Interim San Jose head coach Alex Covelo hopes the postponement of the Earthquakes’ last league game won’t have an impact when they host the Chicago Fire.

San Jose saw their clash with rivals LA Galaxy cancelled last week due to the impact of forest fires in the area, meaning their last outing was a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake two weeks ago.

Despite his side sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference, Covelo insists they will be ready to face the Fire.

“Hopefully it [the break between games] doesn’t affect anything,” he said. “I think the guys have been training very well, like always.

“Obviously you want to play during the weekend and the guys wanted to play. I can tell you they have a lot of energy and a lot of will to play against Chicago.

“They played well, they won against Philadelphia, but in the end it’s a game of 11 v 11 and we have to do our best.”

Chicago claimed a superb 1-0 win over the in-form Philadelphia Union last time out, but remain 13th in the Eastern Conference with 17 points.

However, after watching his team claim two wins in three games, Chicago boss Ezra Hendrickson hopes those results can represent a turning point.

“We hope now that we can build this into a more consistent effort from game to game, because you just beat the first-place team in your conference, and that gives you a little bit of confidence, and hopefully it gives us some momentum going into the rest of these games,” he said.

“But the games are going to come quickly, and we’ve just got to find a way of being ready game-in, game-out, and just showing that consistent effort.

“I think if we do that, I think we’ll be fine.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

San Jose Earthquakes – Jeremy Ebobisse

The forward’s nine goals this season mean he has more than doubled the tally of the ‘Quakes’ next most-prolific player (Cristian Espinoza with four), and having recorded those strikes from just 6.9 expected goals (xG), he will hope to provide the difference once more.

Chicago Fire – Federico Navarro

Navarro’s winner against Philadelphia was the first goal Chicago have scored from outside the penalty area all season, and the Argentine midfielder could provide another valuable contribution in California.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– This will be the first meeting between the Fire and Earthquakes since a 2-0 San Jose win during MLS is Back in 2020. The ‘Quakes have lost only one of their last six home matches against the Fire dating back to 2011, winning four times and drawing once in that time.

– The Earthquakes are unbeaten in seven straight home matches (W3 D4) after a 3-1 loss to the Red Bulls on the opening day of the season. San Jose have had just one longer single-season home unbeaten run in the last six seasons, going 12 in a row without defeat at home in 2019 (W10 D2).

– The Fire have lost six of their last seven away matches (D1), including the last three in a row.

– Chicago have won only two of their last 37 away matches against Western Conference teams (D9 L26) dating back to 2014.

– Four different Earthquakes players have recorded at least four assists this season, led by Cristian Espinoza’s seven. No other MLS team has more players with at least four assists in 2022 (CF Montréal – also 4).