This weeks edition of the Monday Kickback is coming out on Tuesday because I needed an extra day to recover from Saturday’s deconstruction of the Earthquakes at the hands of LAFC. So let’s get into it.
LAFC Finds a Home in Northern California
Going into Saturday’s match against Western Conference rivals LAFC the San Jose Earthquakes knew that they had to execute their gameplan flawlessly to try to compete with one of the best teams in MLS. Manager Matias Almeyda’s words were almost prophetic when talking about their upcoming opponent he said, “In reality, we have to play our game and be superior in every way. We have to have control of the game and watch out for players that pose a big threat like [Carlos] Vela and their attackers.”
Carlos Vela made quick work of the Quakes un-superior play when in the eighth-minute new keeper Daniel Vega made one of the most embarrassing blunders of his career when he completely missed the ball while trying to clear a Mark-Anthony Kaye pass that was too far for Vela to play. This lead to the Mexican international walking in the ball for the games first goal. That was as close as the Quakes would get to competing in this match as LAFC put in two more goals before the halftime whistle including a second from Vela.
In the second half, Vela completed his hat trick with a ludicrous left-footed shot to the corner of the net and the rout was on.
Almost as impressive as LAFC’s performance on the pitch was the number of supporters that took over Avaya Stadium for the match. When LAFC visited Avaya last summer, their supporters took over most of section 134, but this match they easily spilled over into the next two sections, and their presence was felt. As a native Californian, the heaving of a building always catches my attention so when I felt my seat start to rock back-and-forth I naturally looked around to see what might be causing it. The culprit was not a movement of the San Andreas Fault, but the united hops of several thousand black-and-gold covered individuals celebrating their team and the display they were witnessing on the pitch.
Portland Comes to Town
The Quakes continue their home-heavy part of the schedule when Portland Timbers visits Avaya on Saturday. The Timbers are without a home until June because of a 4,000 seat upgrade to their home stadium of Providence Park, and they are not doing well having gone winless in their first four matches of the 2019 season. In that process, they have given up 12 goals, just two less than the Quakes so this is a great chance to get the offense into some kind of rhythm. The fans could also use a performance that shows that this squad is capable of winning more than four matches this season.
Chris Wondolowski still sits at 144 goals one behind Landon Donovan for most all-time MLS goals. If Wondo is kept off the tally sheet this weekend his next opportunity to match or break the record will come in his old stomping grounds of Houston when the Quakes make a visit to BBVA Compass Stadium on April 13.