The San Jose Earthquakes know who they will be playing in the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament, taking place in Orlando next month. So, how’s it looking as we’re about a month out from the games?
Let’s take a look at how the teams that are set to face the Quakes have done this year, and their track record all-time against San Jose.
Ah yes, the Heritage Cup opponent. While that “rivalry” has not been at all pitched in most occasions and neither team considers it a primary (maybe also not a secondary) rivalry, it is unquestionably a meeting between two teams that are in MLS.
In Seattle’s first two games of the season, they posted a 1W-0L-1D record, beating the new-look Chicago Fire 2-1 on opening day, before drawing 1-1 against the Columbus Crew the second week. Both games took place in Seattle.
The opening win against the Fire was a come-from-behind affair, Jordan Morris scoring a second-half brace, including one deep in extra time, to cancel out Robert Beric’s debut goal in MLS for Chicago.
It was more of the same against Columbus, as a first-half strike from Gyasi Zardes to put the visitors ahead was negated by Raul Ruidiaz’s penalty converted on the second try after Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room came off his line to save it the first time around.
So, safe to say even if you take a lead on Seattle, it’s not safe. But you probably counted on that from the defending MLS Cup champions regardless.
All-time record: 10W-11L-6D overall in MLS regular season against Sounders
Like Seattle, Dallas finished the opening two matches of the campaign with a win and a draw. They beat the Philadelphia Union 2-0 at home in the first game, before drawing the Montreal Impact 2-2 the following week, also at home.
Big striker Zdenek Ondrasek scored the opener just after the hour mark for Dallas against Philly, before midfielder Paxton Pomykal came off the bench and hit an insurance goal late. The Union looked like they should have gotten something from the game, but them’s the breaks sometimes.
Against the Impact, all the action started around the hour mark. Maxi Urruti opened the scoring against his old side, then he doubled his tally about 10 minutes later. But after that it was all Dallas, Ondrasek starting the rally with a header in the 84th minute, before teenage striker Ricardo Pepi hit the equalizer deep in stoppage time. So they can come back and turn over a deficit, late, too.
One note: Starting goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez has been suspended pending an investigation into domestic violence. At this point, it’s unclear if he will play in Orlando or not for FCD.
All-time record: 28W-20L-17D against Dallas
If Seattle and Dallas enter the Orlando tournament as tough matchups for the Quakes, surely there is some hope against the Whitecaps, right? Listen, it’s MLS, there’s always some hope for results, especially in very weird circumstances.
Like San Jose, the Whitecaps have lost an MLS game this year, as they fell 3-1 at home to Sporting Kansas City in Week 1, before springing an upset of sorts with a grinding 1-0 win, also on the road, against the LA Galaxy in the second game.
Sporting got started with Alan Pulido scoring on his MLS debut with a second try off a free kick, but Jake Nerwinski tied it up with a tap-in for Vancouver before halftime. It was all downhill from there, however, with goals from Gadi Kinda (also on his MLS debut) and former Whitecap Erik Hurtado sinking Vancouver’s hopes in Week 1.
It was a different story against the Galaxy. In a game that was largely light on quality, Tosaint Ricketts’ goal in the 74th minute was all that was needed as Joe Corona picked up a late red card for LA to seal the road win for Vancouver, even though Lucas Cavallini’s attempt at an insurance goal from the penalty spot was saved by David Bingham.
All-time record: 6W-8L-9D against Whitecaps
What do you think? What do you make of the Earthquakes’ chances coming into the group stage? Let’s chat in the comments below.