In this week’s newsletter: Tiki-Taka talk, road trip redemption, and more insider coverage of the San Jose Earthquakes!
Barcelona, eat your heart out. Tiki-taka has arrived in San Jose.
Marco Ureña and Jahmir Hyka combined for a “magisterial” goal against FC Dallas on Saturday, securing a late victory for the Quakes. A gorgeous outside-of-the-boot chip from Ureña found Hyka’s incisive run into the box and a brilliant, acrobatic touch from the Albanian poked the ball over Matt Hedges and set up a cool finish on the volley (2:12 in the below video).
How would their artistry stack up at the Nou Camp? We might never know for sure if Lionel Messi & Co. could possibly outdo their Bay Area counterparts, but some quick digging through their archives yielded some Barca goals to compare.
Here are our findings:
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi combined at the end of a twenty-seven pass sequence against AS Roma in 2015 to net a beautiful goal:
Suarez assisted Messi with another cheeky chip last December to score their fourth goal in a La Liga rout over Español:
— beIN SPORTS Español (@ESbeINSPORTS) December 18, 2016
And finally, a glorious collection of three nearly identical Messi assists to Neymar (twice) and Cesc Fabregas (starting at 2:50 in the below video):
To even warrant mention in the same breath as the Barca maestro’s highlight reel, Hyka’s strike was a testament to his skill and improvisation on the night.
Road Trip Redemption
Despite a dazzling attacking display against the Portland Timbers in their last home match, the Quakes struggled to establish a foothold against Orlando City FC on Wednesday night. After a woeful 3-0 road defeat to the Colorado Rapids, Kinnear reverted to a traditional empty-bucket 4-4-2 with Fatai Alashe and Anibal Godoy in the middle and Simon Dawkins out wide for the first time in six matches.
Suffice it to say, their changes fell flat. The Quakes really only began to rally once Ceren, Danny Hoesen and Tommy Thompson were substituted on in the latter stages of the second half, setting the stage for Chris Wondolowski to net a late equalizer.
Fatai Alashe returned to a starting center midfield role for the first time since his ill-fated center-back foray, replacing Darwin Ceren against Orlando on Wednesday. He retained his starting spot against Dallas but appeared slightly disjointed alongside Ceren, who he hasn’t partnered with since last season.
Hyka’s late winner secured the Quakes their second road win of the season, surpassing last year’s tally of one. Dominic Kinnear’s men will need to continue improving upon that record to launch a viable playoff push, but a bunker-style defensive performance has, hopefully, dispelled their road woes once and for all.
What They Said
Coach Dominic Kinnear on their 1-1 draw against Orlando: ”They did sit deep, and it took away our ability to run in behind them. In order for us to be dangerous we need to pass the ball sharper, move the ball a bit better. I thought them sitting deep kind of caused some problems because we were sitting on the ball a bit too much not moving it quicker. I think whenever we picked up our intensity and attacked them, with a good bit of pace, I think we caused some problems. We were a little bit too few in that department.”
Goalscorer Chris Wondolowski on the energy of the Orlando draw: “We were just discussing. We really can’t put our finger on it. It was a weird game. It was a little bit lackluster. It wasn’t quite as sharp as we’re accustomed to with connecting our passes. We’re used to being sharper around the offensive third both in possession and in creating opportunities. We didn’t do a very good job of that. A lot of credit goes to Orlando. They executed a game-plan and made it difficult for us, but we still weren’t sharp enough.”
Coach Dominic Kinnear on their 1-0 victory over FC Dallas: “Full credit to the players, they were excellent tonight. You look at Dallas’ record, especially at home, they are more than a formidable team. I thought we prepared the guys well. We gave them what I thought was a pretty good idea of how we wanted to play. We asked a lot from them and they stuck to it. We took our chances, we sat in, sat deep, defended and tried to catch them on a break. Fortunately for us, Jahmir [Hyka] scores a great goal, and we have some great last minute defending at the end. It is a great three points for us.”
Quakes 1-1 Orlando:
Dallas 0-1 Quakes:
A 3-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids last weekend heralded yet another round of lineup changes from Dominic Kinnear but Jahmir Hyka remained one of the few constants up top for the Quakes. The Albanian international has been phenomenal for San Jose since signing from FC Luzern over the offseason, fueling some of their best moments of the season. The Quakes have traditionally been a very wide team, but Hyka has offered Kinnear a creative outlet through the middle and already has three goals and three assists to his name. Chris Wondolowski has maintained a firm grasp on the Quakes offensive MVP trophy in recent years, but we predict Hyka will give him a good run for his money as the season plays out.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Quakes are set to face bitter rivals the LA Galaxy at Avaya Stadium on Sunday night in what may prove one of the club’s most important games so far this season. Dominic Kinnear’s men are undefeated at home against the Galaxy since 2014, with two wins and two ties, and the Galaxy have endured an unexpectedly poor start to the season, offering the Quakes an opportunity to widen the points gap over their Southern California rivals. Roman Alessandrini has been the Galaxy’s main danger man this year, playing a hand in eleven of their fifteen goals so far this season with six goals and five assists.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) May 21, 2017
AFTERSHOCKS: FROM THE WEEK’S NEWS
Oakland A’s: Quakes night at Oakland Coliseum on June 5
Orlando Sentinel: Top new faces in Orlando City lineup help Lions net draw
ESPNFC: Quakes may be rumbling again
Quincy Amarikwa: Life of a PRO, Episode 1
Yardbarker: The Brink with Nick Lima
TRUCKEE TALK: RENO 1868 UPDATE
Reno 1868 claimed their first ever home victory in a thrilling 6-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders II on Saturday night. Forward Dane Kelly spearheaded the charge with a hat-trick, which took him top of the USL goalscoring charts. It was their second league win on the trot, having cruised past Pheonix Rising FC 4-0 in their last USL outing.
In addition, Ian Russel’s men defeated The Olympic Soccer Academy FC on penalties to secure their place in the third round of the US Open Cup. Reno will face rivals the Sacramento Republic on the thirty-first to battle for the opportunity to face Real Salt Lake City in the fourth round, but not before they have to play the Tusla Roughnecks and Colorado Springs in a grueling week of fixtures.
The Quakes academy struggled against a stronger, more physical Sacramento Republic over the weekend, losing by a total of 23-7 across six teams. The U-18s were their only saving grace, nipping a 3-0 victory. However, they returned to winning ways with a round of victories over the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy, including fundraiser matches at Avaya Stadium for the family of the departed former academy player Alejandro Lopez.
Additionally, the Quakes announced five new national team additions to their new Girls Academy debuting in the fall, with players across four age groups.
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