Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting San Jose Earthquakes 🔎
The Quakes are unbeaten at home this season under Luchi Gonzalez.
FC Dallas will see a familiar face this weekend when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes for the first time in 2023. San Jose manager Luchi Gonzalez coached at FC Dallas both in the academy system and as first team head coach until the organization let him go in the second half of the 2021 season.
San Jose enters this weekend unbeaten at home after six games. They are coming off a tough 2-1 loss last weekend against the defending MLS Cup Champions LAFC.
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Key Player: Cristian Espinoza
Espinoza has scored five goals in his last three home matches. According to the club’s game notes, that equals Chris Wondolowski and Ariel Graziani for the most in a three-match span of home matches in Earthquakes history.
Key Matchup: Carlos Gruezo vs Jesus Ferreira
While Ferreira may be more matched up against the center backs for the Quakes, don’t be shocked if you see the former FC Dallas midfielder try to stay back a little more to snuff out chances for his former teammate.
Out: Nathan (ACL), Carlos Akapo (hamstring)
Questionable: Daniel (knee)
On Loan: Oskar Agren
International duty: Niko Tsakiris, Cade Cowell
Gonna be close - Five of the last seven meetings between San Jose and FC Dallas have ended in draws (1 win each). The Earthquakes have lost only one of their last 11 meetings with FC Dallas (W4 D6) dating back to the start of the 2017 season, including going unbeaten at home (W2 D4) in that time.
Home cooking - San Jose has won five of its first six home matches this season (D1), including winning each of the last three. The Earthquakes have allowed only three goals in those six games, equaling the fewest goals they've allowed through six home matches of a season in club history (2015, 2016).
Solid attacking - The Earthquakes hold an eight-match scoring record in MLS play, their longest streak since Aug. 2021.
Gonzalez tends to do a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield, having Greuzo on that bottom end of the diamond above his central defenders. Lately, that has shifted a bit into a 4-3-3.
JT Marcinkowski; Paul Marie, Rodrigues, Jonathan Mensah, Miguel Trauco; Jamiro Monteiro, Carlos Gruezo, Jackson Yueill; Benji Kikanović, Jeremy
Ebobisse, Cristian Espinoza.
Keys To Three Points over San Jose
Play your game - On the road in this league, you must find a way to play your game as much as possible. FC Dallas has done a good enough job away from home this season in that department, outside of one road game (NYCFC). They’ll want to approach this game like they’ve done their last couple (Austin and Minnesota) by finding ways to take San Jose out of their comfort zones and forcing them to make bad turnovers that lead to quality chances.
Spread them wide - I’ve called this out several times recently, but FC Dallas really is at their best, offensively, when they spread teams out. We know FC Dallas isn’t going to beat teams in the air all that much in open space, but their speed is still an asset on the wings that they must take advantage of here in this game. San Jose’s defense, particularly on the wings, is vulnerable to giving up space in the attack when defending.
Throw something unique at them - Estevez mentioned on Wednesday to the media that he didn’t see the need for a different formation or look on Saturday, given that Gonzalez knows his team reasonably well. I still think he could try some exciting wrinkles, though, in his attack, particularly in the set pieces. Lately, we’ve seen some nice training ground-type set pieces that have nearly paid off. I think you continue to throw things like that at teams to catch them off guard.