Match Preview

MATCH PREVIEW: Earthquakes host Seattle Sounders FC in Heritage Cup rivalry match


The San Jose Earthquakes will host Seattle Sounders FC at PayPal Park on Saturday, March 23, presented by QuakeInsurance. Kickoff will take place at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast globally on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass, as well as on local radio via AM 810 The Spread (English), and AM 1370 La Kaliente (Spanish).

The Quakes return home for a Heritage Cup clash against Sounders FC. Both clubs were founded in 1974 and originated in the North American Soccer League (NASL) before their current iterations in Major League Soccer.

To honor this tradition, Saturday’s contest commences the 16th edition of the Heritage Cup, an annual competition between the Earthquakes and Sounders FC based on their regular-season games. The Quakes are the reigning champions, keeping the silverware for three consecutive seasons. Since the tradition started in 2009, San Jose has possessed the trophy seven times, while Seattle has owned it for eight.

The Earthquakes hold a 14-15-9 record against Sounders FC across 38 MLS regular-season matchups, including a 6-5-5 record at home and 3-0-1 since 2022. Last May, San Jose defeated Seattle 1-0 on the road thanks to a lone Jeremy Ebobisse goal. The Black and Blue would return to PayPal Park to earn a 2-0 victory two months later to complete a season sweep and double clean sheet.

Last season’s home triumph was a milestone in more ways than one. Forward Cristian Espinoza game-winning goal was his ninth consecutive successfully converted penalty kick. The 2023 MLS All-Star, who tallied his 51st career assist that match, become the club’s all-time record holder in that department. He surpassed the former record of 50 assists set by club legend and former teammate Shea Salinas.

The Quakes return to San Jose with a chip on their shoulder, both determined and committed to turning this season around by earning their first three points. Head coach Luchi Gonzalez looks forward to this weekend’s matchup and the opportunity to get in the win column.

“We want to keep believing in our process and know that our confidence only grows with just being together, working on being more precise, and believing,” said Gonzalez in Wednesday’s virtual press conference. “We are excited about the opportunity to do that in front of our fans. … The unlimited love and support and intensity that they give us is only going to help us be stronger on the day. No one is happy with the current standings or form but at the same time it’s about what we’re going to do next. … It’s about showing up Saturday and giving each other everything we’ve got. … We know we will turn this around with continued belief and hard work.”

The silver lining from last weekend came from defender Vítor Costa, who scored the opening goal and the first in his MLS career early in the first half. Costa, a veteran left back with South American and European professional experience, shared his thoughts on his goal and the game ahead.

“I am very happy to have scored my first goal. … But we have to look at every game objectively,” said Costa. “The most important thing is looking for the next victory for our team. … This is football. There are moments where we are going to lose and moments when we are going to win. Obviously that first win is especially important for the team, so we have to come prepared week after week and have faith in each other. From there we can move forward.”

Sounders FC are also looking for their first win this year after opening the campaign with a loss to Los Angeles FC (2-1) and earning two draws against Austin FC (0-0) and the Colorado Rapids (1-1). Newly acquired midfielder Pedro de la Vega and veteran forward Raul Ruidiaz have scored the lone goals for the Rave Green, both earned from successfully converted penalty kicks.

With two historic clubs clashing Saturday, it’s only fitting that it will be Retro Night at PayPal Park. Hopefully San Jose can add to its recent results against Seattle and come away with all three points.

Tickets can be purchased via Tickets for groups of 10 or more can be purchased by calling the Earthquakes’ front office at (408) 556-7700 x 3 or by clicking here. Fans interested in purchasing 2024 season tickets can click here.