Early Tremors - San Jose Drops Season Opener
Updated: Apr 19
Josh: All right, Mr. Soccer Kits - did you enjoy the ‘96 Releases in honor of the 25th Anniversary of MLS? The Quakes did a modern cut of a fun Clash jersey - I almost bit, but the price kept my shopping cart empty. We’ll see if they stick around and maybe drop down to the price of a regular jersey.
Matt: I definitely felt the painful sting of fashion nostalgia, but similar to you, I haven’t bought yet. If I had an original jersey that had been falling apart for a long time, I’d be more likely, but...no. Does that mean I have a few more years before my official “cranky old man” designation? Overall winners in the ‘96 Release IMHO: Portland and Columbus are timeless. Colorado and Revs jerseys look great. I don’t have anything else to say - I had to clean the coffee off my keyboard when I saw the Sounders Windbreaker and dropped my paper cup from 1996.
Josh: I think my friend in middle school had that Starter jacket! I don’t know about you, but watching the clips of the OG MLS players running hard in those 90’s-fit mega-baggy jerseys looked way harder than it was worth. Is that what we wore in those days?
Matt: I’m not sure. A few years ago I finally retired my Sting concert T-shirt from 1990, but other than the only fashion choices I remember making were about the sneakers. Just putting it out there: if MLS dropped some sharp team-themed kicks, I’d be there.
Josh: Great idea - some blue & black Adidas with the SJ74 on the stripes - does this count as a copyright? Back to the pitch, we first got a taste of the depth of the bench in the Oakland friendly, which we got to stream. These Quakes though - they lived up to the Goonies nickname, but it would be easier on the fans and their hearts if they just got ahead early!
Matt: Truth. Preseason is unpredictable, and I wondered if their starting line-up was still tuning up for the season (i.e., trying some new plays, getting game conditioning while avoiding injury or exhaustion). The subs showed they want to be in that Starting XI and made a huge impact. And now with the first game against the DynaClash in the books, the Quakes are looking, well, unpredictable. Apart from Marcinkowski’s strong composure in front of the net, there wasn’t much positive going on until subs in the 60th minute. Maybe the initial plan was to have Wondo and Salinas come in to finish off the game, but instead they found themselves trying to save the team from a shutout.
Josh: DynaClash - well played. Right? I would’ve thought that the Quakes would’ve found a way against the team that took soccer from the Bay Area, and Wondo for 4 years. But even at the end, where we should’ve seen the extra hustle, Wondo was half a step off that tying goal, instead of his classic dive to finish. Rough start for sure.
Matt: I know that we’re here to talk about the Quakes, but with such a poor showing in the midfield I have to bring up the impact superstar midfielder Carles Gil had on the Revs last year. Without him the Revs struggled to get anything going. When he returned near the end of the season, they almost made it to the MLS Cup Final, losing 0-1 to the eventual champion Crew. The Quakes need their own Carles Gil to control the tempo of the game and figure out how to break the other team down. Maybe that’s Remedi, maybe Lopez or Espinoza, but someone needs to take charge and stitch the midfield together.
Josh: They were counting on Yueill and Remedi, and they didn’t step up. Guess it’s going to take another rep or two to tighten up. I’d like to think that the pros wouldn’t be affected, but maybe after training in beautiful Santa Barbara and only a couple of scrimmages in the San Jose spring, they were “under the weather” of the Houston rain?
Matt: I have to give Remedi credit for hustle, it looked like he was doing more than his share. Having Thompson go down early could have been the main issue with keeping the ball out of the defensive end. If so, we need to see quicker in-game adjustments when things break against them.
Josh: Absolutely. Anyone can just look at the highlight footage from that game and see a lot of white jerseys mixing around the box, but not a lot of strategy.
Matt: Hmmm, something I liked about that game…..Salinas showed some good playmaking, and Wondo almost tied it up near the end.
Josh: Right? There are definitely good elements out on the field. We just need to put them together a little tighter, build on the individual strengths. You have a good point about putting the experience and leadership out on the field earlier.
Matt: I also liked the match ball. This year’s red, white, and blue is classic, and I like the gray detail of club city names and the swirling flags. I’m not a fan of the 2020 ball, which a friend of mine said was a confused mashup of Pokemon and Lego. How about this tag for last year’s ball design: #SomethingElseToBlameOn2020. But from a San Jose fan perspective, that’s all the positives I’ve got.
Josh: Don’t forget about the light in the rainy shadows of Paul Marie arcing it up into the corner! But yeah, if we’re more excited about the design of the match ball then the first appearance on the field, definitely gotta work out some of the challenges.
Matt: Of course, Marie came in and lit it up, giving the Quakes some hope and life. Can’t overstate how much SJ needed that spark in the second half.
Josh: And that’s the spark that usually pushes San Jose up into the tie and stoppage time wins! But alas, couldn’t close the deal in the city that took our team.
Matt: Looking ahead, the Quakes need to show some improvement on ball handling, team play, and moving the ball from the defense end to at least the midfield. I have some more thoughts, but I’ll give SJ a couple more games to improve on what they showed us Friday night. If nothing changes, I think we’ll likely see either a replay of the same game or a 90-minute scrum against Dallas.
Josh: Yep, Saturday afternoon we’ll get the boys back home and against FC Dallas. The preseason pundits guessed SJ and Dallas were going to end up around the same ranking, so it will be a good fortune cookie for the rest of the season. After all, it takes three points to see a line.
Rating on the Quake-o-meter Scale (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)