A pair of short-handed teams will be looking for the full complement of points when Toronto FC visit the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
Due to CONCACAF Nations League action, Toronto (1-1-2, 5 points) and San Jose (2-2-0, 6 points) will each be missing several players from their ideal lineups.
Toronto FC won't have Jonathan Osorio, Richie Laryea, Mark-Anthony Kaye and Ayo Akinola (all from Canada), or Tomas Romero (El Salvador) available, while the Earthquakes are missing Miguel Trauco (Peru) and Jamiro Monteiro (Cape Verde Islands national team).
If the international departures weren't enough of a setback for the Earthquakes, Carlos Gruezo and Rodrigues could be facing longer absences. The two players made early exits due to injuries during San Jose's 3-0 loss to St. Louis City SC last Saturday.
"We lost some momentum probably when Carlos left the game, but we have to show we're a team," Earthquakes coach Luchi Gonzalez said. "This is a collective game, and it's important we show our depth. ... We have to show again what kind of squad and depth and mentality we have to respond at home against Toronto."
Both of the Earthquakes' losses this season have come on the road, while their two victories came on their home field.
Despite holding leads in all four of their games this season, Toronto FC hadn't closed out a win until last Saturday's 2-0 home victory over Inter Miami.
"We've been chasing the three points for a while now," Toronto goalkeeper Sean Johnson said. "Everybody's been committed and working extremely hard, so all the hard work is paying off and we're looking to use this as a foundation and move forward."
Federico Bernardeschi has two goals and two assists in four games this season. The forward may have to carry even more of the attacking pressure Saturday without Osorio and Kaye, who have combined for three of Toronto FC's six total goals this season.
The Earthquakes are unbeaten (3-0-2) in their last five home games against Toronto FC. The Canadian club hasn't won in San Jose since May 29, 2010.
--Field Level Media