San Jose Earthquakes provide FC Dallas a unique tactical challenge

The San Jose Earthquakes' unique and oft-discussed man-marking system makes them somewhat of an MLS novelty, as Matias Almeyda's side play considerably unlike any of the other 23 clubs. 

It also means their opponents must prepare differently than any other week ahead of facing the Quakes. 

On Saturday, FC Dallas will take their turn against San Jose's man-marking system (3:30 pm ET | Univision, Twitter in the US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada).

"That's a great challenge for us," head coach Luchi Gonzalez said after training Tuesday. "San Jose are getting the results recently, and Almeyda had a similar system at Chivas. I know he's been testing some things with San Jose. It's something we're going to have to adapt to."

How, exactly, will the Quakes make it difficult for FCD and how will they look to beat it?

"They'll close down time and space on our players," Gonzalez explained. "We just have to move smart, move well and synchronize our movements."

If Dallas can break the waves of pressure, it will open space for their attackers. 

“Man-marking is different," forward Dom Badji said. "Not a lot of teams do that. But if we execute correctly and stick to Luchi's game plan, we're definitely going to create a lot of spaces. We have the ability to do that if they want to stay man-to-man and exploit them behind and definitely create a lot of chances.”

The Quakes are coming off a 2-2 draw against the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night and are now unbeaten in three of their last four games, a stark contrast from their four-game losing streak to open the season. 

Dallas are humming along themselves, with four wins in their last five. 

"It's early in the season, we don't look at the records," midfielder Edwin Cerrillo said. "Every team is going to come to our stadium hungry for more, just like we are."

For a more in-depth look at how FCD have prepared for the Quakes' man-marking system, check out this article from