Preview: NY Red Bulls vs San Jose Earthquakes

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 06: Chris Wondolowski
SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 06: Chris Wondolowski /

San Jose Cross the Red Line to Battle the Red Bulls

NY Red Bulls host San Jose Earthquakes this week in a match spanning the North American continent.  But regardless of geography, on the MLS conference tables where it counts, there is little separating these two.

Both Red Bulls and ‘Quakes are having middling seasons. They each sit at 26 points and are each also within easy reach of the cutoff for post-season play. San Jose are currently just above that red line in the west while Red Bulls sit just below it in the east.

NY Red Bulls (H)

Daniel Royer (left) of NY Red Bulls
Daniel Royer (left) of NY Red Bulls /
  • Current Record (W-L-D): 8-8-2
  • Last Time Out: Red Bulls are undefeated in their last three matches against Eastern conference foes.  Well, really that’s true if you only count their last three in this year’s US Open Cup competition. NYRB have played their way into the semifinals in the Open Cup by beating New York City FC, Philadelphia Union and NE Revolution all in succession. But that dominance is meaningless in pursuit of the MLS Cup. In league play NYRB last defeated those same NE Revs, away, 3-2, on a 90th minute score.
  • Player to Watch For: Bradley Wright-Phillips leads the side in scoring for the season.  Mainly because that’s what he’s supposed to do. But if the Red Bulls are going to close out the MLS season above the red line the line backing up BWP will need to play as one. In their last few matches, Muyl, Kljestan and Royer have looked more likely in that regard.
  • Why They Win: Wright-Phillips is the tip of the spear for NYRB. If he’s sharp and gets a good push from the midfield, they win. It also helps if either Kemar Lawrence or Tyler Adams is there to augment the threat of the main striker.
  • Why They Won’t: Lawrence is away playing for Jamaica and Adams looks unlikely to start.

San Jose Earthquakes

Chris Leitch—This is where coaches come from.
Chris Leitch—This is where coaches come from. /
  • Current Record (W-L-D): 7-7-5
  • Last Time Out: San Jose have been a bit of a changed team since naming a new manager in June. ‘Quakes are also still reeling from the loss of Matheus Silva. The young Brazilian suffered an accident over the Fourth of July and remains hospitalized. SJE won their last league match in the “Stanford Stadium Edition California Clasico”.  Quakes also kept it late but put two past LA Galaxy, including the winner in stoppage time, for a 2-1 victory.
  • Player to Watch For: If all of their off-field turmoil were not enough San Jose signed a new DP just about the same day their long time coach, Dominic Kinnear was ousted. But Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili of Georgia (the nation, not the US state) has yet to make his debut though much is expected. Maybe this week? Marc Pelosi and Quincy Amarikwa are still listed as out due to injury though both participated in last week’s friendly with Eintracht-Frankfurt.
  • Why They Win: Regardless of Vako’s status, Chris Wondolowski has seemed to take the team on his shoulders this past month. To the extent that he’s able to continue to do so, ‘Quakes will continue to thrive.
  • Why They Won’t: Running on emotion can only take San Jose so far. New manager Chris Leitch needs to stabilize his roster and start building a winning system of his own.
  • Score Prediction

Next: Best MLS Fit for Brian Ruiz?

How to Watch: 

  • Where: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
  • When: Wed., July 19, 7:30p ET
  • Channel: MLSLive