The last game between San Jose and Real Salt Lake ended in a thrilling 3-3 tie at Buck Shaw Stadium in March of this year. This time round both the Earthquakes and RSL will be anxious to put their last game results behind them.
Real Salt Lake are currently fourth in the Western Conference standings with 42 points from 25 games and a goal differential of minus-1. RSL lost 2-1 away last week at Dallas and will be looking to return to winning ways. They’ll also be looking for a strong finish to the season, keeping their drive to the playoffs moving forward and sending a message to their potential MLS Cup opponents.
It’s unlikely San Jose, on the other hand, are in any realistic way looking at playoff qualification. Sitting bottom but one in the Western Conference, San Jose has 25 points from 23 games and a GD of minus-4. Having lost their last two games, 5-0 at home and 4-2 away in Philadelphia, even if they can still mathematically speaking reach the promised land of fifth place in the standings, their current injury woes and poor form make them unlikely candidates to actually win the Cup.
San Jose’s main aim will be to win at home, boost the team and fans morale, and steel themselves to make some kind of end of season run, something that will feel like success as they head into their new stadium next year.
Saturday’s game could see the debut of new Real Salt Lake forward Sebastian Jaime, the Argentine striker who joined the club earlier this week.
The Earthquakes will be fielding a side decimated by injury, including the loss of their new designated player signing, Argentine midfielder Matias Perez Garcia, who is out four to six weeks following knee surgery.
One potential bright spot for the Quakes is the newly developing partnership up front between Homegrown Program player Tommy Thompson and veteran striker Chris Wondolowski. These two have shown some early signs of chemistry in their play and, with Thompson named to the US U-20 camp ahead of the upcoming friendly against Argentina, a breakthrough game tonight could make the young striker’s week.