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Preview | LAFC vs. San Jose 6/22/24

Everything you need to know about the Black & Gold's next match.

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LAFC vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Saturday, June 22 at 7:30pm PT

Location: BMO Stadium - Los Angeles, CA 🏟

TV: Apple TV – MLS Season Pass 🖥

Radio: 710 AM ESPN 📻, ESPN LA App 📱, KFWB 980 AM La Mera Mera 📻

Events: Level Up arcade (5:30-7:30pm & 10-11:30pm) đź•ą

Following a rainy 1-1 draw in Austin on Wednesday night, LAFC returns home to BMO Stadium to face another Western Conference foe, the San Jose Earthquakes, on Saturday, June 22.

A Kei Kamara header in the 90th minute salvaged a point against Austin FC, allowing the Black & Gold to remain unbeaten in its last nine games across all competitions. LAFC’s most recent defeat, in fact, came at the hands of its next opponent back on May 4 — a 3-1 Earthquakes win at Levi’s Stadium.

LAFC (10W-4L-4D) currently sits in second place in the Western Conference and in fourth place in the Supporters’ Shield standings, having earned 34 points from its 18 MLS matches.

The Earthquakes (3W-13L-2D) are in 14th place in the West. One of their three wins was that 3-1 result over LAFC on Cinco de Mayo weekend. The Quakes followed that up with a 3-2 road win over fifth-place Colorado in their next match. But in the six games since, San Jose has lost five times, drawn once, and has been outscored 17-7. The Quakes’ win over the Rapids on May 11 was their only road victory of 2024.

Quakes in-depth

Coached since the beginning of the 2023 season by Luchi Gonzalez (an assistant coach with the U.S. Mens National Team during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar), the Earthquakes have not finished higher than 10th in the Supporters’ Shield race since they won MLS Cup in 2012.

This season the team has been handicapped by the loss of Brazilian goalkeeper Daniel (Daniel de Sousa Britto) who underwent hamstring surgery in late March after enjoying an outstanding 2023 season. MLS veteran William Yarbrough has started 13 matches in goal in Daniel’s place. Twenty-four-year-old goalie Jacob Jackson (a SoCal native and former Loyola Marymount star) got his first MLS start of the season Wednesday night in San Jose’s 2-1 loss to Portland.

Since making his MLS debut on May 4 against LAFC, Argentine DP attacker Hernán López has scored four goals and added one assist across all competitions. His combinations with San Jose’s other gifted Argentine DP, Cristian Espinoza, have been dangerous, even if the score lines have not fallen the Quakes’ way. Espinoza is tied for fifth in MLS with 9 assists in 2024, and has finished in the Top 10 in MLS assists every season since he joined the Quakes in 2019.

Scoring goals hasn’t been an issue for the Quakes in 2024. The 27 goals they’ve tallied are the eighth most in the Western Conference, but their 45 goals conceded, and their minus-18 goal differential, are both last in MLS.

Midfielder Carlos Gruezo has started 12 games for San Jose this season, but has not played since May 25 after being called to play for Ecuador’s national team (the only MLS player on that country’s roster). Gruezo will join former LAFC midfielder and fellow Ecuadorian Jose Cifuentes (currently with Cruzeiro in Brazil’s top tier) when Ecuador kicks off its Copa America schedule against Venezuela on Saturday.

LAFC will once again be without the services of young forward Cristian Olivera, whose Uruguay side will face Panama in their Copa America opener on Sunday.

LAFC owns an all-time record of 8W-7L-1D against the Earthquakes. San Jose has only won once in Los Angeles, a 2-1 result in September 2020.

The Black & Gold Can Win If:

Its nearly impeccable defending stays true to form. Opponents cannot win if they do not score, and goals against LAFC have been extremely hard to come by of late. Steve Cherundolo’s team has conceded one goal or fewer in nine straight games (including a club-record five straight MLS clean sheets), outscoring opponents 19-3 in that time. LAFC has not lost a match since it fell to San Jose seven weeks ago; its commitment to Cherundolo’s defensive principles is the main reason why.

San Jose Can Win If:

They win the possession battle and keep the ball away from an LAFC attack that leads MLS in shots on goal. Only the New York Red Bulls (42.5%) have managed less possession than San Jose (44.5%) has in 2024, which has placed undue stress on the Quakes’ back line and its goalkeeper (usually Yarbrough). If Espinoza, López, and company can string passes together and relieve that pressure, the Quakes have a chance to take the season series from LAFC.

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