MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Saturday, March 7 – 20:30 ET (01:30 GMT – Sunday, 8)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 10/11 – Draw 12/5 – San Jose Earthquakes 3/1

Match Preview

FC Dallas entertain San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday in both sides’ opening game of the new 2015 Major League Soccer season.

Dallas ended their 2014 campaign in disappointment, being knocked out of the playoffs on away goals by Seattle Sounders, while the San Jose Earthquakes will be looking to end their horror run of 15 MLS games without a win as they start the new campaign with a clean slate.

Both sides have undergone some changes to the squad. Dallas have made changes in the hope of an improved season in the push for glory in the playoffs this time around, while the Earthquakes have had a rejig to freshen things up and try to put their nightmare run to an end.

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FC Dallas have bought in six new faces, including; Otis Earle, Kyle Bekker and Dan Kennedy and shipped out 12 players this offseason. Head coach Oscar Pareja will be hoping his side can bond quickly as they will need to get off the mark with the best possible start, as home advantage is an important factor for the opening game of any season.

San Jose Earthquakes nine signings this winter include the likes of Marvell Wynne, Innocent Emeghara and Paulo Renato, while 11 players have departed. Dominic Kinnear’s side need to hit the ground running too, as the longer they go without a win the more the streak will impact their mentality.

Confidence will be key for the surviving Quakes players out of last season’s roster. New faces in the dressing room should lift spirits and those new names could be key to avoiding sitting at the foot of the Western Conference again.

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Both sides should be feeling good ahead of the tie, with both teams winning four of their preseason games. San Jose will be in fine spirits after beating eventual playoff winners LA Galaxy last weekend, so there are lots of positives heading into the new season.

The San Jose Earthquakes’ away form was woeful last term and their last away win was in fact against FC Dallas, so they can take that positive into the tie. Dallas will be looking to avoid falling victim to the Quakes to avoid giving them their first away win in MLS in 12 attempts.

Team News

FC Dallas have the luxury of a fully fit squad. Match fitness shouldn’t be too far from ideal, but as we know there is a huge difference in the pace of preseason games in comparison to competitive fixtures.

San Jose Earthquakes will be without Mark Sherrod and Steven Lenhart (both knee), new signing Innocent Emeghara (shoulder), Clarence Goodson (foot) and Jordan Stewart (calf) could also miss out for the away side and are all doubts for the game.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ form: N/A

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: N/A

Key Stat: The Quakes’ last away win in MLS came at FC Dallas last May and they have not won their past 12 on the road. A lot has changed since that away victory in Texas last season but a repeat victory could be on the cards.

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Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The Colombian speedster notched ten goals in 27 regular season games last campaign, which saw him earn a bumper five-year contract this offseason. Dallas will be hoping his input can push them into the playoffs again and he will look to start the season with a goal as he did last year, netting the sides’ first goal of the 2014 campaign.

Score Prediction

FC Dallas 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes – FC Dallas began last season with a home win and need a repeat of that to get them moving in the right direction for the playoffs early on in the season. Given how tight the Western Conference looks set to be this year, it is essential to rack up points early and not be chasing the playoff pack. The Earthquakes are looking much better for the new season but this game might be too tough a test.


MLS 2015 Season Preview: San Jose Earthquakes

As the 2015 season is now less than a week away excitement is building. We’ve had a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday in the build up and today we take a look at what the San Jose Earthquakes will be looking to do this season…

The San Jose Earthquakes are looking like a new team ahead of the 2015 season. They have a new manager as Dominic Kinnear has returned after eight seasons with the Houston Dynamo, a new Designated Player in Innocent Emeghara and most importantly a new stadium as San Jose begin life in the brand new Avaya Stadium in 2015. Last year was disappointing. There’s no hiding that as the Earthquakes won just six games (their lowest tally ever) and finished bottom of the Western Conference. Things can only improve and the club will hope a new stadium will breathe a sense of fresh belief into the players and fans alike.

Last season’s finish: Western Conference position: 9th – P34 – W6 – D12 – L16

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What needs to change this year?

Firstly, the San Jose Earthquakes need to start winning more games. They won just six last year and finished the season without a victory in 15 straight games. That is incredibly poor and needs to change immediately. The Earthquakes also need to improve away from home as they picked up just one win on the road in 2014. Defensively, they were pretty solid considering their bottom-placed finish but scoring goals was a major problem as they netted just 35 times in 34 games – the second worst record in MLS last year. A lot needs to change on the pitch but a lot has changed throughout the club, including the actual pitch they will be playing on. Dominic Kinnear will hope to bring success back to the team in his first year back in charge but that will be no easy task in a highly competitive Western Conference.

