QOBC Vol. 2 No. 11 July 7, 2022
Matt: The past few weeks have been marked by days of calm and days of intensity. No shortage of topics, nevertheless: a postponed Clasico, farewell to Chofis and Calvo. The Quakes are officially not Western Conference bottom dwellers this week, and…wait for it…are 4-0-1 at home under new coach Calvelo.
Josh: Off the bottom of the Western Conference, Points-per-Game above 1, everything’s coming up Earthquakes!
Matt: I’m going to play the optimist here. 3 points against a struggling Chicago team…I’ll take it. The Chofis Question – is he here or not? – is finally resolved, and the Quakes have entered the conversation with other teams who have assets to move and are taking this chance to keep moving forward.
Josh: Um, maybe I’m an optimist hipster? Because I was definitely optimistic before it was cool. I’m definitely glad San Jose got to host Chofis - he made a difference for the team and made many big impacts last season. He will be missed, and the closure feels good. It’s a good time for the new GM and interim Coach to show why they were the right choices. I’m not as excited about the other player movement news.
Matt: That’s fair. Calvo is headed off to Konyaspor, where he’ll have the challenge of stopping Diego Rossi (formerly on LAFC, now on Fenerbahçe) on August 28. And SJ will walk away about $198,500 richer. While I’ll miss him, it’s a good look for the team. The Quakes have put forth Exhibit A that they are willing and able to move players from MLS to international teams. Maybe they can even start building a reputation as a place where players can get the opportunity to play internationally after some time on the team.
Josh: While the business side of MLS and certainly international soccer is lost on me, I do understand helping the club earn a reputation for fostering talent. I’m invested in MLS becoming its own elite league of soccer, and I think having the Quakes become part of the international network is part of that journey.
Matt: Taking a look at the updated salary cap roster info, IMHO the bulk of the top paid players on the Quakes this season looks more consistently strong up and down the list than last year. I’d like to see that trend continue. And, they got three from Chicago. What a game - give us the breakdown, Josh!
Josh: The game against Chicago was a performance where the pieces we saw and commented on from the last few challenging outings all came together. San Jose demonstrated better, cleaner passing, appropriate runs and through passes, smart defense, and top notch goalkeeping.
Matt: Yes. All the things. There was much better teamwork thanks to a more consistent lineup, and team effort protecting their grass. I don’t think I saw any players crisscross the box during defensive plays, which happened a fair amount at the beginning of the season. Their Goonies energy also outpaced Chicago, some of the Fire seemingly slower and more isolated on the pitch.
Josh: Perhaps it’s because we saw the lineup lock in, maybe my favorite configuration, with Gregus starting in the middle and Monteiro as a forward partner. The backline seems set and Ebobisse is probably the right person up at striker, so small tweaks in between to see how they can fine tune and create the right results that we got to see last weekend.
Matt: The Quakes offense created a lot of chances on Saturday. With great feeds from Gregus and Espinoza - and Ebobisse and Kikanovic sending the ball toward the net more than twice - the Chicago back line had their hands full. When that FIFA-like first goal put SJ one up, the Fire probably started to replay their “not this again” hit reels in their heads. Benji was practically channeling Wondo on his brace and almost third goals, watching when to run in and follow the attack or follow up on the goal while staying onside. And the team managed to (BARELY) avoid giving the game away at the end, so…that’s always good.
Josh: Sadly Espinoza was offside and Benji made sure the post was strongly in the ground for another SJ near miss, but thankfully two goals was all they needed to celebrate at PayPal Park. And the performance was enough to get JT and Benji on the MLS team of the week!
Matt: So now we’re looking at a stretch of three games: tomorrow vs Toronto, then a midweek game at Galaxy, then back home to host Houston four days later. If the Boys in Blue can play like they did against Chicago, I think they could potentially get 5-7 points. I project playing at Galaxy to be their biggest challenge.
Josh: I’ll be even more of an optimist and go with 7 points, planning for a draw down in Carson and two Ws to make it back to the playoff bubble. But be careful Quakes, stay hydrated and healthy for the three in ten that follows! Time for some Kit Talk?
Matt: The Americana jerseys were huge hits in New England. The starsascheckerboard pattern game was strong, and the gold logo and sponsor look sealed the deal. The Revolution also put on a pretty sweet fireworks display after the July 3rd game.
Josh: Glad you were able to enjoy it! Looking back at the 2021 Americana tops, it reminded me of emoji bacon, so seeing the stars on navy blue is a winner. Does it just seem that this year MLS did a whole lot of pregame cover ups and not as many jersey variations?
Matt: There were some strong new kits this season, overall stronger than the 2020 3-stripe template patterns. Some of my favorites are the Portland Rose City, Seattle’s new home jersey, and the new LAFC home jersey. Close seconds may be Colorado, New England, and Montreal’s away ice marble. After this short list, I don’t have any others to mention. But kudos to the Unity, Pride, and Americana jerseys for sure. By the way, how does Seattle ALWAYS have amazing jerseys? Can we move their designer to the Revolution account?
Josh: Maybe getting a fashion brand as a jersey sponsor paid off and shuts down the skeptics. Three games in eight days is going to be a different challenge, but there’s a lot of business to deal with and a lot of benefit to going hard. With the next few on the road, my neighbors will be able to tell how each game is going. Hopefully they’ll be complaining about me being too festive! VAMOS SJ!!
Rating on the Quake-o-meter Scale for Game 18 (Game 17 rescheduled for 9/24)
(Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)
Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale: 6.8/10
Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final:35% - Keepin’ it there from last week, let’s not get ahead of ourselves!