KEY PLAYERS: ATTACKING
Whether he gets his first start, which is deserved, or comes on as a 2nd half sub Shea Salinas has shown quality in the last few games that he displayed in the preseason when he was the the Caps best player. Salinas has great pace down the right side and is able to control the ball when in top flight.
It could be either Ryan Johnson or Steven Lenhart starting up front with Wondolowski and whoever it is the Quakes need that player to produce. Neither striker has found the back of the net which needs to change as San Jose is the lowest scoring team in the West.
KEY PLAYERS: DEFENSE
Since Mouloud Akloul has returned to the lineup from a yearlong recovery of a broken ankle, he has been a vocal leader of the backline. He has to be careful when going after the ball on the ground as he has a tendancy to mistime his tackles.
After being acquired from TFC Sam Cronin, a former first round pick, is one of the better young holding midfielders in MLS. In addition to being an effiecient tackler Cronin does a great job collecting the ball from the back four and distributing it forward to the attacking players.
WHO’S ON FORM
After playing so well last Wednesday against the Impact, Russell Teibert did not see any action on the weekend while recovering from a minor injury to the foot. He shows great pace down the left wing and shows great skill with his crossing and his slashing into the middle with the ball.
The 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski has scored half of the Earthquakes goals so far in the 2011 season. Last year he scored the majority of his goals from the midfield position but is playing up front this year as the club looks to take advantage of his scoring touch.
Last Game: 0-0 Draw at Chicago
Last Game: 1-0 Loss at Philadelphia
Up front the Caps look to start Hassli, Khlafan or Camilo with my bet being on Khalfan and Hassli as they seemed to play well off each other on the weekend. Dunfield and Koffie should start in centre with there being a strong possibility of one of them getting a break. Chiumiento played a total of 210 minutes of football last week and may get a break as Salinas and Teiebert may start out wide. Three of the four spots on the backline should remain the same with Boxall possibly coming on for Janicki who played both games last week. Cannon may get the start against his former team but most likely will be Nolly once again in goal.
Chris Wondolowski will start up front with either Johnson or Lenhart, who was acquired from Columbus in the offseason. Returning from injury former Cap Joey Gjertsen may see a start on the right side of the field while Convey will be on the left. Cronin will take up his regular holding midfielder spot while Ring will be an attacking midfielder. The backline is missing a couple of starters as regulars Hernandez and Corrales will be joined by McDonald and Morrow on the backline. Jon Busch, the goalkeeper chosen instead of Cannon, will see his normal start in goal.
QUESTIONABLE: DF Jay DeMerit (groin), MF Michael Nanchoff (groin)
DOUBTFUL: DF Tim Ward (hamstring)
PROBABLE: MF Joey Gjertsen (groin), FW Scott Sealy (hamstring)
The Whitecaps look to carry the momentum of picking up their first road result back home to Empire Field in order to gain their second victory of the season over the San Jose Earthquakes. Although they are playing this match at home the task of securing three points will not be easy for the Caps. It is a well-known fact that the Caps are in the midst of a very tough schedule that includes league matches as well as Canadian Championship matches. This next game versus San Jose will be their sixth in nineteen days which included trips back and forth across North America.
The opponent they face on Wednesday, the San Jose Earthquakes, have had difficulty scoring despite having the top goalscorer from last year in Chris Wondolowski. It will not get easier for the Quakes as the team has scored only six goals with Wondolowski scoring three and the the other two coming from the currently injured Simon Dawkins. If the the Caps can limit Wondolowski's chances to the outside and close down on him when he gets the ball, the odds that the Whitecaps pull out a victory become that much greater.
After scoring so many goals to start the season the Caps have been limited to either a single or no goals in each of their last eight games. Because Teitur is highly unlikely to change formations or tactics, the Caps need a different look on the right side of the midfield and upfront where bringing in Salinas and Khalfan for Camilo and Chiumiento would add speed to those spots on the starting eleven. Coming on as a sub Salinas has shown a knack for running at defenders and his pace and technical skills are tough for the opposition to handle. When Khalfan came on in the second half he showed a little chemistry with Hassli and his speed should help wear down the defenders. Both Chiumiento and Camilo would be available to come on as subs when defenders would be a little tired.
The defense has had good days and bad as of the fourteen goals they allowed this season ten of them have come in four games while in the other five games the Caps have allowed only four. The fullbacks, Rochat at the left and Leathers on the right, have played every minute of the season for the Caps and may require a break sooner rather than later. But in this game they will have to deal with a couple skilled wingers in Convey and Gjertsen. Both Akloul and his partner, Janicki or Boxall, will have to deal with the dangerous Chris Wondolowski and if they can stop him, the Caps may pull out the victory and double their total in the win column.