San Jose Earthquakes aren’t going to be making it to the playoffs this season. They’re currently sitting in last place on the Western Conference standings with two games to go. Minnesota United FC are in position to qualify as the 7th placed side in the Western Conference as things stand but have a few teams on their tail. If they win this tie, they’ll be close to confirming their spot in the playoffs but they’ll still need to wait for the results of their final game in the regular season.
There isn’t a lot between the two sides as far as head-to-head histories go, with both sides winning five games apiece and drawing two from their 12 encounters. San Jose Earthquakes have got the home advantage but that has not mattered much this season. Minnesota United’s greater motivation heading into this match should be the decisive factor.
The last meeting between the two sides took place back in March and Minnesota United won thanks to a solitary goal from Luis Amarilla in the 32nd minute. Minnesota United only had 39% of the possession in this tie but were the far better side. They took 14 shots to San Jose’s five and had six of the shots find the target. San Jose didn’t hit a single shot on target.
Possession without penetration is always going to be ineffective and it seemed like that was the case for the San Jose Earthquakes on the day. Minnesota United will likely play in similar fashion as they’re the away side. They should’ve possibly scored a few more last time out, but won’t care too much about that in the upcoming game – the three points are all that matters.
San Jose Earthquakes lost 2-3 to Los Angeles Galaxy over the weekend with Javier Hernandez scoring two for the five-time MLS champions on the day. The Mexican opened the scoring in the 12th minute before Gaston Brugman gave LA Galaxy a 2-0 lead before half-time. Hernandez got his second of the day in the 69th minute.
The Galaxy were cruising but a Cristian Espinoza penalty in the 74th minute rocked them a little. Nathan Cordoso scored another goal four minutes into added time. The game was already lost by then.
If a team concedes over two goals a game, they’re going to have no chance of making it to the playoffs. San Jose Earthquakes have conceded 67 goals this season with a goal difference of -19. It’s no wonder that they’re bottom of the Western Conference standings.
The first thing that they need to invest in is some players in that backline and get some steel into that midfield. They can’t afford to have another season like this with some of the quality that they have up front.
Jeremy Ebobisse didn’t get on the scoresheet on the weekend but San Jose fans won’t hold that against him after the season he’s had. The 25-year-old has been one of the best forwards in the MLS this season, having scored 16 goals. There’s every reason to believe that he can continue putting up such numbers next season with an expected goal value of 15.2
The team haven’t struggled in the goalscoring department this season despite all their troubles. They have secondary contributors like Cristian Espinoza as well, who has scored seven goals so far this season while also registering 12 assists. All they need to do is build a decent backline around this excellent duo. The two of them are good enough to play for some of the top sides in the league. If San Jose aren’t careful, they could even lose them in the future for a team that might match their talent with the ambition that can see that talent live up to its full potential.
Minnesota United FC saved one of their worst performances of the season at the worst possible time after losing 4-1 to Sporting Kansas City over a week ago. The game was practically lost in the first half after Sporting Kansas City went 3-0 up thanks to an own goal from Michael Boxall and strikes from Erik Thommy and William Agada.
Agada got his second of the game in the 81st minute but not before Mender Garcia scored a consolation goal for Minnesota United in the 57th minute. It was a terrible day in the office for Minnesota, who can’t afford to have many more of these with the regular season coming to a close.
They’ve now gone five games without a win in the MLS. It all started with a 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake and was followed by another 3-0 loss to FC Dallas. The nature of the losses are just as concerning as the losses themselves. Losing three matches with a difference of three goals isn’t characteristic of a team that wants to make the playoffs – it certainly isn’t characteristic of a side that’ll be a threat if they were to qualify. The rot has to stop and playing against a San Jose side that’ve been poor all season is a great way to stop the rut.
The poor performances from the backline have grabbed all the attention in recent weeks but the forward line hasn’t been much better either – and haven’t been good for most seasons, to be precise.
Emmanuel Reynoso has been the club’s top scorer with just 10 goals from 27 games. His six assists have also been invaluable, so this isn’t his fault. An attacking midfielder should not ideally be the top-scoring player in a side. Luis Amarilla has to have a hard look at himself. He’s only scored nine goals this season and played 31 games. This is simply not enough and an upgrade might be necessary in the coming seasons.
|Teams||San Jose Earthquakes vs Minnesota United FC|
|Time||Saturday, 1 October at 9.30 pm ET onwards|
|How to watch||ESPN+, DAZN. NBC Sports California, Bally Sports North and The CW – Twin Cities|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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