The Quakes’ captain is on international duty with the U.S. Men’s National Team this weekend, and at least the team have the luxury of time to prepare to do some lineup shuffling for the California Clasico.
“I’m happy for Jackson in getting the call-up, even though he’s a player who will be missed by our team. But I’m happy when players get called up to the national team, in this case the United States,” Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda told reporters via interpreter on Wednesday during weekly media availability.
So who will enter the lineup in place of Yueill on the day? The tireless Judson seems like the obvious option, to play alongside Eric Remedi, who has earned his place as a starter so far this season.
But Almeyda refused to confirm the Brazilian will be an automatic selection into the XI.
“We have several options besides Judson,” said Almeyda. “We’re in that search, knowing we’re going to be missing Jackson, but it still hasn’t been decided, we have several options.”
Everyone agreed that derby weeks put a little extra pep in the team’s step.
“I always have the best expectations. I really enjoy the week leading up to a derby, wherever it is in the world. We’re enjoying it and we’ll try to go toe-to-toe with the Galaxy. We really respect our rival, but we also wish to play our game,” said Almeyda.
Goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski said the players’ approach doesn’t change too much in the week leading up to it, but the Clasico is a special game for Quakes players.
“I think the trash talk is pretty, pretty consistent throughout the season,” Marcinkowski said with a laugh. “We have a really good group of guys so it’s not anything more, anything less this week but I think the clasico goes without saying, it’s a rivalry that has been around for a really long time and it’s something I grew up watching. I used to go to the Stanford games all the time when I was younger and I’m really looking forward to having my first one with fans. Obviously we played them a few times last year but is it really the same without the supporters in the stands? I’m just looking forward to it and I think it’s a rivalry that’s one of the best in the MLS to be honest and I think we’re gonna show it this weekend.”
Under a new coach this season in Greg Vanney, the Galaxy are off to a hot start. Almeyda both paid tribute to the opponent but also seemed to be up for the big game.
“They have a different system of play. I don’t know if it’s better or worse, but it’s a different system. They have a great coach, and they’ve signed dynamic, fast players. They’ve found a system which has allowed them to win and obviously Chicharito’s the one mainly responsible for their goals, he’s recovered his form. And Galaxy’s a big team, they’re one of the historic teams in the league. They’re one of the teams which has invested the most, obviously we know all this. We value their game, but we’ll try to match them.”
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