QUAKES ON BOTH COAST, Vol. 1 No. 13
source: @sjearthquakes Twitter
Matt: So….when fall arrived, I thought it was about the weather, not about the Quakes. Yikes.
Josh: Fall is all about Pumpkins and the dropping temperatures. In our case, it was the dropping goal totals. Yikes is about how I’m feeling too.
Matt: Well, let’s get at it. You started last time, so I’ll kick it off with #Quakes74 words.
LAFC - Kikanovic started and it paid off! Atuesta and Vela-less weakened LAFC faced SJ’s intensity and strong starts to each half, goals at the 3’ and 47’ won the game. LAFC fears the cross, kept Quakes corners to ZERO, but SJ wanted it more. First scoreless LAFC since August 15 against Atlanta. Chofis scored his sixth in three matches. SJ led clearances 29-3, pointing to an LAFC inability to finish. Can SJ keep this going?
Josh: Started each half with exciting pressure and goals. Some smart play - spread out the LAFC defense and apply the right pressure. The goal posts were LAFC’s worst enemy - just a few inches off a tie or worse. Rained yellow cards in the Battle for California. Benji did well, but few times got left alone in the 18 box - where was the rest of the front line? 3 points to start the week is great!
Matt: Seattle: Benji’s early breakout reminiscent of last game, but no. BK repeatedly tried to run on the left, but Sounder Gómez had his number. Seattle played at 60 mph, San Jose couldn’t and was doomed. SJ made key defensive interceptions, but eventually Seattle broke through. JT, emboldened by his great grab from Ruidiaz in first half, gave Seattle PK goal #2. Worthwhile crosses to Wondo in 71’ and BK in 94’, but no net. Ugh.
Josh: Remember that thing I wrote about spread the D and apply the pressure? Seattle returned the favor. Always tough to beat a PK. Needed Seattle’s help to get the ball past their Keeper. Unusually, it was really obvious that #1 was playing #10. Missed having Espinoza. It feels like Chofis is trying to earn assists instead of driving SJ with goals and hopefully into the playoffs? Another year without the Heritage Cup.
Matt: A hat trick from Whitecap White, and SJ loses 3-0? Well, it was good to have Espinoza back, he never gave up. First Whitecap goal resulted from solid teamwork, lead man perfectly positioned. Second shot a great cross and header. No one on White on the last header...did they think he was done? Despite the score, Marcinkowski played well. SJ continued their disjointed play from the previous game, and Vancouver said thank you.
Josh: More engaging and interesting game… for the first half. In two weeks SJ has had hat trick for and hat trick against - and lost both! Defense was flat-footed against headers from the same player. Maybe Judson and Nathan were playing “gentle” to avoid yellow card suspension? Glad to see Almeyda put the heavy-offense squad in earlier, but they couldn’t turn the energy. And Coach seemed out of steam in the postgame presser.
Matt: Well, quick ball motion seems to be the key to breaking the SJ defense. You can only lunge so many times until your entire D is off the mark and unable to get back into the play. And unfortunately for our heroes, I think the secret’s out. At the same time, there has been some great play going on by players whose names wouldn’t surprise anyone. My question: What will change for 2022?
Josh: Well the playoffs aren’t locked yet (except for your Revolution).
Matt: You mean, the xyz - Revolution?
Josh: I mean, it’s not locked until it’s locked, but it sure looks like that - and a *hat tip* to my niece’s and nephew’s favorite team! SJ faces three familiar opponents over the next three (after international play) - two of which SJ needs to climb over to get back in that bubble. It’s not gonna be easy, and will probably require something remarkable against the top tier teams to finish the season - but “you’re saying there’s a chance!”
Matt: Sure! To start, with the international break, any team could suddenly step it up or fall apart. The top four teams in the standings (SKC, Seattle, Colorado, Portland) will in all likelihood stay there and the Quakes, RSL, Vancouver, LAFC, LAG, and MNUFC are within 6 points and wrangling for 3 spots. Vancouver has the toughest remaining schedule, including two games against an opponent in rave green. With the Quakes’ remaining opponents being LAFC, Austin, Vancouver, Portland, RSL, and Dallas, they have the most games against an opponent in that mix. This plays to their advantage if they can piece together a run. That actually….wait for it...
Matt: ...gives them a chance. A bit of a chance. Their destiny is obviously not in their control, but with a solid run and some luck, Wondo could play in at least one more playoff game before he retires. By the way, are you considering seeing Wondo off on November 7 against Dallas?
Josh: Loving your “Beautiful Mind” chess there. Definitely considering going to one of these last three home games - that would be a great choice - and hopefully it’s waving Wondo into his last postseason! The team is nicknamed the Goonies for a reason. Every minute between the whistles counts! VAMOS SJ!
Rating on the Quake-o-meter Scale for Games 26-28 (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)
Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale: 5/10
Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final: 0%. (Matt was thinking a negative percentage, but Josh said no.)
Twitter: @massmatt_matt @joshuaglenn