While Austin FC work on ending their inaugural season with a flourish, the San Jose Earthquakes are trying to rediscover the form that created a two-month unbeaten streak.
The Western Conference foes will meet for the second time ever Saturday in Austin, Texas.
Austin FC (5-15-4, 19 points) have recorded points in five of 11 home games this season (three wins, two ties), the most recent coming Aug. 21 with a 3-1 victory over the Portland Timbers. Since then, though, the club has lost four consecutive games, getting outscored 12-5 in that stretch.
The most recent defeat came in a 2-1 decision at home Wednesday to Los Angeles FC. Diego Fagundez tied it with a goal in the 67th minute, but LAFC's Danny Musovski split the center of the defense to score in the 81st minute.
Playing their third game in eight days, Austin FC have both the Earthquakes and their own fitness to consider.
"We'll always need freshness," Austin coach Josh Wolff said. "We'll take a look at San Jose in a little bit more detail ... and try to come up with a good strategy, and obviously good personnel, that can grab a result."
Like Austin, the Quakes also are winless this month, with an 0-2-1 mark that includes Wednesday's wild 4-3 loss at home to Real Salt Lake. San Jose midfielder Javier Eduardo Lopez scored all three goals in the loss and now has eight on the season.
San Jose (6-9-9, 27 points) is looking to push itself back into the playoff chase, entering the weekend six points below the playoff line. Prior to the Earthquakes' 10-game unbeaten run throughout July and August, they played to a scoreless tie at Austin on June 19.
Having to get back on track in a road game won't be so intimidating for the Earthquakes, who have recorded 15 of their 27 points away from the Bay Area. San Jose also is on a seven-game road unbeaten run (2-0-5), not absorbing a defeat away from home since a 5-0 decision June 22 at Orlando City.
"My only thoughts are in the 10 matches that are left. I really want to make it to the playoffs," said Lopez, who is on loan this season from Liga MX side Guadalajara. "I wish it were Saturday already. ... I want to play and get the three points that we need, and that is where my thoughts are."
--Field Level Media