What you need to know for Saturday’s Western Conference clash between the Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake
1) Reinforcements arrive, but injuries persist
The San Jose Earthquakes were without several key members in last weekend’s scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City. Forward Marco Urena was out with a disciplinary suspension, and I would expect him to be back in the starting lineup. Similarly, Darwin Ceren was out against Sporting KC due to a red card suspension from a second yellow in Portland, and I would imagine he’ll be back at his usual defensive midfielder position. Unfortunately, center backer Florian Jungwirth will once again be out of the lineup, still recovering from the ankle injury he suffered in San Jose’s Open Cup win over the Deltas.
2) Jackson Yueill looks legit
One reason I think Darwin Ceren might not be back in at midfield tomorrow could have to do with two very strong performances from Quakes rookie Jackson Yueill, a box to box midfielder out of UCLA drafted 6th overall by San Jose in the 2017 MLS Super Draft. On nearly his first touch as a professional in San Jose’s Open Cup win over the Deltas, Yueill quickly found the back of the net to give San Jose an early and insurmountable lead. He performed very strongly just days later when he subbed in against Sporting Kansas City, finding passing lanes, looking calm, creative, and most importantly, like a player that belonged on the pitch. The rookie could very well find himself in the starting XI for San Jose against Real Salt Lake.
3) The playoff push begins now
The Western Conference is a very crowded place right now, with Vancouver, in 6th, San Jose, 7th, and Seattle, 8th, all having 20 points on the table. The Quakes know they need a big three points at home against a fellow Western Team, and they know that their front office has invested in them for the remainder of the season by way of making a big designated player signing this past Thursday in Georgian National Team attacking midfielder Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili. Vako won’t be available until some time into July, but if the Quakes can get three points against RSL, and another three in the Clasico at Stanford against the Galaxy in front of 50k + on July 1, they’ll have given themselves a considerable amount of momentum to welcome Vako when he is ready.
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