With just 12 games left in the season, the Quakes find themselves in an all-too familiar position: just underneath the playoff red-line late in the season. While today’s match is not technically a “must win,” it can be considered a “should win” or “better win” if the Quakes are to remain playoff contention.
The Crew and Quakes boast similar records. The Crew are in sixth in the East, and have 32 points in 23 games played (10-11-2, 1.39 points per game) while the Quakes are in seventh in the West with 29 points in 22 games played (8-9-5, 1.32 points per game).
One of the keys to winning will be the location. San Jose has a 6-1-4 home record while the Crew have a 3-8-1 road record. San Jose should have the advantage despite the Crew’s slightly better points-per-game average.
Line Up Predictions
The Quakes might be missing mainstays Anibal Godoy and Jahmir Hyka: Godoy is listed as “Out” with a knee knock and Hyka as “Questionable” with a hamstring. Midfielder Frederico Higuain and defender Harrison Afful are listed as “Questionable” to play, but should be ready to play tonight.
Ola Kamara just netted a brace in Rio Tinto to help the Crew get a point against Real Salt Lake last week. Expect him to start again with Kekuta Manneh and Justin Meram at forward in a 4-3-3 formation. In the midfield, expect Fredrico Higuain (nine goals on the season) to start in the midfield with Will Trapp and Artur de Lima. Defensively Afful should start with Lalas Abbubaker, Jonathan Mensah, and Alex Crognale, and Zach Steffan in goal.
One of the advantages for San Jose is Columbus’s lack of defense. The Crew are ninth in the East in goals allowed (37), so the Quakes should have opportunities to score. Expect the 3-5-2 with Bingham in goal, defenders Flo Jungwirth, Victor Bernardez, and Andres Imperiale on the back-line. In the midfield, Quakes DP Vako should see his first start, especially with Hyka nursing a hammy. Expect Nick Lima and Shea Salinas to start as the wingbacks with Darwin Ceren playing centrally with Vako and Tommy Thompson attacking. At forward, Danny Hoesen has been the more productive forward than Marco Urena, so don’t be suprised to see Hoesen and Wondo start up top.
Final Score Predictions
The Quakes clearly have a home-field advantage and should nab the three points. However, Godoy is San Jose’s linchpin in distribution, and without Godoy, the team has struggled in generating an attack. Don’t expect an exceptionally high scoring game. With Godoy and Hyka, the Quakes probably win 3-1. Without Godoy and Hyka, the Quakes should win 2-1.