The resurgent San Jose Earthquakes head to the great white north on Saturday for a meeting with the worst team in the Western Conference. The Vancouver Whitecaps are now 4-10-8 on the season but have won only once in their last 11 matches a polar opposite from the way the Quakes season has been going the last couple of months. While this may make it seem like this should be an easy three points for the Quakes on the road, there may be some hidden traps that might slow them down.
The Quakes have only won eight road matches in the last four seasons. According to my basic math skills that is a winning percentage of 13, which according to my basic sports, knowledge is not a very good number. In only one of those seasons did the Quakes win more than two away matches, the magical playoff year of 2017. That’s right the Quakes were in the playoffs in 2017, seems like so long ago now. The win last week in Carson against LA Galaxy was a step in the right direction, but now they must go up the coast and do what good teams should do. Beat weaker opponents. Though coming into this one, the Whitecaps may not be as weak as they have been the last couple matches.
Bring in the Reinforcements
Two of Vancouver’s best players are going to be available to manager Marc Dos Santos on Saturday, and the team is in desperate need of reinforcements. Ali Adnan, Vancouver’s best defender and best player on the roster will be back after missing Wednesday’s match against New England Revolution due to yellow card accumulation. Arguably their best offensive player or at least the person that leads them in goals at the moment Fredy Montero will also be fresh after serving a one-match suspension last Saturday against Sporting Kansas City. He was available for Dos Santos on Wednesday and only played 22 minutes in the Whitecaps 4-0 loss to New England. These two players will give a boost to Vancouver but will it be enough to stop the red-hot Quakes?
I am Iron Man
The Quakes will also have a deeper roster this Saturday after the arrival of the Quakes latest signing Carlos Fierro. The 24-year-old Mexican winger comes from Liga MX side Cruz Azul though he last played for Monarcas Morelia on a season-long loan. The speedy winger should be an excellent complement to Cristian Espinoza and will be another tool for Matias Almeyda to come up with gameplans that grind teams into submission. If you are a MLS defender and the Quakes are somewhere in your schedule, it would probably be wise to add a couple more cardio workouts before the match.
On paper, this is a very winnable game for the Quakes, but once you take a more in-depth look, you find some places of concern. Either way, I expect Almeyda to have his squad ready and will make sure they don’t take this game lightly. Next week the Quakes come home to play Colorado Rapids who are tied with Vancouver for the last place in the West but are playing much better after going winless in their first 11 matches. These matches present an excellent opportunity for the Quakes to cement themselves in the thick of the playoff race.