What's Shaking with the Quakes?
Matt: Hey Josh, how are things out there on the West Coast? It seemed like we were going to have spring here in the Northeast, but in true New England fashion we had 42 degrees, cold rain, and a little bit of hail -- on the first day of town spring soccer practice. I don’t blame my Revs for going to sunny, warmer California to play the LAG for preseason -- if they scrimmaged with the Quakes it would have been awesome!
Josh: <cough> high of 79 today <cough> That would’ve been great for sure - but we can unite and cheer against Galaxy! The Quakes looked like they were having fun and working hard nearby in Santa Barbara - and a couple of them were scoring and blocking goals for USMNT! Jackson Yeuill & JT Marcinkowski put on a good show, even though the outcome wasn’t what US Soccer fans would’ve liked.
Matt: I know you’ve been looking forward to the season, especially after that heartbreaker last November. I realized I was more than ready for the 2021 season when I started looking for new kit leaks in mid-December. I liked the MLS Cup Is Back Tournament, and the playoffs sure had their share of excitement, but I was disappointed our plan to watch San Jose host the Revs together in August didn’t work out. Not to mention that Messi didn’t sign with New England (let me dream a little!), so I can’t wait! It looks like San Jose’s made some good moves - Remedi looks like a gamer, Wondo’s back for another year, Espinoza keeps putting the ball in the net, and Marcinkowksi gained experience with the Olympic qualifiers. (No USMNT in the Olympics again...let’s not go down that road, please.) Your turn - how do you feel about the Quakes this season?
Josh: I’m feeling good - I can tell the team is excited to get back in the playoffs. And it will be only their second “real” season with Coach Almeyda, so we should get a good look at how the team looks with his style of game play. We got a glimpse of Espinoza from the Sacramento scrimmage, and he’s looking strong! And yeah, Wondo’s a staple of our team at this point - keep putting him in to change the energy on the field, keep extending his goals record - he’s part of the formula.
Matt: Yes, we’ll see what year two brings for Almeyda’s crew, now that he’s had more time to put his stamp on the team. I’m glad Wondo’s going to have much more of a full, “normal” season for his farewell. He’s spent so many years playing for San Jose, scoring 162 out of his 166 goals for them!
Josh: Right? When I first got out here, everyone was down on him from his USMNT performance - but now he’s a hometown favorite!
Matt: I love a spirited crowd, but I don’t like it when fans are down on their own players who are probably doing their darndest to play well. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in. And wasn’t that almost seven years ago? You’ve been West Coasting it with your warm weather for longer than you realize...I don’t think you would have made it through last week’s town soccer practice! It’s hard for me to gauge the Quakes right now from chilly Massachusetts, but once I see them in action I’ll be full of opinions.
Josh: Haha, I’ve been out here for five - soccer fans can hold a grudge. And I am definitely spoiled by the Bay Area weather and a community that backs their teams, even though many of us are transplants. I look forward to seeing Remedi and Yeuill hold the midfield, excited to welcome Oswaldo Alanís, and am glad to see growth in the goalie box. It was kind of a quiet offseason transactionally. Most of the news seemed to be about resigning our core players - Wondo, Shea Salinas (a personal favorite), and homegrown hero Tommy Thompson. We start the home season on our new grass in newly-renamed PayPal Park in just a couple weeks against FC Dallas!
Matt: The Dynamo to start, and then, as you say, FC Dallas, then DC United. These first three matches will be great opportunities for the Quakes to test their mettle and see what they’ve got on all ends of the field. You mention new grass...no sign of that coming to Foxborough, at least not yet. I’m psyched about New England’s midfield, and I’d compare Matt Turner against any GK at this point. I guess we’ll just have to wait until the MLS Cup Final to see how the Quakes match up against my guys.
Josh: As far as I can tell, it’s been almost ten years since we missed a regular season match; of course that would happen the year we plan to meet up. With the regional limitations and adding Austin to the West, I guess that makes sense. Both teams will get lots of minutes against Conference teams, so it will be interesting to see how the postseason evolves.
Matt: Now for the REALLY important stuff - what do you think about the new Quakes kits? I think the more all-blue “First Star” jerseys are a nice refresh, and a good move away from the black.
Josh: It’s been 20 years - so it’s worth celebrating that first star! And I agree, it’s a good home jersey - the blue is the Earthquakes color, and the black should be the accent. The away jersey is a repeat of the “408” jersey, which is fun on the shoulder stripes, but no one understands the yellow eyebrow. Maybe another year and we’ll be back in red/white on the road.
Matt: What is that yellow eyebrow?
Josh: Right? It feels like they should’ve called it the 404 Jersey, because no one I know can find it. I mean, I’m a Terp - I love a complex jersey, and simple can be great… but maybe not as simple as the Revs “Fort” jersey?
Matt: I have to admit, I’m jealous of the star. I’m still waiting for one on the Revs jersey. I do like the older 2016 away Quakes jerseys, with the fat red stripe with embedded zigzags, but I guess I won’t be seeing much of them anymore. And yes yes, very nice zing about the “Fort” jersey, but maybe you didn’t notice the red and green New England flag on the back of the collar? I’m going with subtle and sophisticated. What really matters is getting those three points every chance you get.
Josh: Yes, it’s all about what happens out on the pitch! Vamos SJ!