Match Preview

MATCH PREVIEW: Earthquakes travel to face Houston Dynamo FC

sj vs hou match preview

The San Jose Earthquakes will play away against Houston Dynamo FC on Saturday, March 30. Kickoff from Shell Energy Stadium in Houston, 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).

San Jose will travel to Houston after earning their first three points of the 2024 Major League Soccer season against Seattle Sounders FC last weekend. The Quakes struck blood first, scoring the fastest back-to-back goals in the league this year thanks to defender Vitor Costa and forward Cristian Espinoza. Seattle clawed back to equalize in the second half, but a quick response from forward Jeremy Ebobisse sealed the victory for the home side.

While Vitor netted his second of the season against Seattle to become this year’s lead goal scorer for San Jose, Espinoza and Ebobisse both notched their 29th Quakes career goals to sit tied at fourth most goals in club history.

The Quakes hold a 10-17-4 record in 31 regular season matches against the Dynamo, including going 2-12-1 on the road. Both sides traded blows last season, with the Earthquakes notching a 2-1 victory at PayPal Park before Houston claimed the second leg with a 4-1 win in Texas.

Espinoza and midfielder and captain Jackson Yueill lead the current Quakes’ squad in most club goals against Houston (two goals), as Ebobisse holds the most career goals against the Texas side with five. Goalkeeper William Yarbrough has never lost against the Dynamo across eight matchups during his time with the Colorado Rapids (4-0-4).

Riding the momentum to a second win will take the Black and Blue to Houston, a formidable opponent in a tough environment. Shell Energy Stadium proves to be an obstacle for opposing teams, as the Dynamo finished the 2023 season with a 11-2-4 home record. The Earthquakes aim to differ from their previous away appearances in this matchup and earn their first three points in Houston since their 1-0 victory on May 5, 2015.

The Dynamo enter 2024 as the reigning Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions and Audi MLS Cup Conference Finalists from last year and have begun this year’s campaign with a record of 2-1-1. Veteran goalkeeper Steve Clark has been at the focal point of the Dynamo’s success, earning clean sheets in both of Houston’s victories. Forward Ibrahim Aliyu has led the club in scoring with two goals to start the year, followed by forward Gabriel Segal and defender Brad Smith who both sit at one apiece.


On last week’s victory against Seattle Sounders FC: 

“I thought it was our most dangerous game, with volume and quality chances that were reflected in xG [expected goals]. In the goals we actually scored, I think set pieces also contributes to that. We’ve been pretty aggressive on set pieces. We’ve some new players and ideas that, from preseason until right now, have been really positive. We want to continue to be very dangerous on set pieces in different ways…no matter the personnel.”

On facing Houston Dynamo FC this weekend: 

“We want to try to be as dangerous as possible every game; easier said than done. Houston defends very well. They have one of the better xG against records in the league and we need to recognize that. They’re going to have stout defending and in the way they’re organized. …We need to keep trying to raise our level of aggressiveness and verticality and determination in the box and carry on from what we showed in terms of our potential in the last game. … Houston not only defensively have been strong, but they’re a high-possession team. They keep the ball well. I know they’ve got knocks, and injuries as well, out to key guys, but they’re a great possession team that can dominate with the ball and we recognize that.”

On the return of midfielder Niko Tsakiris: 

“We missed him a lot early season, and it was tough not to have him available in our competition with the things that he can do and that you saw against Seattle in terms of his ability to find the pockets. He’ll connect passes. He can play high and low positions in the midfield. He’ll track the opponent and disorganize the opponent with his movement. At some point in a possession, he’ll find a space where he’ll receive between lines and then drive. … He plays with courage, and he plays with excitement. He’s always looking to not only just connect but look forward and play forward. He’s always got a smile on his face because he enjoys creating and playing and we missed that.”