- it comes down to the players making plays, and they are making plays."
One of those players is midfielder Pedro Santos, who pulled level with forward Gyasi Zardes for the team lead in goals (seven) following a brace versus the Red Bulls.
"It is very important for us to maintain our shape because we know we are a strong team," said Santos, who scored in the opening minute of the second half and again with six minutes remaining.
"We know transition will be key and that they keep the ball and press well. We are working for these moments."