In this week’s newsletter: Clasico Calamity, defensive deformity and more insider coverage of the San Jose Earthquakes!
Villains and heroes always emerge in each edition of the California Clasico. This time there simply weren’t enough of the latter for the San Jose Earthquakes in a demoralizing 4-2 defeat at the hands of their bitter rivals the LA Galaxy.
Belgian center-back Jelle Van Damme asserted himself as a loathsome character on the Galaxy side because of his repeated clashes with Quakes forward Marco Ureña, but no such leader stepped up to the plate for Dominic Kinner’s men on the night.
— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) May 28, 2017
Despite scoring two goals in a thrilling first half, the Quakes ceded advantage through sloppy defensive play, allowing four goals at home for the first time in league play at Avaya Stadium. Here’s our takeaway on Saturday night’s Clasico Calamity:
The Quakes invested heavily in the transfer market over the offseason in large part to fortify their squad with depth, and their investments are, unfortunately, being put to the test. Injuries to midfielders Anibal Godoy and Fatai Alashe forced Kinnear to deviate from his usual center-midfield pairings against LA and he opted to throw Tommy Thompson into the middle alongside Darwin Ceren. Thompson’s inclusion lent energy to the attack, including a first-half assist for Danny Hoesen, but detracted from their tight defensive shape, allowing LA to exploit huge spaces in the Quakes midfield.
Victor Bernardez turned thirty-five last week but didn’t exactly enjoy the birthday celebration he would have hoped for against the club’s main rival. He was caught unaware with a most unfortunate own-goal from Bradley Diallo’s cross late in the first half and also let Giovani dos Santos slip in at the back-post to convert a second-half header to put the match to bed. He has struggled to form a consistent partnership with Florian Jungwirth at the back so far this season and each passing birthday begs the question of how many more he’ll reach in a Quakes kit.
Forward Marco Ureña clashed with Van Damme on multiple occasions in the second half, but the Costa Rican disappeared when it really mattered. Ureña only has one goal to his tally so far this season and having taken fewer touches per minute than any other outfield player bar Bernardez on Saturday night, his steadfast starting position might be in jeopardy.
What They Said
Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear: “I don’t think it was ball possession that really let us down tonight because we had a number of chances. We still could have scored some more goals. I thought our defending was passive and they took advantage of that. I’ll have to look back at all the other goals, but I do know a couple we were just very passive, we sat a little bit too deep, gave them too much room and we got punished for it.”
Goalscorer Danny Hoesen on his first Quakes goal: “I think it was a good goal. A great cross by Tommy [Thompson]. I was hoping he was going to beat his man so I sawed off the defender to try and cut in front of him … It took me a while but hopefully now I can keep going.”
Tommy Thompson on his second MLS assist: “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve played over 50 MLS games now and I am confident in whatever position I need to play and I think it finally shows.”
Clásico defeats sting, especially at home. Yet Quakes have been notoriously bipolar this season and we predict they will successfully rebound against the Portland Timbers on Friday.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Quakes travel to Oregon to face the Portland Timbers on Friday at Providence Park. Portland stormed out of the gates with a hot start to the regular season, but have been winless in their last five matches. The Quakes demolished Caleb Porter’s side 3-0 in a convincing home victory earlier this month and they will hope to exploit Portland’s leaky back-line once again. However, they will have to remain vigilant to keep key playmaker Diego Valeri and target-man Fanendo Adi off the scoresheet up top.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
— Arielle Castillo (@ariellec) May 27, 2017
AFTERSHOCKS: FROM THE WEEK’S NEWS
Mercury News: What the Quakes did wrong on Clasico loss to LA Galaxy
Centerline Soccer: Why I’m a fan of the San Jose Earthquakes
Quakes Forever: Quakes FO News
The Dick and Vic Soccer Hour: Eating Crib and Talking Sh*t
Armchair Analyst: End product finally found for Tommy Thompson
TRUCKEE TALK: RENO 1868 UPDATE
USL Affiliate Reno 1868 extended their home win streak to three games with a dominant 4-0 victory over the Tulsa Roughnecks on Wednesday, in which Quakes loanee Lindo Mfeka scored this lovely goal. Ian Russell’s men also drew the Colorado Springs Switchbacks 3-3 on Saturday, with USL leading goalscorer Dane Kelly and Antoine Hoppenot getting on the scoresheet.
The U16s and U18s closed out their seasons last weekend with respectable records, the U16s falling just short of the playoffs and U18s cementing a very strong case for the final wildcard spot in their age bracket. The younger age brackets participated in the prestigious Manchester City Cup in San Diego, and the 02 DA team even played live on Univision against the Tottenham Hotspur Academy, losing 4-1. The younger age Academy sides will also return to league action this coming week.
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