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Preview: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Vancouver Whitecaps will battle to keep hold of their top-seven spot in the Major League Soccer Western Conference standings on Sunday, when they travel to take on San Jose Earthquakes.

Both sides come into the game on the back of victories, as the hosts thrashed Austin FC 4-0 while their visitors ground out a crucial 3-2 away win over Portland Timbers.


Match preview

San Jose Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda during the second half against the Minnesota United at PayPal Park on August 17, 2021© Reuters

San Jose Earthquakes have had to battle through a relatively mixed league campaign, and they now stand virtually out of reach of a playoff place in 10th spot.

After an eye-catching 10-game unbeaten run in the MLS, spanning July and August, the form of Matias Almeyda's side took another dip, culminating in consecutive defeats to Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps and Los Angeles FC in recent weeks.

Brian White hit a hat-trick as Almeyda's men fell to a thrashing at the hands of Sunday's opponents, but they managed to arrest their slump last time out with a dominant win over Austin FC.

Javier Lopez put his side ahead early in the second half, and Benji Kikanovic quickly doubled the lead before Chris Wondolowski made it three on the hour mark and Carlos Fierro capped off a strong showing in the dying minutes.

While the damage has arguably been done for their playoff hopes, the Quakes will still be keen to finish the season in style, with a victory on Sunday potentially keeping their slim chance alive.

The Vancouver Whitecaps celebrates midfielder Ryan Gauld (25) goal against Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia (29) during the first half at BC Place on October 17, 2021© Reuters

After a poor start to the MLS campaign, Vancouver Whitecaps have enjoyed a turnaround since mid-July, having now risen into the playoff places.

The Blue-and-White have now picked up 32 points from their last 18 league games, after collecting just nine from their opening 12 outings, and they now head into Sunday's important game on the back of consecutive wins.

Vanni Sartini's side bounced back from a thrashing at the hands of Seattle Sounders by defeating Sporting Kansas City 2-1 on home turf, thanks to goals from Ryan Gauld and Russell Teibert, before Deiber Caicedo, White and Cristian Dajome got on the scoresheet in a dramatic turnaround as they came from 2-0 down against Portland Timbers to win 3-2 away from home.

Sartini took over as interim manager in August, and he has seen the Caps collect an impressive tally of 20 points from his 10 games at the helm, and they will now look to complete the job and reach the playoffs after breaking into seventh spot, with only a slender lead over the chasing pack.

San Jose Earthquakes Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

San Jose Earthquakes form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Vancouver Whitecaps Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W



Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Janio Bikel celebrates his goal on June 27, 2021© Reuters

After their strong showing last time out, San Jose are unlikely to make many changes to their side heading into Sunday's game.

Javier Lopez and Benji Kikanovic should keep their spots in the front three after scoring in that victory, although Carlos Fierro will also be pushing for a place after he found the net off the bench.

Matt Bersano will likely be the only absence for Almeyda to deal with.

Vancouver were also impressive last time out, and Sartini may deploy a similar starting XI.

Brian White will expect to return to the front line after scoring his 11th MLS goal of the season off the bench in that game.

Following his move from Portuguese outfit Farense, exciting Scottish midfielder Ryan Gauld will continue to operate in dangerous areas, having registered three goals and four assists in 14 league appearances this term.

San Jose Earthquakes possible starting lineup:
Marcinkowski; Thompson, Nathan, Beason, Lopez; Remedi, Yueill, Rios; Lopez, Wondolowski, Kikanovic

Vancouver Whitecaps possible starting lineup:
Crepeau; Nerwinski, Jungwirth, Gutierrez; Godinho, Teibert, Bikel, Brown; Gauld; White, Caicedo


SM words green background

We say: San Jose Earthquakes 1-3 Vancouver Whitecaps

While the Quakes put on an eye-catching display last time out, we back Vancouver Whitecaps to put their third straight victory on the board on Sunday.

The hosts do have a slim chance of making the playoffs, but the visitors have far more to work for at this stage, and we see them outfighting their hosts.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data


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How you voted: Earthquakes vs Vancouver

San Jose Earthquakes
33.3%
Draw
13.3%
Vancouver Whitecaps
53.3%
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New York City FC forward Valentin Castellanos (11) celebrates a goal by forward Santiago Rodriguez (not pictured) against Toronto FC with defender Malte Amundsen (12) and forward Thiago (8) during the first half at BMO Field on August 7, 2021
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England34227565412473
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia341412848351354
3Nashville SCNashville341218455332254
4New York City FCNY City341491156362051
5Atlanta UnitedAtlanta34131294537851
6Orlando City34131295048251
7New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls34139123933648
8DC United34145155654247
9Columbus Crew34138134645147
10CF MontrealMontreal341210124644246
11Inter MiamiInter Miami34125173653-1741
12Chicago Fire3497183654-1834
13Toronto34610183966-2728
14FC CincinnatiCincinnati3448223774-3720

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England34227565412473
2Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia341412848351354
3Nashville SCNashville341218455332254
4New York City FCNY City341491156362051
5Atlanta UnitedAtlanta34131294537851
6Orlando City34131295048251
7New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls34139123933648
8DC United34145155654247
9Columbus Crew34138134645147
10CF MontrealMontreal341210124644246
11Inter MiamiInter Miami34125173653-1741
12Chicago Fire3497183654-1834
13Toronto34610183966-2728
14FC CincinnatiCincinnati3448223774-3720

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