April 12, 2022 Vol. 2 No. 6
source: @sjearthquakes IG
Matt: Another rough pair of games: a 2-2 draw with Austin and a 4-3 loss to Houston. Some positives - the two previous games, there was a combined total of 1 shot on goal. Against Austin and Houston, there were a combined total of 10 shots on goal. That's an improvement, right?
Josh: I mean, yes, 10 is more than 1. And more goals were scored in the last two games than the previous four. These improvements are absolutely worth celebrating. However, I think everyone who cares about San Jose wants them to be off the absolute bottom of MLS after the first six games.
Matt: Agreed! And while they led possession in their last four games (69%, 62%, 64%, 67%), that plus $4.45 will get you a grande latte at Starbucks and not much else. Let’s see how the Quakes themselves feel about it. You’re a fan of Tommy Thompson, right?
Josh: What’s not to like? Homegrown Tommy Thompson who studied Spanish to better communicate with Coach Almeyda and his Spanish-speaking team mates. Seems like a caring and smart guy. And he hustles!
Matt: And scored a goal against Houston! When asked what the team was capable of, he replied “It’s a good question. It’s a difficult moment for us. I’m not going to lie to you, there’s a lot for us to think about right now.…There’s plenty of soccer to be played, so it’s way too early to give up and it’s way too early to feel sad or sorry for ourselves. We have to start getting angry and we have to start motivating ourselves even more to fix this because it takes courage to flip the situation like we’re in right now.”
Josh: Love that. Tommy is recognizing the situation that the team is in, and is focused on what needs to happen to turn things around. That candor is so valuable to fans who are feeling stuck and wondering if the team cares about getting back on track. I bet other teammates heard that straightforward speech and are glad to hear that a leader of their team wants to lift everyone up.
Matt: And the take on the offense from Ebobisse – MLS Player of the Week for his brace against Houston: “There’s been a concerted effort over the last three weeks or so. We started encountering these difficulties in games to diversify the manner of service into the box for our front three and establish spacing so that we can be in more dominant positions relative to defenders. Today, what we noticed with Houston’s back line was that the positions they took made it possible for certain spaces to pop up….thankfully today, I think there was a conviction from everyone on those plays to finish off and set ourselves up into a decent position.”
Josh: If we want to celebrate any quarter of the field over the last two games, we can absolutely celebrate the offensive 18. It feels good to have seen the team getting the ball up toward the goal. Watching players like Bouda and Montiero shake the defense and open up opportunities for their teammates was fun!
Matt: It’s good to see Bouda getting minutes, and I hope Monteiro is finding his rhythm up front. Here’s my deep thought on their increased offensive effort: if you don’t propel the ball toward the goal, it’s going to be difficult to score and win. The Houston telecast commentators compared both Houston and San Jose’s ball movement to pinball. While I like pinball, on the pitch it makes for a slow offense that can be easily disrupted.
Josh: Maybe you’re the Madden after all. As far as looking like Aussie rules football, it seemed to be a response to how Houston liked to clear the ball. The hardest hustle I saw in response was Calvo stepping up and sending it right back in with a strong header. However, the team that earned the only two points this season did not spend the last minute of stoppage time passing the ball around in the backfield, like the squad against Houston. I know many people love to comment on Jackson Yeuill’s pass direction when he’s in midfield, but his productivity in the back line has proved to be an even bigger disappointment. Pass the armband to JT.
Matt: Now, I don’t consider myself to have a genius soccer mind (feel free to contradict me), but I think it’s safe to say that until Nathan and Judson are both in the Starting XI, the defense is going to continue to be inconsistent. At the same time, the failure to defend set pieces and crosses is a major concern, and maybe even worse than the March 12 game against Philly. It may take some time for me to put a pin on it, but either the team is just scrapping until Nathan/Judson return, or something about Almeyda’s system isn’t working. At least half of the plays on the defensive end, JT looks like he’s on an island out there.
Josh: When you hear podcasts talking about how the keeper for the lowest team in MLS is top 5, you know that he is lacking support. I don’t know how else to describe what you put so clearly - perhaps El Profe expected Nathan to be leading the back 18 yards all season, but San Jose lacks the depth for him to be gone for two months.
Matt: Rereading our previous post, apart from shots on goal we said pretty much the same things two weeks ago. I guess we’ll just have to be patient and ride out the injuries. (I’d be remiss if I said the team must have been missing Chofis as well.) The next two games are both at home, hosting Nashville and Seattle. I’ll put on my rose-colored glasses and say the 408 have a chance because Nashville has been inconsistent at times this season, and Seattle (unlike the Revs) is still alive and looking good in the CONCACAF Champions League – so they could drop a game. Send us out on a high note, Josh.
Josh: Maybe for my birthday, the Quakes send me a two-finger salute with three points against Nashville. Any chance we’ll see angry Tommy and Shea back out at PayPal Park? And the scrappy, hungry Goonies stun the Sounders? I’m here for it and will be holding my scarf high. VAMOS, SJ!!
Rating on the Quake-o-meter Scale for Games 5 & 6 (Richter goes to 9, OURS goes to 10)
Final Score on the Quake-o-meter Richter Scale: 4.8/10
Current % chance of a San Jose/New England MLS Cup Final: 8% – but only because Tommy Thompson says there’s time to turn this thing around.