Saturday’s match is the San Jose Earthquakes’ last at home for nearly a month. It’s also the club’s last against a team currently below the playoff line until the season finale on Oct. 6. Put two and two together and you get a recipe that suggests three points are crucial.
Orlando City SC is by no means going to let those three points come easily. At 9-12-7 (34 pts.), Orlando finds themselves in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and just three points out of the coveted seventh and final playoff spot.
Last Friday’s loss to Atlanta was their first defeat in their last five matches (2-1-2). City is unbeaten in their last two road games (0-0-2) but haven’t won away from home since June 29 – more than two months ago.
The Quakes meanwhile will be seeking to extend their unbeaten streak at home to 12 matches (9-0-2), their longest in a single season since 2013. Last weekend’s victory over Vancouver saw the club uncork an MLS-record 43 shots and 19 shots on goal.
Orlando City midfielder Nani, famous for his time with Manchester United and the Portugal National Team, is one of the league’s biggest stars. Nani has nine goals and eight assists, pacing the team in both categories, but it hasn’t come without a few bumps in the road. He scored eight goals in his first 15 appearances and just one in his last 13. Orlando has won just one of his last seven starts (1-4-2).
City ranks bottom-third in MLS in shots per game, possession and pass completion percentage, so the Quakes – who rank top-three in all three categories – should look to dominate those areas.
The match kicks off at 7:15 p.m. and can be followed on NBC Sports CA, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF. Tickets are available here.