huddle

The San Jose Earthquakes will face Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the penultimate regular-season home match in 2021. San Jose’s matchup against Whitecaps FC will take place on Saturday, Oct. 23 at PayPal Park, presented by Intermedia.

The Quakes face Vancouver in the third and final regular-season meeting between the two clubs in 2021. San Jose and Vancouver split points in a scoreless draw on Aug. 13. The Quakes then fell 3-0 at BC Place, their second defeat in a recent three-match losing skid.

San Jose were dominant in a 4-0 shutout victory over Austin FC on Wednesday night, putting an end to their winless streak and keeping their chances for MLS Cup Playoffs alive.

Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda said the Quakes played a perfect match in the second half. The Quakes tallied four goals in single half for the first time since a 5-1 victory over Chicago Fire FC on July 23, 2014. San Jose also earned their first victory by a margin of 4+ goals since a 4-0 victory over the LA Galaxy on Oct. 14, 2020.

“I think if we were able to maintain this consistency, intensity and style, surely our outlook would be different,” Almeyda said on Wednesday night. “It makes me happy for the young players. They showed they go for more even in a complicated present. I asked them to play for honor and they did that.”

Speaking on Wednesday night’s result, and the effect it can have on San Jose’s race for playoffs, Chris Wondolowski says the result increased the team’s confidence and morale.

“I think it’s something that was needed,” Wondolowski said. “I think it was great for the morale in the locker room. It was nice to have one of those tangible wins where everything went well. We worked on set pieces, and we were able to get a set piece goal. We worked on our diagonals and crosses, and we were able to get a goal like that. It was nice to have everything kind of click so I think that it’s very beneficial for us as we close on these last four games and try to make the best run as we can.”

San Jose will need to match that level of intensity on Saturday, as they will be met by a team that is surging.

Despite falling 4-1 against Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 9, Whitecaps FC have recorded victories in four of their last six matches (4-1-1), including a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night. Vancouver trailed 2-0 at the end of the first half and responded with three goals in the span of 19 minutes in the second half.

Vancouver’s victory over Portland propelled them into seventh place in the Western Conference standings, just above the playoff line. Whitecaps FC are hungry for a playoff berth, and will surely battle to defend their position on Saturday.

The Quakes will know to focus on containing Vancouver leading goal scorer Brian White (11 goals). White tallied all three goals in Whitecaps FC’s 3-0 victory over San Jose on Oct. 2 and is currently up to six goals in his last six matches.

As complex as the season has already been for San Jose, Almeyda will also need to account for the absence of Nathan and Marcos Lopez on Saturday. Both defenders will serve single-match suspensions as a result of yellow card accumulation.

Kickoff from PayPal Park is set for 7:00 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Bay Area, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.