Match Preview

MATCH PREVIEW: Earthquakes return to Texas to face Austin FC

preview vs atx

The San Jose Earthquakes will make take the trip to Texas for the second time in as many weeks to face Austin FC on Saturday, April 6. Kickoff from Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, will take place at 5:30 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 Earthquakes are coming off a hard-fought loss in Houston last weekend. San Jose got off to a fast start, scoring within the opening minute of the game off a corner kick delivered by Cristian Espinoza and headed home by Bruno Wilson. A switch in momentum occurred when a red card was issued in the 34th minute to Quakes’ striker Preston Judd for an off-the-ball scuffle. San Jose repelled the hosts’ constant barrage for most of the game before the Dynamo found the equalizer and the game-winning strike in the last 10 minutes of regulation.

San Jose looks to reverse its fortunes on Saturday in Austin, and history is on the Quakes’ side, as they hold an undefeated record (2-0-5) in seven regular season matches against the Texas opposition, including a 1-0-3 record on the road. On Decision Day of the 2023 campaign, the sides played the final match of the regular season with the Earthquakes needing a point to make the playoffs. The teams battled to a 1-1 draw, with Cristian Espinoza opening the scoring in the 17th minute, clinching San Jose’s first postseason appearance since 2020.

A couple San Jose players have a positive history against the Texas side. Forward Jeremy Ebobisse leads the current Quakes squad in most career goals against Austin with four. The striker also holds the most career assists against Austin FC alongside winger Cristian Espinoza with three.

The Verde and Black enter the matchup with momentum after earning their first victory of the season at home against FC Dallas last week. Playmaker Sebastián Driussi and Diego Rubio combined on the game-winning goal, and they figure to do more of the same against the Black and Blue.

Historically, Driussi has been the focal point of Austin’s attack with success against the Quakes, contributing five goals in six matches. Rubio has been a key contributor to start the season, currently leading the team in scoring alongside defender Julio Cascante with two goals apiece.

San Jose has yet to earn a point on the road, in spite of scoring first in all three road games. With the Quakes motivated to secure a result, head coach Luchi Gonzalez has identified the encouraging signs going into Saturday.

“We’ve been winning in four of our six games,” said Gonzalez. “We’ve been in the lead four of six games, and that’s really positive that we can initiate and get leads. Now sustaining it in 90 minutes, through instances in the game, through flows, that’s something we have to keep growing and maturing in. So, it’s still also really early, we still have a great opportunity to create a winning streak, and I believe we have the team, staff, and group to do it.

“We learn hard lessons again against Houston. We have to keep working. This is another lesson we have to learn and what are we going to do about it? It’s about the next moment. It’s about staying present. As the head coach, I have to lead that in my energy, in my tone, in my focus and preparation. We have great players that I know are responding and will find a way to change this momentum.”

Goalkeeper William Yarbrough has stepped up to fill the gap between the posts left by injured keeper Daniel. Making 11 saves in two appearances, Yarbrough talks about finding his groove with a new team as an experienced veteran in the league.

“I think a big piece is when you show up at a new organization and everyone makes you feel like you’re at home from day one,” Yarbrough said at Wednesday’s press conference. “It makes that process of adapting to a new city, to a new organization, to new teammates, to new staff, that much easier. … It’s that much more important to make sure you’re doing the right things off the pitch so that when you’re called upon, you’re ready to go.”

After a string of hard-luck results, the Quakes aim to turn their road record around and continue their undefeated record against Austin FC.