Who: NYCFC vs San Jose Earthquakes
When: Saturday, September 14th @ 12:30 pm ET
Line: NYCFC -107 | Draw +275 | San Jose+255
Two teams and two coaches on a redemption arc meet Saturday evening in the Bronx when Dome Torrent’s New York City FC play host to Matias Almeyda’s San Jose Earthquakes.
With NYC sitting atop the Eastern Conference and San Jose in fifth place, just two points behind second-place Real Salt Lake in the West, it may be difficult to remember the doubts surrounding both coaches when their respective team’s struggled early in the season.
Almeyda arrived in San Jose as one of the big off-season catches in all of MLS. Arriving directly from Chivas de Guadalajara, where he collected five trophies in his three seasons, landing the Argentine was seen as raising the bar on MLS coaching hires.
Then the season began with the Quakes losing five in a row out of the gate by a combined score of 14-2. The run included a 4-1 road loss to the New York Red Bulls and a 5-0 home humbling at the hands of LAFC.
Observers wondered if his new team would ever master Almeyda’s unique man to man marking system and the old doubts about foreign coaches succeeding in MLS (Tata Martino excepted) began to emerge.
Meanwhile, on the league’s opposite coast, NYCFC began the season with a spate of draws, sharing the points an astounding eight times against four wins and just one loss in its first 13 outings.
The NYC head coach confirmed the notion when he told NYCFC radio man Glenn Crooks that, “Right now I am in trouble as a head coach – I know and I have to accept that.”
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Both men would turn it around. They come into Saturday’s match with much to play for.
As mentioned, The Quakes are in the thick of it in a Western Conference that is packed tightly behind runaway league-leading LAFC. Any of the teams from second to eighth are still capable of a top-four finish (securing a home playoff game), while missing out on the postseason is still a possibility.
For the home team, the playoffs are a certainty. Positioning, a little less so. Torrent would love to lead NYC to its first Eastern crown, which comes with home-field advantage for as long as they go before possibly facing Bob Bradley’s juggernaut.
San Jose will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing midweek loss to division rivals Real Salt Lake. NYC will try to get back in the win column after a 1-1 draw with Toronto snapped the Cityzens five-game winning streak.
NYCFC vs San Jose Preview
New York will have to contain a San Jose attack that is led by a rejuvenated ChrisWondolowski. Wondo passed Landon Donovan as the all-time MLS leader in goals scored earlier in the campaign and has racked up 13 on the season.
Wondo is surrounded by some useful players like team assist leader Christan Espinoza (13 helpers), Vako (8 goals), Magnus Eriksson (6 goals and 8 assists) and U.S. international Jackson Yueill.
The 22-year-old Yueill is one player who has clearly benefited from Almeyda’s tutelage. The young midfielder was an afterthought in previous seasons before blossoming under Almeyda to the point that he has earned a look with the U.S. National Team.
Tommy Thomson is another young American that has flourished under new San Jose boss, earning regular time at fullback after struggling for minutes as a winger under previous coaches.
With the International break out of the way, NYC should be prepared for what San Jose has to throw at them. It was a makeshift side that Torrent sent out against Toronto and the 1-1 draw was a decent result, preserved by a fine Sean Johnson penalty save, Johnson having been released early by the USMNT.
NYC is still without striker Heber, the Brazilian that turned NYC’s season around after his April arrival but talisman Maxi Moralez will be back after missing out against TFC due to yellow card accumulation and his return should be enough to spark NYCFC to a home victory.
Where to Bet NYCFC in the US
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