The San Jose Earthquakes open their 2015 MLS campaign with a tough Texas test against FC Dallas. The Quakes, who lost only once in 10 games during the preseason, will be looking to snap a 15-game winless streak in regular season play in Frisco, a streak that began last August following San Jose's big 1-0 win at Levi's Stadium against the Seattle Sounders.
Head coach Dominic Kinnear, who has tinkered with his line-up and formation all preseason, will not have his full roster available against FC Dallas, as injuries will limit the availability of defenders Clarence Goodson and Jordan Stewart, but he will welcome back the team's newest Designated Player forward Innocent Emeghara back in to the mix. Emeghara, who suffered an upper body injury in mid February, has trained with the team all week and will be available for selection.
Striker Chris Wondolowski and midfielder Matias Perez Garcia are expected to make big contributions to the Earthquakes efforts in 2015, as the two DPs never really shared enough time on the field in 2014 to show off what they can do together. Wondolowski and Perez Garcia spent more minutes together this preseason than they did all last season -- a hopeful sign for a team that scored a paltry 35 goals in 2014 and is in need of an offensive spark.
"Now the real fun begins and the real test begins," said Wondolowski last weekend after the Quakes won their last preseason game. "It starts on Saturday, so we have to take this. There were a fair amount of positives, and some things we need to continue to iron out and I think we can do that by Saturday."
Newcomers Marvell Wynne and Sanna Nyassi, both selected by San Jose in the MLS Re-Entry draft, have impressed in the preseason and are expected to make significant contributions to the Quakes this year. Second-year midfielder JJ Koval and third-year forward Adam Jahn, heroes of the Earthquakes 3-2 win over the LA Galaxy to close out the preseason, will also have their impact felt in 2015.
"Soccer is a work in progress," said Kinnear on the preseason results and how they helped the Quakes get to this point. "Every game, every minute, every training session. Are we where we want to be? I feel better about going into the season with the results we had."
Between the posts will be David Bingham, who since he joined the Quakes ahead of the 2011 season has seen very few opportunities to start. With longtime goalkeeper Jon Busch no longer on the roster, it will be Bingham that Kinnear calls on to captain the Earthquakes defense, a role the former Cal standout is ready to embrace.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas Starting XI