Blog

San Jose Earthquakes

09 October 2:19 pm

Real Salt Lake will look to clinch a seventh-straight playoff berth on Saturday, when it hosts San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Saturday’s contest will be the last regular season meeting between the two clubs this year, going 0-0-2 against San Jose in 2014. Real Salt Lake played the Quakes to a wild 3-3 draw on March 15 and a 1-1 tie on Aug. 30, both at Buck Shaw Stadium. In their last encounter, San Jose took an early lead in the 14th minute through MF Sam Cronin, but RSL was able to pull even in the 36th minute when RSL MF Javier Morales converted a PK to earn the road point.

Real Salt Lake will be without a few key starters on Saturday, as GK Nick Rimando, MF Luis Gil, and FWs Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio are unavailable due to international call-ups. The Claret-and-Cobalt will also be without Morales who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Despite key absences, RSL will have a good chance to get a result on Saturday as San Jose is currently riding a 12-game winless streak in MLS action and is officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Ahead of this weekend’s clash, check out the Aug. 30 match highlights above.

08 October 3:16 pm

Real Salt Lake has multiple ways to clinch a playoff berth this week, with its first opportunity to do so tonight, when the Portland Timbers host San Jose Earthquakes at 8:30 p.m. MT. If Portland records a loss or tie against San Jose, the Claret-and-Cobalt will have clinched a seventh-straight spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs – the longest active streak in MLS.

So all RSL fans should be glued to their screens tonight, hoping for a Timbers loss - which shouldn't be too hard of course.

RSL Playoff Scenarios:

Real Salt Lake will clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Real Salt Lake win vs San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday

OR

  • Real Salt Lake tie vs San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday AND
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC tie or lose vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday OR
  • Portland Timbers tie or lose vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday

OR

  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC lose vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday OR
  • Portland Timbers lose/tie vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday
29 August 1:36 pm

With nine games left, RSL in search of points in airtight west

 
With just nine games remaining in the 2014 MLS regular season, Real Salt Lake will be in need of points this weekend as the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings remain airtight. After last weekend’s 2-1 loss at FC Dallas and LA Galaxy’s midweek win over D.C. United, the Claret-and-Cobalt slipped into fourth-place in the Western Conference. RSL currently posts an 11-5-9 record for a total of 42 points which ties the club on points with FC Dallas, but the Texas side records one more win than the Utah club to situate itself above RSL. LA (43 points) is parked above FC Dallas while Seattle Sounders FC (45 points) claim first-place in the west and league with a game in hand on RSL. Vancouver Whitecaps FC currently occupy the fifth and final playoff spot with 33 points. But the clubs underneath the red line can’t be discounted either – just three points separate the ‘Caps and Portland Timbers (31 points) and Colorado Rapids (30 points).  
 
If RSL wants to remain in the race for Supporters’ Shield and at least secure a top-three finish in the west, the Claret-and-Cobalt will have to produce on Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
 
Western Conference
#
Club
PTS
GP
PPG
W
L
T
GF
GA
GD
HG
HGD
RG
RGD
1
45
24
1.88
14
7
3
43
33
10
21
10
22
0
2
43
24
1.79
12
5
7
45
27
18
27
16
18
2
3
42
25
1.68
12
7
6
45
33
12
26
9
19
3
4
42
25
1.68
11
5
9
39
30
9
22
10
17
-1
5
33
24
1.38
7
5
12
33
31
2
20
5
13
-3
6
31
25
1.24
7
8
10
41
43
-2
25
0
16
-2
7
30
25
1.2
8
11
6
37
39
-2
22
9
15
-11
8
25
23
1.09
6
10
7
28
32
-4
18
1
10
-5
9
24
24
1
6
12
6
21
37
-16
8
-10
13
-6
 
Will Saturday see the debut of new RSL signing Sebastian Jaime?
 
Saturday’s contest at Buck Shaw Stadium could see the debut of newly signed Real Salt Lake forward Sebastian Jaime. The Argentine striker joined the club earlier this week and will travel with RSL to San Jose, but the newcomer will likely only serve as an option off the bench. Jaime was acquired from Chilean Primera División club Unión Española earlier this month and will hopefully provide another dangerous attacking option with RSL in need of positive results in the final stretch of the season.
 
Can RSL take advantage of an injury-riddled San Jose?
 