Key changes to the squad:

Ins: Leandro Barrera – Midfielder, Mark Sherrod – Forward, Marvell Wynne – Defender, Sanna Nyassi – Midfielder, Fatai Alashe – Midfield, Innocent Emeghara (Designated Player) – Forward, Paulo Renato – Defender.

Outs: Jason Hernandez – Defender, Jon Busch – Goalkeeper, Atiba Harris – Midfielder, Yannick Djalo – Midfielder, Sam Cronin – Midfielder,

Key Player: Innocent Emeghara – Forward

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Innocent Emeghara has been brought in as a Designated Player in the hope that he will score the goals to fire San Jose back into playoff contention in the Western Conference this season. The Swiss striker has bundles of pace and will inject some much needed life into an Earthquakes attack that underperformed in 2014. Chris Wondolowski will hope to form a successful partnership with Emeghara this season and make sure you keep an eye on the 25-year-old new boy because he could be dangerous.

One to watch: Fatai Alashe – Midfield

Fatai Alashe was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft in January and could play a key part for the Quakes in his debut MLS campaign. He is not afraid of a tackle and the 21-year-old could really improve San Jose in the middle of the park if he is given minutes by Kinnear. His energetic play could turn defence into attack with the blink of an eye and make the Earthquakes one of the most dynamic teams in MLS this season. Watch Alashe as he could be set for a big year.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 9th

Although things look set to improve for the San Jose Earthquakes in 2015, it’s difficult to see them finishing above so many quality sides in a frightening looking Western Conference. The additions of the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City have only made the conference more difficult and although San Jose won’t finish bottom this year, they will have to accept a third straight year without postseason soccer.

What are you expecting from the San Jose Earthquakes in 2015?

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Houston Dynamo

As the new season draws ever closer we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what the Houston Dynamo will be looking to achieve this year.

Houston Dynamo goes into the 2015 season with a new manager in Owen Coyle and a lot of room for improvement. Following the departure of Dominic Kinnear, the Dynamo have signalled their intent that they need to do better. Houston is a team in transition but they have failed to impress in recent times and need to try and bounce back this year. They will be looking to make their mark in the Western Conference following their move from the East to make room for the new expansion franchises.

Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference position: 8th – P34 – W11 – D6 – L17

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What needs to change this year? 

They need more points. For a team that boasts some highly talented players in DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Davis to name a couple, they need to be performing better. Owen Coyle will bring a British philosophy to this Houston side. And so they should hopefully be a lot better defensively this season and with it, increase their points output.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Erick Torres – Forward (Designated Player), Raul Rodriguez – Defender, Joe Willis – Goalkeeper.

Outs: Mark Sherrod – Striker, Andrew Driver – Midfielder, Tally Hall – Goalkeeper.

Key player: Brad Davis – Midfielder

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Brad Davis is now the longest-serving player to stay with one club in MLS and he plays with pride every time he pulls on the orange of Houston and is a great leader for his side. Expect him to lead them again this season, while his threat from set-pieces is a great asset to the Dynamo. Davis is key to their season.

One to watch: Erick Torres – Forward

It may seem a controversial choice as Erick Torres is not expected to join up until June. However, expect him to have a huge impact on the productivity of this Houston attack. Torres scored 15 goals last term for a Chivas USA side that were below average. He is a natural goalscorer and great signing for the Dynamo. He will need to earn his Designated Player tag as soon as he rejoins MLS with the Dynamo.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 8th

We’re not expecting miracles at the BBVA Compass Stadium this season and so a modest eighth-placed finish will be a good building block for a side that should be pushing for the playoffs the following year.

How do you think the Houston Dynamo will fare in 2015?

Orlando, Vancouver and Houston seal preseason wins against MLS opposition

Major League Soccer clubs went head-to-head in three different friendlies today with Orlando City, Vancouver Whitecaps and Houston Dynamo all winning.

Orlando City took on FC Dallas in Florida and ran out 4-0 winners in a comfortable victory that saw Kaka appear for the Lions for the first time, and he marked the occasion with a goal.

Don’t miss – VIDEO: Kaka nets his first goal for Orlando City in 4-0 win

Orlando fielded a strong starting lineup for the first 45 minutes before changing all eleven men for the second-half. Tony Cascio, Martin Paterson and Kaka gave the Lions a 3-0 lead at the halftime interval before Danny Mwanga ended a miserable afternoon for FC Dallas by making it 4-0 in the 60th minute.

Two games kicked off at the same time in Tucson, Arizona as the New England Revolution faced the Vancouver Whitecaps while the San Jose Earthquakes went up against the Houston Dynamo.

Vancouver got their preseason campaign off to a fine start by beating the 2014 MLS Cup runners-up 2-0 thanks to a brace from Octavio Rivero on his debut.

The young Uruguayan Designated Player finished off passes from Matias Laba and Nicolas Mezquida in a game that saw both sides start the game with fairly strong lineups.

