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Toronto FC vs San Jose Earthquakes: What to watch for

I Wondo who TFC need to look out for...

MLS: Colorado Rapids at San Jose Earthquakes John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

With Toronto FC back at home this weekend, the BMO Field faithful have a chance to see a less familiar foe, with the San Jose Earthquakes in town. As the Reds continue to build on their push for the Shield, their opponents are in the middle of a tooth-and-nail dogfight for the last playoff spots in the Western Conference.

These teams met once last season, and TFC fell 2–1 in California. As the Reds look to carry on their good form uninterrupted after the international break here's what to watch for tonight.

1. Stop Wondo

The Quakes are far from the most potent team in MLS, currently second-to-last in the Western Conference on 31 goals. More than a third of those have come off the foot (or head) of Chris Wondolowski, who leads the team in both goals (11) and assists (5).

Unfortunately for TFC, Wondolowski has a history of giving the Reds problems. As John Molinaro pointed out, he's scored eight times in nine games against Toronto. He's not unstoppable, though.

At 34 years old, Wondo’s not the quickest player anymore. TFC’s defenders — Chris Mavinga especially — should be able to close down on him with their pace at the back. They've done it to arguably more talented forwards like David Villa; they're certainly capable of controlling Wondolowski.

2. Defend the fortress

The Earthquakes are not a good road team. Their most recent victory, 3–0 away to LA Galaxy, was their first outside of Avaya Stadium since June 2. They have just three road wins this season, one of which came against Minnesota United.

MLS: New York City FC at Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

TFC are still undefeated at home, and certainly have no intention of giving that up today. BMO Field will be a daunting place to play in the playoffs, and it's likely that any team wishing to get past Toronto will have to get a result on their home turf.

As such, the Reds are tasked with making tonight's game as routine as possible. They've proven their worth time and time again this season, but they'll continue to do so by maintaining their form all the way through September and October.

3. Protect the ball

A lot of teams that come to Toronto are content to sit back and bunker, hoping to pick off an errant pass and launch a counter attack. I'm not quite sure San Jose has the pace for that, though. Their main defensive weapon is an all-around tackling ability.

The Quakes are one of the more aggressive defensive teams in MLS, ranking sixth in the league with 18.9 tackles per game. TFC are pretty good at this anyway, but it's important that they keep the ball moving so their opponents don't have a chance to close down the space on them.