By: AJ Gil
With days before the start of the 2017 MLS season the San Jose Earthquakes seem to be doing to final tuning before the first match of the new campaign. The preseason was fun and it got everybody excited but it’s time for the real deal. The San Jose Earthquakes open up the season at home Saturday versus the Montreal Impact. The season is just beginning but there are already key elements the Quakes can do to assure a victory on Saturday.
Take advantage of the older club: Between the two teams the Quakes have the far younger roster, which can result in some match up problems for the Montreal Impact who have an older starting eleven. With older players, the teams tend to move slower and struggle with speedy opponents. The Quakes younger players like Tommy Thompson, Fatai Alashe, and newcomer Nick Lima all have to capitalize against their opponents with their longevity and velocity. Throughout the preseason coach Dominic Kinnear has presented line-ups with some of these younger Quake players to see if they’re capable of earning themselves a spot in the starting 11 on Saturday.
Use the home field component: The Quakes opened up last season with a win against the Colorado Rapids at home due largely to a having a lively sold out Avaya Stadium. Having the San Jose Ultras supporters group loud and rowdy chanting on the Black and Blue, will have a psychological advantage aspect in favor of San Jose, and making the visiting Montreal Impact nervous and potentially have communication issues on the pitch. The team had an average year in San Jose 7W 3L 7T record last season so they will try to get more W’s at home. The Quakes have shown to struggle on the road the last couple years so they have to get as many wins as possible on home turf to potentially have playoff aspirations.
Score more than one goal: Thank you captain obvious! But in all seriousness the team has to use the great forwards and midfielders they have to produce. The Quakes know that Chris Wondolowski is a goal scoring machine, but the team can’t always rely on the “Wondo Magic” to get them through with minutes left in the match, nor can they be content having a one-goal lead. Coming off an impressive preseason Fatai Alashe, Simon Dawkins, Quincy Amarikwa and Marco Ureña need to lighten the load for Wondolowski and score with more regularity .This team has shown they can bring multiple goals in one game they just have to display it this season with more consistency.
With the MLS season about to commence, the clubs, league, and fans all come in with new hope, excitement, and optimism for their teams in the 2017 campaign.