The San Jose Earthquakes take on the Colorado Rapids for the second time in three weeks on Saturday, Aug. 10 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (6 p.m. PT; NBCSBA). The Quakes prevailed in their last meeting with Colorado 3-1 but will be facing a different challenge on Saturday.
“I see a team that is more aggressive at home, a team that is more offensive and we will take the necessary measures needed to flip that situation,” explained head coach Matias Almeyda. “We needed to think about our defensive scheme and strike when the opportunity presents itself."
Almeyda believes Colorado are a much more dangerous team at home, especially with the altitude lending itself to one of the league’s best home-field advantages. The Rapids are a respectable 5-6-3 at home compared to a dismal 1-6-3 on the road.
Colorado is coming off an impressive 6-3 win over the Montreal Impact, equaling their goals total from their previous five matches combined. MLS veteran Kei Kamara led the way with a hat trick and now has a team-high 11 goals this season.
The Quakes will have to overcome the loss of Cristian Espinoza, who Almeyda suggested wouldn’t be available for selection on Saturday due to injury. Espinoza has not only been the Earthquakes’ heartbeat offensively, but one of the top wingers in MLS this season. His last absence on May 11 in New England was felt greatly as San Jose fell 3-1. Vako (seven goals) and Chris Wondolowski (nine goals) will have to step up offensively in his absence.
Both the Earthquakes and Rapids have scored in 14 consecutive matches, so a battle of sharp offenses seems to be the headline come Saturday. San Jose is 4-0-1 in their last five matches and have only dropped one of their last 12 (8-1-3).
Three very important points are on the line Saturday.