On Saturday, the quest for the eighth annual Heritage Cup will officially begin. As rivals Seattle Sounders FC make their first appearance of the season at Avaya Stadium, the San Jose Earthquakes will start their hunt to completing the three-peat after capturing the trophy in each of the previous two seasons.
Just one point apart in the Western Conference standings, there will be more than just a Cup on the line. The two clubs, whose rivalry dates back to the NASL days, will also battle in hopes to capture the division’s final playoff spot.
After falling to Seattle 2-0 in their first matchup of the season, San Jose is searching for revenge on their home field. Captain Chris Wondolowski, who leads MLS all-time in goals against Sounders FC, and new additions Henok Goitom and Darwin Ceren will look to shift the result in their favor as a likely different starting XI could take the field for the Earthquakes.
Wondolowski will not be the only person captaining the Earthquakes on Saturday. San Jose will welcome 11-year-old Cole Baker to the squad for the match, who will serve as an honorary captain. Baker, who has battled stage IV neuroblastoma since 2011 and undergone multiple treatments, phase I studies and surgeries, will become the first team signing under interim general manager Chris Leitch as he pens a one-day contract with the club.
Apart from the expected exciting on-field action that awaits the matchup, there will also be events for fans to enjoy off the field. Prior to the clash, the Quakes will host their annual A&W Celebrity Root Beer Float Night in the 7UP Epicenter. For a recommended $5 donation, fans will enjoy A&W Root Beer Floats prepared by former 49ers center Eric Heitmann and former U.S. Women’s National Team member and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Brandi Chastain among other special guests, with the proceeds benefitting the Positive Coaching Alliance.
Fans will also be encouraged to participate during the game, as emoji packs will be distributed on every seat for them to react to moments in the match and the giveaway. Those who choose to stay in their seats at halftime will get a dose of cuteness with disc dogs taking Avaya Stadium’s field to dazzle with their disc-catching abilities.
As the playoffs inch closer, the on-field matchup on Saturday will prove to be vital for both clubs who hope to make a late push. With the activities and events off field included, it will be a can’t-miss night for Earthquakes fans of all ages.