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Earthquakes Head Into the All-Star Break With a Rumble!

QOBC Vol. 3 No. 11 - July 19, 2023

source: sjearthquakes.com


Josh: So Matt, we got to 5 points, but it took 3 matches. Now we’ve arrived at the MLS All-Star Break and San Jose has ended up 6th in the West. A couple disappointing intra-Cali results, but then a confident and exciting victory at home against Seattle. I’ll be honest, because of Summer Family time & travel, I probably only caught like 60 total minutes of live play, but thanks to @SJEarthquakes YouTube and MLS Season Pass, I was able to keep up with our Earthquakes.


Matt: Going 1-0-2 wasn’t what I was hoping for, but Galaxy has decided they really want to have a season and the Quakes held the score at 1-1 with LAFC despite the unlucky red card against Daniel. At least the Quakes played up to their potential to beat Seattle. Those games were either home or fairly close to San Jose, but that lower travel activity didn’t translate into points for the Quakes.


Josh: Starting up in the hot July 4th weekend in Stanford Stadium. Quakes fall behind on a head nudge, Jack Skahan equalizes for his first MLS goal, a disappointing quick reply from Carson, and Espinoza with a late equalizer. Unfortunately, no stoppage time dramatics for this round of the Cali Clasico. I know we and many others predicted San Jose to dominate this match. But a point is a point!


Matt: Overall San Jose played more of their game than their opponents did, leading in Shots and Corners, but Galaxy led on Shots On Target, which is never something you want to see. Also deserving of credit: the heads up play by Akapo to recoup that ball after Espinoza’s meg went to a Galaxy player - turning a turnover into a goal-scoring play. The biggest disappointment was watching Galaxy basically jog the ball into shooting range, leading to the second goal by Judd in the 47’. I do think the Quakes got lucky that Mensah didn’t give Galaxy a PK near the end.


Josh: Agreed! A few times this season, Mensah has given away PKs and has continued to risk it more than I’d prefer he does. This time VAR goes in the Good Guys’ favor and the penalty is waived. There was a lot to celebrate from our Boys in Blue, but the midfield transition was not as strong as it needed to be against an LAG who are finding their updated playbook.


Matt: Totally fair call on the midfield (paging QOBC 2021, please!). While we’ve seen the firepower and defensive side make important strides over the last few seasons, the Quakes are still on their way to being a complete team.


Josh: Then heading down to BMO Stadium to also split points with LAFC. All the goals were in the first half, but the excitement was definitely in the second! Skahan showed he was the right person to start with an amazing assist to Captain Espinoza, who finesses a great 30th-minute goal. Then LAFC star Denis Bouanga draws a cheap foul against Rodrigues and puts away a PK to tie it up before halftime. After halftime, Daniel makes a bad judgment, Josh learns that a handball counts as a foul preventing an obvious goal, and Daniel heads to the lockers on a Red Card. Thankfully, the 10-player Quakes included JT Marcinkowski who held down the woodwork, and the rest of the team finished clean and strong.


Matt: I’ll disagree on the Rodrigues foul - it was legit, if accidental. And FWIW, I will also say that if Rodrigues committed a foul in the box in the 35’, then so did Moldonado in the box against Ebobisse in the 78’. As to the red card, LAFC got the jump on the defense to put Daniel in that bad situation. I agree he should have made the play closer to the net and given Rodrigues 0.2 seconds more to get into the play. There was so much momentum on the ball that Bogusz just as likely could have gone wide or skied it. (Really good hindsight on my part, I’ll admit!) The one Quakes goal was impressive: a great through ball from Skahan to the feet of Espinoza, who was downright clinical against LAFC defender Fall. All in all a strong showing against LAFC, who were up a man for most of the second half and led in Shots, yet couldn’t put it away against the visiting Quakes.


Josh: So 2023 #SJvLA ends 1-1-1. Thank goodness we SJ74 Fans got to enjoy the Seattle game before the break. Cristian Espinoza and Miguel “Josh said he was a player to watch” Trauco put the ball in the back of the net. If any of our readers missed it, that Trauco goal is PRETTY. Espinoza took the all-time Assist record from Shea Salinas and rejoined the Golden Boot leaderboard! Exciting way to head into the All Star and Leagues Cup break.


Matt: The July 12th Seattle game was definitely balm for the fans’ souls –their first win since June 10th! The Quakes really flipped the script on the Sounders: while Seattle led in possession 62%-38%, the Quakes led in Shots 15-9, Shots on Target 3-2, and Corners 5-3. Seattle knew they didn’t want to chase the lead, which led to the Quakes PK in the 19’ from Captain and All-Star Espinoza. And yes, that 64’ Trauco volley was AMAZING, earning an MLS Topps NOW card with that scorching one-touch from outside the box. Seattle immediately brought in fresh legs after that goal but were unable to take away JT’s clean sheet.


Josh: With NorCal spirits high, Espinoza heads to DC for an exciting first All-Star Game week! I wish I could’ve watched your guy Gil and Espinoza go into the Skills Challenge, but hopefully we’ll get a good run out on the pitch against Matt Turner’s Arsenal.


Matt: Matt Turner is unfortunately (for me and other Revs and USMNT fans) not starting, he’s resting from the Gold Cup play and spending time with his young family. He deserves the down time, I just love to watch him play! Espinoza (with Carles Gil) was part of a record-setting performance in the Cross and Volley Challenge by Denis Bouanga, and I don’t think there’s a better duo to set up one of the best scorers in MLS! I can’t wait to watch him show his stuff Wednesday night.


Josh: I don’t know about you, but I know so little about Liga MX. I have no idea how the Leagues Cup will go for the Blue & Black. Portland is a hard draw, and then they face Tigres for the international prelims. Thankfully, we’ll have Cade Cowell and Jackson Yeuill back from USMNT support, so all the tools will be in place for a good run. I’d love to see our guys play into August!


Matt: It will be interesting, following on the heels of the MLS All-Star Game. Will teams go for it, or focus on recovery time and fine tuning for their teams? One motivation: the top three finishers will qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League. Another motivational factor would be prize money, but information on the financial benefits to winning is not easily found. Miami and their opponents will obviously be salivating at the thought of all of those potential ticket sales.


Josh: Nicely done! We might have the only MLS column publishing right now that doesn’t mention Messi… oh shoot.


Matt: Um, that one's on you!


Josh: Otherwise, MLS play restarts August 20 against a strong Vancouver team, but the second half of the season has our squad fighting for home-field advantage in the playoffs. Whatever is coming, you already know: Vamos SJ!


Quake-o-meter for Games 21, 22, 23 (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)


Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale: 7.2/10 -


Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final: 67% - We’ve got the table right where we want it.


Twitter and Instagram: @QuakesCoasts




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