The San Jose Earthquakes take on the Vancouver Whitecaps tonight at Avaya Stadium.
Vancouver is making a strong CONCACAF Champions League run after defeating NY Red Bulls 3-1 on aggregate to advance to the semi-final round. The Caps also played to a scoreless draw in Philadelphia last week. Allowing just one goal in three competitions thus far is not small feat considering the Caps were second in the West in goals allowed last season. Has the Caps defense improved that much?
More importantly, has the Quakes offense improved enough to score more than one goal? The last time the Quakes scored multiple goals in serious competition was against the Caps last August. San Jose has been limited to one goal or less every game since, including several preseason games against MLS opponents. A Whitecaps team that has allowed one goal all year versus a Quakes team that is struggling to score could equal yet another low scoring affair.
Line Up Predictions
Dawkins sustained a minor injury in practice on Thursday, but should ready to play. That said, newcomer Jahmir Hyka saw practice minutes with the starting XI, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hyka get his first start for San Jose. Every other spot should be unchanged from last week in the 4-4-2: Bingham in goal, Lima, Bernardez, Jungwirth, and Francis on the backline, Thompson, Alashe, Godoy, and Hyka in the middle, with Wondo and Urena up top.
Vancouver boasts a 16-year-old phenom in Alphonso Davies, who should see starting minutes. Kekuta Manneh is also a threat to score, and will be starting. I’m guessing Vancouver rolls with the same 4-4-2 they played versus Philly: David Ousted in goal, Sheanan Williams, Tim Parker, Christian Dean, and Jordan Harvey on the backline, Cristian Techera, Matias Laba, Andrew Jacobson, and Davies in the middle with Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado up top.
Francis will have and hands full with Manneh while Lima and Davies should be fun to watch.
Final Score Prediction
The Quakes have four 1-0 wins in 2017, but I’m not sure Francis is quality enough to contain Manneh all game. I’m also unsure that the Quakes can score more than one goal against a Caps defense that’s played REALLY well in 2017, although last week the Quakes proved it wasn’t for lack of opportunities. I’m guessing a 1-1 final scoreline, with goals by Manneh and Hyka.