The road has not been kind to the San Jose Earthquakes dating back to the start of the 2016 season. There have been only two wins away from Avaya Stadium in that time, and getting a third today in Dallas will prove difficult, but not impossible, for San Jose.
5 Things To Know
The Quake’s offense is doing a much better job at creating opportunities, getting shots off in general, and putting shots on goal. They rank 5th in shots taken overall, and 6th in shots on goal, so the chances are there for San Jose, the team needs to do a better job at finding the back of the net. The force that is of Chris Wondoloski, a little slow to start the season, is now making his presence felt, as he has 3 goals in his last 3 matches (including the late equalizer Wednesday night that earned San Jose a point), and has scored or assisted on the team’s last seven goals. He is the only player in MLS right now that has at least 5 goals and 5 assists.
2. Lima Time
Nick Lima made his way back into the starting lineup on Wednesday night, and made his presence known in the form of a wingback at times, fearless in getting forward on the attack, and making things happen. His history as a forward, combined with his nice balls skills and burst(s) of speed make him a dangerous addition to the attack.
3. Tommy Thompson gets the assist
Tommy Thompson made his debut for the San Jose Earthquakes back in 2014, when he could barely vote. Now, he is still a very young player in MLS, but has continued to make strides in his development. He notched his first ever assist in MLS play on Wednesday when he sent a ball in front of the net that Wondo was able to wrangle and bang home. The general feeling has been that once Thompson breaks through in the way of a goal or an assist, that a avalanche of offense would soon follow. Now we get to see if that premonition comes to pass.
4. Undefeated Dallas
Yes, you read that correctly, FC Dallas is undefeated up to this point of the 2017 season. Overall, they have five wins, zero losses, and 4 ties. At home, it’s three wins and two ties so far, and this is not an aberration. They suffered only 1 loss at home in 2016, only 2 loss at home in 2015, and only 4 losses at home in 2014. This team has turned Toyota Stadium into the home fortress that every team in MLS wants their own residence to be.
5. Putting the D in Dallas
When people talk about Dallas it is usually about their academy system, their ability to develop talent, their potent counter attack, and their overall consistency as a team, but perhaps people should be paying more attention to their defense, which has been stellar so far in 2017. For reference, the Quakes, known as a better defensive team, have given up 14 goals in 12 matches. Dallas has given up just 6 goals so far in 2017. They have two very large center backs in the way of Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman who were both early first rd picks in the MLS Super Draft (2012, and 2013, respectively) for Dallas, and have both started earning more notice and time with the USMNT. They anchor a back line that looks for stops and can quickly turn a team on it’s head, linking the chair to the a dangerous midfield, and starting the counter attack that is so effective for Dallas. FC Dallas has the second worst possession in the league. That is not by accident.