Fresh off their 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake will face off with one more MLS opponent in Tucson before heading to the northwest — the San Jose Earthquakes.
After officially kicking off the preseason with a game against their own U-18 Academy, the Earthquakes opened the MLS competition portion with a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City thanks to a late goal from Tommy Thompson.
San Jose has had a relatively quiet offseason. While they let go of players such as Chad Barrett (thanks guys!), Clarence Goodson, Innocent Emeghara, Steven Lenhart, and Alberto Quintero, they’ve only made a few signings thus far, including one homegrown player and one from the SuperDraft.
That being said, let’s look at who may feature in their game against RSL on Friday.
Goalkeeper - Andrew Tarbell
We know that David Bingham is a lock for the starting position in the regular season, so while he’s out with the US Men’s National Team, 23-year-old Andrew Tarbell will most likely be starting the match against RSL. Tarbell was picked up during the 2016 SuperDraft out of Clemson University where he won an ACC Tournament title in 2014. He hasn’t seen hardly any playing time in MLS — 45 minutes in one game last year — while playing second fiddle to Bingham, but he has started both of San Jose’s preseason games so far and is no doubt out to prove that he deserves more time on the pitch.
Defender - Victor Bernardez
I’m sure we’re all familiar with this name. A veteran defender in MLS, Bernardez has been with the ‘Quakes since 2012, and has done his fair share of creating problems for RSL in the past. Not only is he a strong, solid defender, he also has a dangerous shot from distance that we’ve seen hit the back of the net a few times in MLS play.
We can expect him to at least make an appearance in this match, but since he’s far and away a regular starter, don’t be surprised to see head coach Dom Kinnear run a few different guys through the backline to get some healthy rotation out.
Other notable defenders: Kofi Sarkodie, Marvell Wynne, Shaun Francis
Midfielder - Darwin Ceren
Fresh off a call-up from the El Salvador National Team, Ceren is back with the Earthquakes squad and made appearances in both preseason games so far, scoring the third goal in their 3-0 win over the U-18 Academy. San Jose picked him up via a trade with Orlando City last summer, and ended up starting nine of the 12 games he played in. The 27-year-old is a respected playmaker and is known for pushing the ball forward at just the right moments.
Looking forward to his first full season with the Earthquakes, expect Ceren to be on the team sheet as a regular starter this year.
Other notable midfielders: Fatai Alashe, Tommy Thompson, Simon Dawkins, Cordell Cato
Forward - Chris Wondolowski
Duh. This one’s a no-brainer — we all know Wondo and what he’s capable of. After spending time with the US Men’s National Team during January camp, he made his way back home when he didn’t make Bruce Arena’s 23-man roster. Wondo played the first half of San Jose’s match against Kansas City, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be featured at all against RSL, as Kinnear may want to give some youngsters a chance to get out on the field.
The 34-year-old doesn’t have much to prove that hasn’t been proven already. He’s a club legend in San Jose and has shown that given the right place and the right time, he can knock the ball into the net at almost any given opportunity.
Forward - Olmes Garcia
Guess who? Our old buddy Olmes Garcia has landed with his new club after the ‘Quakes selected him in the 2016 Re-Entry Draft. He’s played in both preseason games so far, and even scored a goal in the second half against the San Jose U-18 Academy side.
After scoring 11 goals in four years with Real Salt Lake, Garcia will look to put his past behind him and start anew in San Jose, and we can’t wait to see what he can do with his new team. We wish him all the success in the world — just not against RSL.
Other notable forwards: Marcos Urena, Quincy Amarikwa