Matias Almeyda_ LR_030522_2490

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes are preparing to hit the road for their first away match of the season against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 12. Kickoff from Subaru Park is set for 4:30 p.m. PT and the match will be broadcast on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus, KNBR 1050, and 1370 KZSF.

Head coach Matias Almeyda anddefender Marcos Lopez spoke to media ahead of Saturday’s match.

 SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH MATIAS ALMEYDA

On Philadelphia Union’s success in recent years and what they can learn from them:

“I know that with little investment, they’ve retained their squad. They produce young players and obviously, they’ve gotten good results. They’re a club like us, they’re an example, and they’re a club that can be copied.”

On recent events in Queretaro, Mexico:

“I have a pretty particular thought process about this. After a pandemic, we’re living in a day of war where lots of innocent people are dying. I don’t isolate football from real life. I’ve always liked peace. I’ve always said the world is missing some love. Respect has been lost. Everything has concluded with business, and the people that pay are the innocent ones that have nothing to do with that business. I’ve lived in Mexico; I’ve experienced the Mexican League and have never seen a problem. I've seen families at stadiums. I would see a Chivas fan sitting next to an [Club] América fan and they respected each other. The events that transpired are very sad, and if we look back into it, we’re all part of the good, and we’re all part of the bad.”

On good form on the road from last season and how it can continue into this season:

“We will try. We always try to get good results and we don’t have a magic wand. Our intentions are always to have a team that competes and one that makes our fans, our owner, and our employees really happy. That’s always the intention.”

On the recent passing of Tomas Boy:

“I didn’t have the chance to know him, but it is really sad. He’s a person that has played and coached many teams. He’s an important figure in Mexico and in San Jose because he also played and coached here, and I’ve sent my condolences to his family and his loved ones.”

On how Jamiro Monteiro’s suspension will alter his tactics for Saturday:

“They’re really important players for us. We’re missing Monteiro as well as Nathan still. For our system, our lineups have really important players. I think Jamiro really wanted to play in this match, but I know that whoever comes in for him will give what we always ask for."

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES DEFENDER MARCOS LOPEZ

On his positional preference:

“I think I need to adapt to however the coach requires me or the team to play. It depends on the circumstances due to formations. I feel comfortable playing as a left back, but I can also play as a left center back if needed and I’ll do it in the best way possible. I always try to add my grain of sand in any position for the best of the team.”

On his personal goals for this season:

“I try to do things the right way. On the field, this year will be important for me for both club and country. I am giving it my all every day in order to earn a spot in the starting 11 because in this team everyone is at the same level and everyone wants to play. I have to focus on being at my best so that I can do well on the pitch and, God willing, become a mainstay in the starting 11 this year and achieve great things with the club.”

On facing the best players in the world when playing with Peru:

“Like with every national team, the best players with the most quality and the best experience are called up. In these past years, I’ve had the opportunity to adapt and face some of the best players that compete in the South American leagues, in MLS, and in the European leagues. At the national team level, those players are very fast and smart, creating chances with one or two touches. That gives you experience and helps you learn for situations like those. That has helped me a lot, but being here [in San Jose] every day is also helpful because if I’m not prepared here, then it’s very difficult to play at that level against other national teams.”