In this week’s newsletter: What we’re all about, “hilarious” Florian Jungwirth interview, and more insider coverage of the San Jose Earthquakes!
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Quakes Talk Weekly!
We’re your Monday morning fix for all things San Jose Earthquakes from QuakesTalk.com and beyond, with in-depth match analysis, interviews, headline news and insider coverage of the Bay Area’s Major League Soccer team. We’ll also highlight and discuss the best commentaries from other leading media outlets.
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GO WITH THE FLO: JUNGWIRTH INTERVIEW
To kick off our first edition, we sat down for a “hilarious” interview with Quakes center-back Florian Jungwirth:
Quakes Talk: Are you happy with the team’s start to the season?
Florian Jungwirth: Yeah, we’ve had a good start, especially at home. On one side, we’ve had good results, and the kind of play has also been pretty good. On the road, we haven’t played well. It was our biggest goal to play the same style at home and on the road, and we have to do better at that. All in all, it’s a good start.
Why has the team struggled on the road? Is it the travel distance or are there any other factors?
That shouldn’t be an excuse. Sure, it’s tough on the road, but [not as much] if you prepare well, eat well, and recover well. For me, I felt good and fit in those two games on the road, so [the travel] is not the reason. We are all young and everyone should run ninety minutes. The trip is not the excuse.
Are you happy with your performances so far and the transition to center-back?
I’m not really happy [moving to center-back]. I’m sure every player prefers to play in their favorite position, and that’s not my favorite position, but I’m happy with the start and I think I’ve done well. I’ve tried to move on to help the team and help the club so we go on the right [path], and I think the development of the team is pretty good.
Have you noticed any differences in playing style between the US and Europe to which you’ve had to adapt?
I think it’s more intensive here. There are some [differences] in tactics compared with Europe. In Europe, the teams are more waiting for the situation. Here, everyone runs and wants to get the ball so [the defense] has a lot of struggles. It’s more intensive.
Off of the field, have you been settling down in the Bay Area? Obviously, you haven’t had the best weather so far.
Yeah, I think I want to get some money back from MLS because they promised me sun every day, so I have to talk to them [laughs]! But I’ve found a nice house, my wife and dogs are here, and I feel very welcomed. It’s like my home now.
What’s your one word to describe the season so far?
You want to hear hilarious, right? [laughs] Ok, hilarious.
DISSECTING THE FC DALLAS MATCH
Quakes revive Goonie Magic: Jahmir Hyka has inherited the Never-Say-Die spirit, even if he can’t name it just yet
Play-by-Play Breakdown: Hyka’s stoppage-time winner rescues Quakes draw against Dallas
Caught in the Crossing-hairs
The Quakes struggled to get service into the penalty area, with Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman holding down the fort for FC Dallas in the middle and cutting service to Chris Wondolowski. The Quakes only completed two of twenty-three crosses according to Opta data, which clearly stifled a key facet of their offensive game-plan.
Alashe at Center-Back
Fatai Alashe maintained his starting spot at center-back despite the return of Victor Bernardez at center-back. Having impressed against the Seattle Sounders last weekend, it was a coach’s decision to keep the backline the same (though not necessarily a tactical choice). “I thought the back four played well last week, we just wanted to keep it together,” coach Dominic Kinnear told Quakes Talk. “I thought [Fatai] did ok.”
Nevertheless, despite the solid result against a strong side, there were signs of defensive holes on the night, and Fatai was sucked out of position by Maximiliano Urruti in the build-up to Dallas’ goal.
Midfielder Simon Dawkins was absent from the starting lineup due to a knee knock sustained in training and was replaced by Cordell Cato, who made his first start of the season, over Shea Salinas and Tommy Thompson. Cato struggled to make an impact, however, with the second fewest touches of any Quakes starter and second fewest passes (only Marco Ureña was worse in both categories). Cato’s main attributes, his pace and crossing, were nullified by Nick Lima’s propensity to push high on the overlap, and the Trinidadian winger wasn’t as comfortable in a primarily creative role cutting into the middle. Thompson was subbed in for Cato in the second half, providing more options for the home side given Hedges and Zimmerman’s dominance in the middle.
What They Said
Coach Dominic Kinnear: “I’m glad we are scoring goals to tie but there are other things to address: good first half, poor second half. I thought Dallas was creeping into the game slowly and were getting chances. You can put that down to pressure. I put it as bad decisions on our part and it is something we can definitely avoid.”
