The San Jose Earthquakes are in search of their second consecutive victory when they face Vancouver Whitecaps FC at PayPal Park on Friday, August 13, presented by CEFCU. Friday’s match will be the first meeting between the two clubs this season and marks the second match of a three-match homestand.
San Jose holds the longest active unbeaten streak in MLS but currently occupy 10th in the Western Conference standings (5-7-6, 21 pts.) with 16 matches still to be played in the regular season. Almeyda clarified in a virtual press conference on Wednesday that he will approach the remainder of the season on a game-by-game basis and strategize for the next match with that specific opponent in mind.
"We have made changes to our strategies quite a bit,” said Almeyda. “It depends a lot on the opponents we are up against. Since I have arrived, we have never done the same pressure, as an example. Every time we face an opponent, there are different qualities in how we play and press, if we are higher or lower, but the idea remains the same. I think there has been a huge change from the game in which we were conceding many goals. It is up to yourself to recognize and correct these mistakes, and that is where the positive changes come from."
Almeyda wants the team’s focus to be on the present. Despite their recent run of form, the Quakes head coach says there is still a long road for the Quakes in the context of the season. San Jose’s next challenge comes on Friday, when they face off with Vancouver and Florian Jungwirth, who was traded to the ‘Caps on August 6.
“Sixteen matches are left and anyone who thinks they've achieved or finished something is mistaken,” Almeyda said. “I am all about being in the present and trying not to think too far ahead. We need to think about the tough opponent we will be facing which is Vancouver Whitecaps FC. They have been improving their game and they have a great coach and roster. This will not be an easy match. Our focus is on Vancouver.”
Vancouver played to a draw in their last four matches (0-0-4). Whitecaps FC seek their first win since July 17, in which they defeated the LA Galaxy 2-1.
The visitors will be without Designated Player and Canada National Team forward Lucas Cavallini on Friday. Vancouver announced on Wednesday that Cavallini suffered a knee injury in last Sunday’s 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy. The forward made 11 starts in 12 total appearances for his club in 2021, generating three goals and one assist.
Despite Cavallini’s absence, Vancouver still possesses the threat of forward Cristian Dájome, who leads Whitecaps FC with eight goals. Dájome tallied three of Vancouver’s last five goals, including a brace against Minnesota, playing the lead role in getting the club to an active four-match unbeaten streak.
The match kicks off from PayPal Park at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Bay Area, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.