After a very busy month of May, the San Jose Earthquakes have gotten some much-deserved rest during the MLS break for international play, and they’ll hopefully have figured out some of what has ailed them over the last four games during that time away from game action.
But now, June is in full swing and we are approach the return of usual service. So let’s take a look at the schedule coming up for this month for the Earthquakes. This time around, there’s only three games:
Saturday, June 19: at Austin FC
Here’s a big opportunity/pitfall game. San Jose have the distinction of being the team to help Austin FC officially open their brand-new stadium with this game. The opportunity comes from getting a chance to sink the expansion side and ruin their party on the field, in front of a national TV audience. That would make for quite the slump-buster, huh?
But there’s also the potential this could be a bit embarrassing. The new team will be up for playing in a new home, in front of local fans for the first time ever, and they’ve started the season pretty well, with eight points in eight games. That puts them just a point behind the Quakes and they really don’t look like the kind of expansion team that doesn’t know what they’re doing. They actually look competent. So the Earthquakes, who have played pretty well in general this season, even if they’ve been slumping lately, will have to be up for this test. It won’t be easy.
Tuesday, June 22: at Orlando City SC
Then, surprise! You have to play again the following Tuesday. I curse Tuesday games, that’s usually my day off and MLS has decided that no day of the week is off limits this year, so thanks a bunch for that.
But enough about me. Orlando City were doormats for their MLS existence...until last season, when they finally got a good coach in Oscar Pareja, and lo and behold, they are no longer cannon fodder for the rest of the Eastern Conference. This year they’re off to a good start, with 12 points and just one loss so far. The Lions should have Nani for this one, who appears to be a timeless wonder in MLS these days, and may or may not feature Daryl Dike, off his stunning run with English Championship side Barnsley on loan. Orlando City clearly want to sell him, but they also want to sell him for an eight-figure fee, so we’ll see if any teams bite on that or if he’ll be crushing defenders in MLS for a while longer yet.
Saturday, June 26: vs. LA Galaxy
Wrapping up the quick flurry of games in June is a rematch against the Galaxy. This game was originally supposed to be the annual Stanford Stadium extravaganza, but it’s been moved back to PayPal Park, and hopefully the club has been burning the sage at the stadium to purify it during the break.
Since San Jose last played the Galaxy, we probably don’t need to go too far in depth on how LA has been doing, but they seem pretty good. The good news, potentially, is they have not been nearly as good on the road so far this season, and their central defense remains a work in progress. The Earthquakes will be hoping Jonathan Bond doesn’t stand on his head in LA’s goal yet again in this game. But it’s a rivalry game! We know the Quakes will get up for this one.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.