The San Jose Earthquakes went through a light practice on Tuesday, Aug. 3 at James Griffin Stadium in St. Paul, MN, as the team prepared for Wednesday night's U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match-up against the A-League's Minnesota Thunder. The match kicks off at 5:00 p.m. PT and fans will be able to follow the game via matchtracker at sjearthquakes.com.
This was the second practice for the Quakes since last week's all-star break, as head coach Dominic Kinnear reconvened the team on Sunday, Aug. 1 for a light practice in San Jose minus the Quakes' five all-stars before the team traveled for Minnesota on Monday.
San Jose is looking to advance to the Open Cup semifinals for the first time in club history, but they know it will be a tough task with the Thunder (10-6-3, 33 pts.) standing in the way. Minnesota advanced to play the Quakes after taking out San Jose's rival, the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0, while the Earthquakes defeated the A-League's Portland Timbers in the first round.
"We know not to take anything for granted, especially a team in the A-League like Minnesota," Earthquakes forward Landon Donovan said. "We know they are tough. They beat L.A., one of the best teams in MLS to get here."
The Thunder has had a successful season so far, currently sitting in third place in the A-League's Western Conference. Minnesota is led by head coach Buzz Lagos, the father of former Earthquakes midfielder Manny.
"There isn't a big difference between the A-League and MLS," Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "We know that they have some good players and we are going to have to come out here and play hard to get the win."
The Quakes will feature Jon Conway in goal, who earned a shutout in the Quakes first 2004 U.S. Open Cup win over Portland. Fresh off scoring a goal in the All-Star game, San Jose will likely start Brian Ching and Donovan up front. After suffering numerous injuries in the first half of the season, the Quakes enter the second half of the year the healthiest they have been.
"We are getting everyone back, so that is a good thing," Kinnear said. "Hopefully we can get some momentum together and play consistently for the rest of the season."
With the Thunder looking to make history as well and advance in the Open Cup on Wednesday, the Quakes will have to play with the same kind of energy that propelled them to a come from behind 2-2 tie with New England on July 24 and the 3-0 win over Portland in the Open Cup.
"This is probably the biggest game of their season," Donovan said about Minnesota. "We know how they are going to come out. It is going to be tough. We are playing on a small field, in front of their fans and we know what to expect."