The San Jose Earthquakes will face Houston Dynamo FC at PayPal Park on Saturday, July 24, presented by Coca-Cola. Saturday’s match will mark the second meeting between the two clubs in 2021. The Quakes fell 2-1 in their season opener against Houston on April 16 at BBVA Stadium.
San Jose are playing their first match in PayPal Park since embarking on a three-match road swing. The Quakes accumulated three points in three-straight matches against top-six teams in the Western Conference, most recently coming away with a point at Children’s Mercy Park in 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City.
In addition to holding the MLS goals scored leaders to a single stoppage-time goal on Wednesday night, defender Nathan tallied his first career goal in MLS in just 233 minutes played since joining the Earthquakes. Since his addition to the roster, the 26-year-old has started and played all 90 minutes in San Jose’s last three matches, which has resulted in a three-match unbeaten streak ahead of Saturday’s contest.
Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda says Nathan’s acclimation to MLS and the impact he is making should not come as a surprise.
“I think he can give a lot.” Almeyda said about the Brazilian following Wednesday night’s draw. “He makes a difference because he has experience in Europe and many other reasons that include technique, fitness and physique. I think that is the type of reinforcement that we needed.”
Nathan has a positive outlook for the direction in which the team is heading. The Brazilian feels that the Quakes are finding their confidence and taking the right steps in preparing for an opponent, adding that their comfort in-game has influenced positive results against challenging opponents.
“I think we are making progress in every match,” Nathan said on Wednesday night. “It does not matter if we are making little or big progress. The important thing is that we make that progress. You can see that in the last three matches that the team is playing with confidence and getting better. We are more secure and that gives us confidence to keep pushing. Playing as the away team is never easy and we should be pleased with these last three games in which we earned three points.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s match, Nathan says he is excited and eager to play in front of home supporters for the first time. Nathan has showcased passion and intensity on the road and wants fans at PayPal Park to match his energy levels.
“I am excited because I was on the bench in the match against the LA Galaxy,” Nathan said. “The atmosphere at PayPal Park is amazing. I am excited to play. I am very energetic and if I can contribute to the energy from the supporters, it should be a great time.”
The Quakes will square up against a Houston side that is currently ninth (3-4-7, 16 pts.) in the Western Conference standings and winless in their last seven matches (0-2-5), most recently featuring in a scoreless draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Tuesday.
The Quakes have yielded a 3-1-1 record in their last five games against Houston at PayPal Park and will look to add another positive result on Saturday.
Kickoff at PayPal Park is set for 7 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.