All That's Left Is Playing For The Glory, And They Did Okay...
QOBC Vol. 2 No. 17 October 3, 2022
Photo: @sjearthquakes on Twitter
Josh: So we got to see what the San Jose Earthquakes were going to do to finish out their season - time to be disrupters and try crazy things and give the young guys minutes… and we saw mostly more of the same.
Matt: As someone who watched the Revs not quite put it together after the departure of Turner and Buksa, some of the same emotions and disappointments reared their heads in droves watching this long-delayed Clasíco. I wish the 408 could have brought 3 points home to celebrate my birthday, but no. It was the story of the never-say-die Goonies who made it thrilling to the end. Unfortunately, that also meant the Quakes let themselves go down 3-0 before finally scoring on a converted Espinoza PK in the 74’. Instead of a depressing Clasíco recap, let’s just go 3 UP, 3 DOWN.
Josh: Nice way to work in a “Happy Birthday” from me and our reader. ;-) Sounds good - I like ending on a high note, so here’s two ups and a down, and then I’ll finish with two downs and an up.
Matt: Am I in the Matrix?
Josh: Sometimes complicated is fun, kids. Up 1 - Lots of fans in a stadium historic to the San Jose Earthquakes! Great to see a LOT of people willing to go enjoy soccer in The Bay, even if a bunch of them were Galaxy fans that drove in. Up 2 - Salinas came out and was running harder than anyone else on the pitch and set up some assists. They were calling El Clasíco “The Shea Game”, but (down 1) he didn’t even get to the field until the 78th minute. Coach Covelo likes to sit on those subs for longer than I’d choose to.
Matt: I’m going to drop them all at once. My 3 UPS: 1. Tsakiris - so much promise and solid play on his part! 2. Espinoza’s relentlessness results in a PK, he converts. Couldn’t pick a more deserving Quake. 3. Overall team effort - SJ never said die, resulting in Nathan’s goal in the 94’. Now 3 DOWNS: 1. Defense gives and takes. Moments of stalwart solidness, then completely missed coverage or letting the opposing offenses run around in the SJ defensive end turns into goals. 2. Chicharito’s goal celebrations - consider me unimpressed. 3. SO MANY missed opportunities for the Quakes to score in the final third.
Josh: Nice - Thanks for celebrating Niko, so I can come up with another Up! Down 2 - Monteiro’s absence for international duty was felt, meaning that the Blue & Black need more depth in the attacking middle/supporting forwards. Down 3 - The recap shows about even for shots & on goal - but only one of each of those was in the entire first half. Up 3 - Nathan & Espinoza made their case for why they are key to the future success of the club.
Matt: One more thing, and it’s something I didn’t notice until the Clasíco: I am going to go out on a limb and say that Ebobisse is playing hurt. Not flat-out injured, maybe, but hurt. Something most athletes do at some point, and I appreciate that he’s putting it out there as best he can for the Quakes. I just don’t want him to get legit injured.
Josh: Yeah, especially when the team is already playing for next season: no reason to push through an injury or put yourself at risk for something worse. Looking forward from Stanford, our friends at Tectonic Takes interviewed Shea where he said “I’ll find out if they see a place for me in the squad next season,” and two days later Number 6 announces this is his last season in MLS. Either the negotiations didn’t go how he’d like, or they didn’t see a place. I can’t imagine he’s moving his family out of San Jose at this point, and he probably did the career math, and/or has big plans for his next chapter. But his announcement added a FIRE to PayPal Park when the Quakes faced the MNU Loons.
Matt: I was blown away watching this week’s version of the Boys in Blue. The ball was moving fairly quickly, the passing was almost crisp, and the energy (especially Paul Marie, Benji, Nathan, The Kraken, and OF COURSE Espinoza) was a complete turnaround. Watching Monteiro pull the wall off-kilter on the direct kick and then Shea bangs it in…you couldn’t script it better! (Now you?)
Josh: Great storytelling for the last home game and for Shea’s last game. Don’t forget the security goal where Benji scooped a bouncing through ball from nothing into a cross-box goal? Fantastic. So good to see the team having fun and playing the soccer that we know that they can. Marie made a good case to be in your top three for renewing contracts, and I hope they do.
Matt: And one more game: the season finale against Seattle, who is having their own Wooden Spoon of a season - after winning the Champions League Cup, they are missing the MLS playoffs for the first time. I think Seattle, on their home turf, is going to come into this one determined to win one final game in 2022 in front of the hometown supporters. BUT, if San Jose continues their energy and synchronicity they displayed against Minnesota (and Calvelo continues to let Paul Marie wreak havoc on the other team’s defense), it’s a toss up.
Josh: The other option is maybe the Sounders throw a pity 3 points to try and nudge Houston to the Western Wooden Spoon? But you’re probably right - any player on the cusp in Seattle is going to be showing that they deserve to stay in the League for another season, even if they’re showing off for other teams with roster spots to fill. Sunday I’ll be doing a quick change of gear from supporting a strong finish for your Revs into a Farewell 2022 for our beloved Quakes. For the last time out to the bus - #VamosSJ!!
Quake-o-meter for Games 32 & 33 (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)
Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale: 5.6/10
Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final: 0% but there’s always next season!