One of the hottest teams in the league makes a visit to the worst team but can this seemingly winnable game have some hidden secrets for the San Jose Earthquakes? Let’s find out.
Manager: Marc Dos Santos
Current Record: 4-10-8 12th in the Western Conference
Crepeau is one of five keepers in MLS with a save percentage of over 70 that have played at least 1,000 minutes. Those sats meant little on Wednesday against New England Revolution when he gave up four goals after having to deal with 33 shots, 12 of them on target. Zac Macmath is not having a much better time having given up eight goals in his last three starts.
Ali Adnan, Erik Godoy, Jakob Nerwinski, Doneil Henry
Ali Adnan is the heart of this defense and has started 17 of Vancouver’s 21 matches. He will not be available on Wednesday but will be back for the game against the Quakes, and the Whitecaps badly need him. This group, along with goalkeepers Crepeau and Zac MacMath have allowed 14 goals in their last four matches, all of them losses.
Hwang In-Beom, Jon Erice, Russell Teibert
Teibert gives you better defending than Andy Rose and with the Vancouver Whitecaps playing such a brutal two-week stretch they probably won’t have the energy to run up and down the pitch against their opponent so I expect Dos Santos to go with Teibert over Rose. In-Beom can score and dish out assists, so the midfielder is vital to Dos Santos plan. In late May Dos Santos indicated that he wanted to give In-Beom a break because he has been playing continuously for the Korean National Team and league play since last year. Without Anibal Godoy the Quakes midfield is not the same but as the results show it is not that much worse and the San Jose should have the advantage.
Fredy Montero, Lucas Venuto, Yordy Reyna
Montero is responsible for 27 percent of Vancouver’s goals this season so if you can slow down or stop him you have a good chance of keeping Vancouver off the board. Montero was suspended for the Whitecaps match against Sporting KC but was available on Wednesday for Dos Santos who brought him on in the 68th minute. With yet another bad loss, this time 3-0, Vancouver needs to do something at home to reassure their fans that this fire won’t keep spreading. This group only had two shots all match, none of them on goal so the Quakes newly bolstered defense has a chance at another clean sheet.
On paper, this looks like a very winnable for the Quakes. They are riding a hot streak where they have outscored their opponents 10-4 in their last five matches while losing only one of them and Vancouver looks like a completely lost team. That being said the Quakes have had success against teams that try to match their aggressiveness and it is evident that Vancouver is not in a position to play that kind of game which can work against the Quakes. When the Quakes beat the Dynamo at home on June 26th, Houston was playing their third match in a week and decided to park the bus and let San Jose find holes in their defense. For twenty-plus minutes the Quakes attack looked off, and they had trouble getting shots on goal until Vako flicked a beautiful ball past Houston keeper Joe Willis. At that point, Houston was forced to play more aggressively, and the Quakes were able to impose their will on them. In the first half, the Quakes had four shots, but in the second half, that number jumped to 14. The Quakes are the better team, but this is the perfect “trap” game for them.