The Earthquakes’ shambolic defending continued Saturday in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota, ending San Jose’s perfect record against the Loons. The Quakes gave up four goals on 12 shots while failing to score on 13 shots of their own, extending their scoreless drought to nearly 170 minutes.
San Jose continued to do a few things well: Namely, connect passes from the back and hold onto the ball. Possession stats don’t mean much when you trail for the entire second half, but San Jose controlled the ball 57.4 percent of the match and connected for 520 passes. That’s starting to look like a trend.
The Quakes also look strong in the midfield, but absolutely lost in the back. Marcos Lopez gave away a penalty two minutes into the first half by outstretching his arm towards a ball in the penalty area. Video Assisted Referee awarded the penalty, Darwin Quintero capitalized, and the Loons took the lead.
Minnesota got its second goal just four minutes later. Quintero led a counterattack with even numbers of Loons to Quakes, fed the ever-dangerous Miguel Ibarra who had no problem capitalizing on the situation. This is a perfect example of what San Jose has failed to learn in head coach Matias Almeyda’s new system – recover on counters after moving up the pitch.
The own goal from Harold Cummings is just insult to injury given a generally fine effort put forth by the Panamanian. The back line as a whole, which saw two changes in Lopez and Nick Lima for Shea Salinas and Tommy Thompson [notably both are midfielders] is going to be a work in progress. That’s going to be the sexy problem to complain about, but it’s worth noting this Earthquakes team has one goal in two matches – that’s not good enough.
Of course, it’s worth noting Danny Hoesen has played only half a match over the first two home games and Chris Wondolowski has been held scoreless. Wondo nearly got on the scoresheet against Minnesota, sending a ball off the bar. Cristian Espinoza also had three shots, while Hoesen took two shots in just 26 minutes. It’s clear he’s going to need to play a full match for the Quakes to have a chance to score this season.
Daniel Vega, it should be noted, kept San Jose in the match far longer than it initially seemed possible. Poor defending put the veteran keeper in harms way on multiple occasions, but Vega bailed them out. The job is his, at least for the time being.
San Jose goes on the road for the first time this season to battle the New York Red Bulls. The only silver lining in that tough matchup is how weary the side is likely to be after a pair of CCL battles during this week.