Confident Rapids visit offensively-challenged Earthquakes

ByField Level Media ESPN logo
Saturday, April 13, 2024

Struggling to close out victories, the San Jose Earthquakes will host the comeback-happy Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

The Earthquakes (1-6-0, 3 points) have the fewest points and the most goals allowed (17) in MLS. The poor opening to the season has come despite frequent strong starts on the field, as San Jose has scored the opening goal in five of its seven matches.

Last Saturday's 4-3 loss to Austin FC was perhaps the toughest setback yet. The Earthquakes held a 2-0 lead through 61 minutes before Austin erupted for three goals in a six-minute span. Amahl Pellegrino leveled the score for San Jose in the 74th minute, but Austin FC's Sebastian Driussi scored 11 minutes into extra time to deal the Earthquakes another crushing loss.

"To win a game over 90 minutes, it's not just how you start," Earthquakes coach Luchi Gonzalez said. "It's how do you deal with key moments when the momentum shifts. ... We've got to keep maturing, we've got to keep growing mentally to deal with this adversity."

Colorado (2-2-3, 9 points) has scored first in only two matches this season, but the Rapids have fared well playing from behind. The Rapids lead the league with four goals scored within the 75th-90th minute window of matches, and they also have gained a league-best eight points from matches they were once trailing.

In the 2-2 draw against Inter Miami on April 6, Colorado's early lead evaporated when Lionel Messi and Leonardo Afonso scored within a three-minute span in the second half. However, Cole Bassett tallied the equalizer in the 88th minute to turn another potential loss into a quality result.

"If the guys don't fold, don't get nervous, we are not breaking down when something happens to us," Bassett said. "We stand right back up and get the draw."

San Jose midfielder Jackson Yueill and forward Preston Judd will be available after missing the Austin match due to suspensions. Bruno Wilson didn't play last Saturday, and Gonzalez said the defender will miss a "few weeks" with an undisclosed injury.

--Field Level Media