MLS Is Back Whitecaps And Earthquakes July 15th Preview
The MLS is Back! The Vancouver Whitecaps are back! July 15th at 6 pm/9 pm eastern time will mark the return to play for the Whitecaps vs Earthquakes. San Jose is coming off a 0-0 draw against the Seattle Sounders to open the Tournament. The Caps have been in waiting since arriving at the ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
If you missed things, FC Dallas and Nashville withdrew from the MLS is back tournament. That moved Chicago Fire to Group B and was the first of many setbacks. Vancouver was supposed to start the tournament against FC Dallas on July 8th but instead will go on July 15th. The game time has also changed from 7:30 pm Pacific Time to 6:00 pm Pacific time.
One Hundred and Thirty days it will be for Vancouver between games. It seems like years ago but they are coming off a thrilling 1-0 upset of the L.A. Galaxy. The San Jose Earthquake started their MLS Is Back Tournament on July 10th in a 0-0 draw with the Seattle Sounders. That started things off in Group B with both teams getting 1 point in the tournament and season standings.
The schedule change will also affect their final game against the Chicago Fire. Instead of a late start, the teams will square off at 6 pm pacific time, 9 pm eastern time on Thursday, July 23rd to end the group stage. Vancouver and Chicago will both have an advantage with it being the final game of the tournament but as Axel Schuster said,
“Every game counts for our Western Conference, so that’s a big difference because, in a World Cup you would maybe say okay, we [are already resolved], but in the same time we want to have 3 points.” The MLS is Back Whitecaps will clearly be playing for all 9 points regardless.
MLS Is Back Whitecaps News, Notes, and Projected Lineup
The MLS is Back Whitecaps Line up will be a lot different than we saw on March 7th in LA. Missing Strikers Lucas Cavallini, Fredy Montero, Tosaint Ricketts, that’s all their strikers if you are keeping track, will cause Marc Dos Santos to change things up a bit. He has already said he will be playing without a number 9. And rather be implementing a “False 9” at times.
This should give players like Yordy Reyna, David Milinkovic, and Cristian Dajome lots of chances upfront. What they will need is a lot of support from the midfield. In-Beom Hwang should player a higher role with newcomer Leonard Owusu playing as the holding 6. The third midfielder could be a toss-up but I have veteran Russell Teibert slotting in to provide much-needed work ethic and leadership.
The MLS is Back Whitecaps will be backstopped by Canadian National Team keeper Maxime Crepeau. In front of him could still be a question with Jasser Khmiri, Derek Cornelius, and Serbian Youngster Ranko Veselinovic all fighting for 2 spots. Rank was excited to get going with the competition as he spoke with the media ahead of Wednesday’s game.
“I’m really excited and I’m really looking forward to my first time in the Whitecaps gear and Jersey…Really can’t wait to go tomorrow and just start playing soccer because that’s what I came for.”
he would go on to talk about the games so far in the tournament, “They’re really really open games, you know, lots of transitions lots of running, it’s really physical, especially when you don’t play for months, because of the situation.”
It is still up for debate with what Marc Dos Santos will go with for the MLS is Back Whitecaps opening roster. I am going to go with this as my starting 11 and see if MDS is thinking along my lines.
Earthquakes News, Notes and Projected Lineup
San Jose Earthquakes have already played one game in this tournament. So we know that head coach Matias Almeyda will be deploying his Man-Marking system in the MLS is Back Tournament. Line-ups could change slightly for the Quakes with players getting back to full fitness but expect to see a 4-2-3-1. Chris Wondolowski came off the bench against Seattle and I would imagine he will do the same Wednesday.
Regardless if Wondolowski starts, or comes off the bench, the Whitecaps will need to keep track of him on the pitch at all times. He scored 2 goals in 2019 against Vancouver and of course, is the MLS All-Time Goal Scoring Leader!
The Quakes were able to control the majority of possession in their first game with 62.2% of the ball. They also had 16 total shots with 8 testing Stefan Frei. While they did have lots of shots and 9 corners they didn’t produce anything in actual chances. They also used all 5 of their subs and 4 by the 75th minute. There are no players unavailable for San Jose after their last game. Defender Oswaldo Alanis had to be subbed off for cramps but should be fine for Wednesday.
With both teams running press style systems we should have a fair bit of counters and open chances. It will be important for both teams to start strong. And that brings me to my 3 subs… oh wait no that doesn’t work. Okay, how about my 3 points to the game! Damm the Whitecaps do that one… The Unnamed Keys to the Match!
Unnamed Keys To The Match MLS Is Back Whitecaps vs Earthquakes
Here are my Unnamed Keys to the Match for Vancouver and San Jose July 15th.
Unnamed Key Number 1: Roster Management
We have already seen teams forced into subs due to fatigue, injury, or Tim Melia being sent off with a red card. It will be important how both MDS and Matias Almeyda manages the 5 substitutions and even how they field a starting squad.
Can a player go 90 in the heat? Can he go 65? do we have to account for his sub? This tournament has brought us so many questions tactically off the pitch as well as on. Makes sense why Axel Schuster didn’t answer my stupid question today about the fitness of the Whitecaps players.
Unnamed Key Number 2: The Stars Need To Shine
For the San Jose Earthquake that means Wondolowski and Designated Player Cristian Espinoza need to produce.
Who are the Stars For MLS Is Back Whitecaps FC? I guess that will be the question that we need to answer for the team to do well in this tournament. Will it be Yordy Reyna? or In-Beom? or maybe Iraqi International Ali Adnan that steps up. They definitely need a standout performance from someone in this tournament.
Unnamed Key Number 3: Someone Else
Someone else needs to step up for the MLS is Back Whitecaps and Earthquakes. It could be a player like Ryan Raposo or Theo Bair for Vancouver that makes a name for themselves this tournament.
Or on the opposite side anyone else besides the two I mentioned earlier need to step up their game. Tommy Thompson has looked good as a homegrown player on defense for the Earthquake. He could be someone to watch Wednesday and in years to come.
Make sure to check out MLS is Back Whitecaps vs San Jose Tomorrow at 6 pm Pacific Time and stay tuned as I will be sure to give you live updates during the game on Twitter.
Make Sure To Check out Sports Talk Line Because MLS Is Back
That’s right the MLS is back and Sports Talk Line has you covered all-tournament! I’ll be bringing you the latest Vancouver Whitecaps news from down in the bubble so make sure to follow me on Twitter and check out my show every Thursday at 3 pm Pacific.
Stay Tuned for more Pre Game and Post game coverage from the match including interviews and thoughts Wednesday Night.