If there was an MLS award for the most wildly unpredictable team in 2020, the San Jose Earthquakes would undoubtedly take the prize.
After going winless in their first eight matches following the MLS is Back Tournament, being outscored 28-7 with four losses by at least four goals, the Earthquakes have won four of their past five to climb out of the Western Conference cellar and into playoff position. They'll look to continue that upward trend Sunday night when they host the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders, who entered the weekend tied for first place in the West.
The Earthquakes (6-7-5, 23 points) moved into seventh place in the conference with a 4-0 victory Wednesday at the Los Angeles Galaxy, as Nick Lima scored twice.
"I'm the same as when we were losing. ... Today's difference from those days is that I'm really happy," Earthquakes coach Matias Almeyda said. "But the happiness only lasts until tomorrow. We are going game after game. The only thing that interests me is that after our negative situation, we stuck to our game, doubled down and got out of that place."
The Earthquakes hit bottom Sept. 10 at Seattle, when the Sounders scored a league-record five goals in the opening 33 minutes en route to a 7-1 victory.
The Sounders (9-4-3, 30 points) had a three-match winning streak snapped last weekend with a 3-1 loss at Los Angeles FC.
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer offered that the Earthquakes have "at least seven reasons to try and kick out butts."
"A lot of people wrote them off," Schmetzer said. "A lot of people were saying they're done, Almeyda was done. ... They took some brutal results, I totally get it. But when you -- as a coach -- after a run of results like they had, were able to keep the ship steered, you're still going ahead, it's almost more impressive that he could keep that group together."
The Sounders haven't lost to San Jose in their past 11 matches (6-0-5) dating to 2015.
--Field Level Media