top of page

San Jose Quakes MatchDay 1-3 Recap - Don't Let The Early Days Get You Down!

QOBC Vol 4, No 2, March 12, 2024

Pic: collage of images

Josh: You know I’m a positive guy and I love my Earthquakes, but I think this one is going to come off a little critical. Three games into the season, Earthquakes are 0-3, have scored 2 goals, given up 7, and I’m worried we’re getting the clarity you were seeking.

Matt: Sitting in last place with a goal differential of -5 is not a great place to be. Sadly, the record, standings, and goal differential are almost identical to the New England Revolution, but really, it’s still early. What if I told you there are still 31 games to play, and their next three opponents, SKC, Seattle, and Houston, are also winless? And if the Quakes brought in a little help on the offensive end, that this ship could turn around right quick?

Josh: That does help a little, although we’ll talk about where we think the ship needs righting as we chat today. Starting with quick match recaps - one sentence or so, then a 2-up, 2-down, bit of Kit Talk, and we’ll look forward to the next couple of matches. Sound good?

Matt:  Sounds good - you first, local fan!

Josh: Maybe I’m the bad luck - I haven’t made it to PayPal Park yet because reasons; I’ll have to fix that soon. Our Earthquakes start off the season in Dallas in an exciting fashion - Benji taps in a rebound in minute 6, and then the tears flow in stoppage time as the whistle blows 1-2. Hashtag Not Goonies.

Matt: I was overall happy with how the Quakes played in the first game. There was some pace, some ball movement, and optimism. Dallas was a good opener for them, partly because they also weren’t playing with tight, fast pace. But as we’ve seen before, the Quakes couldn’t keep their own net closed. I wish we saw more of that movement and pace against LAG in their home opener Clasíco, but the ghosts of Galaxy seemed to do their worst. 

Josh: Yep - Cali Clasíco starts at home this year, with the 99th matchup against LAG, where PayPal Park gets silenced 1-3, but new-to-SJ-and-former-Carson Preston Judd gets the consolation goal and says “San Jose, I’m here for you.”

Matt: Galaxy’s strategy of waiting for mistakes paid off, and Vancouver took notice. While in general the Vancouver game was a little lower energy than I expected, I realized the Whitecaps tried Galaxy’s strategy and walked away with three points. What’s the saying, if your opponent is making a mistake, don’t get in the way?

Josh: The first half of our first match against a fellow 50th celebrant had us hopeful with great passing technique, but you’re right, the defense crumbled, including Daniel, and 0-2 is the result. Okay, we went through that very quickly - any trends, larger comments, specific things you’d like to expand on?

Matt: My current theory, which I may disavow next week, is that the Quakes are still in transition. Almeda recruited players who had more “heart” than technique, partly his style, partly limited budget. The Quakes have been trying to bring in more technically skilled players for about a year and a half, and that shift won’t be completed this season. Chance has been part of this, too, of course. For example, Nathan has good soccer skills and brain, but kept getting injured. Monteiro, obviously highly skilled with his feet, but couldn’t create momentum for the Quakes, and hometown hero Cade Cowell had the drive and ability to move the ball, but not the skill to finish by himself. My guess is that he will return to San Jose at some point and blow everyone away. You have to leave home to better see the change you need in order to grow, and it sounds like he’s settling in well at Chivas. But that won’t help the Quakes in 2024.

Josh: For me, it’s lack of playmaker and lack of communication. Remember when Nathan, and then Johnathan Mensah, joined the squad? The conversation was all about communication from a strong Center Back to Midfield Captain (*rolls eyes*) to the strikers & Cristian Espinoza. Well, there is no obvious leadership in CB, Jackson Yueill is playing well, but not leading the attack strategically, and every defense knows that Espinoza is where the ball is going. Hopefully Coach Luchi still likes Michael Baldisimo, whom we’ve seen take over Center Midfield and play in a “Number 10” capacity - looking at the whole field and opening up the opponents’ defenses. Maybe Wilson is showing his stripes and he and Rodriguez can figure out how to lead the back line?

Feel free to call back for brevity, but let’s do a quick Two-Up, Two-Down. To end on a positive note, what two Earthquakes players, etc., have their stock going down right now?

Matt: Two Down. Right now from the couch, my two down are Gruezo and whatever is happening at left back.

