The San Jose Earthquakes succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to FC Dallas at Avaya Stadium on Friday night, extending their winless streak to eight games in all competitions. On paper, a defeat to Major League Soccer’s league leaders was one of the least jarring of the Quakes’ recent results, particularly given some promising signs up top, but moral victories were lost on an increasingly frustrated home support.
Context is a luxury that the Quakes can’t afford for much longer. This result stung particularly badly being their first loss at Avaya Stadium since September of last year and will go down as another wasted opportunity to dig themselves out of their current rut. At the midway point in the season, it’s not the time to panic just yet but they can’t continue to drop points in as wasteful a manner as they have in recent weeks, especially at home.
“[This] was tough to swallow,” Quakes coach Dominic Kinnear told QuakesTalk.com. “Right now we’re just not scoring enough goals. It’s a frustrating period for us and I think we’re all a little disappointed in ourselves.
“We had better movement, stretched the field better and were a little more dynamic on the attack, trying to get behind them more than playing everything in front…it’s just about getting that goal.”
With just nineteen goals from eighteen games, the Quakes are the second lowest scoring team in the Western Conference and having netted just four times in their last eight games, a home would go a long way to restoring a sense of belief that has been lost in recent weeks.
“A goal gives you energy, gives you confidence and some enjoyment for the game that we haven’t experienced in a while,” said Kinnear.
Certainly, there was a hollow feeling in the Quakes dressing room after they were beaten by Mauro Diaz’s overhead kick. The majority of the players had already showered and headed home barely twenty minutes after the final whistle and by the time reporters entered the locker room for post-match interviews, it was eerily quiet.
Dallas had the better of the opening stages, with the pace and movement of Michael Barrios and Mauro Diaz in the midfield exposed Shaun Francis down the Quakes’ left side.
The home side were heavily outnumbered in the midfield, especially with Simon Dawkins venturing forward so often, meaning Anibal Godoy was often dispossessed in the middle. Dallas forced numerous dangerous turnovers and with Cordell Cato already pushing high up the pitch these had a potentially devastating effect.
On one such occasion, Diaz slipped Maximiliano Urruti in behind with a gorgeous through ball but Bingham came up big with an outstanding stop to deflect the forward’s low effort onto the post. Bingham’s heroics denied Dallas again towards the end of the half after Diaz jinxed through the middle and got a quick shot out from under his feet. Bingham, though, was alert and made himself big to make a vital block with his head.
That said, the Quakes were composed on the ball and had numerous good looks at goal themselves. Quincy Amarikwa won an early free-kick on the edge of the box as a result of good hold-up play and Godoy’s dangerous curling effort was parried wide by Chris Seitz.
Alberto Quintero came inches close in the twenty-third minute, pulling a low effort just wide of the post on the turn, and Amarikwa won another free-kick nine minutes later, which Godoy curled onto the angle of the crossbar.
In the forty-first minute, Quintero crossed in for Salinas, who nipped ahead of his marker at the near post and forced a brilliant reaction-save out of Seitz with a low effort. Amarikwa also came close from the following corner, lofting a header onto the roof of the net.
Yet Dallas went roaring into the lead on the side of the break courtesy of Urruti’s bicycle-kick. A long, diagonal cross found Michael Barrios at the far post and although it looked like Marvell Wynne had temporarily cleared the danger with an important block, Urruti leaped up to smash a gorgeous overhead kick into the back of the net.
Not a minute later there was more chaos at the back for the Quakes as Diaz found Urruti in the middle of the box, but the midfielder could only hit the post with a weak low shot under pressure from Bernardez.
Dallas quickly retreated into their own half to hold onto lead, though — Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said that the three points were “more than enough” — and the Quakes began to pile on the pressure late on, maintaining 87% possession in one five-minute interval in the dying minutes. Simon Dawkins saw a low effort from the left side of the box denied by Seitz and Wondolowski dragged a twenty-five yard shot wide, but the home side couldn’t find a way through.
Perhaps the fact that the Quakes had come so close and pushed so hard only made it more disappointing that they couldn’t taste the victory.