Matias Almeyda brings his San Jose Earthquakes team to Red Bull Arena on Saturday after starting this season the way they played for most of a tough 2018.
The Quakes had two home games to open the season with the Argentine in charge, but the results weren’t there, as they posted two losses. Now, they have the cross-country trip to meet the New York Red Bulls (3:30 pm ET | Univision, Twitter in US; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada), the current Supporters’ Shield holders.
Almeyda said his squad continues to work on turning the page on the past.
“We are seeing, we are analyzing, we have to practice effectively to see that change is possible,” Almeyda told reporters in Spanish in a press conference this week.
Of course, while Almeyda continues to settle in with San Jose, he has recent experience and success over the Red Bulls, having beaten them in the 2018 Concacaf Champions League semifinals with Chivas de Guadalajara en route to taking the title.
With that experience, the Argentine complimented Chris Armas’ team.
“Yes, they are a very difficult team, a team that has been playing together for a long time, with a very important game system, wins the pressure, battles and duels around the area,” he said.
In fact, while the systems are not identical, there are stylistic similarities between New York’s pressing plan and Almeyda’s one-on-one marking scheme.
But with the Red Bulls bowing out of the 2019 CCL earlier this week against Santos Laguna, Almeyda said he expects a full-strength and in-form Red Bulls squad on Saturday.
“They have quite a large squad, they can play, with players who have played a lot, we will see what team we will face but they are a difficult opponent,” he said.
It seems like a tall task for the Earthquakes but Almeyda wasn’t ruling out his team.
“Let’s see, if we can get a little triumph and well, the mental part in soccer [follows]…and the results will come,” he concluded.