First Look: San Jose Earthquakes

 

The Revolution will make their first West Coast trip of the season to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium. Kickoff is set for 10:30pm.

The last time the Revolution faced the Earthquakes in the Golden State was the 2012 season opener on Mar. 10, 2012. Chris Wondolowski’s 16th minute goal held to give the Quakes a 1-0 win over the Revolution.

Here are a few things to know about Saturday’s intra-conference clash:

The Earthquakes haven’t lost at home in a long, long time. San Jose may have missed the postseason last year, but one thing they should be commended for is their strong home form. After dropping a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake in the 2013 season opener, the Quakes have run up a 21-game unbeaten streak across all competitions. What’s more – they’ve only fallen twice in their last 40 games at Buck Shaw Stadium since the start of the 2012 season. Clearly, the Revolution have their work cut out for them on Saturday.

The Revolution’s West Coast woes. Last year, the Revolution made four trips to the opposite coast, and only grabbed three points. They claimed 0-0 draws to Seattle and Portland – no easy feat, mind you – but lost 4-3 to Vancouver and drew 1-1 to a terrible Chivas USA side. Granted, it’s never easy for a club to play at its best following a cross-country flight. But the Revolution will have no choice but to play as close to 100 percent as possible if they’re going to grab their first win of the season.

To stop the Quakes, the Revolution have to be strong in the air and stay compact. On paper, San Jose isn’t anything special. Sure, they have a special player in Chris Wondolowski, and a number of well-regarded pieces in Victor Bernardez, Shea Salinas, Sam Cronin and Steven Lenhart. But it’s how they play that often overwhelms their opponent. The Quakes funnel a number of balls centrally rather than using the wings. For example: 69 percent of their shots have come from inside the box through their first two games, good for second overall in MLS. They rank first in aerial duels, winning an average of 27.5/game. In other words, the opponent the Revolution will face on Saturday is unlike any other they’ve played this year.

Last week’s stat of concern: Nine corner kicks, one shot on goal. Revolution coach Jay Heaps stressed the need for his team to be better on set pieces, which the club collected plenty of in last week’s scoreless draw. If the Revolution grab a similar total in San Jose, they’re going to have to convert to grab their first win of the season.

Early forecast: 61 degrees and cloudy, with a 70 percent chance of rain. (Source: weather.com)

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He regularly contributes to The Associated Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or contact him via e-mail at BOConnell21@aol.com