Goalscorer Jahmir Hyka: “It wasn’t a clean shot. That may be the reason that it went in because maybe if I shot it very hard maybe the keeper would have had it. I’m happy about that and I’m happy that we drew this game because I think we didn’t deserve to lose. We have to continue to play like we played in the first half. In the second half, we didn’t do that. We lost many balls and tried to play with long balls, which is not our game. We need to do that better next game.”
Florian Jungwirth: “We lost the balls too easily, they had a lot of space. We have to avoid going one-on-one in the defense, we need one more player in the back. If you lose the ball against a team like Dallas, they can play those balls in the deep pockets and make it difficult to defend.”
Nick Lima: “[The comeback] shows the character we have in the locker room, but at the same time, you don’t want to have to come back from behind. We dominated the first thirty-five minutes. Everyone says FC Dallas is the best team in MLS, but we showed that we can outplay a team like that and we let them off the hook.”
The Quakes are set to embark upon their joint longest road trip of the season, which does note bode well given they’ve only won one lone match in their last twenty-one league away games dating all the way back to December 2015. Taking into account travel distances and weather fluctuations, MLS has always been a tough league in which to win on the road, but it shouldn’t be that tough.
On the same token, however, this coming road streak presents the Quakes a golden opportunity to overcome their road woes and set 2017 on a better path than recent years. They’re facing league laggards in the New England Revolution, the Houston Dynamo, and Minnesota United, and coming off the back of two draws against title-winning teams Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas, we dare to envision a road win in the offing. But if they return empty-handed again, the club must take a good look in the mirror.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Quakes are entering a short week, traveling to Massachusetts to face the New England revolution on Wednesday night. The Quakes etched out a scoreless draw in their only meeting last season, but in-form forward Kei Kamara has already netted twice this season and will be sure to cause the Quakes backline problems. That said, New England have only won two of six games so far this season, presenting the Quakes with an excellent opportunity to nick their first road win.
The Quakes will then fly to Texas to play Dominic Kinnear’s old side, the Houston Dynamo, on Saturday. Kinner twice led the Dynamo to the MLS Cup title in 2006 and 2007, although they have not qualified for the playoffs since 2013. They have a 3-2-1 record so far this year, most recently blowing a two-goal lead to tie 2-2 with expansion side Minnesota. Although the Dynamo are currently sitting two points above the Quakes in the Western Conference, they’ve allowed the joint-second most goals of any MLS team, with not a single clean sheet so far.
Tweet of the Week
Major League Soccer dot gif pic.twitter.com/GQp6BIif81
— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) April 15, 2017
AFTERSHOCKS: FROM THE WEEK’S NEWS
Mercury News: Earthquakes Dirtiest Team in the West, Or Are They?
Quakes Epicenter: Breaking Down #SJvSEA
MLSSoccer.com: Blue Faces
Quakes After 90: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same
The Soccer Hour with Ted Ramey: Jeff Carlisle and Jon Arnold
TRUCKEE TALK: RENO 1868 UPDATE
The Quakes’ new USL Affiliate Reno 1868 are yet to win in their inaugural season, with a 0-3-1 record, despite tying reigning champions the Sacramento Republic and narrowly losing to the Quakes 1-0 in preseason. Four Quakes players have appeared on loan in Reno so far: goalkeeper Matt Bersano, defenders Kip Colvey and Matheus Silva, and midfielder Jackson Yeuill. They fell 4-0 to San Antonio FC on Saturday night and will face the Colorado Springs Switchbacks at greater Nevada Field next weekend.
The Under-12 and Under-16 Quakes Academy teams competed at the 2017 Generation adidas Cup in Frisco, Texas, over the past week. The Under-12s struggled in a “group of death”, facing FC Dallas, Villareal and the Philadelphia Union in an unfamiliar 7v7 format. However, they beat the Colorado Rapids academy 2-0 on Saturday to avoid finishing bottom in their age group. The Under-16s enjoyed considerably more success, placing third in the second division after a goal from prospect JJ Foe Nuphaus fired them past the Philadelphia Union. Additionally, the ’01 PDA team landed in Costa Rica for an international trip.
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UPDATED: This article was updated to reflect the format changes to the U-12 GA Cup tournament