Maybe it was inevitable that the San Jose Earthquakes would suffer a let off a week after the Avaya Stadium opening. This was certainly the case in the opening 45 minutes, when the New England Revolution took the game to San Jose early and often. The Revs were able to turn their early dominance into two first half goals. San Jose earned a second half penalty, and had a number of good chances late, but ultimately fell 2-1.
Like Chicago last week, New England exposed a certain weakness in San Jose's central midfield. There is a definite disconnect when the Quakes win possession in their defensive third and attempt to move the ball upfield. The two defensive midfielders are getting caught too deep, while attacking midfielder Matías Pérez García doesn't track back from advanced positions. This leaves a hole in the midfield, and the Revolution's agile midfielders exploited the space to send wave after wave of attacks at San Jose's goal.
Coach Dominic Kinnear's halftime adjustments actually paid significant dividends, and he may want to look into making some changes for the games ahead. Regardless, San Jose will be happy to get back to the California sunshine as it looks to get back on track with a two game home stand coming up.
Here's last week's ratings to compare.
G David Bingham, 7 - A solid performance overall. Can't be blamed on either of the goals; nothing he could do about the deflection on the first and lack of marking on the second. Still made a couple of questionable plays and gave away a good chance in the first half off an error, but made up for it with some find saves.
D Marvell Wynne, 6.5 - Wasn't particularly bad, but on the other hand wasn't particularly good either. Still did an admirable job defensively, particularly on the play when he got injured and was forced to leave the game. If he's out of the lineup next week it's a huge loss for the team.
D Shaun Francis, 4 - Nowhere to hide for Francis in this one. Continues to try and force the ball upfield, often leading to dangerous turnovers. The Fire couldn't make him pay last week, but one of his intercepted passes led directly to the first goal (which also deflected off his head as he was trying to make up for the error). He's capable of better and we have to hope that Kinnear will work with him on his distribution.
D Clarence Goodson, 6.5 - Not quite the dominant defensive performance of last week. Gets credit for drawing the penalty that led to San Jose's only goal of the match. Still, he seems to struggle with speedier attackers, which New England has in droves. Maintained his positioning well enough to limit the damage.
D Victor Bernárdez, 7 - It's always nice to get Victor back. Again, can't be held too responsible on the goals. Got beat on runs a couple of times but did enough to prevent real quality chances. Ultimately the defense wasn't the major problem in this game.
M Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, 5 - This isn't the type of performance that will cause Kinnear any selection dilemmas. JBP looked overrun in midfield for most of the game. He was actually involved offensively more often than usual, contributing on the penalty play and missing a golden chance at the death. But ultimately he'll be judged by his ability to win possession in the midfield and move the ball forward. He did neither well today.
M J.J. Koval, 4 - Like Pierazzi, just looked overwhelmed at times against the Revs' midfield. His aerial prowess continues to improve, and he made some decent clearances with his head, but unfortunately New England's midfielders are more adept moving the ball on the ground. His substitution at half was warranted.
M Sanna Nyassi, 5 - He's been one of the Quakes' most consistent players all season, but on this day Nyassi just didn't have it. Failed to really affect the game, and his trademark work rate was below standard as well. Was subbed out at half for the vastly superior Shea Salinas. After a great beginning to the season, perhaps Nyassi's starting role could be in question.
M Innocent Emeghara, 6.5 - Although he still lacked sharpness on the end of his plays, most of San Jose's forays into the attacking half in the first half seemed to go through him. Worked a lot harder than in last match. On a couple of occasions there was evidence that he's gaining trust in his teammates and working through them a bit more. Team play is what will get his game to the next level with the Earthquakes.
M Matías Pérez García, 5.5 - Certainly not the type of game he'd like to play week in and week out. Didn't provide the passing outlet that the defense needed. Worked hard on the ball, but not hard enough off it. Played too much like a second striker instead of an attacking midfielder. In games like this he needs to track back more.
F Chris Wondolowski, 6 - Tough to really condemn Wondo when he had little to no service all match. Had a couple of shots and took his penalty well, but that was about it. Wasn't as involved as we know he'd like to be. Gets credit for working hard once he was moved further back on the field with Jahn's introduction.
M Shea Salinas, 8 - Shea must be realizing that he needs to do more to get more playing time, because he came in at halftime ready to contribute. Finally we saw flashes of previous seasons. He looked confident once again, taking players on and reaching the byline for dangerous crosses. Gave a great 45 minutes and should be in consideration for a bigger role in the team.
F Adam Jahn, 7 - You can feel a goal coming soon for him. He's doing the little things, always working hard up front and providing an outlet for the long ball. Missed a good chance high late on which he'd like back, but if he keeps getting himself into good positions the goal will come.
D Cordell Cato, 6 - Did admirably playing out of position at side back when he came into the game. Naturally New England found plenty of space when he got caught out, which isn't surprising. Wasn't as much of a liability as he could have been.