Orlando City faces the San Jose Earthquakes this evening in a rare Tuesday night MLS match. With the Earthquakes coming to town, I spoke with Alicia Rodriguez, the manager of SBNation’s Center Line Soccer, and she helped bring us up to speed on San Jose.
Luciano Abecasis and Eric Remedi were two of the Earthquakes’ off-season additions. How have they settled into the team so far?
Alicia Rodriguez: Abecasis has been serviceable but mostly a substitute since arriving. He’s capable of playing either fullback slot but is a natural right back. Remedi has been kind of a revelation, however. At Atlanta United he got a reputation, I think, of being a pretty limited defensive midfielder, but he’s started every game for the Earthquakes until now. He’s actually a pretty capable two-way midfielder and he seems like a great fit for San Jose’s style
We’re enough games into the season that we now have a pretty good idea of how teams prefer to play. How does San Jose like to play?
AR: San Jose remains the same team, fundamentally, they’ve always been under Matias Almeyda: High pressing, high energy, disruptive and comfortable in chaos. They did deploy a new wrinkle on Saturday against Austin FC, playing something like a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they continue to tinker with a formation like that to try and shore up the team shape. But all in all, they like the chaos and thrive on other teams wilting in it.
Who is the most important player for the Earthquakes? What other names should Orlando fans be mindful of?
AR: There’s normally 11 players on the field. It’s hard to pick one above all, especially on a team like San Jose where they aren’t really star-oriented.
Jackson Yueill is a U.S. international and likely to be a centerpiece as long as he’s with the Earthquakes. Cade Cowell is a potential star, maybe even superstar of the future, and started the season in white-hot form. Cristian Espinoza is the team’s only Designated Player at present, and is sneaky-good at chance creation from an unusual position. Again, this is very much a “the team is the star” kind of group, but those three (and the timeless Chris Wondolowski) are some of the standouts.
Are there any injuries, suspensions, or call-ups that will keep players unavailable for selection?
AR: Marcos Lopez is at the Copa América. Eric Remedi will serve a yellow-card suspension. Carlos Fierro is listed out on the injury report.
Thanks again to Alicia for the information on San Jose. Vamos Orlando!