The last time these two teams met, it was a wild game. And not a good wild, at least not for Real Salt Lake. The San Jose Earthquakes won that game 5-2, with a total collapse from RSL towards the end. The Quakes scored late goals in the 86th and 96th minutes, having been given the edge after Real went down to 10 men in the 84th minute. Let’s not forget Beckerman’s iconic red card for kicking the ball at the ref after the final whistle. Was that petty or legendary? It doesn’t really matter, but sums up that game well. Post MSL Is Back, San Jose has had four games where they’ve conceded at least 5 goals. They’ve since bounced back but have a draw and loss in their last two games. RSL have been fairly poor, but consistently so.
The issue for RSL is not taking shots, or even putting some of those on frame, though the shots to shots on goal ratio is quite poor, the biggest issue is finishing. RSL have outshot their opponents often, but their points per game is 1.16, and that’s bad. It comes down to RSL simply not having quality strikers and there’s no way to fix that this season. Is the best bet for Juarez to put Kreilach at center forward? While Douglas Martinez did net his first goal two games ago, he’s simply not getting the job done. He may be a player for the future, but if RSL want to get above the playoff line, they need results now.
A strong defense
Despite being below the playoff line, RSL’s defense hasn’t been too bad. Herrera is one the bright spots on the team. Toia has been decent, even if his position is the one many want upgraded. The rotation been Onuoha/Glad/Silva has been good, even if all three have the occasional mistake. Lastly Punta has played well lately. In the middle of a very congested schedule, he’s done well to play every game and the team hasn’t leaked too many goals since that 3-1 loss to LAFC.
Which San Jose shows up?
San Jose have lost games 7-1, 5-1, 6-1, 5-0, but have actually beaten many of those teams they lost to as well. They, more than any team in the league, have been either hot or cold. It’s a bit shocking that they’re in the eighth and final playoff spot in the west. If they show up on their game and at home, then this will be extremely tough for RSL, but if they default to mid-season form, then RSL could walk all over them.
Not medically cleared to play: