In the earliest start to an MLS season in the league’s history, the San Jose Earthquakes will open their 2013 campaign on Sunday, March 3 at Buck Shaw Stadium against Real Salt Lake. Specific details regarding the starting time for the game and any television broadcast information will be determined as the date approaches.
The match-up with RSL marks the third time in four years that the two sides have met to start a season. In 2011, on March 19, Real Salt Lake posted a 1-0 victory over the home side as a driving rainstorm pelted the Quakes supporters in what would later be proclaimed "The Great Deluge." In 2010, on March 27, defending MLS Cup champions RSL easily defeated San Jose by a score of 3-0.
Last year, in their Supporters’ Shield winning season, the Earthquakes completed a perfect 3-0 record against RSL, including a 3-1 win at Buck Shaw Stadium on April 21 that featured a dramatic Simon Dawkins headed goal in stoppage time that secured the victory. 2012 MLS MVP Chris Wondolowski also tallied in a goal in that game en route to his record-tying 27 goal season.
Despite a season’s worth of pummeling at the hands of the Quakes, Real Salt Lake finished in second place in the Western Conference. And like San Jose fared in the MLS Cup playoffs, RSL bowed out in the conference semi-final round. Both RSL and the Quakes will be looking to rebound from their 2012 postseason disappointment and start off 2013 on the right foot.
With memories of "The Great Deluge" of 2011 still fresh in many fans’ minds from the last time San Jose opened a season against Real Salt Lake, the Quakes faithful will hope that Buck Shaw Stadium remains dry this time around. However, a look at the average temperature and precipitation data for Santa Clara, the home of the Earthquakes stadium, shows the greatest rainfall amounts in February. While persistent rain is never an issue during Bay Area winters, perhaps supporters should consider stocking up on blue rain ponchos prior to the March 2 home opener.
While the rest of the 2013 regular season schedule is unlikely to be announced until late January/early February (if previous years’ precedent continues), San Jose does know their opponent for Week #3 of the MLS season. The Earthquakes will travel to Ohio on March 16 to face the Columbus Crew in their season home debut.