A quick down-and-dirty on what to expect.
The Quakes and SRFC have some bad blood. During a preseason friendly, some players almost got into a fight (Wondo was involved) and the then-1906 Ultras were shown the door a few minutes into the match. Hopefully those fireworks carry over to tonight.
SRFC ain’t a bad club, and as the USL has shown, they should be considered “second division” and the NASL be third division, given the USL’s dominance over NASL teams in this year’s tournament. SRFC won the USL Championship their first year as a club, and look to prove themselves to Don Garber as a city and team that is #BuiltForMLS. However, Miami is the current front-runner (who even showed up as an MLS expansion team despite not officially being one on an MLS promo video!). They have a stadium site ready and funding to match, they just need Miami’s stadium plans to fall apart in order to be possibly the next, and potentially last, MLS expansion for the foreseeable future.
Traditionally head coaches of the favorite team do not field their best players for early tournament play, especially mid-season; this is partly why the Quakes lost to the Charleston Battery a few seasons ago. I would be shocked to see Wondo, Bingham, MPG, and Goodson starting today. I would not be surprised to see Shea on the bench, along with Stewart. I would expect to see some veterans start, and staple bench players: Jahn up top, Tommy at mid (welcome back, Tommy!), Renato at CB, and Brian Meredith in goal. I would also expect to see Jean Baptiste get the start with Leo Barrera and Khari Stephenson at mid, and Mark Sherrod (he’s eligible to play since it’s not an MLS match, despite his red-card) or Mike Fucito at forward. Cato and Nyassi are both on national team duty. I would expect to see Alashe, Wondo, Shea, Bingham on the bench and ready to play if necessary.
Last year, SRFC *should have* beat the Quakes, if it were not for their goalkeeper coming off his line at the last minute to allow Cato to score an easy goal, and a Stephenson PK.
Crowd wise, let’s be honest: the Dubs are playing for an NBA championship, and SRFC is only a few hours away, so it’s entirely possible the Quakes and SRFC will have an equal amount of support, despite playing at Avaya. COME OUT AND SUPPORT OUR TEAM!