Match Preview

MATCH PREVIEW: Earthquakes host Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 50th Anniversary Clash

match preview sj vs van

The San Jose Earthquakes will continue their home stand when they take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, March 9. Kick off from PayPal Park takes 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 810 The Spread AM (English), and 1370 KZSF AM (Spanish).

Nostalgia will permeate the air when these two clubs meet on the pitch, as 50 years ago, the Earthquakes and Whitecaps FC faced off for the first time during their inaugural season in the North American Soccer League (NASL). On May 5, 1974, San Jose would emerge victorious 2-1 after Mani Hernandez netted the first goal in club history and the team outscored Vancouver in a penalty shootout to decide the match.

Five decades later, the clubs have endured the test of time and have continued this epic war in Major League Soccer. In 33 MLS regular-season matchups, the Quakes hold a slight 11-10-12 edge over their old Canadian rivals. In 2023, San Jose edged both contests to complete a regular-season sweep (2-1 at PayPal Park, 1-0 at BC Place).

The Quakes will aim to replicate that success as they continue to search for their first triumph this season and shake off some early-season rust, especially in defense. After conceding 26 fewer goals in head coach Luchi Gonzalez’s first campaign, the back line has uncharacteristically given up five in the first two games. Though it’s still early, Gonzalez is fully aware of the urgency heading into this third game.

“All the games are very important,” Gonzalez said at Wednesday’s press conference. “We’re very focused. The week started well with intensity and competition to prepare for this weekend. We go one thing at a time. We have a different opponent with a different style. [Vancouver Whitecaps FC] are a good team to challenge us, but we are focusing on ourselves. We want to play today. If there were a game today it’d be ideal, but we have to wait and be patient for Saturday. With energy and faith, we can win and change games.”

With San Jose scoring just two goals in the first two tilts, the onus for Saturday is get the attack back in sync. Newly acquired forward Amahl Pellegrino, who made his first start with the Quakes in the home opener, is hoping to stay in form stateside after scoring a whopping 75 goals during his last spell at Norwegian league champion Bodo/Glimt (2021-23).

“I think that MLS will fit me good,” said Pellegrino, the reigning Eliteserien Player of the Year. “I’m just trying to adapt to the team, to my teammates and how we play, as fast as possible so I can be myself on the team and put my signature when we are playing here. That’s the only thing that I’m trying to learn as fast as possible because I want to be myself and I want to win games with San Jose.”

Meanwhile Vancouver has also yet to find the win column in 2024 after drawing 1-1 with Charlotte FC in their season opener last Saturday. The ‘Caps will be leaning on key returnees like the forward duo of Brian White (15g/5a last season) and Ryan Gauld (11g/12a) along with center back Ranko Veselinović (led all field players with 2,823 minutes) in hopes of escaping the Bay Area with 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.