Preview | LAFC vs. San Jose 6/22/24

Coached since the beginning of the 2023 season by Luchi Gonzalez (an assistant coach with the U.S. Mens National Team during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar), the Earthquakes have not finished higher than 10th in the Supporters’ Shield race since they won MLS Cup in 2012.

This season the team has been handicapped by the loss of Brazilian goalkeeper Daniel (Daniel de Sousa Britto) who underwent hamstring surgery in late March after enjoying an outstanding 2023 season. MLS veteran William Yarbrough has started 13 matches in goal in Daniel’s place. Twenty-four-year-old goalie Jacob Jackson (a SoCal native and former Loyola Marymount star) got his first MLS start of the season Wednesday night in San Jose’s 2-1 loss to Portland.

Since making his MLS debut on May 4 against LAFC, Argentine DP attacker Hernán López has scored four goals and added one assist across all competitions. His combinations with San Jose’s other gifted Argentine DP, Cristian Espinoza, have been dangerous, even if the score lines have not fallen the Quakes’ way. Espinoza is tied for fifth in MLS with 9 assists in 2024, and has finished in the Top 10 in MLS assists every season since he joined the Quakes in 2019.

Scoring goals hasn’t been an issue for the Quakes in 2024. The 27 goals they’ve tallied are the eighth most in the Western Conference, but their 45 goals conceded, and their minus-18 goal differential, are both last in MLS.

Midfielder Carlos Gruezo has started 12 games for San Jose this season, but has not played since May 25 after being called to play for Ecuador’s national team (the only MLS player on that country’s roster). Gruezo will join former LAFC midfielder and fellow Ecuadorian Jose Cifuentes (currently with Cruzeiro in Brazil’s top tier) when Ecuador kicks off its Copa America schedule against Venezuela on Saturday.

LAFC will once again be without the services of young forward Cristian Olivera, whose Uruguay side will face Panama in their Copa America opener on Sunday.

LAFC owns an all-time record of 8W-7L-1D against the Earthquakes. San Jose has only won once in Los Angeles, a 2-1 result in September 2020.


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