Know Your Enemy: San Jose Earthquakes
The month of May concludes this weekend with FC Dallas back at Toyota Stadium as they host the San Jose Earthquakes.
HIGHLIGHTS: SJ 2, FCD 1
San Jose is currently 3-4-4 on the season. Mark Watson’s crew is coming off big 3-0 win last weekend over the Houston Dynamo.
These two sides squared off just a couple of weeks ago in California, with the Quakes coming out on top 2-1. Michel scored the lone FCD goal on a free kick while San Jose battled to win the match despite being down a man for the entire second half.
Just like it was a couple weeks ago when these two clubs met, the Quakes have a slew of players on the injury report. Defenders Tommy Muller (lower back spasms) and Ryan Neil (knee strain) and Andres Gorlitz (torn ACL) along with forward Alan Gordon (groin strain) are all listed as out.
Watson has a couple question marks surrounding forwards Yannki Djalo (groin) and Atiba Harris (hamstring) going into this Saturday’s game.
For the third straight game FC Dallas is facing a club that will be missing key players due to the World Cup. San Jose will be without forward Chris Wondolowski (United States) and defender Victor Bernardez (Honduras).
Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi vs Adam Moffat - Two gritty players will square off in the middle of the park in this one. The Frenchman is an intelligent player that sees the field well and does a good job of working himself into the right spaces to win possession for his team.
Fabian Castillo vs Brandon Barklage - FCD had plenty of success the last time these squads faced off with Castillo’s speed going down the wing against Barklage. At some point, all the chances that Castillo is creating will pay off.
Key Player for San Jose
Khari Stephenson - The Jamaican midfielder has come alive in the middle of the Quakes attack as of late. Last weekend against Houston he scored the first two San Jose goals and helped contribute to the third. He and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi have formed a solid partnership in the middle of the midfield as of late. Expect those two to carry this San Jose team while they are without Chris Wondolowski for the World Cup.
Watson uses a 4-4-2 formation with one striker sitting a little higher than the other.
Goalkeeper: Jon Busch; RB: Brandon Barklage; CB: Clarence Goodson, Ty Harden; LB: Jordan Stewart; RM: Cordell Cato; CM: Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Khari Stephenson; LM: Shea Salinas; FW: Yannick Djalo, Steven Lenhart
Keys to three points
San Jose may finally be clicking here on the season after their 3-0 win last week over Houston. Their midfield is doign well with Stephenson and Pierazzi while the defense continues to be gritty. Shea Salinas is still a constant threat on the wings with his service too.
FC Dallas will once again need to control the possession and wing play in this one. San Jose will likely sit back a bit in this match and wait for their chances on a counter attack.
FCD holds the edges in terms of speed and skill on the wings. Castillo and Je-Vaughn Watson need to have big time games to help facilitate the attack, while Blas Perez and Tesho Akindele need to find ways to create good chances on goal in this one.
Defensively, FCD will need to have a repeat of what worked last weekend in Salt Lake with Zach Loyd and Moises Hernandez (or Jair Benitez) staying back a little more, rather than floating up a ton into the attack. Getting the shutout last week in Salt Lake was a good step in the right direction for FCD, but a win at home will do a lot more for the confidence of this bunch.