Sporting KC discovered something last Sunday that most of MLS already knew: It's really difficult to beat the Earthquakes in San Jose.
The Earthquakes are now 4-0-1 at home this season, and have only three losses in 22 home matches since opening Avaya Stadium last year. San Jose has proven it can defend its home turf as well as anyone in MLS.
The challenge for San Jose now is to take a cue from its teal, hockey-playing neighbors and find a way to start getting wins on the road.
There's no way to sugarcoat it: The Quakes have been tough to watch when they've left home this season. Both LA and Portland sent San Jose away with 3-1 losses, and a potential road win in Dallas was dashed by a Victor Bernardez own goal.
It's not going to get any easier this weekend when the Quakes cross the country to play Philadelphia on Saturday. The Union, much like the Quakes, have been tough at home (3-0-0) and shaky on the road (1-3-0) this season.
After the game in Philadelphia, it's on to Seattle for another tough road test. The Sounders have not played particularly well so far this year, but wins at CenturyLink Field are always tough to come by.
The Western Conference is loaded this season, and if the Quakes want to make the playoffs, they need to find a way to win away. Despite their 4-2-2 record, the Quakes are still only in 5th place.
[RELATED: MLS standings]
Six points over the next two weeks is definitely a lofty goal, but if the Quakes find a way to steal a pair of wins on the road, they'll return to San Jose on a three-game winning streak and firmly in contention for one of the top playoff seeds.
BEHIND THE STANDINGS
Before this season started, more than a few people had Colorado pegged as one of the worst teams in MLS. Their 3-1 win over Seattle last Saturday gives the Rapids 16 points in just eight games. There's still plenty of games to play, but it may be time to start taking Colorado seriously.
Vancouver, a preseason favorite, has had a rough start to their season, but they were dominant last week in a 3-0 win over FC Dallas. Their schedule is setting up nicely for them to make a run over the next few weeks.
GOAL OF THE WEEK
Luciano Acosta's first MLS goal was a thing of beauty, as he gave DC United a 2-0 lead late.
SAVE OF THE WEEK
Not just a great save by Quakes goalkeeper David Bingham, but an important one too, in an eventual 1-0 win.
GAMES TO WATCH
As previously discussed, the Quakes hit the road to play the Philadelphia Union this Saturday at 1pm. San Jose is 4-3-1 all-time against Philly. Chris Wondolowski is looking to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games.
Two teams heading in opposite directions meet Wednesday night as Vancouver hosts Sporting KC. KC's loss to the Quakes last week was their third straight. Despite their recent struggles, they're still solid defensively, so it will be interesting to see if the Whitecaps three-goal performance last week was an aberration or a sign of things to come.