Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Prediction, Preview and Odds - 6/22/21
Orlando City SC welcomes the San Jose Earthquakes to Exploria Stadium in Orlando on Tuesday night. Orlando has started the season strong across their first eight games, sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points, five points behind the leaders in the New England Revolution. The Earthquakes have had an inconsistent campaign so far, finding themselves in eighth place in the Western Conference with ten points, but a negative goal differential. The two teams last met in 2019, with the Earthquakes dominating in a 3-0 win. The two teams have only met five times since 2015, once per season, with each team winning once and the two teams drawing the other three matchups. With both teams still working their way back into form following the international breaks, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.
Orlando Putting Undefeated Home Record On The Line
Orlando City is happy to be back at home for Tuesday’s meeting with San Jose, especially given their 2-0-2 record at home this season already. It’s taken a few years for Orlando City to combine an atmosphere with the team quality to make teams fear coming on the road, but this might be the year that happens. Orlando City wasted no time finding their form in Saturday’s game after around three weeks off, scoring twice in the first ten minutes and then finding an 84th minute winner to take down Toronto FC on the road. They have a plus-five goal differential already on the year and still have only lost one game and will be tough to beat on Tuesday night. They will miss Sebastian Mendez though as the midfielder remains with Ecuador in the Copa America, but they still have plenty of depth and firepower to overcome his loss from a defensive role in the center of the field.
Nani hasn’t missed a beat despite being one of the older players in the league. He leads the team with four goals but hasn’t set up any teammates yet, as opposed to Teshi Akindele who has gotten it done on both sides of scoring opportunities. He’s tied with Christoper Mueller for the team-lead with three assists, as well asbeing second on the team with three goals. Five Orlando City players have found themselves on the scoresheet this season, while five players have contributed assists as well. Daryl Dike is the player to keep an eye on though. Dike made waves while on loan overseas with Barnsley in the English League Championship, adding nine goals, good for second on the team, despite playing in only 21 of their 46 games. Now that he’s back after a short rest once returning from overseas, there’s a good chance he dominates against lesser opponents.
Orlando City has also been able to get it done on the defensive side of things, despite a backline not necessarily filled with household names. They’re tied for second in the league with only six goals allowed and Brian Rowe in the back has been a big reason why through the beginning of the season. On Saturday though, Brandon Austin made his first start at goalkeeper on the season and it’ll be interesting to see who draws the start on Tuesday night. Regardless though, it’s going to take an elite offensive performance to take down Orlando City and find a way to score and they’ll be up to the task at home.
Earthquakes Head East
San Jose will head east for the first time this season in what will be a tough road trip on Tuesday with a short turnaround after a 0-0 tie on the road in Auston on Saturday. San Jose has struggled on the road this year, only taking away points in one of their road games on the season and having to travel across back another time zone will surely have its challenges. On Saturday, they played Austin pretty evenly, taking seven less shots total, but also had three more shots on goals. They also won in possession 51 percent to 49 percent. One issue heading is from an availability standpoint, with defender Marcos Lopez still out in the back as he remains with Columbia in the Copa America competition. Five other players are questionable for Tuesday’s game, including star midfielder Tommy Thompson (right knee). The Earthquakes will need a complete effort to replace some of their potential absences if they want any chance at any points in Tuesday’s matchup.
The Earthquakes have a little more scoring depth than most teams, with seven players having scored goals so far on the year, but are missing that dynamic player up front, as their leader only has two goals with a four-way tie atop the team lead. There’s no denying that Cade Cowell has had a strong season as one of the youngest players in the league at only seventeen years old, with two goals and team-high three assists. It’s a wonder to see him and one of the league’s oldest players, Chris Wondowlowski, link up and be two of the more dynamic players on the pitch for San Jose.
San Jose is right in the middle of the table in terms of goals scored and goals allowed, but have struggled to put it together in the same game. One advantage for San Jose though is JT Marcinkowski in the back at goalkeeper. The USMNT player and former USYNT star has put together a strong season in the back and is one of the top distributors in the league, with a 69.8 pass percentage. With Lopez out in the back, San Jose will be hard-pressed to keep Orlando off the scoreboard and will need to make sure their own offense is ready to score.
Pick: Orlando City (-136)
After spending three weeks dealing with the international break, San Jose is stuck going on the road for the second straight match after just playing on the road in a grueling game on Saturday in Austin. For Orlando City, they’re one of the top teams at home and even though they were technically the away team on Saturday against Toronto FC, were still at home at Exploria Stadium and have no travel to deal with coming into Tuesday. Already the better team, the rest and lack of travel will serve as just more of an advantage for them. Orlando City has one of the best defenses in the league and San Jose will have tired legs heading into a game where they already might struggle to find scoring based on Cowell’s inexperience and the miles on Wondolowski’s legs already this season. Add in at least one starter missing in the back for San Jose and this seems like a great game for Orlando City to exert their depth and come away with a win and three points at home.
The three weeks off from game action and practice for some key players has added up for teams and showed this last weekend, especially for San Jose, who had a 0-0 draw. Both goalkeepers can be sharp and San Jose will struggle to score based on a combination of inexperience, lack of high-end talent up front, and travel adding up over the last week. For Orlando City, it won’t be a shock to see them score, but they too are coming off a quick turnaround from Saturday and will probably have to tap into the bench and a little more inexperience on the offensive end of things, impacting their offense.