With Real Salt Lake and Vancouver winning their matches yesterday, the pressure is on for the Quakes to find the formula for winning on the road and keep pace in the playoff hunt. A win keeps San Jose’s playoff hopes alive while a loss would certainly doom the team to a fifth straight season without a playoff appearance, which would be the longest active streak in MLS.
The L.A. Galaxy will be without the Quake-killer Jelle Van Damme as his Belgian-ass went back to Belgium to play for Royal Antwerp FC. English international Ashley Cole is also out due to a red card suspension, as well as injuries to Robbie Rogers, Sebastien Lletget, Jermaine Jones, and Baggio Husidic. (Good riddance)
Bluntly: the Galaxy suck. In their previous nine games, the Galaxy have manged to earn just one point, a draw versus Seattle back in July. L.A.’s home record (1-7-4, seven points) is comparable to the Quakes’ road record (2-10-1, seven points). No Van Damme, no Lletget, no Husidic, and playing a team in free-fall is just what the doctor ordered for San Jose. Failing to take home three points at the StubHub Center would be disastrous for Chris Leitch as the Quakes’ head coach, whose 0-6-0 road record and a -16 goal differential across all competitions is a bogeyman that could/should cost him his job by season’s end. Quite simply, it’s time for the Boys in Black to put up or shut up in L.A.
One player that could be the difference between points and no point is Gio dos Santos, who is back from injury and should feature in the Galaxy’s starting XI. Also, according to LAG Confidential, DP Allesandrini could also see a start for the Galaxy.
Brian Rowe has been awful since his return to the starting XI, hence why Jonathan Kempin should see the start in goal. Defensively, with no Cole or Van Damme, expect a backline of Pele van Anholt, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, and converted midfielder Rafa Garcia. The two controlling mids should be Jonathan dos Santos (who was just called to the Mexican national team with brother Gio) and Pedro distributing to the attacking midfield of Emma Boateng, Gio dos Santos, and Allesandrini. Bradford Jameison should start up top as Gyasi Zardes’s zero goals/one assist in 2017 have probably put him on the bench and off the U.S. Men’s National Team.
The Quakes will be without Anibal “The Animal” Godoy due to suspension. Like Dom Kinnear, I expect Chris Leitch to continue to use the same formation he’s been using with little effect: the 3-5-2. Expect a backline of Andres Imperiale, Victor Bernardez, and Francois Affolter as Kofi Sarkodie just sucks on defense; Fatai Alashe may start in place of Affolter since Affolter might be a shade better than Sarkodie. Shea Salinas and Nick Lima should start as the wingbacks with Darwin Ceren starting as the central defensive mid. On the attack, expect Vako and Jahmir Hyka to start with forwards Chris Wondolowski and Danny Hoesen. Both Tommy Thompson and Quincy Amarikwa were less-than-impressive at the RioT, and could be fatigued for this match, hence why I believe Hoesen and Hyka see the starting XI.
Final Score Prediction
A must win with playoffs on the line against a team that has just one point in their previous nine games, a rival who is terrible at home, and no longer has Van Damme? The Quakes should win 2-1.
If Urena starts, Quakes draw 1-1.
If Quincy starts, Quakes lose 1-0.