The Vancouver Whitecaps take on an old foe when they battle the San Jose Earthquakes at BC Place
MATCH AT A GLANCE
(Insert Earthquake pun here). Seriously though, the Whitecaps and the San Jose Earthquakes fierce rivalry has spawned some unbelievable matches since the Whitecaps joined MLS three seasons ago. This season, the Earthquakes haven't exactly set the world on fire, sitting near the basement of the Western Conference standings. A win would propel the Earthquakes into a tie with our Whitecaps, so obviously both sides have plenty to play for.
It won't be easy for San Jose; The Whitecaps have been outstanding within the confines of BC Place, losing outright just once; two weeks ago against the Union, when they played the majority of the contest a man down. Still, the Earthquakes have to come into tonight with a high level of confidence; they're gunning for their fourth straight victory, after posting wins over Chivas, Portland and Seattle the last three weeks.
Statistically, the Whitecaps are the better team. Vancouver has scored more goals, with 34 compared to the Earthquakes 25. On defense, the Whitecaps have conceded 30 goals, while the Earthquakes have allowed 33.
- After scoring a whopping 27 goals for the 'Quakes last season, Chris Wondolowski again leads the team in scoring, but at just 7 goals. By comparison, scoring leader Mike Magee has 14. Wondo has missed some time playing with the U.S.A. national squad, but scored twice against Chivas in his return.
- The Earthquakes and 'Caps have played just once so far this season, a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium on April 6th.
- Former Whitecap Shea Salinas leads the Earthquakes in assists with 6, just one fewer than Russell Teibert. (The lead league is former 'Cap Sebastien Le Toux, who has 10.)
- Super pest Steven Lenhart may have lost his scoring touch when he cut off his long hair. He has just two markers on the season after reaching double digits last season.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
EDGE: IT'S A DRAW
The Whitecaps boast a formidable attacking trio of Russell Teibert, Camilo and Kenny Miller
, but you know that because we pump their tires before every match. However, the 'Quakes have guys that can flat out play as well. Lenhart, Wondolowski, and Alan Gordon
are as good as it gets up front, while Adam Jahn has proven he can finish, as he has four goals on the year.
Is it unfair to give this one to Vancouver solely because of Nigel Reo-Coker
? Few are better than the 28 year old at pushing the play forward and commanding his midfield like a general. Throw in a great supporting player like Gershon Koffie
and a wild card like Daigo Kobayashi
, and the Whitecaps clearly have the edge over the 'Quakes mid. That being said, do you think the Whitecaps regret letting Shea Salinas go? It looks like he's found a home in San Jose.
Yes, it will be very nice if Andy O'Brien
can play versus the 'Quakes, but how effective can he be considering he's missed a month of action with a hamstring injury? Meanwhile, Jay Demerit is still out, Jordan Harvey
is still starting at left back, and YP Lee has looked slow and tired for the majority of the season. Toss in razor thin depth, and the Earthquakes have a clear advantage here.
This one is pretty simple; I'll give the edge to the guy who's been playing this season, as opposed to David Ousted, who has been riding pine, with the exception of the Timbers match. Still far too early to determine if Ousted can be the elite keeper the Whitecaps need, although he did look very good against Portland.
While the Whitecaps generally haven't done great in pressure filled situations, I believe they come out strong at home and score a few against a tough Earthquakes squad. Final score; 2-1 Whitecaps.