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Earthquakes-Rapids Preview

By NOEY KUPCHAN

STATS Writer

(AP) -- After an impressive showing at the U.S. Open Cup, the San Jose Earthquakes are hoping to see their momentum carry into league play.

The Colorado Rapids' first game back following the international break didn't go so well.

The Earthquakes try to snap a four-game winless streak in this series Wednesday night in Colorado.

San Jose fell to 1-2-2 over its last five league matches with a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City on May 27, but went on to win both of its games at the U.S. Open Cup.

A week after defeating the second-division Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 in the third round, the Earthquakes beat the Minnesota Stars 1-0 on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in seven years. They'll host three-time defending U.S. Open Cup champion Seattle next Tuesday.

San Jose coach Frank Yallop knows his team will have its hands full given the upcoming grueling slate of games.

"A 10-day span with four games is always tough, but we got through a span like that just recently with some good results," he said. "We look forward to our matches in Colorado and then after that in Salt Lake City (on Saturday) in league play.

"We will make sure the players are comfortable with our plans for the games and take it one game at a time. I feel comfortable with where we are as a team at the moment."

Chris Wondolowski's return should make Yallop feel even more comfortable. The 2010 Golden Boot winner is still tied for the league lead with 11 goals despite missing the last two league matches and U.S. Open Cup play while with the U.S. national team for World Cup qualifying.

San Jose (8-3-3) also will have defender Víctor Bernárdez (sprained left MCL) and midfielder Shea Salinas (shoulder surgery) available for the first time since both were injured during a 2-all draw with New York on April 14. Goalkeeper Jon Busch, though, won't play as he serves a one-game suspension.

The Rapids (6-7-1), meanwhile, suffered their sixth loss in 10 games Saturday, falling 1-0 at Vancouver despite playing with an extra man for the last 30 minutes. Colorado failed to convert several late scoring chances, including two missed shots that bounced off the crossbar and a post.

"You have to put the ball in the back of the net, that's the way it is," coach Oscar Pareja told the league's official website. "That's how you get points. We were not sharp in front of the goal, we hit the post and you can call that unlucky but we have to be more effective."

The Rapids are 2-6-0 on the road during league play but are 4-1-1 on their own field, outscoring opponents 14-6.

Colorado has allowed just two goals while going 3-0-1 in its last four matchups with San Jose.

Updated June 19, 2012

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