The San Jose Earthquakes announced earlier today that the team will host Swansea City of the English Premier League on Tuesday, July 31, at Buck Shaw. The match is the last of potentially three summer friendlies the team will play in preparation for their upcoming EPL season. In the first match of their U.S. summer tour, Swansea are set to take on the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on July 24.
“We are very excited to host Swansea City for an international friendly this summer,” said Earthquakes Club President Dave Kaval. “Along with our big match against the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium on June 30, this promises to be a great opportunity for Bay Area soccer fans to see top-notch opponents take on their local club.”
The timing of the match comes at the end of a busy July for the San Jose Earthquakes, and team will look to the game as a way to keep fresh going into a relatively light August schedule. For head coach Frank Yallop, the hope is that the team get in a good effort against the EPL side and that any success gained from the result propels the team forward in their primary pursuit of making the MLS Cup playoffs.
“It’s nice to have some of those non-pressure games,” said Yallop. “I think the Tottenham game came at a nice time when we played them in the middle of our 2010 season. I think playing them gave us confidence because we played them well and had a good result. It is always good to play quality but not necessarily to measure ourselves against other leagues. It is nice to play an opponent that has quality.”
Swansea was promoted to England’s top league to start the 2011-12 campaign, marking the first time a side from Wales had earned the right to play in the Premier League. Bucking the trend most newly promoted teams face in securing an additional year at the top, Swans settled into the middle of the EPL table through a balanced season of results and a style of play that is not always the norm for debutant clubs trying to secure their standing in the league.
“They had a great year and I love the way they play,” said Yallop enthusiastically. “They are a real technical, passing team that I like watching play. They’re trying to change the British style, if you like, playing an attractive style football that so far has worked for them, and it will be good to play against them.”
Referencing a team such as Stoke City as the poster boys for playing with a survivor's mentality of hard-nosed defensive efforts, Yallop was pleased to see Swans succeed in a very unorthodox but entertaining style. A comparison to La Liga’s Barcalona has been made of Swansea by observers of British soccer, and coach Yallop agreed with the compliment.
“They model themselves on that, which is fantastic, which is a good model to have,” said Yallop. “If I’m not mistaken, their possession is as good as the top teams in the Premiership and that is tough in that league.”
The meeting between Swansea City and San Jose will be the first ever. The Earthquakes are 1-0-2 all-time when hosting an EPL club, including a 2-1 win against West Bromwich Albion on July 12, 2011. In addition to their match against club partner Tottenham Hotspur in 2010, the Earthquakes drew 1-1 against Aston Villa at Spartan Stadium on May 13, 1997.