SAN JOSE, CA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC visit San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Avaya Stadium in their first away match of the 2017 MLS regular season.
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. PT | TV: TSN 1/3 | RADIO: TSN 1410
Here’s everything you need to know about the match.
Winless in San Jose: The ‘Caps have achieved a number of firsts over the last few years: first home playoff match, first Voyageurs Cup, first CONCACAF Champions League appearance, and so on. One thing they have yet to do, however, is win in San Jose. Their record in the Bay Area is 0W-2L-6D. Can they buck the trend on Saturday night?
New-look Quakes: Five Earthquakes players made their MLS debuts in last weekend’s season-opening 1-0 win over Montreal Impact. That’s right, five. This is a new-look team with “some youth and some life,” as veteran striker Chris Wondolowski put it. And the early returns have been positive. The Quakes, in fact, have yet to lose a game in all of 2017 if you include their 5W-0L-1D preseason record.
Quick turnaround: One of the most intriguing things about this game from a Whitecaps FC perspective is the fact that they play against Tigres UANL in Mexico three days later in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. It’s a massive game in this club’s history, which may mean Whitecaps FC rest some starters on Saturday to keep them fresh for Tuesday. Carl Robinson has built a deep squad – and he may need to use the bulk of it over the course of these two matches.
‘Caps connections: A few different Whitecaps FC players have ties to the Bay Area. Both Christian Dean, who impressed against Philadelphia last weekend in his long-awaited return to MLS action, and Andrew Jacobson grew up in the Palo Alto area, which is about 20-30 minutes outside San Jose’s Avaya Stadium. Erik Hurtado, meanwhile, spent four years at Santa Clara University, which neighbours the stadium.
Kendall Waston (CB) vs. Chris Wondolowski (FWD): The Quakes may have injected some fresh blood into their 2017 roster, but as long as Wondolowski is in the lineup, he’s the player I’m focused on stopping. The U.S. national team striker has 121 goals in 222 MLS starts, which makes him the fourth highest goalscorer in MLS history. Yeah, you might want to pay attention to him. Assuming Kendall Waston returns to the lineup after serving his one-match suspension to start the season, that’s exactly what he’ll be doing.
GOTTA SEE IT
Panamanian midfielder Anibal Godoy scored an MLS Goal of the Week candidate for the Quakes in last week’s season-opener. The goal was pretty great.
The celebration may have been even better.