QOBC Vol. 2 No. 6 September, 2022
Photo: @sjearthquakes on Instagram
Matt: I wish I could say otherwise, but the Quakes were respectively demolished and handled by hungry-for-points Cincinnati and Colorado while Dallas granted them a draw and took the opportunity to begin resting their top players for the playoffs. I’ve seen Cincinnati a fair amount thanks to my Eastern Conference location, and they are a relentlessly hungry and fierce team. Top Cincy striker Brandon Vasquez gives a lot of credit to new coach (and former Revs forward) Pat Noonan.
Josh: Yeah, it was a rough eight days for Quakes fans. Watching your team get outscored 9-2 over three games is not how you want to wind down the season. A corner headed by Nathan, and a PK were all the Quakes could put together over 270+ minutes of play. Credit to the good moments by the other teams, and >augh!< to the moments the Blue & Black should’ve had.
Matt: Even amidst the devastation, I still think the Quakes have strong pieces in place at forward and in goal. Jeremy Ebobisse moving up to third most goals in a Quakes season is a big deal! The FO has also paid some attention to the Quakes defense, and maybe a couple more tweaks will finally help the Quakes park the bus in crucial moments. And maybe the new coach can “Noonan” the Quakes in 2023. For me the biggest issue is the midfield. Yikes, I’m having flashbacks to February 2021!
Josh: And for those in the Bay for a few years, even more flashbacks. This year, we didn’t have the flash and finish and charisma that Wondo brought to the last 20 minutes of every game, win or lose. I was hoping Shea would take up that mantle, but injuries prevented him - there’s next season and the Clasíco for him to step up! Also agreed on the future angle - strengthening up the middle will help Monteiro shine, tighten up the transition game that we’ve commented on, and also give a supporting cast for the strength up front.
Matt: The postseason will bring about as many changes as the post-2021 season. Under contract for 2023 are Akapo, Kikanovic, Beason, Trauco, Ebobisse, Cade Cowell, Yueill, Nathan, and JT. Contract options are available for 2023 on the senior roster for Bersano, Gregus, Monteiro, and Marie. Espinoza is in the mix as well. Role play: you are the Quakes FO - which three players with options or expiring contracts do you sign for 2023?
Josh: I’m glad I can already count on the loan of Rodrigues, and I’m thankful for that. For me, I’m going to do what I can to keep Monteiro and Espinoza - playmaker and assists leader - and for my third, I’d make sure to keep Tommy Thompson, but I’d move him up to midfield behind Espinoza. The reinforcements for the back line are in place, so I want to keep what works up front.
Matt: I hear you loud and clear on Monteiro, though my short list is Espinoza, Bersano, and Gregus. Can’t doubt what Espinoza and Gregus bring to the team, and Bersano, fellow Nittany Lion, has stepped up between the sticks this season. I’m keeping him.
Josh: WE ARE! BERSANO FANS! He really shined when JT was out and during the Open Cup. As much as I’d like to see him stay in the 408, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some offers from a team that has, for example, a starting GK who does regular rotations out to their National team. Hopefully next year will be an easier year for the San Jose keepers.
Matt: So the Clasíco is coming up against a Galaxy team that needs the win, but is beatable. Facing off against a team that is continuing to try different combinations of players - perhaps auditioning for 2023? - and some who may be playing more for contracts than for The Goonies. A recipe for mayhem, but probably the kind of mayhem that is worth watching.
Josh: That’s what San Jose banks on - Earthquakes are nothing if not scrappy. Stanford will provide a historic and large venue for a fun game. And playing the upset to a visiting team from Carson would be a satisfying rush to what has already been a roller coaster of a season. And we’re planning on it being a big enough event that we’ll be back next week with a recap!
Matt: There are literally ZERO other MLS matches that weekend, so I’ll be curious what the numbers are for total attendance and couch coaches/surfers. San Jose, as home team, will be in their best blues and ready to provide the pre-post game fireworks fireworks. That kind of energy will be crucial in moving the ball quickly up the field to take it to the visitors, rather than the other way around.
Josh: Quick shoutout to your Kraken Cowell getting recognized on the national stage as #11 U22 player in MLS! What else to say, but: Vamos SJ!
Quake-o-meter for Games 29, 30, & 31 (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)
Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale: 5.1/10
Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final: 0% <sad trombone> but Josh is optimistically dusting off his Revs gear.