In the other game Dominic Kinnear sent his San Jose Earthquakes side out to face the club he left at the end of the last campaign, the Houston Dynamo, who were led out by Owen Coyle in their first preseason game.

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It was the Dynamo who came out on top in an exciting game that ended 3-2 thanks to goals from Rob Lovejoy, Giles Barnes and David Horst.

Adam Jahn netted a brace for the Earthquakes, who lost for the first time this preseason after starting with 5-0 and 4-0 wins in scrimmage games against their under-18’s and Sonoma County Sol respectively.

The new season is only a month away now and although not much can be taken from preseason games, it is good for teams to see where they stand against fellow MLS sides before the new campaign kicks off on March 6.

Innocent Emeghara full of passion and expectation with San Jose

New San Jose Earthquakes signing Innocent Emeghara has wasted no time in getting involved with the team as he trained with his new teammates at the earliest opportunity after officially joining the club on Monday.

The Swiss striker joins the Earthquakes as a Designated Player and he has outlined his message for the fans in a video interview on the club’s official site that showed how excited the 25-year-old is to be involved in MLS with the team.

Emeghara is the fourth San Jose DP in the club’s history and he joins the team at a time when the future’s looking bright as the team prepare to play in their brand new Avaya Stadium in 2015 under returning head coach Dominic Kinnear.

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The Quakes finished bottom of the Western Conference with just six wins last season, the joint lowest in MLS, and so things can only improve.

Emeghara showed real passion in his introductory interview as he signalled his intentions for the season:

“America is the future,” he said. “I will try to do my best job in the best city and in the best country in the world.

“When I’m on the pitch I just like to play football and to do everything just to help the team. Football is a team game and it’s very important that I work together with the coach, the team and we have to try to win every game.

“That’s the first step we have to take. We must try to win every game. In every training session we have to give everything.”

Emeghara is blessed with pace and he will hope to help San Jose get off to a fast start in MLS when the new season gets underway next month.

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He went on to address the fans in his interview and his words will fill even the most pessimistic Earthquakes fan with some optimism.

“For the fans, I am happy to be here and I think you are also happy to have me here. We have a new home now, a new stadium with new players.

“I want you to come and watch the matches and see how good and hardworking we are and we are going to give you the best we can and do everything to win every match.”

Emeghara looks like he could be a fan-favourite straight away in San Jose and supporters will hope the passion he showed in his message will be translated by his performances on the pitch.

Will Innocent Emeghara be a star with the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS this season?

Owen Coyle set to take Houston Dynamo job – report

Houston Dynamo‘s search for a new manager finally looks to be over as Owen Coyle is expected to be announced as the new manager over the weekend.

The Dynamo have been searching for a new man to lead the team since Dominic Kinnear left to return to the San Jose Earthquakes at the end of the regular season in October.

Coyle looks to be that man. The Scottish head coach has been out of work since leaving Wigan Athletic 12 months ago and is now ready for a new challenge in MLS.

The appointment is expected to be confirmed over the weekend, after Coyle lands in the Texas city and has a chance to finalise details with the club.

The 48-year-old managed Burnley and Bolton in the Premier League before taking over at Wigan in 2013.

Houston will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing season. They finished eighth in the Eastern Conference, ten points off the playoffs, and will expecting for better things when they start the 2015 season in the Western Conference.

With the new season still a few months away, Coyle will have plenty of time to get used to his surroundings and playing personnel.

Will Owen Coyle be a good appointment for the Houston Dynamo?

2014 MLS Season Review: San Jose Earthquakes

Western Conference Final Position: 9th


San Jose lost the highest number of games in a single season for 14 years as they tasted defeat 16 times in the 2014 season. It will go down as a year to forget, but the Earthquakes have a fresh start to look forward to.

The California-based side will move into a new soccer-specific stadium for the start of the 2015 season, and will hope that the change of home will inspire them to better performances on the pitch.

San Jose lifted the Supporters’ Shield two years ago, but a lot can change in football, and they will need to regroup and strengthen if they are to improve next year.

Best Moment

The 5-1 win against Chicago Fire in July is was the standout moment of what was a disappointing season. San Jose only won six matches, and the demolition of Chicago gave the home fans plenty to cheer about on that day. Things got even better a week later when they beat Seattle 1-0, but unfortunately, that was to be their last win of the season.

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Worst Moment

The 5-0 loss at home to FC Dallas in mid-August was the worst defeat that the Earthquakes suffered all season, and that is certainly a game they will have already wiped from memory. Failing to score a single goal in the last four games of the season is also a major concern, but the team have time to regroup and fix the mounting problems.

