QUAKES ON BOTH COAST, Vol. 1 No. 12
Original photo source: sjearthquakes Instagram
Matt: Greetings from the East Coast, where the weather is steadily moving toward not horribly hot and humid. Some of the lows for the week are even in the 50s! Don’t worry, if you were here, I’d lend you a winter coat. How are things in Quakesland?
Josh: Emotional highs and lows, but the weather has been steady, cool, and clear like we in the Bay Area joke that we “pay for.” No worries on the jacket - I’m in Silicon Valley - we have plenty of hoodies here.
Matt: Three games in eight days - a lot of ground to cover. Let’s lock it into #Quakes74 words again! In the words of JT Marcinkowski with ten minutes remaining against Austin, “Let’s GO!”
Josh: Game 1 - exciting to get a PK 1-0 within the first 5 mins, but Dallas spent too much time in the SJ half. First game without Shea and Remedi playing and I think they felt it. Wondo missed a classic Wondo moment, Yeuill cleared a ball that probably would’ve been in. Not only did SJ not win this game, twice they actively stopped themselves from winning. A lame yellow sends Nathan back to suspension.
Matt: Yeuill is about to get his goal, but...handball! Alanis nails the PK. JT makes amazing saves, despite the SJ defense becoming a complete mess 30 minutes into the game. Wondo’s header denied in 58, Marcinkowski continues to stand on his head. Dallas rules possession, SJ is able to get more than zero corners, but just like we saw in WCQ, Pepi makes things happen and only lets San Jose take 1 point away.
Josh: RSL? Start high - Chofis, Chofis, Chofis. Down a LOT of key players for this home game and it was noticeable as RSL cut up the midfield and created scoring opportunities. Failed clearance made an own goal. JT was caught out of position - out of character. Almeyda felt the game was decided by the referees, as he held a token press conference to avoid a fine, but still got a fine. Rough one at PayPal.
Matt: Chofis scores killer hat trick with an amazing Olimpico (glad no one got in the way!), but joins the short list of hat trick losers, only the 7th time in MLS history. Team weakened by a Nathan-less defense, absent Salinas, and plethora of yellow cards. Almeyda makes the right move to sub in offense in the 63rd minute, but only 4 corners, and RSL still takes advantage of classic SJ chaos, secures the win.
Josh: Didn’t play the strongest 90 minutes in Austin, but got the ball in when it counted. Chofis & López are running and on fire. Judson’s absence in the back was noticeable. Glad that SJ won, but it wasn’t pretty. Officiating was both challenging and interesting - so many cards. 0 minutes from Wondo? Cowell’s been on ice! 35 minutes (including stoppage) with an extra player and Austin definitely had more confident possession - makes Quakes fans nervous.
Matt: Austin knocks SJ back on their heels, bathing them in green light thrice. It’s 3-1 at halftime, and I start thinking about the offseason. SJ comes out from halftime on a chaotic tear, Espinoza scores again and Chofis scores a brace for 3 unanswered goals to win those three points. Even ATX Fagundez sub can’t bang it in against JT, who stops everything his way. Kikanovic gets his first MLS assist - go Benji, go!
To say the least, this has not been a great week. SJ has NOT been helping themselves get through this rut of suspensions and absences.
Josh: Great visuals of Keeper JT, but it’s definitely been a stressful week to support our Earthquakes. I think the fans are all hoping that a full week of training will allow team members to reset and heal. No one was on warning last week, so we should expect our Coach and all available players to return to the pitch down in LA.
Matt: Yes, a full week of training with no suspensions is a big help. I am eager to have Jebo back, and I hope that day comes soon. Also, IMHO, I think starting Kikanovic against ATX was the right move, and the results will improve with experience. So, the next round is LAFC, Seattle - who just lost to RSL! - then Vancouver. Your predictions?
Josh: We basically need all 9 points this week. Next weekend a lot of the conference is playing right around us in the standings. Being slotted 10th can feel hard, but we’re only 8 points from 3rd - the West doesn’t have a dominant leader like your Revolution in the East. I’m hoping Chofis & López (who have been showing their hustle on the pitch) and Shea & Wondo (our experienced leaders) use this week to get the team focused and fired up for these last two waves of the season.
Matt: The Quakes have won the energy contests for the most part lately, and that’s crucial to overcoming issues getting the ball from the middle third to the attacking third. When SJ is on its heels, the pitch gets mighty long. The Quakes are hosting LAFC: if they can solve visiting forward Arango, the game is winnable. They’re also hosting Seattle, which gives them a possible edge - though the Sounders could use this game as the opportunity to break out of their rave green funk. Vancouver? They’re on a hot streak and challenging other teams who are also on hot streaks --- which is not our boys in blue. My prediction: if SJ beats LAFC, then SJ will finish with 7 points. If they draw or lose to LAFC, SJ will play the role of goonies...and who knows. And just putting this out there: If SJ springs for airfare and a ticket, I’m open to doing the pregame pump up speech!
Josh: A lot of what we’ve put out there on this fun “blogcast” has manifested, so why not!? I like your formulae there, and after these three games, I think we’ll know if we have a shot at a postseason. Fingers & toes are crossed, scarves are high, Vamos SJ!
Rating on the Quake-o-meter Scale for Games 23-25 (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)
Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale: 5.5/10
Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final: 0%. Chofis can’t get us to the Playoffs by himself.
Twitter: @massmatt_matt @joshuaglenn