New England Soccer Today

The Warm Up: #NEvSJ

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

Who: Revolution (2-3-1, 7 points) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (2-2-2, 8 points)
What: Week 8 of the MLS regular season
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
When: Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30pm ET
Watch: CSN New England, MLS Live, Direct Kick

Scouting the Opposition:

–The San Jose Earthquakes have started their 2017 season with a Revolution-like mixed bag of results to the tune of a 2-2-2 record. After starting hot with two wins to open the year, they suffered two losses on the road before a pair of 1-1 draws at home against Seattle and FC Dallas. San Jose sits in fifth place in the Western Conference, an improvement over the ninth place finish in the conference last season.

-The Earthquakes will be looking for their first point on the road this season in three tries. Their road woes go back to last season, as they have a dismal 1-11-7 record on the road since the beginning of the 2016 campaign.

-As in years past, you can’t talk about the Earthquakes without the discussion centering around Chris Wondolowski (and a certain blunder in the 2014 World Cup, but we won’t go there). Wondo has played every minute of all six games so far for San Jose and has tallied two goals and three assists. Since the beginning of the 2014 season, he has scored 44 goals for San Jose.

-San Jose will likely play their standard 4-4-2 formation, which they have started every match so far this season. Wondolowski and Marco Urena (1 goal, 1 assist in 6 games) have started each match as the forward pairing.

-San Jose’s midfield has had the most variation so far this season, with a typical lineup of Tommy Thompson at right midfield, Simor Dawkins at left midfield, and Anibal Godoy and Fatai Alashe in central midfield. Godoy is the centerpiece of the San Jose midfield, scoring twice in five games so far this season and displaying a team-high 91.3% pass completion rate.

-Nick Lima, Florian Jungwirth, and Shaun Francis have started each game along the back line at right back, center back and left back, respectively. The remaining spot at center back has typically been filled with veteran defender Victor Bernardez, who has started four of the team’s six games, with Alashe, who typically roams the midfield, dropping back for the remaining two games.

-David Bingham will likely get the start Wednesday night in net for the Earthquakes. Bingham has started every MLS game for San Jose since the beginning of the 2015 season. In 74 matches since 2015, Bingham has 21 clean sheets.

-Be prepared to see Shea Salinas and Danny Hoesen at some point, as both have subbed on in every game this season. With short rest, one of them may get a spot start or be in their typical role as an impact sub. Hoesen is a Dutch forward who has yet to score in 95 minutes of play but has assisted one goal. Salinas is a veteran attacking midfielder who is a late game crossing threat with 41 career assists, including five assists in 33 appearances (eight starts) in 2016.

Recent History:

-The last match between San Jose and New England was another mid-week battle. The Earthquakes hosted the Revolution on August 24, 2016 in their only match-up last season, which ended in a scoreless draw.

-The Revolution are unbeaten in their last four games against the Earthquakes, going 3-0-1 against San Jose since the beginning of the 2013 season. This stretch is predated by a two-year span in the 2011-2012 season where San Jose won all three matchups between the squads.

-All-time, the Earthquakes hold the series lead with a 20-14-6 record against the Revs, including a 10-8-2 record in New England.

3 Things to Know:

1) The Revolution are flawless at home and hope to tie a franchise record Wednesday with a victory. A win would be their seventh straight home triumph (dating back to last season), which would tie a franchise record dating back to the 2004-2005 season.

2) The Revs hope they can learn from Je-Vaughn Watson’s red card last week and stay at full strength, as San Jose hasn’t won a match this season without the benefit of a man advantage.  Granted, in their win against Montreal, they were already leading 1-0 when Hassan Camara was given a red in the 65th minute. But in their victory over Vancouver, David Ousted’s red card in the 22nd minute was the turning point in a 2-0 game the Whitecaps controlled early, as the Quakes scored three goals unanswered goals with the man advantage.

3) Facing sure defeat, Jay Heaps subbed off his three top attackers Saturday at Chicago. Lee Nguyen, Juan Agudelo, and Kei Kamara were subbed in the 52nd, 57th, and 66th minute, respectively, with the hopes the shortened minutes will provide them an extra boost Wednesday on short rest.

Score prediction: This is a game New England must circle as an opportunity for three points. The Earthquakes, who are already a terrible road team, are being forced to travel cross-country and play on short rest. Meanwhile, the Revolution often play their best soccer at home. With an Eastern Conference foe in DC United coming to town Saturday, I expect the Revs to press San Jose and apply the pressure, hoping to end the match early and sub out their impact players similar to Saturday’s game. 4-1 victory for the home side, with some fireworks coming in the first half.

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