Earthquakes-Minnesota United Preview
A potential statement victory over the weekend likely reinforced the fact that the San Jose Earthquakes should be taken seriously on the MLS scene.
The surging 'Quakes look to extend their unbeaten run with a season-high third consecutive win Wednesday night against host Minnesota United FC.
San Jose has overcome an 0-4-0 start to the season, and with just loss in its last 11 MLS matches, only looks to move up the table in the Western Conference. The Earthquakes (7-6-4) not only recorded a second straight clean sheet Saturday night against the Galaxy, but essentially controlled play over their rivals for a resounding 3-0 victory in the California Clasico at Stanford Stadium.
Vako scored in the 11th minute, then assisted on sub Shea Salinas' goal in the 82nd. Three minutes later, Salinas set up Tommy Thompson with an insurance score for San Jose, which is 4-0-2 since a disheartening 3-1 loss at New England on May 11.
"Obviously, the result leaves you very happy, but the greatest happiness is seeing the players play the same way they train," coach Matias Almeyda told MLS' official website. "(On Saturday), they recognized that they can (compete) against anyone. They can compete toe-to-toe the same way they've been doing it."
Vako has certainly been getting it done with three of his four league goals coming in the last two contests for San Jose.
The focus for the 'Quakes now shifts to Minnesota (7-7-3), which is one point behind them in the West and won 3-0 at San Jose on March 9. It was United's first victory in five all-time games against San Jose.
Darwin Quintero had a goal with an assist in that match and Miguel Ibarra also scored for Minnesota. Quintero posted two assists, Jan Gregus had three and Ike Opara recorded a brace as United snapped a three-game MLS slide with a 7-1 rout over lowly FC Cincinnati on Saturday.
Minnesota managed just six goals in its previous nine league games prior to breaking out versus struggling Cincinnati.
"We took every opportunity that came (our way) at the appropriate time," coach Adrian Heath told Minnesota's official website. "We're starting to take chances when they come, and it brings confidence ... You need to be playing with confidence. And this group is playing with confidence.
"It sets up nicely for what I believe will be our biggest game of the season so far on Wednesday."
Updated July 1, 2019