- Minnesota United have won the last three contests against the San Jose Earthquakes
- The two teams have combined for 29 goals in their seven MLS meetings
- Read on for a full preview, analysis and picks for this MLS Is Back quarter-final below
The stakes are heating up in the MLS Is Back knockout rounds, with berths in the final four on the line as the quarter-finals play out. As many of the MLS heavyweights, such as the Seattle Sounders, Toronto FC and the Los Angeles Galaxy have fallen by the wayside, it presents an opportunity for some of the lesser lights in the league to move up to contender status.
The San Jose Earthquakes and Minnesota United are two such teams. The winner of their quarter-final, set to take place on Saturday, August 1, at 8:00 pm EST, has a chance to announce itself as a team to be reckoned with in the Western Conference.
San Jose Earthquakes vs Minnesota United Odds
|Team||Moneyline Odds at DraftKings|
|San Jose Earthquakes||+114|
Odds taken July 30. For more betting options, visit DraftKings
Since Minnesota United came into MLS as an expansion team ahead of the 2017 season, their games against San Jose have been all-out goal-fests, with 29 goals scored in their seven meetings. A 1-0 San Jose win in their very first meeting aside, each game has featured at least three goals, highlighted most recently by Minnesota’s 5-2 mauling of their West Coast rivals in the second game of the regular season.
While San Jose won the first four meetings between the two sides, Minnesota has had the upper hand recently, with Loons’ manager Adrian Heath coming out on top in all three contests against San Jose head coach Matias Almeyda.
San Jose vs Minnesota MLS Is Back Statistics
|19||Shots For Per Game||12|
|7.25||Shots On Target Per Game||4.5|
Both teams seemed to cruise through the round-robin phase at the MLS Is Back tournament. San Jose surprised many by finishing top of Group B with seven points, while Minnesota finished second in Group D with five points. Between the MLS regular season and the MLS Is Back tournament, the Loons are now just one of three teams yet to suffer a defeat this season, with the team sitting at three wins and three draws (or four wins and two draws if you want to count a shootout win as a win).
There is no doubt that San Jose pulled off one of the more impressive showings of the tournament with their 5-2 round-of-16 rout of Real Salt Lake, a team that had conceded just two goals in its first three games. And for the third straight game, super-sub Chris Wondolowski came off the bench to score. The all-time leading MLS scorer is now tied for fourth in tournament scoring with three goals.
That's 161 @MLS goals.
The King of Goals. pic.twitter.com/4X9rQBIENf
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) July 20, 2020
Minnesota, meanwhile, had to rely on spot kicks and the goalkeeping heroics of Tyler Miller to see it through against the Columbus Crew in its first knockout game.
Goalkeepers Hitting Top Gear
The goalkeepers for both teams have been top drawer in the competition so far.
As previously mentioned, Miller came through for the Loons with a vital penalty save on Chris Cadden to put the Loons into the quarter-finals, but both goalkeepers have been a vital presence for their teams between the sticks.
Great performance from Tyler Miller tonight so far. Much more decisive in potentially awkward situations and a really nice save here. pic.twitter.com/YMOSTGt1kz
— USL is Back (for now) (@JeremyGRushing) July 18, 2020
Miller and San Jose’s Daniel Vega have absolutely identical stats, having both made 12 saves from 16 shots on goal in their four games apiece. The resulting 75% save percentage has them both tied for third in the tournament.
DANIEL VEGA YOU'RE AN ANIMAL pic.twitter.com/lkGECuwgus
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) July 28, 2020
That form will likely be counted on here if the goal-scoring is going to be held in check, and possibly to step up after 90 if there is going to be yet another penalty shootout to decide a tie at the MLS Is Back tournament.
Pick: Minnesota United (+210); O 3.5 (+150)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.