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Predicted XI: San Jose Earthquakes

The Black & Gold look to ride opening weekend momentum into their first trip to the West Coast

Joshua Bickel-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew dominated the Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer’s opening weekend, beating the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 and controlling the game from start to finish. Not only did the Black & Gold walk away with three points, but they also stayed healthy, punctuating a joyous Crewsmas for all who celebrate.

This week, the Crew looks to do something the team only did three times all of last season — get a win on the road. Winning away from home in MLS is challenging for every club, but Columbus is poised to continue the team’s hot start out in the Bay Area against the San Jose Earthquakes, who sputtered out of the gate at home against the New York Red Bulls last weekend.

For the second week in a row, head coach Caleb Porter will have his pick of the litter when it comes to selection with only Josh Williams of note on the injury report.

Here is the Massive Report Predicted XI for the Week 2 matchup against the Earthquakes:

Porter surprised many Crew supporters with his decision to start Miguel Berry at the No. 9 position over U.S. international Gyasi Zardes against Vancouver. Following last Saturday’s game, Porter mentioned that he felt he owed it to Berry to start him due to how well the 2020 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick played to end the 2021 season. Berry took that opportunity and ran with it, playing well and scoring the Black & Gold’s first goal of the 2022 campaign. Expect Porter to reward Berry for his performance with a spot in the starting 11 for the second week in a row.

Another player who will be rewarded for his stellar Week 1 performance will be Derrick Etienne Jr. Etienne played arguably his best match in a Crew shirt, scored a goal,and caused continuous migraine headaches for Vancouver defenders. It was the type of performance he needs to continue to churn out as he tries to solidify his spot on the left wing. In his media availability Thursday, Porter said that Etienne “has done well enough to keep that position for one week,” so expect him to get the call as the left winger against San Jose.

The one big question going into this weekend’s match against the Quakes was whether Artur, after playing 69 minutes in his first competitive match since May of last year, would get back-to-back starts as he works his way back from injury. Porter made it clear this week that Artur is fit enough to play consecutive games when he gets enough rest between them. Porter stated that having a full week between games allowed the whole team to recover, including Artur. Although he may not be a full 90-minute fit player at this point, Porter thinks the Brazilian should be closer to that in this week’s game. Anticipate Artur going 75-80 minutes with Aidan Morris coming on to finish the match.

How do you think the Black & Gold will line up in San Jose? Let us know your thoughts on the lineup or who you would like to see in the comment section below.