Standings-wise, it is a meaningless game for the San Jose Earthquakes.
But coach Mikael Stahre will be thinking about more than the standings as the woeful Earthquakes (3-13-8, 17 points) host the Vancouver Whitecaps (9-9-7, 34 points) on Saturday afternoon at Avaya Stadium.
“The last 10 games matter so we can improve and show everyone — the ownership, the fans, all of us — that we have a future,” Stahre told reporters. “That’s the game right now.”
The Quakes sit last overall in Major League Soccer and have posted only one victory in their last 15 games. They have not recorded a win on their home pitch since their season opener on March 3.
Since then, they have gone 0-5-5, setting a club record for home futility.
But the Quakes are 1-1-2 in their past four outings and, for the second straight game, Stahre’s crew has a chance to hurt a Canadian team’s playoff hopes after tying Toronto last weekend. Despite their home struggles, the Quakes are unbeaten at Avaya (4-0-4) against Canuck squads since 2015.
With nine games left in the regular season, the enigmatic Caps are below the Western Conference playoff bar, but a win Saturday will put them above it — at least temporarily.
“We’re in a good place,” Caps striker Kei Kamara told reporters. “We have enough games here, and we’ve been playing well on the road, too. So we’re in a good place to get ourselves in that position.”
Kamara said the Caps will need “a little extra bit from everyone” to secure a postseason berth. But defenders, in particular, will need to take that statement to heart.
Once known for their stoutness, the Caps have allowed 49 goals and are on track to allow more than the 55 they surrendered in their woeful first MLS season in 2011.
But Vancouver captain Kendall Waston, the club’s top central defender, is not overly concerned about the final goals-against total.
“What I care (about) is getting in the playoffs and trying to win the (MLS) Cup,” he told reporters. “If the way there is we concede a lot (of goals), but win the Cup, I don’t care.”
—Field Level Media