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While the San Jose Earthquakes eye their longest MLS winning streak in 14 years, the Columbus Crew are playing some of their best soccer of 2019.
Also hoping to continue their recent home dominance, the 'Quakes look for a fifth straight victory while trying to keep the visiting Crew from a season-high third consecutive win Saturday night.
San Jose (11-7-4) owns a 10-3 scoring advantage during a four-game league winning streak that is the club's longest since 2015. The 'Quakes last won five in a row during a six-game run in 2005.
They also extended their unbeaten home stretch to nine games (8-0-1) with a 3-1 victory over Colorado last Saturday.
Vako (seven goals) scored in a third straight game and Shea Salinas recorded his sixth of the season for San Jose, which comes out of the All-Star break tied for third in the Western Conference and one point behind second-place Seattle.
"We just want to keep climbing," Salinas told the Earthquakes' official website. "We just want to keep catching teams in front of us. We don't even really think about the teams behind us."
San Jose added some depth this week with the recent acquisition of Argentine striker Andres Rios. It's uncertain if he'll see any time against Columbus (7-14-3), which still has some work to do in order to move over the playoff line in the East. The Crew, however, has won two in a row following an 0-8-2 stretch that was part of an overall 1-13-2 rut.
After winning 2-1 over Montreal at home on July 20, the Crew got two goals from Pedro Santos, including the go-ahead strike in the 84th minute, to win 3-2 at the New York Red Bulls last weekend.
Luis Argudo also had a goal with an assist for Columbus, which scored more than two goals in a game for just the second time during the 2019 season.
"I think we had a fantastic game (at New York)," Santos, tied for the team lead with seven goals, told the Crew's official website. "Of course, we need to be better. But, if we keep up with (that) performance and keep fighting like we did, we can start again and look toward the (last) 10 games as a new opportunity to make a run towards the playoffs."
Santos had an assist in last season's 2-1 home win over the 'Quakes. The Crew, however, are 0-3-3 at San Jose since last winning there in August 2009.
Updated August 1, 2019