Player of the Year

Chris Wondolowski had another solid season despite the almost non-existent attacking support around him as the star striker ended the season with 14 goals and four assists. ‘Wondo’ only made 26 appearances but was a joy to watch once again when given service. The Earthquakes need to build the team around their star man to improve.

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Biggest Win

San Jose Earthquakes 5-1 Chicago Fire (July 24 2014)

Biggest Defeat

San Jose Earthquakes 0-5 FC Dallas (August 17 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

The move to the new stadium will give fans the chance to forget about the past, and they will be looking to see a much-improved side when they start the 2015 season. Dominic Kinnear will return to coach the side and that should see things improve on the field.

Kinnear led the Earthquakes to the 2005 Supporters’ Shield and San Jose will need him to come in and make an immediate impact.

Defensively, they were reasonably good, as only eight sides conceded fewer goals than them – all of whom made the playoffs.

In attack, they were poor. The Earthquakes only scored 35 goals in 34 games, with Chivas USA the only side to find the net on fewer occasions (29) and Kinnear will need to get the side playing attacking football if things are to improve.

Takeaways from Houston’s trip to the Big Apple

New York Red Bulls ended Houston’s unbeaten streak on Saturday night with a 1-0 victory at Red Bull Arena, with Thierry Henry netting the winning goal just after half-time.

The result all but ends Houston’s push for a playoff berth, as they lost their first game in six in New York last night.

We take a look at what to expect from the last few games, taking into account what we saw last night:

1) Henry hitting form

King Thierry was in full flight last night and in a commanding performance, reminiscent of his Arsenal days. Sometimes playing your prized asset out on the wing can haunt you, but Henry seems to have likened to playing out wide.

He sees a lot more of the ball on the wing, and with two holding midfielders he is allowed the freedom to cause havoc to opposing defences.

We expect Henry to play a huge part in any Red Bull title push, as he has always shined on the big occasion.

2) On a silver platter

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Houston lacked conviction in their approach last night and were punished for a negative tactical approach. They invited the Red Bull’s onto them all night and were punished for doing so.

On another night this would have been a blow out, however, New York strike sensation Bradley Wright-Phillips was far from his best.

We question where Dynamo go from here, knowing that a playoff place is all but gone for them. Coach, Dominic Kinnear, got it wrong last night and Houston should have been looking for a win and not sitting so far deep.

3) Red Bull gives you wings

In contrast to the Dynamo, New York have an attacking force that can open up any defence in the league.

With Thierry Henry and Lloyd Sam on the flanks they have all the firepower to stretch teams and allow Wright-Phillips all the space he needs.

As mentioned before BWP was off his game last night and should all three of this Red Bull attack hit full flight, New York can take off.

Next Fixtures:

09/10/14 Toronto FC vs Houston Dynamo

12/10/14 Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls

What we learnt from San Jose’s comfortable win over Houston

San Jose Earthquakes cruised to a 3-0 win on Sunday night, as Houston Dynamo will rue costly errors defensively. We take a look at four key talking points from the game. They are as follows:

1. Does Dominic Kinnear know where to play Giles Barnes?

Giles Barnes has played mainly through the middle all year and hasn’t really reached his potential yet.

The former Derby ace, has struggled to influence results, as it would appear that he doesn’t know where he’s playing.

The team sheet suggests that he was playing up front, but his performance said otherwise as he rarely got into advanced positions and struggled to keep up with attacks.

His role needs clarification.

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2. Tally Hall was full of howlers.

Houston’s normally reliable ‘keeper Tally Hall, was in comical form on Sunday as he managed to pick up a blatant back pass and then misjudged a long ball, both which led to goals.

Hall will take most of the stick, but it’s difficult to feel sorry for him as his defense is way below par. They’re scramble defence is a joke as there is no trust when delegating marking responsibilities, and communication is absent.

The Dynamo really needs their leader back in Brad Davis, who is currently on World Cup duty with the USMNT.


3. Busch was faultless.

Contrary to the performance of Tally Hall, Jon Busch was brilliant. He was rarely tested, with the Dynamo only having six shots on target, three of which were blocked.

But keeping a clean sheet will do Busch and his San Jose defence the world of good, especially for Busch who was recently left stunned by a cracking lob from Obafemi Martins.

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4. Who will be missed more, Wondo or Davis?

Both Chris Wondolowski of the Earthquakes and Brad Davis of the Dynamo are heading to the World Cup with the USMNT and both sides will be weaker as a result.

It would appear that the Dynamo are significantly weaker due to the loss of Davis, as Kinnear seemingly has nobody to replace him with. He used Giles Barnes in the loss to DC United and Servando Carrasco on Sunday night, but neither could do the job Davis does so well.

San Jose is obviously going to miss ‘Wondo’ but  it seems as though they have a better squad to cope with the loss of their talisman than the Dynamo.

Highlights via MLS on YouTube: