Soccer fans in San Jose and the Bay Area, for that matter, have to be losing their collective sanity over this one umpteen-million dollar question: “What Is Wrong With Mark Watson’s San Jose Earthquakes?” They have lost their form, their edge, their drive, their trademark Goonie magic and possess their worst record in the MLS Western Conference at 4-7-4 (16 points). Even Chivas USA has the Quakes’ number.
Meanwhile, Ben Olsen’s D.C. United are riding high, sitting atop the MLS Eastern Conference at 8-5-4 (28 points) and are coming off a strong 2-1 victory over Toronto FC on the road. D.C. are definitely in form and are gunning to chase the Seattle Sounders in the race for the MLS Supporters’ Shield.
It’s a tale of two ends, a mismatch on paper and an opportunity, at least on San Jose’s end, to be the David against Goliath on Friday, July 11 at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET and will be televised by NBCSN. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for Friday night’s encounter between the San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United.
1. At least 45 fouls and four cards
San Jose will be playing like desperate bottom dwellers, while D.C. United will aim to establish the tempo and pace of the game. Two opposite ends of the spectrum will lead to some physical play all over. The MLS Multiplex boldly predicts for at least 45 fouls whistled and four cards issued.
2. Jon Busch with at least four saves
This season, San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch has 55 saves to his credit and against a talented team like D.C., Busch will make a few more. The Plex is calling for at least four saves from Busch.
3. Bill Hamid with under five saves
San Jose have had a habit of missing the finishing touch left and right. This means that D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid will not have to make a lot of stops in this game. The Plex boldly predicts under five saves for Hamid.
4. Wondo’s back, spread the word
Forward Chris Wondolowski, San Jose’s trigger man, should get the start up top for the Quakes. Wondo has five goals this season for San Jose and should be able to score at least once for the visitors on Friday night.
5. Chris Rolfe with a goal and an assist
With Fabian Espindola out due to injury, others will step up to the plate for D.C. United. One of those players is Chris Rolfe, who has three goals and three assists for United. Against San Jose, Rolfe will have a goal and an assist on Friday.
6. Nick DeLeon with a goal an assist
Nick DeLeon has two goals and three assists this season for D.C. United and against the Quakes, he will run rings around Jordan Stewart, Clarence Goodson and the ilk with another goal and assist.
7. Eddie Johnson will score a brace
Eddie Johnson hasn’t been hitting his stride in terms of scoring, so this is the best opportunity for EJ to round in to form and rediscover his touch. Johnson will score a brace against San Jose.
8. No goals for Khari Stephenson
Two notable players from San Jose that will have it tough against D.C. United are mentioned in these Bold Predictions. Khari Stephenson has two goals this season and that’s about it. Stephenson will not get on goal on Friday night.
9. No goals for Steven Lenhart
There seems to be an issue with the technique of Steven Lenhart when it comes to headers. This will be tough sletting for Lenny on Friday against the Beasts from the East in D.C. United. There will be no goals for Lenhart in this game.
10. D.C. United shows San Jose how it’s done
Wanna see a true muscle-flexing opportunity? Look no further than this Friday night show at Santa Clara University. D.C. United are at the top of their game in the East, and this will be a match where Eddie Johnson gets it together. The MLS Multiplex is calling for a rout.
D.C. United 4, San Jose Earthquakes 1