This Saturday the Quakes take on fellow MLS originals New York Red Bulls at Avaya Stadium in a match that both teams are desperate to win for different reasons. The Quakes need a win at home to give their loyal supporters some hope that next year may be different. And next year better be different because they have set the lowest of bars for the 2019 season. The Red Bulls on the other hand are chasing down their third supporters cup in the last 6 years.
The Quakes and Red Bulls were 2 of the 10 original teams that took the pitch for the newly formed MLS in 1996. Back then the Red Bulls were known by the verbose name of New York/New Jersey MetroStars and had a habit of signing players that didn’t exist. The Quakes, then known as the Clash because Nike, found success in the young league after a couple of years.
Both teams were consistent playoff participants in the early 2000’s with the Quakes being one of MLS’s most successful teams of the era making the playoffs every year from 2001-2005 and winning the MLS cup twice. 2006 was a pivotal year for both teams as the Quakes were moved almost overnight to Houston to become the Dynamo and the MetroStars were bought out by a Austrian energy drink company to become Red Bull New York. The wings would take several years to develop.
EAST COAST VS. WEST COAST
Even though these two teams have been in the league since it’s inception this will only be the 39th meeting between the two teams with the Quakes holding a 17-12-9 regular season series lead. As I mentioned earlier the Red Bulls are in the thick of the supporters shield race and last week they proved they are more than capable of taking it by beating current leaders Atlanta United at home. And they won that match without Bradley Wright-Phillips or Tyler Adams, that is concerning especially with BWP coming back from suspension. Adams is still listed as questionable and there seems to be little reason to rush him back for this match. That is about the only good news for the Quakes who come into the match in the midst of one of their worst streaks in team history.
The current 5-game losing streak ties similar streaks in ‘97 and ‘98 and is one game behind the Quakes longest losing streak in team history which sits at 6 games which the team achieved in 2000. With an interim coach and 3 games left in the season they’re really isn’t any expectations for this team other than don’t get embarrassed at home. Some players may be playing for future contracts but the disarray this team is in, on the pitch and the front office, makes one wonder who other than team legend Chris Wondolowski would want to face another season of this.
History has shown that the Red Bulls have a hard time winning the Bay Area. In 18 regular season games at home against Red Bulls the Quakes have only lost two. The last time the Red Bulls won in San Jose came during a series that only MLS could produce. In 2010 the Quakes and Red Bulls faced off in the eastern conference semi-finals with New York taking the first game 1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes would go on to win by aggregate only to lose to Eastern Conference champions and eventual MLS Cup winners Colorado Rapids. MLS can be a strange place sometimes.
Saturday will show whether history continues to favor the Quakes or will the red tide from New York suffocate any chance of hope Quakes supporters had. Luckily the Quakes are celebrating Oktoberfest on Saturday so at least the beer wont disappoint.