A Pointless Season
The San Jose Earthquakes are in an extremely exclusive group after week three of the MLS season. The Quakes and the Vancouver Whitecaps are the only teams in MLS without a point after three weeks of play. The Whitecaps are just a hair ahead of the Quakes on account of them having scored four goals so far this season, the Quakes are probably going to need a couple more games to get to that mark based on their current offensive output. Both teams are off until March 30, so the battle for the bottom will have to wait a couple of weeks. Both sides have tough opponents that day with Vancouver taking on red-hot Seattle Sounders while back in San Jose the Quakes host LAFC and get a chance to show Carlos Vela everything he missed out on by signing for the So Cal team.
Crawl before you walk
With so much going wrong in the early part of the season for the Quakes it is too easy to focus on the negative. At this point talking more about what is going wrong with the team is just overkill, like Homer Simpson pounding on the Krusty Burglar in front of a group of shocked children. So much like Brian and the Monthy Python story about his life I want to look at the bright side of life (or at least this season so far). Tommy Thompson has played 153 minutes already this season, mostly coming in at the right-back position, last season he didn’t play that much until June 13. Granted Thompson did miss five games due to an “illness,” anyone who has seen Thompson’s outfits or dance moves knows he’s always suffering from illness.
The first 45-minutes were also the first time this season that Quakes fans and the rest of the league were able to see what is capable under Almeyda’s aggressive man-marking style. A skilled speedster like Cristian Ezpinoza can absolutely brutalize defenses and create scoring opportunities at any moment in the match. If they could find somebody up top with speed and an accurate foot they can become a fun and exciting team to watch.
Such a radical system (in MLS terms) is going to take a while to gain traction and based on how other MLS media personalities are talking about it I don’t think they believe it will ever work in San Jose. It seems like managers like Marc Dos Santos and Frank De Boer still need some time for their players to gel to their system, but the Quakes are already a doomed experiment. I still believe Almeyda’s system can be successful in San Jose his current contract can possibly keep him here four years, plenty of time to make signings or start developing future talent in the academy. Those 45 minutes were a preview of what time the team can be for the next several years, we will just have to wait and see.
Chris Wondolowski last scored a goal on October 6, 2018 to put him one goal behind Landon Donovan for the all-time MLS scoring title. This season he has been given ample opportunity by Almeyda to get the record by playing him at the lone forward spot most of the young season but Wondo just can’t find the back of the net. His 36-year-old frame can’t seem to keep up with speedier youngsters and his knack of finding that hidden spot in the box to score from seems to be fading. I have no doubt that Wondo will break the record this season but for now we are going to have to wait a couple more weeks before the G.O.A.T. gets another chance.