The Seattle Sounders travel to the Bay Area tonight to take on the San Jose Earthquakes in their first meeting this season. This fixture was made interesting last year when Alex Roldan needed to finish the match playing goalkeeper. Hopefully this one tonight doesn’t need to be as exciting!
New coach, more straightforward style
The Earthquakes fired Matias Almeyda this week after three years with the head coach. Almeyda gained a lot of notoriety from national outlets for his defensive pressing schemes, but obviously the results the last few years have been really poor in San Jose. Almeyda and the Quakes only qualified for the playoffs once in his three full seasons in charge, losing in the first round.
RIP to the San Jose Earthquakes man-marking/no midfield, just vibes tactics.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) April 18, 2022
Chris Leitch: "I do think you’ll see different tactics applied in a very short order in the first team."
Matches against San Jose weren’t particularly difficult for Seattle during Almeyda’s reign, but they were annoying. With a new head coach in charge for the rest of the season the Quakes will be a more traditional opponent, starting this weekend.
Raúl the Quakes Killer
Raúl Ruidíaz absolutely loves playing against San Jose. He’s scored eight goals in the 11 matches he’s played against them, including two in their last meeting in September. Ruidiaz hasn’t scored yet in MLS regular season play this year and a goal against the Earthquakes could give him a huge boost of confidence. His season has a stop-start feel to it because of the injuries he’s dealt with.
Gaining sharpness vs. rest
The main focus at this point of the season is obviously the looming Concacaf Champions League final against Pumas, but that doesn’t mean league play is totally irrelevant. Brian Schmetzer and the Sounders have a choice to make tonight in terms of selection. Last week they decided to rotate very heavily, with only 4 starters seeing any minutes whatsoever against Inter Miami. They obviously want the squad to be fresh for the trip to Mexico City on Wednesday, but there’s an argument to make that a lot of the first XI players could benefit from some rhythm
One player that almost certainly will see minutes against San Jose is Yeimar Gomez Andrade. The central defender picked up a sprained ankle last month against LA Galaxy and hasn’t played since. Jackson Ragen has stepped in and played really well in Yeimar’s absence. However, the Sounders are at their best with Yeimar in the lineup. He’s eligible for selection against the Quakes and could see as much as a half of action.
Beware of Jebo
You may remember Jeremy Ebobisse from his time with the Portland Timbers. For reasons not totally clear, the Timbers traded him to the Earthquakes last August. He’s started this season on fire having scored five goals in seven matches. He scored five goals in all of 2021, so it looks like he’s finally gained his form and his having a promising season.