Quakes Start 2019 Season 0-2
For the first time since 2014, the San Jose Earthquakes have started the MLS season by losing their first two games. After the monumental signing of Matias Almeyda, last year Quakes fans were expecting quick results but a project as large as this rebuild will take longer than a couple of games to start producing results. That being said last Saturdays 3-0 loss at home to Minnesota United FC has some fans getting impatient and wondering if the Almeyda experiment will turn out positively. This team constantly finds novel ways to disappoint its loyal followers but I am still on the “wait-and-see” side of the coin.
The roster is much different than last year with the addition of four foreign players and the aggressive man-marking style used by Almeyda is going to take a while to start clicking. We knew the defense was going to struggle but not being able to find the back of the net has been frustrating. Hopefully, with Hoesen leading the charge, the Quakes can start working on lowering that goal differential before the gap opens up more. Speaking of Hoesen...
Wondo Starting Over Hoesen
For the second game in a row, Matias Almeyda went with Chris Wondolowski as his striker leaving 12% of his salary cap in Danny Hoesen sitting on the bench for most of the game. Hoesen who had three goals in the teams two meetings last year must not be match fit as he did not play in the Quakes final pre-season game against Reno 1868 FC and has only played 50 minutes the first couple of weeks of the season. The players made it clear that Almeyda’s training regiment was vigorous in the offseason so I suspect Matias is giving Hoesen some time to get his body used to the new system.
Once that fitness improves we should see Hoesen featuring in the starting lineup more regularly and hopefully see an offensive improvement because right now it is raining all over California but there is a scoring drought in San Jose...
Tommy Thompson backing up Nick Lima
For the second game in a row Almeyda subbed Tommy Thompson on for Nick Lima around the 60th minute mark which is strange for a couple of reasons. The most obvious one is that Lima is a defender and Thompson has spent his time with the Quakes as a forward. Lima also just came off an impressive showing at the USMNT January camp and looked like he was going to be competing with DeAndre Yedlin for the starting left-back spot.
As I wrote before there is some precedent in Almeyda’s history to explain this move when he turned around the career of Jesus “El Chapo” Sanchez at Guadalajara. It will be interesting to see this develop over the season because if it works it would be a win for the Quakes and a win for Thompson whose career has kind of stalled the last couple of seasons...
According to MLS the attendance on Saturday was 16,411 at Avaya Stadium but sitting in the stadium it was hard to believe that there were that many people inside the stadium. The final game of last season, a scoreless draw against fellow bottom-feeder Colorado Rapids, supposedly had an attendance of over 17,000, just shy of selling out. For the most part, the numbers that are released are more of an ego boost than a tangible statistic but the number of tickets sold obviously matters. Avaya is already the smallest stadium in the league in terms of capacity and as the league evolves and starts letting teams spend more money on salaries ticket sales are going to be more important. In a city of over one million residents the Quakes are going to have to do more to convince 18,000 of them that this team is worthy of our their time and money. In the words of the social media department, Vamos San Jose.