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Critical three game stretch starts Wednesday for San Jose Earthquakes


The first match of a three-game road trip begins today for the San Jose Earthquakes. It will entail 9,070 miles traveled, 21.5 hours of time in the air, all in the span of ten days, the first of which is today, in New England at Gillette Stadium against the Revolution, which you can catch on KNBR 1050.

San Jose enters this match with 2 wins 2 losses and 2 ties, 8 points earned on the season, and a current standing of 5th place in the Western Conference.  They are coming off of a two game home stand in which both games they had the better performance, but were only able to walk away with 2 points, getting both points on late equalizing goals.

Against Seattle, it came from from the captain, Chris Wondolowski, in the 90th minute, and against FC Dallas, it was Jahmir Hyka breaking through in the 94th minute. But the team could’ve walked away with four or six points from the two matches. One would think this could be attributed to the Quakes anemic offense that kept the team towards the bottom of the table last season, but this squad has created their fair share of opportunities.

Newcomers Nick Lima, Marco Urena, and Jahmir Hyka have all helped on the offensive side, and there has been much better possession and flow from San Jose, but that hasn’t led to more goals, which is the crux of the issue. If the Quakes are going to get more than three points from this road trip (the bare minimum if they want to stay afloat, in my opinion), they’ll need to get more than 1 goal per match, which they haven’t done since the second game (and win) of the season, a come from behind, 3-2 victory over Vancouver, who after taking a 2-0 lead on San Jose, went down to ten men after a red card, and simply couldn’t hold the lead or the tie, and lost. Since then, San Jose has created, but hasn’t finished enough of their chances to get the win, which makes the past two home ties that much more discouraging. San Jose has put themselves in a position where they need to overachieve on this road trip, but that might not be a bad mentality to have.

For Wednesday, New England is beatable. Although they have weapons like Kei Kamara, their offense has not shown great potency, and while their defense has been solid, all it has ever taken is for Wondolowski to disappear on a back line and to show up on the doorstep on a near post run. But considering the Quakes’ offense has been coming from all over the team (Godoy, Lima, Wondo, Jungwirth, Hyka, Urena), you get the feeling they are not totally dependent on that Wondo goal like they have been in the past, and with the high press they have been running from Wondo and Urena, this team is capable of doing more than the bunker and counter method that so many teams employ on the road in Major League Soccer.

One thing to pay attention to tonight, the weather. Rain is in the forecast. Prediction: 1-1 draw, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Quakes leave town with three points.

Saturday, it’s a matchup against the surprise of the west (so far) in Houston. A revamped roster has them off to a hot start (that has cooled, a bit), and with thunder storms a in the forecast for Houston, I can only imagine what’s going to happen there. I think this is the only one on the trip that looks like a loss. Prediction: 2-1 win for Houston

The following Saturday, it’s in Minnesota against the expansion Minnesota United FC.  This is a match I expect the Quakes to win. Minnesota has a porous defense that has surrendered two times as many goals as any other team in MLS this season, and the Quakes should be able to take advantage. Prediction: 3-1 win for San Jose.

Worst Case Scenario from 3 match road trip: 0 points.

Bare Minimum need to stay afloat: 3 points (3 draws, or 1 win and 2 losses).

Expected outcome: 4 points. A win, a tie, and a loss.

Hey now, SJ: 5 points. A win and 2 draws.

Greedy: 6 points 2 wins and 1 loss.

Cheeky: 7 points 2 wins and a tie

Well lookee what we have here: 9 points, 3 wins.

 

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