With the San Jose Earthquakes and Toronto FC improving defensively, Saturday's matchup at BMO Field could be a low-scoring affair. But after showing a nose for goal in recent meetings, red-hot Chris Wondolowski could give San Jose the edge.
The Earthquakes (5-4-3) have given up three goals during a five-match unbeaten stretch with three draws, including a 1-all tie with Orlando City SC on Sunday.
"You don't want to peak 12 games in. You want to keep improving," defender Clarence Goodson told the league's official website. "The summer is difficult in MLS, with the travel, and we want to continue on this stretch and in this form for as long as possible. It's almost inevitable that there'll be a little drop-off, but we have to make sure that isn't in the next game."
Wondolowski scored on a penalty in the 68th minute to become the ninth player in league history with 100 goals. San Jose was unable to fully capitalize on Orlando's Brek Shea being sent off in the 51st minute, however.
"I'm pretty bummed just getting a tie out of this thing," said Wondolowski, whose seven goals tie him with Seattle's Clint Dempsey for the second-highest total in the league.
Wondolowski has seven goals in his last five meetings with Toronto and he's scored in four of his last five games overall, including each of the last three. He hasn't recorded a goal in four straight MLS matches since a five-game streak March 24-April 21, 2012, a span in which he scored seven.
Toronto (4-5-1) has gone 3-1-1 in its last five with a clean sheet in each victory. The club surrendered 11 goals in its first five contests.
Toronto has played at home only twice, losing to Houston and defeating Portland 1-0 last Saturday. Toronto's first seven matches came on the road during the first phase of renovations to BMO Field.
The Reds lost a Thursday exhibition 1-0 to Manchester City, giving up an 85th-minute goal. Coach Greg Vanney limited many of his top players' minutes in an effort to keep his club close to full strength.
Sebastian Giovinco, who has a team high-tying five goals along with a team-best four assists and has played all 10 matches, was held to 30 minutes. Fellow starters Michael Bradley, Benoit Cheyrou, Justin Morrow and Ashtone Morgan only appeared in the first half.
Goalkeeper Joe Bendik played for the first time since April 26 after being sidelined with a foot injury.
"I thought it was a good match," Vanney told MLS' official website. "We got out of it healthy and we kept everybody to the amount of minutes we wanted to keep them to. I thought we had a good showing for ourselves. That was key."
San Jose has gone 3-1-2 in the last six meetings, though Toronto took the last matchup 1-0 on June 7 for its first home win in the series.