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Behind enemy lines: Scouting San Jose Earthquakes

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MLS: Toronto FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping a couple points against New England last weekend, Real Salt Lake now turn their heads towards Friday as they prepare for another home match against the San Jose Earthquakes. RSL had some starters feature for about 30 minutes during the week against Italian side Inter Milan, but the first team should be ready to take on the Earthquakes at Rio Tinto on Friday night.

San Jose is coming off a bizarre result after winning last week’s game against Toronto down two men. The win snapped a seven game winless run for the ‘Quakes and they will have hoped to turn the corner as they come to Utah.

MLS: Toronto FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Goalkeeper

The man in goal for San Jose will be 26 year old David Bingham. A local kid, Bingham grew up in Castro Valley and attended Cal-Berkeley from 2008-2010. Bingham has been a member of the Earthquakes ever since; barring some brief loan stints in 2014. Bingham has only conceded 22 goals in his 19 starts this year, good for one of the best goals conceded averages among goalkeepers in the league. Bingham will look to carry on his all-star form to help San Jose’s hike up the table.

MLS: Toronto FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Defense

The ‘Quakes back-line has been handed a plethora of injuries throughout the season that has decimated their defense. Clarence Goodson is out for the year whereas Marvell Wynne and Kofi Sarkodie have also sustained injuries within the last couple of weeks. The consistent man at the back this year has been Victor Bernardez. The 34-year-old Honduran international has managed to stay fit and lead a makeshift defense much of this year. Jordan Stewart will likely partner Bernardez in the middle, drifting from his favored left full-back position. The left back position will be filled by Shaun Francis, while right winger Cordell Cato will most likely slide back into the right full-back position to round out the defense.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Midfield

This section has been updated to reflect the rescinding of two red cards.

The Earthquakes would have been without Panamanian midfielders Anibal Godoy and Alberto Quintero this week after receiving red cards last week against Toronto FC. But for the first time in league history, two reds from the same game have been rescinded, and both will both be available for selection in the midfield.

This could have led to a formation change for the Earthquakes to fit in adept replacements. Some favorites to start in the midfield could include Simon Dawkins and Fatai Alashe. Dawkins has been a big contributor this year for San Jose including last week’s match winning goal against Toronto. Alashe has featured with the US U-23 team and usually plays in a holding midfield position. Shea Salinas and Tommy Thompson were the most likely to join the starting XI with the suspensions of Godoy and Quintero, had they not been rescinded.

MLS: Toronto FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Forwards

The main man up top is San Jose captain Chris Wondolowski. “Wondo” is a pure goal scorer and MLS veteran. He was named to the MLS all-star team along side teammate David Bingham. Standing at 7 goals in the 2016 season, Wondolowski is always towards the top of the goal scoring standings. After winning the Golden boot with San Jose in 2010 and 2012, he would surely love to add one more as his career winds down. Quincy Amarikwa will be the partner to Wondolowski up top.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports