David Bingham is not as seasoned as his San Jose Earthquakes teammate Chris Wondolowski, but he’s starting to feel like the grizzled veteran of the club.
“Can’t believe I’m going to start my seventh season already,” Bingham said. “Wondo is the only one who has been on the team longer than me. I’m excited to see what we can do in 2017.”
The 27-year-old goalkeeper will play in his third Las Vegas soccer match when the Earthquakes face the Los Angeles Galaxy at 7 p.m. Saturday at Cashman Field in a Major League Soccer preseason game.
San Jose played at the home of the Las Vegas 51s two years ago against the Colorado Rapids and again last year versus the Galaxy.
“You never really get used to playing on a baseball field,” Bingham said. “Everything just feels off, but we got a job to do and want to put on a show for the fans. Las Vegas has been very supportive, and the crowd really gets into it when we play L.A.”
Off to Vegas ! #PreSeason
— David Bingham (@BinghamDb) February 10, 2017
Bingham has a long ways to go to catch up to the experience of Wondolowski, a former MLS Most Valuable Player who has played 10 seasons with the Earthquakes during two stints. But the All-Star goalie knows the grind of a MLS season.
The Earthquakes have already played three preseason matches and will stay in Nevada for a week to face Reno 1868 FC on Feb. 18. Reno is an expansion team for the United Soccer League.
Throw in the All-Star exhibitions against European clubs in the summer and the 10-month MLS season takes a toll on players.
“We enjoy coming to Las Vegas and other cities for preseason,” Bingham said. “The summer exhibitions, that’s when it gets hard. Those get tricky. It’s in between the season and during the international break.”
— City of Las Vegas (@CityOfLasVegas) February 10, 2017
Bingham and Wondolowski are also teammates on the U.S. men’s national team. Bingham has played three matches for the Stars and Stripes and is in contention to be the starting goalkeeper during World Cup qualifiers this year.
“Playing for my country has been special,” said Bingham, who made his debut last February and started in a 1-0 victory over Canada. “It’s been almost a surreal experience, and at the end of the day, my focus is to keep getting better.”
Bingham is looking forward to the World Cup qualifiers, but his priority right now is getting the Earthquakes back into the MLS postseason for the first time since 2012.
San Jose has a bright future with young players such as rookie defender Nick Lima, who grew up in Castro Valley, California, and played at Cal Berkeley, just like Bingham.
“David (Bingham) has been a big help,” Lima said. “Being Cal guys, now playing for the hometown team, we had a connection. You always want that connection with your goalie, especially good ones like David.”
Contact Gilbert Manzano at email@example.com or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.
What: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Cashman Field
Tickets: Ticketfly.com or californiaclasico.com