With three weeks remaining in their preseason, the San Jose Earthquakes continue their preparations for their 2018 MLS season opener today with a friendly against their USL affiliate Reno 1868 FC. The match is the first of the season at Avaya Stadium, and it marks the home debut of new head coach Mikael Stahre.
The Quakes played two friendlies already this preseason — a scoreless draw against the Portland Timbers and a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake — on their recently concluded trip to Tuscon, Arizona. Stahre used his entire roster against the Timbers, almost repeating the feat against RSL, as he continues to look for the starting line-up that will face Minnesota United on March 3 in the season opener.
Saturday’s game against Reno could feature three players that played for the USL club last season before earning MLS contracts with San Jose. Defender Jimmy Ockford and midfielders Chris Wehan and Luis Felipe have not yet played with the first team this spring, but all three have contributed during the team’s scrimmages and friendlies. Ockford started his professional career with the Seattle Sounders, while Wehan earned ULS Rookie of the Year honors in 2017. Ockford, Wehan, and Felipe all project as depth signings for the Earthquakes this season.
Stahre is expected to employ a 4-4-2 line-up against Reno — the same formation he has featured heavily this preseason — with new defensive duo Harold Cummings and Yeferson Quintana anchoring the center back positions. Nick Lima, who missed the open scrimmage at Avaya Stadium two weeks ago, and Shea Salinas, the 31-year-old veteran will likely feature at right and left full back respectively.
Quakes captain Chris Wondolowski will get the starting forward responsibility against Reno. The 35-year-old is entering the 2018 MLS season just 11 goals from matching Landon Donovan for the all-time scoring lead. Wondo has been energized this preseason and is hoping to get the year off to a great start in his pursuit of the record.
The match is expected to be streamed via the Quakes website. Tickets to attend the game are still available.
San Jose Earthquakes starting line-up
Andrew Tarbell; Shea Salinas, Harold Cummings, Yeferson Quintana, Nick Lima; Vako, Florian Jungwirth, Fatai Alashe, Magnus Eriksson; Chris Wondolowski, Danny Hoesen.
Reno 1868 FC starting line-up
Russ Klabough; Jordan Murrell, Brenton Griffiths, Zach Carrol, Brent Richards; Guy Abend, Christian Thierjung, Seth Casiple, Lindo Mfeka; Antoine Hoppenot, Brian Brown.