Whitecaps vs Earthquakes Matchup Insight
The Whitecaps journey to the confines of San Jose’s Buck Shaw Stadium, to take on the surging San Jose side that sits second in the Western Conference, one point and two places ahead of Vancouver.
Both teams have a proud defensive philosophy, with the ‘Caps yet to be scored on this year, while the Earthquakes have only allowed opponents to strike once to date. But both teams are also finding it a challenge to score after their mutual bright starts.
In 4 matches this season, San Jose has 5 goals while Vancouver has a paltry 3 tallies.
Can one team break out this Saturday afternoon?
San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose has an excellent forward in Chris Wondolowski , and a creative midfield that will likely cause the ‘Caps significant problems.
The team is led by ex-Canadian international Frank Yallop who played 52 times for his country, and he also coached the national team as well. The San Jose boss is in his second tour with the Earthquakes, with whom he won two MLS Cups from 2001-3.
This team has undergone a significant makeover with a dozen new faces, so expect a stiff contest with so many new opponents still determined to prove themselves.
The ‘Caps are a mere 62 minutes away from breaking the record of the 2007 New York Red Bulls who still hold the longest streak of minutes without allowing a goal to start a season. That total is 421 minutes and Vancouver is less than a match away from setting a new standard.
It is a terrific improvement from a year ago, but it has come somewhat at the expense of goals for in the standings. Martin Rennie needs to find a way to adjust his formation to avoid his Whitecaps team from being shut out for the third straight match.
Part of the scoring dilemma facing Vancouver has been the enforced absences of players like Darren Mattocks, Eric Hassli and Etienne Barbara through injury as well as Atiba Harris who was out with injury (and whose suspension now renders him ineligible this weekend).
Hassli returns for San Jose, but may not be feeling fully fit. Long Tan deserves a look in however, if not only to see what he can do, but as a signal to shake the other players out of their lethargy.
Davide Chiumiento is one player for example who could do with riding the pine for a bit.
He frequently looks to overplay the ball, attempting unsuccessful tricks, while forsaking the direct run and cross.
Unfortunately, all signs at this time point to a difficult match for Van City. The Earthquakes will be a tough outfit to play and Jay DeMerit will have to be at his best leading the line to hold off the tricky San Jose midfield, inspired by Marvin Chavez, who will try to feed Wondolowski as frequently as possible.
The San Jose striker was a Vancouver killer last year, hitting the ‘Caps up three times for goals in their two meetings last season.
My pick: Vancouver will break its duck, but will ultimately go down 2-1 to San Jose.