Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire
Venue: Avaya Stadium – Sunday, March 22 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT)
Match Odds: San Jose 10/11 – Draw 12/5 – Chicago Fire – 3/1
The Quakes shocked everybody last weekend by beating the Seattle Sounders 3-2 away from home and have put themselves in a really strong position for their home opener.
Chicago Fire have lost their opening two games, without scoring a goal, and will be eager to get off the mark this weekend. They are still not quite on song yet which isn’t too surprising given their changes through the offseason. The players need to gel and get going, and a win will certainly boost confidence.Embed from Getty Images
San Jose responded positively to falling behind in the first minute away at Seattle last Saturday and the three goals scored after will be a major boost for the side. Given that was an away game it would have been easy for heads to drop and receive a thumping against one of Major League Soccer’s strongest sides, but it was a real signal of intent from Dominic Kinnear’s side in the end.
Chicago are coming into this game as underdogs and the atmosphere will be so intense given the Quakes’ result against Seattle and as it is their first home game in their new stadium, the fans will be buzzing.Embed from Getty Images
The Fire need to get at least a point out of this game as three losses on the bounce spells trouble even this early on in the season.
San Jose Earthquakes have five injury concerns ahead of the game as Mark Sherrod (knee), Steven Lenhart (knee), Mike Fucito (hip), Jordan Stewart (calf) all look set to miss out, while Clarence Goodson is a doubt with a foot strain. But the Quakes should start Designated Player Innocent Emeghara once again as he was a real threat in his first start last weekend, scoring a fine solo goal in the second-half. Chris Wondolowski got two last week and they seem to have clicked and will be under the spotlight for this game in attack.
Chicago Fire will be without Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko, who will both be missing for a large chunk of this season. Razvan Cocis, Sean Johnson and David Accam look doubtful so Frank Yallop has his options limited. Shaun Maloney has yet to show his capabilities but should start behind Quincy Amarikwa once again.
San Jose Earthquakes’ form: L/W
Chicago Fire’s form: L/L
Key Stat: Home advantage – Chicago haven’t won away to San Jose Earthquakes since 2010. Let’s see if their fortunes change with the new stadium now in use.
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Chicago – The Quakes will be feeling great ahead of this game and the atmosphere in the Avaya Stadium will be rocking. They can put themselves in a really strong position with two wins from their first three and heap more misery on a struggling Chicago Fire side that doesn’t look good enough to ruin the occasion.