Minnesota United FC vs San Jose Earthquakes: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Minnesota United FC at San Jose Earthquakes

Where: Avaya Stadium in San Jose, CA

When: Saturday, March 9th at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV): ESPN+, SKOR North, FSN+, Fox Sports GO, and NBCSA

Minnesota United (Away)

Head Coach: Adrian Heath {Current: 1-0-0 (3) | Top Scorer: Romario Ibarra (1), Darwin Quintero (1)}

Key Players: Darwin Quintero, Osvaldo Alonso, Ike Opara

Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Mannone, Calvo – Boxall – Opara – Metanire, Alonso – Gregus, Schuller – Quintero – Ibarra, Ibarra

Minnesota is in the final stage of their three-year plan to bring themselves to the forefront of Major League Soccer. The early years of their club have been interesting to say the least, but with their new field set to open in April it seems the team is finally coming together.

Minnesota’s first match against the Vancouver Whitecaps was exciting, full of action, and a great example of what you may expect from Minnesota going forward. The Loons were aggressive going forward, but composed in their chances. The quality of the teams were on display as possession was split fifty-fifty on the evening. Minnesota wasn’t without their mistakes, but the experience of Darwin Quintero and Osvaldo Alonso led Minnesota through.

Minnesota United come up against and admittedly weak San Jose Earthquakes side. While the Earthquakes had the league’s fewest points last season, they come into this season with a new manager and new mindset. In terms of quality, Minnesota is well above the Earthquakes. But veteran players Chris Wondolowski and Nick Lima are savvy enough to give The Loons some trouble.

San Jose Earthquakes (Home)

Head Coach: Matías Almeyda {Current: 0-0-1 (0) | Top Scorer: Magnus Erikkson (1)}

Key Players: Chris Wondolowski, Nick Lima, Cristian Espinoza

Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Vega, Lopez – Cummings – Kashia – Lima, Judson – Godoy, Eriksson – Vako – Espinoza, Wondolowski

There is nowhere to go but up for the San Jose Earthquakes, quite literally. With the fewest points in the MLS last season and no fear of relegation, San Jose looks to improve on their previous season with a new approach led by head coach and former Argentina international Matías Almeyda.

San Jose went out to an early lead against Impact de Montreal in their first match of the season. Magnus Erikkson made a quick turn at the top of the box and struck an absolute bullet into the bottom corner of the net, much to the delight of Matías Almeyda. Unfortunately for the Earthquakes the true concern for their season arose as the match went on. Their defence isn’t incredibly stout and disorganization allowed for both goals on the evening. It is certainly something they can improve on, but don’t expect San Jose to find the answers quickly.

The Earthquakes will have a tough match ahead of them against Minnesota United FC. Minnesota United is loaded with talent and experience on their roster. What they lack in depth, they look to make up for in efficiency on the pitch, looking to play a tight possession based game. San Jose have to move the ball quickly, as Minnesota’s midfield pairing of Osvaldo Alonso and Ján Greguš can dominate the midfield.

What’s At Stake?

Historically, the San Jose Earthquake have had the advantage over Minnesota United FC in the all-time match. Still only going on three-years old, Minnesota United FC has lost all four games all-time to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Already with three points and three goals in favour, a win for Minnesota United would keep them near the top of the Western Conference standings.

A win for the San Jose Earthquakes would gain them their first points of the season.

Questions to answer

Is Minnesota’s back line stronger than ever?

What does Matías Almeyda bring to San Jose?

We are going to compare Minnesota United FC and the San Jose Earthquakes in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Two Key Pieces Drive The Loons From The Back

Minnesota United FC opened their season with an exciting victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. It was in many ways, a fantastic first game that had five new players in the starting eleven. Two players stand out from the night.

Roamin Metanire is a full-back of the modern era. He was an impressive presence on the right side all match long. He made three interceptions during the match and was very involved in the attack. While not an all-out speedster, Metanire showed the acceleration and positioning to challenge speedy wingers.

The other player of note is Italian goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Despite the fact that the Loons allowed two goals, Mannone was a strong and confident presence throughout. He is clearly an upgrade over Bobby Shuttleworth in terms of shot-stopping and his distribution from the back was solid. He was let down by his team in terms of set-piece defending, but seems to be a leader from the back.

Two players can’t define the success of a season. But in their first match Metanire and Mannone were clearly a class above. Minnesota will hope that their performances will continue.

San Jose’s Biggest Signing Is Their Manager

San Jose’s last season in the MLS was dreadful. Likely the biggest benefit of competing inn the MLS is the fact that there is not a relegation system, if there was we wouldn’t be talking about the San Jose Earthquake. Held tight by the Salary Cap, San Jose enters the season with much a similar cast. As such, no player came in to save the season of the Earthquake but more so a coach. That coach being Matías Almeyda.

Matías Almeyda is very much the biggest signing in the history of San Jose Earthquakes. The Argentine was rumoured to be joining the Argentina or Mexico national team program, so you can imagine the surprise of the MLS world when he chose a role with the worst team in the league. He plays a possession-based attack and a high-pressing defence. Distinct from previous years, but exciting.

A lot of pressure is on Almeyda. He has a history of revitalizing struggling teams, having gained promotion to the top division with two clubs in Argentina (River Plate, Banfield) and won the league many times with Chivas in Mexico. Whether he can do the same in San Jose is a stretch, but if there’s a man in the MLS that can do it it is him.

Minnesota United FC Roster Notes

M Kevin Molino – 6 Mar 2019 – OUT (Knee) – there is no timetable for Molino’s return.

San Jose Earthquakes Roster Notes

D Kevin Partida – 7 July 2018 – OUT (Torn ACL) – Partida is recovering from a torn ACl and there is no timetable for his return.

Head-to-Head: Darwin Quintero (MIN) vs Magnus Eriksson (SJE)

Two of the most impactful players in their previous match, Darwin Quintero and Magnus Eriksson should be looked at when Minnesota United and the San Jose Earthquake come face-to-face. Quintero was a force for Minnesota in their last match, having an affect all over the pitch. On the other side Eriksson struggled as San Jose couldn’t find him much service, but he made the most of his single opportunity on goal.

Darwin Quintero

Forward | 163cm, 65kg (5-4, 143lb)| Colombia | Exp. 13 Years

314 Apps | 246 Starts | 0.32 Gls/90 | 0.63 G+A/90 | 1.25 SoT | 0.93 Fls | 0.19 Crd

Darwin Quintero comes into Minnesota United with a wealth of experience playing at the top level of Liga MX with Santos Laguna and the legendary Club America. He had a brilliant first season with Minnesota and is already building on that season with a goal and two assists in his first game. Whether in the role of playmaker or finisher, Quintero is tough to stop for any team. His link up play at the top is crucial to Minnesota’s success.

Magnus Eriksson

Forward | 180cm, 80kg (5-10½, 176lb)| Sweden | Exp. 13 Years

289 Apps | 228 Starts | 0.19 Gls/90 | 0.27 G+A/90 | 0.72 SoT | 1.41 Fls | 0.08 Crd

Eriksson is certainly a composed player and he complements Chris Wondolowski at the top of the line well. Playing at the ten he is very comfortable in the playmaking role for San Jose, who lack the experience in the midfield to unlock defences. Eriksson proved that he can do it on his own though, switching roles with Wondolowski on a run, turning and firing for a goal like a classic target man. Eriksson had his fair share of goals last season and now in a more advanced role, may see many more.

Minnesota United at San Jose Earthquakes Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the San Jose Earthquake (-0.25) favoured over Minnesota United FC (+0.25) with a +103 for San Jose and a -123 for Minnesota.