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San Jose Earthquakes at Colorado Rapids, 6:30 p.m. PT (FSC / Fox Deportes)The teams split a pair of tight 1-0 decisions during the regular season. On May 1, a Chris Wondolowski goal gave San Jose the win at Buck Shaw Stadium. An own goal gave the Rapids the victory on Aug. 7 in Commerce City.
Each of the past two seasons, the team with the worst record entering the MLS Cup Playoffs has reached the final: the New York Red Bulls in 2008, and Real Salt Lake a year ago. The Earthquakes are looking to make it three in a row.
Chris Wondolowski had scored the last 10 goals the Earthquakes had netted – until Bobby Convey’s two goals put San Jose ahead on aggregate. But after Juan Pablo Angel equalized, Wondolowski rose to score his first career postseason goal.
The Rapids strike pair of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings combined for 27 goals and nine assists in the regular season, directly involved in 30 of Colorado’s 44 total goals for the campaign. They’ve done it again in the postseason, with Cummings assisting on both goals (the second scored by Casey).
The Rapids are one step away from MLS Cup for the fifth time in club history, having reached the final once (a 2-1 loss to D.C. United in 1997). They lost in back-to-back conference championship in 2005 (Los Angeles) and 2006 (Houston); they also lost to L.A. in the 2002 semifinals.
The Earthquakes have reached the semifinals twice previously – and gone on to win MLS Cup on both occasions. In 2001, they defeated Miami in the semifinals before defeating Los Angeles in MLS Cup. In 2003, they knocked off Kansas City in the Western Conference Championship before defeating Chicago in MLS Cup.
To reach the final, the Earthquakes will have to win on the road yet again; in the regular season, they had a 6-5-4 mark away from Santa Clara, third-best in MLS.
The Rapids lost just twice at home, third-fewest home losses in the league (behind RSL, 0, and FC Dallas, 1). Their first leg win vs. Columbus snapped a three-game home winless streak in the postseason, including the 2005 Western Conference Championship.