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Monday Kickback: Week 20

Quakes end tough stretch with big win in the Cali Clasico

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at LA Galaxy Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Earthquakes finished a hectic summer stretch that had them playing six matches in 23 days which tested Matias Almeyda’s style and roster. Looking at the Western Conference table and how far up the Quakes have gone is a good indication that they passed the test. Let’s talk about what happened in the last week.

Hey You Guys!

The era of Goonie Time soccer is over but every once in awhile the magic comes back to San Jose. Friday night in Carson it was time for Vako to take control of the magic wand, and he made the LA Galaxy’s hope for revenge disappear into the Southern California night. The 26-year-old Georgian is finally playing up to the big contract he signed with the Quakes, and on Friday night he was involved in all three goals.

For an hour the Quakes were the better team but were losing on the scoreboard thanks to a second-minute goal from Rolf Feltscher. The Quakes knew if they were going to leave So Cal with any points they were going to have to put pressure on David Bingham. So they started taking shots anytime they were in the Galaxy half of the pitch, and by the end of the night, the had peppered Bingham and his defenders with 32 shots, three of them ending up in the back of the net. With that performance, the Quakes have now won five of the last seven editions of the California Clasico and outscored LA 6-1 in this years matches.

Marcos Lopez had a great match

Over this brutal summer stretch, I thought that one of the Quakes weaknesses was the play of Marcos Lopez, but on Friday he was in excellent form. With Nick Lima just returning to the squad after the Gold Cup Lopez got another start for the Quakes and he took full advantage. I don’t know if it was the pressure of a big match or the realization that his playing time might go down because of players returning from injuries and international duty but whatever it was it worked. Even if he doesn’t get on the pitch as often, it will be reassuring to Almeyda and Quakes fans as a whole to know that they have a capable backup that is ready to come in and keep the team performing at such a high level.

Next Up Vancouver in Canada

The Quakes stay on the road this week as they head up north to Canada to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps. If the Quakes want to be taken as a serious playoff-contending team, they are going to have to win on the road, and this Saturday is an excellent opportunity for the Quakes to earn back-to-back road wins and keep themselves in the thick of the playoff race.

Vancouver is going to be playing their third match in a week including an away game in New England on Wednesday before they have to fly back home and face the Quakes on Saturday. That’s a lot of travel and a lot of soccer in one week, and the Whitecaps have been in a terrible slump as of late. Vancouver got worked at home by Sporting Kansas City losing 3-0 and are now winless in their last six matches. The Quakes just got Nick Lima and Harold Cummings back from the Gold Cup which adds depth to the roster. A midweek friendly against La Liga side Real Valladolid will test the depth of the roster, but they will be well-rested and prepared for Saturday’s match in Vancouver.

Coleman Avenue Neighborhood Grows Up

The area around Avaya Stadium has been a beehive of construction since the Quakes moved into their new home on Coleman Avenue. The large piece of land that was once home to a facility that made the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle is being transformed into a mix of dense office and housing, and last week we got a look at what part of that land might look like in several years. Right now some of that space is being used as part of the silver parking lot, but soon it will be a mix of a hotel, office space, and around 1,600 badly needed apartments.