The Earthquakes (13-10-5, 44 points) answered that skid with back-to-back wins at home to enter the Wednesday's match with a one-point advantage over fifth-place Real Salt Lake (13-11-4, 43 points) in the congested Western Conference.
San Jose and Real Salt Lake should be rested coming into Rio Tinto Stadium, with both clubs last competing in an MLS match on Aug. 31.
That day, Major League Soccer all-time goal leader Chris Wondolowski recorded a brace as the Earthquakes tallied three times in the first half en route to a 3-0 win over Orlando City.
"Even during the tough times with three losses, we still stuck together," the 36-year-old Wondolowski told reporters. "We still had the belief, and didn't waver from anything. I wish we had a cushion, but it's nice to have big games and see guys step up in important games."
The Earthquakes are attempting to complete a season sweep of Real Salt Lake, after late substitute Danny Hoesen netted the dramatic stoppage-time winner in a 1-0 victory on July 6.
Real Salt Lake rebounded from that setback with a six-match unbeaten streak (4-0-2) before losing two of their next three, including a 1-0 loss at Portland on Aug. 31.
The Utah side returns home, where it has collected at least a point in nine of its last 10 matches (8-1-1) and is 2-0-3 in its last five when San Jose pays a visit.
Real Salt Lake could be without as many as nine players for Wednesday's encounter due to respective call-ups to national teams for various friendlies and World Cup qualifying matches. That list includes some heavy firepower, namely Albert Rusnak (nine goals, five assists) and Corey Baird (four goals, three assists).
"We do have goals in the team," defender Nedum Onuoha said, per the Salt Lake City Tribune. "Obviously we're missing the main, main goal threats. But I'd fancy us to score regardless of whoever's on the field."
Midfielder Damir Kreilach shared a similar view.
"We will miss our important guys on the field," Kreilach said. "But we as a team we have depth in the team. We have a big squad and everyone will be replaced in a good way."
--Field Level Media
Key Players to Watch
Rio Tinto Stadium
Sandy, Utah, USA.
Real Salt Lake
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