The San Jose Earthquakes played their final announced preseason game ahead of next week’s MLS regular season opener on Friday, when they hosted USL Championship expansion team Oakland Roots at PayPal Park. While Oakland had a lead, the Quakes came back to win the game 3-2.
San Jose’s lineup to start the game was pretty strong, and would could argue that it could be the XI, or close to it, for the opener next week against the Houston Dynamo.
The teams were pretty even in the opening half. I think the Earthquakes played slower than what we normally see, but with the game happening in the morning sun and it being preseason they may have wanted to chill a tad in the tune-up. Oakland forced some saves from JT Marcinkowski, but they also fouled San Jose repeatedly midway through their half, although that came to nothing for the Quakes in the first half.
Oakland got the first goal just before halftime, courtesy of a penalty from Johnny Rodriguez. Then, just before the hour mark, Yohannes Harish got Roots’ second to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
But it was all San Jose the rest of the way. Right after the second goal, Matias Almeyda made three changes, and they turned out to be significant for the Quakes.
Chofís Lopez scored in the 76th minute to make it 2-1, his sharp strike a nice look by the newcomer.
A minute later, Carlos Fierro got in on the action to add the equalizer.
And then Cowell, who had a hat trick in the Earthquakes’ last preseason game, scored the winner in this game, in the 84th minute. Cowell had helped set up Fierro’s tally, too, so it was a good bench shift from the youngster.
Obviously, no disrespect to Oakland but the Quakes will have to be ready for a higher level of competition next Friday, and even though they went 2-for-2 in preseason games, another reminder that preseason results in themselves count for nothing. Still, the team is gearing up, and hopefully these tuneups will have done their job for the Earthquakes with the season right around the corner.
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