After a supremely convincing 1-0 victory over Montreal Impact in the season opener; San Jose Earthquakes will be hosting one more of the three Canadian sides in MLS. Vancouver Whitecaps will continue their exhausting start of the season by traveling to San Jose on Saturday.
San Jose Earthquakes to Continue High-Press Play against Vancouver Whitecaps
Coach Dom Kinnear’s side will try to emulate the same tactical preferences accompanying his traditional 4-4-2 formation in high-press play. The high-pressing play that held Montreal to a total of five shots (none at target) left Ignacio Piatti in the shadows of debuting rookie Nick Lima, and enabled the Quakes attack to a total of 18 shots and an “expected goal” ratio of 1.50.
In fact, Anibal Godoy’s brilliant game-winning goal, derived from the effects of high-pressing play; take a closer look.
In the clip we see Godoy apply immediate pressure to Impact’s captain and central midfielder Patrice Bernier’s backside. As Chris Wondolowski covers ground on his possible outlets facing him. In a matter of seconds, the ball was progressed forward on a mini counter-attack in a dangerous part of the pitch. We all now know how that ended.
How Quakes High-Press Will Benefit Versus Whitecaps
Carl Robinson is keen on the 4-4-2 formation as well. With that, his team’s most polished area is concentrated in within the back four. The reliability on the stalwart defense has been functioning for Robinson and his men, as positive results have filed in after three competitive games in this year’s calendar. Within those three games only one goal has gone passed goalkeeper David Ousted.
It will be different for Vancouver this time around due to the overwhelming presence that the Quakes stamp on the first third of the field. On top of that, this Whitecaps side is known to clinically commit individual errors that cost their possession on the ball. E.g. the Whitecaps disposed the ball 14 times (according to whoscored.com) against Philadelphia. One that this year’s black and blue will quickly take advantage of.
San Jose’s high-pressing will force Vancouver to play long, with that further complicating their already appalling possession rate. It will allow the Quakes to take control of the game and grant them the ability to fix last week’s only vital fault: finishing goal scoring opportunities. With shooting opportunites come goals and with goals come three points.
Who to Keep an Eye On
After only making a 30 minute cameo in the season opener against Philadelphia Union. Recently acquired and once MLS star Fredy Montero will seemingly feature in the starting XI this time around after a full week of practice alongside with rest. Montero’s well-rounded attacking play and understanding of the MLS makes him the most pronounced threat that Vancouver has to offer.
Predicted Starting XI
As much as change can be used in other positions rather than solely on the left side of the midfield, it is far too early into the season for such grand adjustments. On that note, Jahmir Hyka will find himself in Kinnear’s starting XI tomorrow due to his uptempo work-rate on both ends of the ball, his crafty contribution to the attack, and Simon Dawkins woeful performance against Montreal. Collectively, the season opener was a hit for which all other ten players remain in this weeks starting XI.