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Monday Kickback: Week 16

The Summer of Soccer is in full-swing

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Sacramento Republic FC at San Jose Earthquakes Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It has been nine days since the San Jose Earthquakes took the pitch in a competitive MLS match and it will be nine more until they come back to league action against Houston Dynamo on June 26. With the U.S. Open Cup heading into its fourth round and several Quakes players on international duty, there is still a lot to talk about so let’s get to it.

Sacramento Republic visit Avaya in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup

The fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup was played last week, and it was the round that all the MLS teams entered the tournament with the Quakes facing fellow Northern Californians Sacramento Republic at Avaya Stadium.

This game was made more challenging by the fact that the Quakes had played a match just 72 hours before the cup match and were missing a lot of key players to international duty. None of that mattered as the Quakes were able to overcome that adversity and win the match 4-3 thanks in part to a second-half brace by Georgian DP Vako. Magnus Eriksson continues to improve and scored his second goal in as many matches while Cristian Espinoza continues to be the team MVP scoring a goal on a penalty and getting an assist on Vako’s game-winning goal in the 91st minute.

This is the third time in a row that the Quakes have gotten the better of Sacramento, the two teams have only faced off three times, so the Quakes hold a perfect record against their neighbors from the capital. Now the Quakes head down south to face one of the hottest teams of the year, LAFC.

Los Angeles shut-out Real Salt Lake in the fourth round on goals from Carlos Vela (of course), Lee Nguyen, and Adama Diomande. Last year LAFC made it to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Dynamo. If the Quakes are serious about wanting to win this tournament as a way into CONCACAF Champions League they are going to put in their best effort of the season on June 20 when they head down to Banc Of California Stadium.

International Duty

Nick Lima- It has been quite the rollercoaster year for the Quakes defender. After a stellar January camp, some soccer pundits were wondering if it was enough for Lima to earn a starting, or at least a more prominent, role in Gregg Berhalter and U.S. Soccers plans going forward. When Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin had surgery for a groin injury in May, it looked like Lima might be getting more minutes or may even start in the Gold Cup. Those plans changed when Berhalter decided to go with RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams as his starting right back at least for the summer tournament. Lima seemed to be relegated to the bench, and his opportunity at getting a substantial amount of minutes was vanishing. Until last week when it was announced they Tyler Adams had to withdraw from the Gold Cup due to an injury.

Anibal Godoy- A key midfield player for both Matias Almeyda and the Panamanian National Soccer Team Godoy was taken off the Gold Cup roster after suffering a groin injury in preparation for the tournament. Apparently, Godoy had been suffering from nagging pain for a couple of months before an MRI revealed the damage. There has been no word on a timetable for his return, but some internet searching says this injury can heal itself with rest and time, but it may also require surgery to fix which will probably end his season and could affect him the rest of his career.

Harold Cummings- Cummings played 90 minutes in Los Canaleros 3-0 loss to Uruguay in a June 8 warm-up to the Gold Cup. Cummings is one of Panama’s better defenders so look for him to play a good amount of minutes in this summers tournament. Panama’s Gold Cup journey starts tomorrow June 18 when they take on the team that kept the United States out of the 2018 World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago.

Watch Wondo

Chris Wondolowski was finally kept off the board last week as he did not score any of the Quakes four goals against Sacramento. Wondo could have kept the streak going by taking the penalty shot in the 38th minute that gave Cristian Espinoza his first ever goal in U.S. Open Cup history, but the GOAT decided to let Espinoza try to get one for a change. The goal-scoring streak in MLS continues for Wondo, and he will look to keep it going when MLS action returns on June 26 when he takes on his old team, Houston Dynamo.