New York City FC is once again on the road, this time making the trip all the way to the edge of the West Coast where they will take on the San Jose Earthquakes. The Pigeons will look to improve on their MLS - leading road record and secure another 3 points to help cement their lead atop the Eastern Conference. The ‘Quakes, meanwhile, continue their fight to make it above the red line, as they currently sit 3 points behind the Vancouver Whitecaps for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
A victory for NYCFC could prove difficult, as San Jose has only lost one game this season at home, while tallying six wins and drawing 3 times. The arena, Avaya Stadium, will look familiar for most as it was just last week the host of the MLS All-Star festivities. David Villa and Andrea Pirlo get to step on the pitch again for the second time in 8 days, albeit this time in an actual competitive match.
What to watch for:
For San Jose, they look to the forward tandem of Chris Wondolowski and Quincy Amarikwa up front to provide the scoring punch in a 4-4-2 formation. Wondolowski is once again among the contenders for the Golden Boot this season, with 9 goals scored so far this season. Solidifying the defense for San Jose is MLS All-Star and USMNT member David Bingham in goal. Bingham is enjoying one of his best seasons in his young career, and should provide one of the stronger challenges for New York’s attack this season. San Jose will need his best, as central defense looks to be trying to reorganize itself with the loss of Clarence Goodson for the season.
At the close of the transfer window, San Jose made an unexpected move by trading Designated Player Matias Perez Garcia to Orlando City SC in exchange for Defensive Midfielder Darwin Ceren. Ceren will look to fight for minutes with Fatay Alashe and Anibal Godoy in central midfield for Dominic Kinnear’s side. It will also be interesting to see where the club turns to now for the playmaking and attacking creativity Garcia brought to the club. Maybe this will lead to more playing time for Tommy Thompson, a homegrown talent who has yet to break into the starting XI, but has received much hype over the last couple of seasons.
For New York City FC, it’s quite a different story. After once again suffering another frustrating and disappointing (some would even say humiliating) loss to their Hudson River Rivals, the New York Red Bulls, the club once again picked itself back up and looked forward - this time putting together a comprehensive 5-1 victory at home versus the Colorado Rapids. Even more impressive was that they did so without the help of regulars like David Villa and RJ Allen. Frank Lampard wore the captain’s armband and wore it well, setting the tone for the match with the club’s first ever hat-trick. Lampard is now up to 8 goals on the season, in only 11 games played. Will Lampard continue his torrid summer in San Jose?
New York now heads to Avaya Stadium, where the wider pitch will sure to be welcoming to a team built on playing out of the back and wearing out their opponents with effective passing and possession of the ball. As usual, the defense remains an open question with this team, but perhaps that might soon change. Tonight’s match could see the first start for recent signee Maxime Chanot. He came on for the second half of the Rapids’ win due to an injury to Jefferson Mena. He and Frederic Brillant have been teammates in the past and perhaps the familiarity will be what the club needs to solidify the backline. If Chanot doesn’t start, look for Jason Hernandez to come back into his old role as starting CB alongside Brillant.
Ronald Matarrita is once again doubtful for this match tonight. It’ll be interesting to see if Vieira will put Allen back in the LB role, or will he trust Diego Martinez with another start, allowing Allen to slot back into RB for the club. Martinez is coming off a strong performance against Colorado, where he tallied an assist and looked solid in defense.
How to Watch:
San Jose Earthquakes vs. New York City FC
Friday, August 5th 11pm ET
Avaya Stadium; San Jose, California
WATCH on UniMás
LISTEN on WFAN 660AM (English) & WADO 1280AM (Spanish)