QOBC Vol. 3 No. 8 - May 26, 2023
Josh: Maybe we picked the wrong series to go three weeks! Not even time for pleasantries. Here are the headlines, I’ll let you pick first:
San Jose stuns LAFC, breaking LA’s unbeaten streak in front of 45K, LA 1 - SJ 2
Luchi and Espinoza recognized for Team of the Week
Cade Cowell and Niko Tsakiris get tapped for the U20 USMNT, start, and deliver
Quakes drop first leg of 2023 Cali Clasíco, Carson 2 - SJ 1
Three new homegrowns signed to Earthquakes & Quakes II, including… another Cowell?
LAFC exacts revenge back at their house, LA 2 - SJ 1
Bouda and Trauco provide consolation goals to the Quakes with their first MLS goals
Key players - upgrades & downgrades
Love Unites warmups debut
That’s it, hahahaha. Now that Ms. Swift has freed up Gillette stadium for your Revs, what thoughts do you have? Do you have a preference on where to start?
Matt: I’m sorry. Matt has had a very busy week and is unavailable to contribute on this excessive number of topics. MattGPT will be writing in his place.
Josh: Okay, MattGPT. I guess I’ll expand a little and we’ll try to have a quick concise chat before the Quakes face their Standings Neighbors, Dallas FC.
First weekend against LAFC: The Quakes provided and faced quick gameplay and forward pressure at “home” in Levi’s Stadium in front of 45K people! This provided the first goal in 8 minutes, and held a league-dominating LAFC scoreless until the end of the first half. Monteiro had a couple good looks, and Espinoza was clearly frustrated that more of his crosses didn’t end up in the net. But continuing late in the game, our friend Ebobisse played forward enough and aggressively enough to get tangled up and draw the PK, so Espinoza could get the final result. And thank you to the MLS for recognizing Coach Luchi & Espinoza in the Team of the Match Day!
MattGPT: San Jose Earthquakes winger Cristian Espinoza, fresh off MLS Player of the Month honors for April 2023, scored twice in a 2-1 victory over previously-unbeaten LAFC to bolster his evolving MVP credentials. That statement result against a Concacaf Champions League finalist, before over 45,000 fans at Levi’s Stadium, earns Luchi Gonzalez top coaching honors. (mlssoccer.com)
Josh: Seeing two Earthquakes in the young USMNT is exciting for the team’s future. Cowell started, got suspended, and scored - the full spectrum of the international experience. Tsakiris got healthy enough to play for both San Jose and travel to play against Fiji, and performed well! Hot off the presses, as @sjearthquakes celebrated on Twitter: Quakes 2, Slovakia 0 - Cade & Niko scored the two goals against Slovakia in the latest round of international play! Rising talent is part of the Quakes future and playing at that level only helps - until you get too visible and MLS sells your contract to the Premier League.
MattGPT: It looks like you are referring to one of Matt’s favorite players, 28 year-old Matt Turner, who became Goalkeeper for English Premier League Arsenal, after a top-tier performance in MLS when the New England Revolution set the season points record and won the Supporter’s Shield. (wikipedia.com)
Josh: That’s right MattGPT - explaining the snark makes it better. Okay, then the Quakes headed to Carson for the first leg of the Cali Clasíco - should’ve been a confident, but fun matchup. Well, this one was less fun for our Quakes. With Cowell on the road and Akapo recovering, Trauco & Benji started - Trauco was great, Benji was not. I just don’t think he plays the left wing like Cade has learned to; he performs better as a two-striker partner. The game got rough and even the closed-captioning thought so, replacing “And the foul by” with “NFL by”. San Jose got Galaxy into yellow trouble, but didn’t press there, or midfield, to leverage the caution. Coach probably could’ve made more changes at halftime to play better and where Galaxy was. Congrats to Bouda on his first MLS goal, as his tap-in broke the shutout.
MattGPT: Please don’t make fun of my friend AutoCaptions.
Josh: But I was saying they were funny! Ahem. The Front Office generated some positive energy by signing some exciting homegrown talent, including another Cowell! I think you know this about me - I LOVE the concept of Homegrown signings. I wish every US sport had a Homegrown function, and I think it helps the community rally around their local team! Oscar Verhoeven will join the first team, while Chance Cowell and Edwyn Mendoza will join Earthquakes II for the next 7 months, joining the Earthquakes Homegrown roster in the new year.
MattGPT: I don’t know any data about you generated after 2020. Homegrown Player(s) in Supplemental Roster slots 21-30 may earn in aggregate each year up to $125,000 above the Reserve Minimum Salary (if occupying slots 25-30) or Senior Minimum Salary (if occupying slots 21-24). (mlssoccer.com)
Josh: That was actually kinda helpful! With the roster currently at 30, looks like the players in the current Homegrown slots should be focused on protecting their roster spot for 2024!
In the second time facing LAFC, the Blue & Black just got outplayed. Understandably, the team looked tired. Benji and Trauco start again, and Trauco gets his first MLS goal, on either an impressive chip or well-placed cross? Coach Luchi put in fresh defensive legs by subbing Beason for Monteiro, Judson for Yeuill, Thompson for Kikanovic, but couldn’t save the point. Questionable in-the-box handball in stoppage time, JT guessed wrong, 1-2 Galaxy. Put that result in Matt’s “Officiating question mark” box. And put “park the bus” on the team’s training agenda this week.
MattGPT: PayPal Park parking lots open 3 hours prior to kickoff for MLS matches and close 1 hour post match. Event parking is only authorized in the onsite parking lots shown below. Event parking is prohibited in surrounding lots. Buses are not permitted to park on site. Buses should use the designated pick-up and drop-off location #7. Maximum vehicle height for each Parking Garage is 7 feet. (sjearthquakes.com)
Josh: Right, less slang, maybe this isn’t working… ever forward. For me, I think we saw two players shine over the last couple weeks: Paul Marie and Miguel Trauco. Marie was everywhere, outrunning strikers to recover to a defensive position, taking some incredible shots; I’m a big fan. Trauco got some opportunities to start, which I believe I’ve argued should be his position and showed he could absolutely start every game - good crosses, good defensive play, hustle in the right place at the right time. It’s nice for San Jose to not only have a good back line, but some solid depth.
MattGPT: Number 3, Paul Marie, 28, native of Saint-Aubin-des-Bois, France; Number 21, Miguel Trauco, 30, born in Tarapoto, Peru. The 81 countries represented in MLS, as determined by birthplace as of April 20, marks the second consecutive year that players from 80 or more countries have appeared on MLS rosters and makes MLS the most globally diverse player pool among top North American men’s professional sports leagues. (sjearthquakes.com, mlssoccer.com)
Josh: Wow - not helpful, but certainly interesting and important. Memorial Day weekend will find the Goonies against Dallas back at PayPal Park, then Seattle and Colorado on the road, all in 8 days. The world is wondering what’s happening with Seattle, and Colorado has proved it can play against anyone. Nine points would be amazing, hard, possible, and I think the team will be happy with five or six.
MattGPT: Goonies never say die!
Josh: That’s right, Matt GPT - you sound very human right now. Anyhow, these three weeks might’ve affected how the home stands feel - I’ll let you know. Or even better, hopefully real Matt will be back for the recap in two weeks. A lot of news and a lot of upcoming soccer - Vamos SJ!
Quake-o-meter for Games 11, 12, 13 (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)
I tried, y'all
Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale: 6.2 /10 - It was a rough three weeks, but still above average - a near-passing grade.
Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final: 40% - hard to expect both teams to be headed there when they’re dropping 2 of 3 matches…
Twitter and Instagram: @QuakesCoasts