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MLS is Back R16: San Jose Quakes vs Real Salt Lake

MLS is Back Tournament round of 16: when and how to watch San Jose Earthquakes vs Real Salt Lake

July 27, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
The MLS is Back Tournament round of 16 play resumes on Monday, July 27, at 8:30 p.m. ET when the San Jose Earthquakes square up against Western Conference rival Real Salt Lake.

RSL and the Earthquakes have not tasted post-season success in recent years, but a round of 16 win can be something to get fans excited about. These two teams have played 33 times since their first fixture in 2005. The record since sits at 11 wins for San Jose, 11 wins for Real Salt Lake and 11 draws. Now it is time for one of these two sides to break this even record.

Match Preview: San Jose Earthquakes vs Real Salt Lake 

San Jose Earthquakes 

Most San Jose supporters favor head coach Matias Almeyda’s system. The Argentine manager introduced his high-press man-marking style when he joined the Quakes in 2019. Now that Almeyda has added more pieces to his team – Argentine forwards Andres Rios and Cristian Espinoza, Mexican forward Carlos Fierro and Mexican center back Oswaldo Alanis on loan from Chivas – the team is playing more like he envisioned when he first took the job.  

The Quakes impressed in the group stages, earning seven points after drawing a game with reigning MLS Cup champions, Seattle Sounders, and two wins over Vancouver and Chicago. Scoring six goals and conceding three in three matches, San Jose and Almeyda look to change their dark horse status to champions in days to come. Real Salt Lake better be prepared to go up against a unit, rather than individuals.

Player to watch:

Cristian Espinoza arrived at San Jose as a loanee from Spanish topflight club Villareal on January 2, 2019. After a promising season with the Quakes where he provided 10 assists and a couple of goals, Almeyda decided to make the move permanent. San Jose acquired the Argentine for a transfer fee of around $2.5 million. The winger has an assists and goal so far in the tournament and will look to extend the tally when he steps in the field on Monday night.

Injuries: None

Real Salt Lake

Playing against Real Salt Lake will never be a walk around the park. Having allowed two goals in a group made up of the Colorado Rapids, Minnesota United and Sporting Kansas City tells you all you need to know about their defensive endeavors. Head coach Freddy Juarez has the luxury of having 23-year-old Justen Glad leading the backline alongside other efficient defenders. Defensive midfielders Everton Ruiz and Kyle Beckerman also possess good defensive orientation.

The only worry going into the round of 16 fixture is the team’s ability to attack having only scored two goals across three games. Also, there is uncertainty about Slovak winger Albert Rusnak’s availability. He was subbed off in the first half of game two against Minnesota due to a hip injury. He is marked as questionable for the game. Justin Meram will most likely take his spot as he did against Kansas City.

Player to watch:

Like San Jose’s business for Espinoza, Real Salt Lake signed Everton Luiz after a loaned season in Salt Lake. The main difference lies in age, as Luiz is 32 years old compared to Espinoza’s 25 years. The Brazilian defensive midfielder’s resume signals over thirteen years of experience playing in Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Switzerland and Eastern Europe. He brings stability to the team next to Beckerman and will look to help in defense and attacking buildup. 

Injuries: Christopher Garcia (OUT, undisclosed), David Ochoa (OUT, right thumb), Albert Rusnak (questionable, left hip), Nedum Onuoha (unavailable)

San Jose Earthquakes vs Real Salt Lake: Broadcast Information

 

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