After two defeats within the past week, San Jose find themselves in desperate need of results and luck in order to make the playoffs. Real Salt Lake have also found themselves in need of late season spark to clinch their playoff berth. Although both sides have a very different likelihood of making the post-season. According to ESPN statistician Paul Carr, Real Salt Lake are 95% likely to clinch a playoff spot while San Jose are 2% likely. Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, will provide the stage for both of the sides battling for the three points.
David Bingham will retain his spot in goal for the Earthquakes making his 31st start in San Jose’s 31 games this season. Bingham has a minuscule 1.13 goals against average, first in the league among goalkeepers who have started over 25 matches. San Jose’s defense has slipped in the past week as they have conceded five goals total against Sporting Kansas City and Montreal Impact. The Earthquakes will look to Bingham to get their goals conceded average back on track.
Victor Bernardez has been the mainstay in the middle of San Jose’s back-line. Bernardez will likely be joined by Marvell Wynne, whether that be in the middle or wide as a right full-back. Earthquakes manager Dom Kinnear will likely look to Kofi Sarkodie on the right or Andres Imperiale in the middle depending on where he decides to place Wynne. Shaun Francis will likely take the left back spot to round out the defense for San Jose.
With the Panamanian duo of Anibal Godoy and Alberto Quintero questionable for Saturday’s match, Kinnear may look for alternatives if they are deemed unfit. After being acquired from Orlando for Matias Perez Garcia, Darwin Ceren has been a midfielder seeing lots of playing time in the middle of the park and will likely get the start Saturday. United States youth team member Fatai Alashe will look to partner Ceren if Godoy is unavailable. Tottenham Hotspur youth product Simon Dawkins will play out wide to supply creativity from the wing, while Cordell Cato or Tommy Thompson look to get the start on the opposite flank.
It is not hard to see where Earthquake goals will usually come from. Club captain Chris Wondolowski is responsible for 11 goals on the season while the next goal-scoring leader on the team has 4. Wondolowski was able to notch the lone goal in the previous matchup against RSL and will look for assistance from new strike partner Henok Goitom. Goitom will look to make his 3rd MLS start and help shoulder the goal-scoring burden that San Jose has struggled with throughout the 2016 campaign.