Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes - Predictions, Odds & Picks
- Seattle’s attack is too big to fail in their tournament-opener
- Goalkeeper Stefan Fei could help paper over any cracks for the current MLS champions
- San Jose manager Matias Almeyda gives his Earthquakes a slight chance
|What||Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes|
|Where||ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Bay Lake, Florida)|
|When||Friday, July 10th at 9:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||ESPN, ESPN App, ESPN Deportes|
Coming off a title-winning season and a positive start to early 2020, the Sounders will easily be one of the most intriguing and powerful sides to keep an eye on in the competition. Depth, experience and thrilling attacking options all define their roster that should be able to thrive in a tournament setting.
As for San Jose, there seem to be more questions than answers for the Jekyll-and-Hyde-like team that narrowly missed out on the playoffs last season. Despite the significant coaching capabilities of Matias Almeyda who can regularly pull a rabbit out of his managerial hat, man-for-man, there isn’t too much to be excited about his roster in Florida.
Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes Odds
|Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes||Odds|
|Seattle Sounders win||+110|
|San Jose Earthquakes win||+250|
Odds taken from BetMGM
The Sounders are understandably the favorites as the current title-holders. Although it isn’t outlandish to assume that the Earthquakes can make things difficult, this match is Seattle’s to lose.
Anything can happen during a team’s first official game in months, but the Sounders will have to play below their consistently impressive level that has given them three MLS Cup final appearances and two championships in the last four seasons.
Seattle Have Too Many Attacking Options To Fail
When looking at the table for combined goals and assists in the 2019 MLS season, the Sounders have three players in the top 15: Nicolas Lodeiro, Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris. Thanks to additional help from names like Cristian Roldan, Kelvin Leerdam and others, Seattle rarely struggled to find the back of the net on their way to last season’s championship.
Head coach Brian Schmetzer will have no lack of options or depth over the next few weeks. In a tournament setting that will allow up to five substitutions per match, Seattle will have a noteworthy advantage over other clubs thanks to their deep squad.
By the way, here’s how many San Jose Earthquakes players are in the aforementioned top 15 list of combined goals and assists from 2019: Zero.
Stefan Frei, A Reliable Safeguard In Net
If all else fails for the Sounders, they still have one of the top goalkeepers in MLS for support. League veteran Stefan Frei, who collected 11 shutouts in 2019, has made the trip to Florida and will be ready to potentially help Seattle charge into a deep run.
The Swiss goalkeeper and the rest of his roster also have a tendency to frequently frustrate their next opponents. The San Jose Earthquakes have previously failed to clinch a win against the Seattle Sounders in the last nine times that Frei has been in net.
With some of the best reflexes in the league — and plenty of much-needed leadership as well — Sounders fans can rest easy knowing that Frei will continue to take charge in the tournament.
Can Matias Almeyda Find A Way To Make Trouble?
All that said, San Jose Earthquakes coach Matias Almeyda has the know-how to manufacture a squad that is greater than the sum of its parts.
With Chivas in Mexico, he revived a team that was once flirting with relegation. From 2015-18 he went through a blistering run that included a Liga MX title, two Copa MX trophies, one CONCACAF Champions League title and one SuperCopa MX championship. In his first season with the Earthquakes last year, Almeyda pushed his lackluster roster through a 17-game stretch from April through August that only included two losses.
Almeyda can make something out of nothing with his highly attack-minded style that prioritizes ball possession, but time and time again, this approach has also left his side vulnerable as they struggle to halt counters.
The Seattle Sounders have no excuses here. As tricky as Almeyda might be on the sidelines, Seattle should have no real complications getting a win this week.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast.