Earthquakes versus Toronto FC preview

Sam Cronin - one of three players on the current Quakes squad with Toronto ties - Maciek Gudrymowicz | Center Line Soccer

It looks like a good weekend to catch Toronto FC after a midweek defeat and the absence of their ace midfielder Michael Bradley and Brazilian goal keeper Julio Cesar - do the Quakes have enough depth to continue their good fortune in Toronto?

The San Jose Earthquakes (4-4-4, 16 points) will be looking to capitalize on the rapid turn around that Toronto FC (5-4-1, 16 points)  will face after their 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Impact on Wednesday. This will be the only time these two teams meet in the 2014 MLS campaign.  Kickoff at 1 PM PDT from BMO Field on CSNCA, 1370 KZSF and 1590 KLIV.

The Quakes catch Toronto on the road while their star midfielder Michael Bradley, and Brazilian Julio Cesar are preparing for the 2014 World Cup. That said, their acquisition this week of speedy winger Dominic Oduro, will keep the Quakes on their toes, if not on their back foot if he's available to play on Saturday.  Also famed for his wild hairstyles, CLS has no information yet on the effect of the change to Canadian styling products on his coiffure. Jermaine Defoe, snubbed by the England World Cup team, remains in Toronto, and with six goals in his first MLS season, will need to be held in check by the Quakes defense.

Despite their impressive lineup of international stars, there's some dismay among the TFC faithful about the style of play employed by their team this season - and I have to admit I do chuckle when I consider the style of manager Ryan Nelsen.  Nelsen was captain of Blackburn Rovers, the majority of time under Sam Allardyce, one of the chief exponents of Route One football.  It'll be interesting to see how Nelsen sets up TFC's game plan, and in all likelihood it won't be pretty, but if it gets you points for the playoffs, then who cares - right?  TFC is just one point adrift of the playoffs, and the team has three or more games in hand on their Eastern Conference rivals.  That said, TFC has never managed to beat the Quakes at home, and the Quakes will be looking to continue that good fortune, despite the absence of Chris Wondolowski and Victor Bernardez, also on national team duty.

As far as lineup, the Earthquakes will probably field a similar squad to the one that beat FC Dallas last weekend - Yannick Djalo is the wild card after he aggravated his hamstring in that game.  If Djalo cannot start, TFC alumnus San Cronin might regain a starting spot in midfield.  One of the more intriguing options available to coach Mark Watson is the Earthquakes first homegrown signing Tommy Thompson, who has to traveled with the team to Toronto. Thompson, has yet to make his professional debut after his arthroscopic knee surgery.  The Quakes have been taking his recovery slowly and surely, but recently took the 19-year-old along on the road trip to Seattle, to show him the ropes of an MLS road trip. Back then, a June debut was predicted.   Quakes fans are eager to see what the youngster can do - might this be the week?

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