Eric Hassli San Jose Earthquakes
Bob Frid

Scouting report: Breaking down Wednesday's opponents in San Jose

When these two teams last met earlier this year on Bell Pitch at Empire Field, both we’re looking for a win to kick-start their season, but neither team got that result as the game ended in a 1-1 draw with Davide Chiumiento scoring a stoppage-time equalizer to negate Chris Wondolowski’s first-half strike. Not much has changed since that May 11th encounter, as Frank Yallop’s San Jose Earthquakes and our Vancouver Whitecaps FC seek victory to climb back up the MLS Western Conference standings.

Not quite seismic, but impactful changes for the Quakes

Coming off back to back 0-0 draws, the Earthquakes have shaken things up to try to turn their fortunes around. Last week, they completed a trade with Toronto FC, sending Jamaican striker Ryan Johnson to Toronto and acquiring defender Nana Attakora, midfielder Jacob Peterson, and striker Alan Gordon. San Jose will hope that the trio can help fill some gaps in their line-up, especially Peterson on the right side of midfield, an area that they’ve been trying to find an answer for all season.

Yallop’s teams are always very organized and tough to break down. He likes to play a flexible 4-4-2, with one of his strikers dropping a bit deeper into the midfield to create link-up play between the midfielders and strikers. The ‘Caps will have to be very careful about throwing too many players forward, as this San Jose team can hurt opponents with a very good counter-attacking game. It will be up to Whitecaps FC to find the right balance between attacking and defending. Another key will be to create enough traffic in front of Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch and his defence, who have recently been in fine form.

If you can crumble a City, can you contain an Earthquake?

Tommy Soehn’s team, meanwhile, are looking more and more comfortable, while playing a more possession-oriented game through the midfield and trying to draw the other team out of their defensive structure. Just as they did against a very good Manchester City FC team, it will be vital to try and dictate the tempo of the game against San Jose, as they are at home and the onus will be on them to come away with a win in this match. I believe the ‘Caps best chance is to try and win the possession battle and force the Earthquakes to press for chances and open up the game.

Our ‘Caps are coming off a very exciting first-half performance against Manchester City and the pressure will be squarely on San Jose to perform in front of their home fans on Wednesday - just as it was on Whitecaps FC when they hosted the Earthquakes back in May. The ‘Caps have to believe that if they can play the way they did against one of the best teams in the world, then this game should hold no fear for them. They just have to believe.

Wednesday's match between Whitecaps FC and San Jose Earthquakes from Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, California, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT and is live on TSN and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Wednesday's contest live on TEAM 1410 radio and, starting with the pre-game show at 5:30 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 9:30 p.m. PT.