If any competition signals the beginning of a new season, the International Champions Cup (ICC) has surely taken that particular mantle.
Hailing from the World Football Challenge (2009-2012), the past two pre-seasons have witnessed true European giants take their campaign's first steps on North American soil. Real Madrid were the inaugural winners of the ICC in 2013, followed by Manchester United last summer.
This year, the tournament has expanded further; more heavyweights are planning to indulge spectators in four continents and seven countries over 25 days.
After beginning their American pre-season schedule in defeat vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, Mexican champions Club America travel 350 miles north, from Los Angeles to San Jose—in the ICC's second North American encounter—looking for retribution from an MLS side.
Date: Tuesday, July 14 (USA) / Wednesday, July 15 (UK)
Time: 10:30 p.m. EST/3:30 a.m. BST
Venue: Avaya Stadium, San Jose, California
TV Info: Fox Sports 1 / ESPN Deportes / Sky Sports 1
Team News / Starting XIs
Quakes starting XI: Meredith, Wynne, Bernardez, Goodson, Stewart, Pierazzi, Barrera, Nyassi, Garcia, Amarikwa, Sherrod. #ICC2015— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) July 15, 2015
Player to Watch
|Last 5 Results|
|San Jose Earthquakes||Club America|
|L 0-2 Houston Dynamo||L 1-2 Los Angeles Galaxy|
|L 1-0 Portland Timbers||L 3-4 Pachuca|
|L 0-1 Los Angeles Galaxy||L 3-2 Pachuca|
|W 3-1 Los Angeles Galaxy||W 1-2 Atlas|
|W 1-2 Seattle Sounders||W 3-1 Toluca|
|@danieltiluk // Google|
Club America's 2-1 defeat to LA Galaxy was largely expected. The Mexican outfit have just begun their pre-season duties, while the American side were in the midst of their season. It's not getting any easier, as so are San Jose Earthquakes.
A bright spot from America's opening match of the International Champions Cup, however, was Colombian striker Carlos Darwin Quintero. The electric 27-year-old scored the first goal in just seven minutes vs. Los Angeles, but his efforts were not enough for victory.
For CF America to register their first positive result in the tournament, their strike partnership—spearheaded by Quintero—must be active, use their pace and finish chances.
The biggest takeaway from America's first ICC match was their incredible pace. Even with options resting from international duty, playing in the 2015 Gold Cup or given special permission to sit games out, Ignacio Ambriz has bags of pace and counter-attacking prowess on hand.
For San Jose manager Dominic Kinnear, his first order of business—and the match's most important battle—will be keeping the Mexicans' pace under control. That starts with smart possession, timely hold-up play from forwards and Clarence Goodson's back four being physical when necessary.
On several occasions vs. the Galaxy, Las Aguilas found themselves in promising positions after their opponents set pieces, but failed to convert. Having more game time and match fitness after their first match, America should find more joy in San Jose than they did in Los Angeles.