Los Angeles Football Club will put their unbeaten record to the test as they take on the San Jose Earthquakes up in Avaya Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Ahead of the clash, we wanted to see how things are going for the Quakes, so we reached out to Oz Lucero, who runs SB Nation’s Quakes site Center Line Soccer to get the lowdown. Many thanks to Oz for taking the time to answer my questions!
Angels on Parade asks Center Line Soccer:
1. San Jose have a new head coach in Matias Almeyda. How is it going so far under the new boss, and how is that reflected in the games?
Well, the San Jose Earthquakes have lost all three games of the season so far so things could be better. That being said the first half against New York Red Bulls shows what this team is capable of once they settle into Almeyda’s system. The man-marking style is physically demanding, and the Quakes do not currently have the fitness to play that way for 90 minutes. As the season progresses and the players’ bodies adjust to the new style the results on the pitch should be better. If most of the players can’t make that adjustment, it’s going to be another long and painful season in San Jose.
2. Chris Wondolowski is on the cusp of breaking the MLS scoring record. What’s his form like so far this season, and how has it been watching his career progress to this record?
If Chris Wondolowski asked me to run through a brick wall, I would take off no questions asked, the way he gives everything he has both emotionally and physically every match makes him an excellent leader. Wondo was never the fastest player on the pitch, but it looks like age has taken any pace he did have, and he has been non-existent on the offensive side of the ball all season. Whether Almeyda is starting Wondo over Danny Hoesen to get the distraction of the record out of the way or Hoesen is not yet fit I don’t know, but at this stage in his career, Wondo should be an impact sub, not a weekly starter.
Watching Wondo get closer to the record every season has been such a treat after so many terrible seasons in San Jose. His passion for the team and the game are unmatched by any other player I have seen in black and blue. From training to friendlies, to MLS matches Wondo always brings the same spirit and honestly that passion is a primary reason why I cannot give up on this club.
3. Who is a Quakes player who LAFC fans may not know a lot about coming in but who may make a real impact on Saturday?
Cristian Espinoza. A couple of weeks ago Jacob Sundstrom wrote about what he has been doing for the Quakes so far this season, and I agree he has been a bright spot in a gloomy season so far. New York Red Bulls defender Kyle Duncan had a tough time dealing with him in the first half of their match, and if Espinoza can take advantage of Jordan Harvey in a similar manner, he can get some space to fling in those beautiful crosses or find the back of the net.
4. (Bonus) Prediction for Saturday’s game?
1-3 LAFC. Carlos Vela is on an absolute tear and Eduard Atuesta is a beast in the midfield. The Quakes are still trying to find their rhythm under Almeyda and LAFC is already in playoff form, this could get ugly.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!