Mon, 10 May 2021

Quakes' offense, Loons' defense set for quarterfinal matchup

Field Level Media
01 Aug 2020, 09:55 GMT+10

The San Jose Earthquakes rode a potent offensive attack into the knockout round of the MLS is Back Tournament. Minnesota United, meanwhile, advanced via a traditionally strong defense.

The two will come head-to-head on Saturday night, when the sides meet in the quarterfinals at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

After opening the event with a scoreless draw against the Seattle Sounders, San Jose outscored its opponents 11-5 in winning the next three matches. The Quakes scored four of those goals in the second half of a 5-2 win over Real Salt Lake in the round of 16 earlier on Monday.

Chris Wondolowski, the league's all-time leader with 161 goals, has a goal in each of the past three games. Teammate Cristian Espinoza has scored in each of the past two contests.

"I think the team keeps growing game after game," Earthquakes coach Matias Almeyda said. "It keeps showing a very positive attitude. I'm grateful to each player and for the work they put it in."

Though Minnesota has been without star defender Ike Opara for the tournament, it hasn't compromised anything on the back end as the side has remained undefeated. United have conceded four goals in the event, and they were able to pull out a 5-3 shootout victory following a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew in the Round of 16 on Tuesday.

"I think we've got progressively better," Loons coach Adrian Heath said. "We know it's going to be tough against San Jose. They've been excellent since they've been here. ... We'll be ready for it."

While each team has used a different recipe for success within the tournament, the opposite was on display in Minnesota's 5-2 road win over San Jose on March 7. Opara scored twice in that match, teammate Jan Gregus had a goal and two assists, and Robin Lod, who scored against Columbus, registered a goal as United won their third straight over the Quakes.

San Jose's Magnus Eriksson converted two penalty shots against RSL this week, and also scored against Minnesota in March.

--Field Level Media

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