I Hate Goodbyes
Sunday, marked the 17th and final home match for the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium and though I cannot wait for this dreadful season to be over the last match is always bittersweet. The season sucked but Avaya is still a great place to watch soccer and the weather in San Jose is perfect, it’s hard to leave it for five months.
The Earthquakes hosted fellow basement dwellers Colorado Rapids and the game went as expected, nothing too exciting by either squad. The Earthquakes did enjoy a 60/40 possession advantage and looked like the squad more likely to break the deadlock, a squad that featured some of the Earthquakes youngest players with some veteran players starting the game on the bench. A lot of people showed up hoping team legend Chris Wondolowski would either equal or surpass the all-time MLS goal scoring record set by Earthquakes 1.0 legend Landon Donovan who currently sits at 145 goals. Wondo at 144 goals needs 2 more goals to capture yet another MLS scoring record. With the news that the Earthquakes will exercise their option to keep Wondo in San Jose at least one more season, it seems almost certain that Wondo will capture the record in Black and Blue.
On Sunday the Earthquakes played six players 23-years-old or younger showcasing some of the young talent newly signed manager Matias Almeyda has to work with next season. Goalkeeper James “JT” Marcinkowski earned his first career shutout and midfielder Eric Calvillo made his first career start in MLS earning a spot on the MLS Team of the Week. This match also featured a quick appearance by Gilbert Fuentes, a 16-year-old homegrown midfielder from Tracy. When the Quakes signed him in January he was the second youngest player in the league. He came in for another Earthquakes homegrown signing, Tommy Thompson who saw his playing time cut by two-thirds this season, partially because of injury, with at least an equal dropoff in production. Nick Lima, another homegrown and 2018 Earthquakes defensive player of the year who broke just about all his personal records this season while starting every game for the Earthquakes so far played another 90 minutes. He also wins workhorse of the year for this seasons effort. Another player who saw his playing time and stats grow this year was 21-year-old Jackson Yueill. The ex-UCLA Bruin has tallied over 1200 minutes this season in his first full season in San Jose.
Not Done Yet
This may have been the last home game of the season but the Earthquakes have one game left this season against the Seattle Sounders. A win in Seattle would force the Sounders into the knockout game of the Western Conference playoffs which would be the smallest of consolation prizes in such a disappointing season for San Jose. A win would also keep the Earthquakes with more wins in the all-time series which they currently lead with a record of 10-9-5. Nothing is going to keep this from being the season with the lowest point total in team history.