The Kaká Effect
Arguably one of the best players to ever step on a soccer pitch, Brazilian international Kaká will be entering the confines of Avaya Stadium for the first time Wednesday night as a member of Orlando City SC. The one-time FIFA World Player of the Year is playing in his third season with Orlando, tallying three goals in five games played in 2017. The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner has played at Avaya Stadium before, however, starring for the MLS All-Stars during the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star game this past summer against Arsenal FC. Players of Kaka’s caliber don’t come around very often, let alone to the Bay Area to play the Quakes. Wednesday’s match is definitely a must-see as San Jose looks to get back to their winning ways.
Familiar Faces for Darwin
Earthquakes midfielder Darwin Ceren was acquired via trade from Orlando City SC during the 2016 season in exchange for former San Jose Designated Player Matias Perez Garcia and an international roster slot. Ceren left the Sunshine State a fan favorite in Orlando after serving as captain of the club in the beginning of the 2016 season and starring for the Lions when they competed in the United Soccer League (USL). Now, for the first time in three years, Ceren will be facing Orlando as an opponent. Needless to say, it will be an emotional night for Ceren.
Slowing Down Cyle Larin
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more exciting and effective attacking player under the age of 23 than Orlando’s Cyle Larin. The 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year has continued to impress in his third year with the club, tallying seven goals so far this season, tied for second most in MLS. The Canadian international started and played 84 minutes against San Jose during the teams’ last meeting in the Bay Area in 2015. Look for Larin to be a threat in the box for Orlando come Wednesday night.
Home Sweet Home
The Quakes and the Lions have two things in common this season: they’re both undefeated at home and have had their share of trouble on the road. From that record alone, San Jose holds that advantage in this weekday matchup, having scored four goals and conceded only one goal in their last two home matches. In their last game at Avaya Stadium on May 6, the Quakes defeated Western Conference rival Portland Timbers 3-0 behind goals from Jahmir Hyka and Chris Wondolowski (2). The Lions will look to rebound from a 4-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo in their last road contest.