Real Salt Lake will not be facing a full-strength San Jose Earthquakes squad on Saturday night. The Bay Area club has been injury-riddled, suffering multiple blows to some of its most critical players. Newly signed Designated Player Matias Perez Garcia picked up a serious knee injury against FC Dallas on Aug. 16 that will see him miss Saturday’s match and up to four more weeks. San Jose will also be without forward Steven Lenhart who also suffered a knee injury and defender Clarence Goodson who is recovering from a toe injury. Perhaps most disheartening for the Quakes, in-form midfielder Yannick Djalo picked up a quad strain on Aug. 2 against Seattle and has not returned to the starting lineup since.  Despite the rash of injuries, RSL will still need to be wary of the California side as forward Chris Wondolowski continues to be a force to be reckoned with, recording his fifth-straight season with 10 or more goals.
27 August 12:29 pm

Real Salt Lake will look to bounce back from its 2-1 defeat at the hands of FC Dallas on Saturday, when it takes on San Jose Earthquakes at 8:30 p.m. MT at Buck Shaw Stadium on CW30.

Real Salt Lake and San Jose played to a wild 3-3 draw the last time they met on March 15 in RSL’s second game of the 2014 season. San Jose took an early lead, getting a sixth minute goal from FW Chris Wondolowski to go up 1-0. RSL hit back with three unanswered goals before halftime, with Captain Kyle Beckerman equalizing with a fantastic 11th minute strike before forward Joao Plata scored in the 32nd and midfielder Luke Mulholland tallied in first half stoppage time to give RSL a 3-1 lead at the break. Unfortunately, the Claret-and-Cobalt couldn’t hold onto its advantage, with defender Victor Bernardez scoring in the 75th and 95th to give the Quakes a result.

Saturday’s match will be a critical one as the playoff race in the Western Conference heats up in the final stretch of the season. San Jose has struggled recently, going winless in its last four matches for an eighth-place spot in the west. But San Jose can never be discounted, as the last match between the two sides proved all too well. Check out the March 15 match highlights above.

17 March 10:39 am

Good stuff from Real Salt Lake color commentator Brian Dunseth breaking down RSL's 3-3 draw at San Jose on Sunday night's Real Sports Live on ABC 4. 

Check out Dunny's take on the game above.

14 March 3:13 pm

Real Salt Lake continues it California road trip on Saturday night, taking on Western Conference foe San Jose Earthquakes at 8:30 p.m. MT on ABC 4 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Saturday’s match is full of interesting storylines. Here are a few to watch out for:

RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar looks for consistency after win in debut

Newly appointed Head Coach Jeff Cassar had a great first game in charge of the Claret-and-Cobalt, shutting out LA Galaxy 1-0 at StubHub Center in the 2014 season opener. With his first win under his belt, Cassar will look for consistency from his squad as RSL faces another tough road match in San Jose. With a few starting players suffering from injuries, it will be interesting see how the team responds and whether or not it can pull out a result against a very physical and challenging San Jose side.

RSL looks to snap San Jose’s 20-game home unbeaten streak

Real Salt Lake and San Jose Earthquakes last met at Buck Shaw Stadium on March 3, 2013, with RSL beating the Bay Area side 2-0. That match marked the last defeat the Quakes suffered at home, with the “Goonies” going on a 20-game home unbeaten streak across all competitions since. RSL players and coaches didn’t seem to know San Jose’s last home defeat came at their expense but they did remark about how difficult it is to play at Buck Shaw Stadium. The atmosphere in Santa Clara is sure to be heightened on Saturday, as it is the Quakes’ 2014 MLS season opener. Hopefully, RSL can pull off a repeat of last year and keep this storyline alive.

U.S. Men’s National Team players will face off against each other

A few Real Salt Lake and San Jose Earthquakes players are more familiar with each other than most, as both squads have players that are regular members of the U.S Men’s National Team. RSL U.S. internationals, midfielder Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando, have played alongside San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski and defender Clarence Goodson for the Stars-and-Stripes frequently. Most recently, they were all included in the national team’s annual January camp a few months back, along with RSL midfielder Luis Gil, who was in his first senior camp.

Having consistently played alongside your opposition might prove helpful this Saturday with the U.S. internationals intimately knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It will be interesting to see which U.S. duo comes out on top.

Will San Jose’s CCL result affect its starting lineup vs. RSL?

