San Jose Earthquakes interim boss Alex Covelo has appeared to hint at a stay with the club when successor Luchi Gonzalez takes charge, as he continues to wind down his tenure at the club with their upcoming MLS trip to FC Cincinnati.

Covelo has been in interim charge since Matias Almeyda’s exit, but will not lead the team in the 2023 campaign after USMNT assistant Gonzalez was confirmed as the permanent replacement.

Covelo has not ruled out walking away from the Earthquakes entirely however, and has alluded to the potential that he could play some role at the club, stating he is settled there when asked on what his successor will bring.

“Luchi is a coach with a good background, he’s a great person. He did a pretty good job in Dallas and the national team,” he stated.

“We have been in touch and let us see what happens. I said at the beginning, I’m here for San Jose, this feels like my home.”

Opposite number Pat Noonan meanwhile is hoping for his team to showcase their skills at both end of the pitch, hinting that their recent form has proven too lopsided for his liking.

“[We’re] just trying to find more balance and a complete performance with and without the ball,” he reflected. “Our last two games, I think we defended really strong to be able to get points. But with the ball, we’re struggling for some quality, for some ideas, maybe some consistency in the group.

“A lot of it also has to do with how we get pressure to the ball. If we can do that more efficiently, it allows us to transition closer to goal, it allows us to be able to play higher up the field, to be able to defend forward in ways where it becomes more clear with how we can win balls, with how we can keep possession.

“It becomes difficult when you’re constantly doing that in your 18. And that’s what we’re trying to find solutions to.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cincinnati – Brandon Vazquez

The forward has been in blistering form this term for the Ohio outfit, with only three other players racking up more than his 16 goals. Add an extra four assists on top and his 20 goal involvements have been invaluable.

San Jose – Jeremy Ebobisse

The Earthquakes man just cannot stop scoring, with only one goal off the tally set by Vazquez – but 40 on-target attempts means he converts more than a third of his accurate shots, showing his unnerving skill.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– This will be San Jose’s first visit to Cincinnati in MLS play, with the only previous meeting between the sides a 1-0 home win for the Earthquakes in May 2019.

– FC Cincinnati is unbeaten in nine straight home matches (W3 D6), the longest home unbeaten run in club history, including a 2-0 win over Charlotte in its last home match. Cincinnati has never won consecutive home games in its MLS history.

– San Jose picked up a 2-0 win over Vancouver on Sunday, its second win in its last three games. The Earthquakes have recorded consecutive wins just once over the club’s last 58 MLS matches dating back to May 2021, doing so in September 2021.

– Luciano Acosta, who had an assist in Cincinnati’s last home match, has recorded 11 assists at home this season, three more than any other player on their own ground this MLS season. Acosta has totaled 10 assists in his last eight home league matches dating back to mid-May.

– Jeremy Ebobisse scored his 15th goal of the season in San Jose’s win on Sunday. Ebobisse is the third player in Earthquakes history to score 15 goals in a single regular season, joining Chris Wondolowski (5 times) and Ronald Cerritos. Wondolowski is the only ‘Quakes player with more than 15 goals in a season.