Josh: My two down are Coach Luchi and Gruezo. Gruezo is celebrated for playing like a defensive midfielder, which the Earthquakes desperately need, but… they still desperately need it. The recovery of a defensive effort in midfield is such a huge hole for the Blue & Black. And Coach… what’s going on out there? Maybe he and GM Leitch are out of sync. Luchi Gonzalez earned so much cred developing talent with Academies, and lately the Front Office has been signing Vets who need someone to coach chemistry and leverage the strengths of players who already have an identity. Positivity time - what two Earthquakes players, etc., have their stock doing up right now?

Matt: Two Up. Hmmm….I’m going to go with Pellegrino and Rodrigues. Pellegrino’s banging on the door to goals, and Rodrigues, he seems to have the reins to start the play out of the back, but he’s also very present and active on the defense. He must drink a lot of Gatorade. Or Powerade. Or Prime. Or Propel. Or Body Armor. Or…

Josh: The Earthquakes are a Body Armor team, so you got there eventually - Shea Salinas and I recommend the Cherry Lime. I’m going to celebrate Jack Skahan and Paul Marie. Skahan was on the Starting XI of the season opener, and I was thinking… okay… and then I saw him run. He might be another good candidate for an offensive leader: strong passes, good movement downfield, and he might’ve stolen some of Cade Cowell’s speed as he left town. Paul Marie has demonstrated he will go to ground, push up the wings to support Espinoza, and seems to be ready to play 90 real minutes. 

Matt: I’ve been waiting the whole time, can we do Kit Talk now?

Josh: Of course. You know you have to start with The 50th Kit. Other than it seems like Red/White are bad luck for our Quakes, what do you think?

Matt: With the long history of change and transition in the Quakes’s history, I think it’s practically a given that an Anniversary Kit is odds on going to thrill some and disappoint most. My first take was one of, well, let’s call it deep surprise, as I took it in and envisioned the team on the pitch in again a largely white kit. But then I realized - this one for the fans. Recipe as follows: begin with a cultured starter of Adidas stripes and a good chunk of sponsor logo, add 3 Cups of 1970’s town youth sports, ½ Cup of 80’s whimsy, 1 ½ Cups of 90’s stylin’, 2 Tablespoons of 2000’s ringer tee and sleeves, 1 teaspoon of Napoleon Dynamite, more to taste. This one’s for the 408, for the real Goonies who Never Say Die, and everyone else who wants to come on board and support the local club in the largest city in Northern California.

Josh: OMG you should’ve written the copy for the promotion - I love it. The Creator Kit was a good and simple design and this all-white approach is a twist on it. One thing I noticed is that at some of the public events, you can see Shea or the team in the jersey with jeans - and it looks great. I think there might be something there on the design team to have made a jersey for the fans to wear with jeans. So maybe it’s designed for the fans, but it’s also designed to be worn by the fans. Is that the best choice, when the replica jersey’s start at $100, so it’s obviously not for all the fans? Where’s the Shirsey version?

Matt: There’s definitely some sticker shock going on with the MLS jersey price increase, and fans will send the message with their wallets, or lack thereof. Those who are willing to wait will likely have the opportunity for discounts, but I don’t know about a shirsey…without the red sides and shoulder stripes, it wouldn’t have the same wow effect.

Josh: This coming weekend, the Quakes head to Kansas City to face another team eager for their first win. SKC was the thorn in San Jose’s playoff efforts last year, but they’ve had some shakeups that might allow SJ to grab a point or three. Then Seattle, for another 50th matchup at home, where the Sounders are the only team with fewer goals than San Jose - can the Goonies get a notch in the 2024 Heritage Cup?

Matt: I think there’s potential at SKC, but the Quakes have to maintain lively ball movement along with their pressure. Any time I see someone not at a full run who is making more than three touches on the ball, I cringe because I know a defender is about to get in his business. Keep the pace, keep the ball moving, and the Quakes could leave SKC and Seattle with a total of as many as four points. If they only get one point in the standings out of the next two matches, San Jose may miss a chance to capitalize on the opportunity to build the fanbase in this 50th year.

Josh: I’m back on my optimist game and I’m saying our next episode celebrates a San Jose side with 4 points in the standings, which right now is the playoff line. Stay tuned Quakes fans and Vamos SJ!

Quake-o-meter for Matches 1-3 (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)

























Team Composure




Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale:  5.4 /10 - Let’s work toward that passing grade, Quakes!

Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final: 33% - just as effective as any other “likelihood” stat we’ve seen this season…

Twitter/X and Instagram: @QuakesCoasts

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page