If the San Jose Earthquakes are going to find their way above the red line, they are going to need to pick up some points in places they aren’t expected to. They’ll get a great shot at doing just that when they wrap up their three game road stretch Saturday Afternoon in Toronto, ON against League Leading Toronto FC.
Toronto comes into Saturday’s game absolutely on fire. Winners of four straight, unbeaten in their last nine, TFC comes in to this game six points clear of New York City FC in the race for the Supporters Shield. Fueled by Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore up top, the Toronto attack has scored three or more goals in five of their last six, with Giovinco adding six goals to his tally in that span.
After getting off a rough start to their three game road swing in Salt Lake City, the Quakes rebounded in a big way by going into Carson and laying some wood on the reeling LA Galaxy to the tune of a three-nil win that was punctuated by Chris Wondolowski tying Landon Donovan’s record for most MLS road goals right in front of the Galaxy supporter’s groups.
With FC Dallas playing to a two-two draw with New York Red Bulls while most of MLS took in the International Break off, the Quakes come into this match sitting a point below the red line, but only two points off fourth in the ever changing Western Conference Playoff push.
The Quakes will be hoping that the magic displayed by some of their internationals over the break can be recaptured. Marco Urena created an awkward situation for many Quakes fans last Friday Night as he was the hero for Costa Rica, scoring both goals in a two-nil win over the United States, solidifying the Tico’s chances of getting to Russia, while Vako delivered the heroics for the Georgian National Team with an equalizing first half goal in a one-one draw against the Republic of Ireland. Anibal Godoy (Panama), Kip Colvey (New Zealand), Cordell Cato (Trinidad & Tobago) and Jahmir Hyka (Albania) also featured in their respective countries World Cup Qualifiers, while Chris Wondolowski was on the roster for the USA, but did not play.
The Quakes will also be hoping that the week off gave some time for Defenders Nick Lima (thigh) and Flo Jungwirth (shoulder) to heal their nagging injuries, otherwise Manager Chris Leitch will once again have to dig deep into the rotation to try and slow MLS’s highest scoring attack. Both players are currently listed as questionable.
If it seems like the Quakes are going to be up against it, they are. A road game against the hands down favorite to lift the Cup in December is no easy task. But if that seems like a familar spot against Toronto FC, it is. The last time these two teams met in July 2016 at Avaya Stadium, San Jose found themselves locked in a one-one draw in the second half when they went down to nine men when Albert Quintero drew the Quakes second red card of the evening. Instead of folding in the tent, the Quakes found a new resolve and found a second goal in the 70th minute, then held on for an improbable two-one win.
Toronto FC will be hoping that the break won’t slow their rhythm as they come down the stretch and into the playoffs, where they will have the bulls eye on their back, while the Quakes will be looking to build on the momentum from a big rivalry win and some impressive international performaces. With a depleted backline, San Jose will have to come out on the attack early, hope to catch Toronto off balance, and not allow that dangerous attack to gain any steam forward if they are to have a chance of pulling three huge road points in an environment where no MLS team has won in and only two other Western Conference teams have managed to even pull a point from.
San Jose Earthquakes