By: AJ Gil
The Quakes come out this week beating their chest after coming back from an early 0-2 deficit at home against the Vancouver White Caps, to win 3-2 and start off the year 2-0. The Earthquakes now travel to Sporting Kansas City to have their first road game of the year on Saturday. The San Jose Earthquakes struggled terribly last year from the road, with a record of 1W 9L 7T , and didn’t win their first road game until mid August! If the Quakes have aspirations of making the playoffs they have to get wins or the least ties on the road. SportingKC is coming off two 0-0 results to start this young MLS season, and try to amend last week’s home opener this week with a win.
A key contributor for keeping SportingKC in these first two games is goalkeeper Tim Melia. Tim Melia is starting off the season with 180+ minutes of clean sheet. Since being with the club, Melia has had 18 cleansheets, 8 last year alone, and his most current one coming from the western conference favorite: FC Dallas. Although seeing very little danger against FC Dallas, Melia did come out and stop a one on one attempt early in the contest. SportingKC is averaging one goal per game in the six matches they’ve had in the 2017 calendar year, Quakes need to take advantage of this and bring their surging offense to the game.
On the offensive side, the Quakes need to keep a close eye on SportingKC’s forward Dom Dwyer. The 26 year old has been a key member of the SportingKC scoring threats for the last several years. In 2016 alone he played 33 out of 37 games with the club and scored 16 goals. Dwyer has amazing accuracy, not only with his feet but also his head to score goals with the KC club. With great speed as another attribute, Dwyer, the youngsters Nick Lima and Florian Jungwirth are going to need to stick to Dwyer since opening kickoff. With Dwyer’s speed, could coach Dominic Kinnear now start Darwin Cerén to add additional speed to the Quakes lineup.
Can the Quakes continue their 2017 campaign by going and earning a win on the road this week? Can they stop Tim Melia’s current clean sheet? Will the young guns contribute once again? And will Anibal Godoy keep his goal streak going? All will be answered in a few days against SportingKC.