Interim boss Alex Covelo says that the San Jose Earthquakes have no “tricks” up their sleeve to beat Seattle Sounders, but that their energy could help propel them to an upset victory on home turf against the Champions League finalists.
The club parted ways with previous coach Matias Almeyda following last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Nashville, and now are on the hunt for a new manager to take the reins.
Covelo has been tasked with guiding the ship in the meanwhile however, and the interim boss feels that his team will have a point to prove against the Sounders when they come to town.
“I think that the surprise is going to be that we are going to try and play the way that we want,” he stated. “I don’t have any tricks to beat Seattle with. I think it has to be a more collective work, offensively and defensively.
“There’s a lot of energy in the locker room. They are excited about this opportunity. The guys have an eagerness to win. Every game has pressure (but) the guys have trained well. This is a good group of guys.”
Opposite number Brian Schmetzer meanwhile is hoping to bring Yeimar Gomez Andrade back into the fold from injury, and acknowledges that his efforts against the Earthquakes may inform his selections for the CCL final first leg in Mexico City on April 27.
“There’s certain things that he has to go through, so it’s actually handy that we have a game,” he added.
“We can really test him because training is training and a game’s a game. Once he gets through whatever amount of time he plays against San Jose, we’ll make some determinations.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
San Jose – Jeremy Ebobisse
The Earthquakes may be struggling for results this term, but that hasn’t stopped the USMNT international from hitting the straps when required. He’s nabbed five goals in MLS this season and sits joint-top of the standings.
Seattle – Xavier Arreaga
The Ecuador international is likely to play a key role in his side’s Champions League success over the coming weeks if they are to triumph, and it is his short ball game that can prove particularly fiendish. He’s managed 229 short passes – a club best for the season.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Sounders are unbeaten in eight straight matches at San Jose (W4 D4), winning four of their last five visits. There has only been one longer road unbeaten streak by one team against a single opponent in MLS history: Kansas City 11 straight vs. New England from 2000-07.
– San Jose has a team-record low three points through seven matches this season. The Earthquakes are the 12th team in MLS history to go winless through the first seven matches of a season in MLS history.
– Seattle suffered its third loss of the season on Saturday against Miami, a total it didn’t reach until its 17th game last season, when the Sounders lost to San Jose on the final day of July. The 1-0 loss to Miami was also the third time the Sounders failed to score this season, a total they didn’t reach until that game against the Earthquakes on July 31 last season.
– Jeremy Ebobisse has scored at least once in three straight matches for the second time in his MLS career (w/ Portland in July 2020), including braces in each of his last two. The only Earthquakes player to score in at least four straight MLS matches in the last 20 years was Chris Wondolowski, who did so six times.
– The Sounders have used an MLS-high 23 different starters this season, while the 17 players they’ve used as subs ties Atlanta for most in MLS. Xavier Arreaga is the only Sounders player that has started all six of their league matches in 2022.