Source: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Matt: Well, the SKC game was disappointing. They are always dangerous, but for SJ I think it was a game of missed coverages and chances. Yay for Chofis on his strike early on, but after that the team didn’t defend their marks quite enough. In a presser, Almeyda said he thought they played one of their worst matches: they scored early with a set piece that they trained for, but then began to make mistakes (e.g., failed passes, inside vs outside defensive position) that gave SKC confidence and the opportunity to strike. And they did. Thrice.
Josh: Yep, there were some good pressure moments, but ultimately, once SKC got past midfield, no one was there. All three goals, the defense were shifted way too far over, and there was only Thompson or Jungwirth left to support… and the keeper anticipating wrong by a foot is all it takes. And on the other end, SKC’s goalie had a strong game.
Matt: That’s an important observation about the defense. Jungwirth was central to stopping Sporting’s offense in the last third of the field, but I’d like to see a second defensive back helping...if they can’t clone him. Other than that, it was a very close competition, and the stats bear that out. SKC just had sharper technical moments and impressive offensive finishes.
Josh: On Social, I saw a lot of frustration with Andy Rios, maybe due to his lying on the ground after the failed header. Maybe because his only real contribution was an almost header. He should’ve been taking lessons from SKC, who was doing a better demonstration on how to dive the whole game!
Matt: I see what you mean - I’ve seen Rooney dive more against the Revs, but not by much. Rios (and the whole team) wanted that one to go in. There are players who struggle with that their whole careers, and sometimes find they’ve done something that ends up letting the other team score, or getting themselves suspended for a couple of games. I can’t imagine Rios’s frustration, but with experience I am sure he will find it easier to keep looking for the next shot.
Josh: Like we’ve talked about, against SKC, we had individuals who weren’t able to get support from a teammate in the important moments. And we hoped that we would see a different team approach during the Classico - our most “important” games of the year? Our Army/Navy, Harvard/Yale, Yankees/Red Sox…
Matt: Is the first game the Classico, or is the Classico each time they play during the season, like the subway series in New York?
Josh: The second thing - the Quakes promo right now is that the next “episode” of the Classico will be full capacity at PayPal Park on the 26th.
Matt: First things first: the parley jerseys are quite zingy. I like them better than the solid color ones from two years ago. Whoever made that style choice, two thumbs up!
Josh: Agreed! Since both our teams were away on Saturday, it meant we both got to root for the white & teal, aka PrimeBlue, all day. Shout out to Adidas for the use of ocean plastics fibers!
Matt: It’s hard for me to identify important details of the Classico - the whole thing was a story of what can go wrong will go wrong, including the other team keeping Saran wrap over the goal. The Quakes and LAG were just about comparable in all the major stats: 50/50 possession, LAG’s 21 shots to SJ’s 18. In SJ’s favor, they had more shots on target, more chances created, fewer fouls, fewer yellow cards. So it really WAS a close game. LAG just managed to get the ball over the line one more time than the Quakes. And that’s all it takes. And that’s all it took for the Revs to beat Cincinatti, who were desperate to get a win on their new pitch.
Josh: It's hard to feel like the team didn’t put in the right effort, when the other team’s keeper gets credit for 12 saves. And of course, the one that went over on the SJ side was deflected off an SJ foot. But the stats can’t tell the story of how hard each side played, or how quickly they moved the ball.
Matt: I may be going out on a limb here, but from my limited vantage point on my couch I’d like to see more positive body language from JT. I’m not saying he shouldn’t feel frustrated, but in the last few games he has been so, well….intense. When something goes wrong, players tend to let the frustration wash over them for a moment, then clap it out and begin the process of the next drive to the goal, the next defensive stop, or whatever. Could this kind of frustration not just be in a few isolated areas of the offense, like you were saying about Rios? Maybe at this point the team has to be okay with a moral victory while still trying for one or three points.
Josh: Agreed - especially after how well the defense played against a strong LA team. If the defense had played like this, they wouldn’t be in a 4-game slide. Marcinkowski played well, but not better than his defenders. In general, I can imagine the team, the coaches, the office, are all feeling frustrated about dropping four in a row - but it’s been against some great teams. Find moments, like Captain Tommy’s header save when JT was chasing the rebound, playing without Yeuill, some starters playing out of their normal spots - to celebrate the hustle that brings the Goonies spirit to the field. We saw the beginning of Coach Almeyda finally making some adjustments to his system, which hasn't really changed since the three-win streak.
Matt: Yes, maybe we did, and forced change can bring unforeseen benefits. IMHO, it’s good to see the coach being philosophical about the process in press conferences. You want a coach who isn’t going to get easily distracted or move things around reactively. I think he’s right to point out this is a young team and this will take time. I can’t pinpoint all of the precise moments from the match against Seattle that made me think this, but here goes: about 10 minutes into the SJ vs Seattle match I suddenly saw Seattle as what the Quakes could look like in 2 or 3 years if they’re able to keep the young core together and keep developing.
Josh: That’s very exciting! They do have a young team - not all the fans (on Social) think that Cowell has enough experience to be up front alone, which could be true, but he was running harder than most. Same with Benji and Haji, who came out again and were shooting and fighting for possession!
Matt: Yes. Cowell is only 17, and the Quakes need to adjust. Now that #44 is known as a force on the pitch, SJ needs to make opponents pay if they focus too much on him. If they do that successfully the pitch opens back up for Cade to the Quakes’s benefit. I’m glad you mentioned Haji, his story is compelling: a Somali refugee who grew up in New Hampshire and attracted the attention of the Revs academy. Tons of potential there, and the Quakes are lucky to have him.
Josh: Love that! During the break, we wish Jackson Yeuill well in USMNT/CONCACAF play! And I hope our first game back at the opening of the Austin Q2 helps quiet some friends in Austin.
Matt: You’ll be happy to know that even though former Revs homegrown star Diego Fagundez is now a star on Austin FC, I’m willing to root for San Jose.
Josh: I am happy to know that! Maybe there is a future to a Silicon Valley/Texas Tech Hub rivalry brewing - I know there already is among the fans. Vamos USMNT and Vamos SJ!!
Rating on the Quake-o-meter Scale for Games 7 & 8 (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)
Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale: 6.25/10
Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final: 5%, but it’s still early!
Twitter: @massmatt_matt @joshuaglenn