The San Jose Earthquakes jump back into MLS action when they host the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, September 4 at PayPal Park, presented by Audi. Saturday’s match will mark the second meeting in 2021 between San Jose and Colorado, with the previous encounter resulting in a 1-1 draw.
Since their visit to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park back in July, the Quakes have continued to earn points, ultimately yielding a record of 3-0-5 in the eight matches that followed.
After a bye in Week 22 of the MLS regular season, Earthquakes’ head coach Matias Almeyda hopes the rest will keep the momentum going for the team ahead of Saturday night’s fixture at home. Prior to the break, the Quakes defeated the LA Galaxy 2-1 in an exciting battle at Dignity Health Sports Park, extending their unbeaten streak to 10 (3-0-7).
"I think there was momentum going for the team even before the match against the LA Galaxy,” Almeyda said on Wednesday. “After so many games in a row, hopefully this break serves us well. The players know my mentality regarding the past, present, and future. I don't get caught up in one good game or one bad game. We have been working and planning, and there are still two days left before we face a challenging opponent in the Colorado Rapids. We hope to have optimal conditions for the game."
Looking ahead to Saturday’s match, Almeyda recognizes the challenge and threat in Colorado; a club that has been showcasing their quality this season, especially on set pieces. Colorado is currently third (11-4-5) in the Western Conference with two less matches played than first place Seattle Sounders FC (12-4-6) and second place Sporting Kansas City (11-4-7). The Rapids can jump into first through victories in their next two matches.
"I think set pieces, not just in this game, but in the World Cup, Champions League, and playoff matches are very important and can decide any game,” Almeyda said in respect to the threat Colorado possesses on dead balls. “I think Colorado are characterized by their collective play. They have really good players in every line. In our previous game [against Colorado], I had the chance to congratulate their coach for their system of play. I think set pieces are something that they have in their favor. If they win the two games that they have in hand, they will be in first place and that is showing that they are one of the best teams in the league."
As a collective, the Quakes believe they are an improved team from their visit to DSG Park. Midfielder Eric Remedi says the Quakes will put up a fight and battle for three points when they meet Colorado on Saturday.
"Colorado is a great team that plays well,” Remedi said. “They pressure and they attack. Colorado is high in the standings. They have been consistently earning positive results at home. They try to play their game. We are now a more challenging team. We are more compact on defense, and we keep at our style of play which is to attack from the sides and pressure. We have more confidence since the last match, and we are more secure."
Streaks are on the line for both clubs in Saturday’s contest. Colorado is unbeaten in their last six matches and are led in goals and assists by Michael Barrios (5) and Jack Price (7), respectively. Price has tallied two assists in Colorado’s last four matches.
Kickoff at PayPal Park is set for 7 p.m. PT and will be broadcast nationally on UniMás and TUDN and aired via radio on KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.