The San Jose Earthquakes will hit the road to face Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field on Saturday, July 3. San Jose and Minnesota face off in a regular-season match for the first time since March 7, 2020.
With two-thirds of the regular season yet to be played, the Quakes have room to experiment, find their form and fight for a playoff berth.
Forward Chris Wondolowski recognizes the urgency in making the most from the remainder of the season. Despite recent results not going in their favor, the 38-year-old says there have been glimpses in which the team’s preparation and training for a match comes together and yields dangerous opportunities. The forward believes the Quakes need to be alert and productive all 90 minutes of every match to get back in winning form.
“I think our play has not been up to par, especially on the offensive side and especially myself,” Wondolowski said in a press conference on Wednesday. “I’ve been very disappointed with not being able to find the back of the net and being able to help produce as many points as possible right now.
"I know we have two-thirds of the season still left and we’re ready to go. We’ve had glimpses of what we need to do and how we can be successful, but it’s only been glimpses. I think that we need to be able to put it together for a full 90 minutes and be able to execute that game plan. Players that are here all need to step up a little bit more and continue to do what they’re capable of.”
Defender Tommy Thompson concurs and adds that the Quakes need to avoid making mistakes, on defense and on offense. Thompson says that mistakes have been costly, resulting in goals conceded and opportunities missed.
“There is no doubt that we are in a difficult moment,” the 25-year-old said. “But we have gone through these moments before as a team, so we are focusing on the positives and what we have done well. We’re studying video, we’re working on correcting all the mistakes that we’ve done to not repeat them in the next game.
“For me, I think that in the majority of our losses, we were right there. We were competitive but a lot of times we weren’t able to find that final pass or finish off that final shot. We’ve been working on that a lot in training and we’re looking forward to turning the tide on Saturday against Minnesota.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s match, San Jose will need a huge performance in order to topple Minnesota United FC, who have been impressive in MLS as of late. Having initially dropped their first four regular-season matches, Minnesota have surged up to fifth in the Western Conference standings and are currently unbeaten in six-straight matches (4-0-2), including four shutout victories.
The Quakes have a challenging task ahead of them on Saturday, needing to end a three-match winless streak against head coach Adrian Heath and his side to bring home three points.
“We are facing a team that has always beaten us, a team that is very well formed,” said Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda. “Their coach has been involved in their process for several years. We know we are facing a difficult opponent. We are looking for ways to counteract their virtues, so that we may be able to grow.”
Kickoff at Allianz Field is set for 5 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports California, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.