San Jose was able to get a 1-1 draw against Toluca in the first leg of its CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal series on Tuesday. With the positive result, Quakes’ Head Coach Mark Watson could give his starters a bit of a break on Saturday with his focus on the team’s second leg next Wednesday in Toluca.

Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando continue climbing up the record books

Real Salt Lake stalwarts Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando continue their climb up the MLS record books this season, with both players set to achieve more career milestones this year.

RSL’s captain, Beckerman will crack the top-10 in MLS history in games played this season. Currently on 326 games played, he needs 16 appearances to become fifth in league history in appearances, and he should set himself up for a run at the top-three in 2015. He’ll also continue his rise up the games started list. Beckerman tied Tyrone Marshall for eighth all-time in MLS history with his start against LA Galaxy last weekend. He’ll likely end 2014 in fifth in this category, as well. Look for Becks to crack the top-five in MLS history in career minutes played this season, too.

Rimando is slightly ahead of Beckerman in the aforementioned categories. Currently in fourth in league history with 347 games played, Rimando should pass Jeff Cunningham (365) for third-all time and get within touching distance of Steve Ralston (378) for second. Rimando could become the all-time leader in games played early in the 2016 season, when he could conceivably catch current leader Kevin Hartman (416). Rimando should pass Ralston for second all-time in both games started and minutes played this season.

Of course, the biggest record in play for any RSL player this year is the all-time shutout mark. Rimando is second in MLS history with 109 clean sheets, just three behind Hartman for the all-time record. Here’s hoping that deficit will be two after this weekend.

14 March 2:50 pm

Real Salt Lake faces a difficult task on Saturday: Defeat a San Jose Earthquakes side that hasn't lost at home in over a year. Given we were the last side to beat them at home, though, we can turn our focus toward more practical matters.

Watch the long ball

We have plenty of evidence that San Jose excels in situations where they don't have long spells of possession in advance of a goal. We've seen it over and over: They'll hoist a ball into the box, have one of their rather-large men get on the end of it, cause some havoc, and score.

Bypassing our midfield is the biggest threat we face. If we don't pay heed to long, direct passing -- or long, hopeful passing, as the case may be -- we'll be forcing our defenders to deal with some of the most difficult moments they'll face in MLS. It takes only a single pass for Steven Lenhart or Alan Gordon to have a prototypical moment in the box followed by a Chris Wondolowski poached goal for the damage to be done.

This starts at the front, too: While unreasonably high pressure or over-eagerness isn't the solution, standing off the midfield and allowing them long-ball opportunities could possibly be worse.

Watch for space

Against the Galaxy, we played a more direct style generally, and it worked well for us in the end. But we found our goal in a particularly probing moment, when our forwards were given opportunities to pull defenders out of position and generally cause problems. This was against two top-quality central defenders in Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo, which speaks highly of our movement.

We'll want to do exactly the same thing on Saturday against two defenders of slightly lower quality. Clarence Goodson and Victor Bernardez, both of whom are capable, will be vulnerable to the same types of movement. With a forward corps of Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio, there's no reason why we can't continue to perform in the same way.

Sensible substitutions

Jeff Cassar's substitution patterns will understandably be subject to some scrutiny in these early weeks of his career. How we reshape to approach a match from the 60th minute forward essentially shapes our game; a poor substitution and tactical decision, and we're in a difficult spot and struggling to regain any footing we had. A good substitution, and we can turn the game on its head.

Saturday saw three smart, effective substitutions: We brought in players who are hungry for playing time, capable on the ball, and who could have an attacking impact. The Jordan Allen substitution sticks out the most: He's a fast, bright attacking player, but most importantly, he can maintain possession. We saw exactly that, and his confidence on the ball made the game slightly easier for us to win in the end.

Don't succumb to the mind games

San Jose will hack us down, they'll bash us around in the area, and all-in-all, they'll do what they can to get inside our heads. Not literally, I hope.

It's hard to call it a tactical approach, but we'll need to keep our wits about us. We've lost these matches before because we get sucked into it like it's bad reality TV -- we can't let that happen. There is, of course, something tactically meaningful about retaining all 11 players in the game.

regular contributor to RealSaltLake.com, Matt Montgomery runs the SB Nation blog RSL Soapbox. Follow Matt on Twitter @TheCrossbarRSL