The San Jose Earthquakes have had some noticeable absences from the locker room over the last two weeks. In fact, nearly one-third of the roster was away from the club’s home base to compete with their respective national teams, and in the case of Danny Hoesen, pursuing a U.S. Green Card.
Head coach Matias Almeyda admitted on Wednesday that missing so many players to international duty wasn’t ideal and presents the challenge of having to play catch up preparation-wise.
"It's little time to prepare for a match considering their flights and the match(es) they just played,” said Almeyda during his weekly press conference. "We'll see what conditions they arrive in as well as properly analyze the team.”
With so many key players away, including both center backs, a trio of influential midfielders, and two fullbacks, Almeyda has had to find a balance in training to prepare for the team’s first NorCal-SoCal match of the season on Saturday.
One of the players that was on international duty is center back Guram Kashia, who led his home nation of Georgia against the Republic of Ireland and Switzerland.
“I came back to San Jose on Wednesday afternoon after an 11-hour flight and then was here at training the next day,” explained Kashia on Friday morning. “It’s really hard to deal with the time change because it’s an 11-hour difference. It’s tough to manage the sleep schedule.”
Regardless of Kashia’s long travels, which he shared with teammate Vako, the Georgian believes he is prepared to go to battle on Saturday against LAFC.
“Yesterday [Thursday] I felt really good during the session. I received good feedback and ran more than seven kilometers, which is a positive sign. I felt really good, so I must say that I’ll be fine for tomorrow.
“For this type of game, your body and mind adjust automatically. These are the types of games I live for because they require you to fight for everything and that’s my strength.”
Despite being away for nearly two weeks, Kashia said this rivalry match was always on the back of his mind.
“I was following on social media, reading articles and seeing messages from guys on the team. You can sense how important these matches are for the city. It’s the right time to respond to all the negativity by going and winning this game. I’m looking forward to proving so many things and I’m concentrating 100% on Saturday.”