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Monday Kickback: Week 23

The elevation in Colorado brings the Quakes down to reality

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-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.

Quakes lose in Colorado

San Jose’s 2-1 loss in at Dick Sporting Good’s Park on Saturday marks the first time since early June that the Quakes have not had a win in back-to-back matches. Is this a sign that Matias Almeyda’s troops are reaching their physical limit after a grueling and surprising season? Or did they face two teams who may not be doing well in the standings but are currently on an upswing?

Por que no los dos?

The Quakes didn’t look lost out there and played the same style that has lead to their success this season. They dominated possession and completed 86% of their 543 passes, but they could not get enough shots on target to trouble Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin. Vako’s hot foot kept its warmth, and he added his eighth goal of the season to level the match in the second half. Colorado, however, was not content losing at home and kept looking for the game-winner. Diego Rubio, Colorado’s second-leading goal scorer, found the right spot to beat Daniel Vega in the 73rd minute. After that, the Quakes offense could not respond before the final whistle blew.

Carlos Fierro Makes His MLS Debut

The Quakes sudden drop-off in offensive performance might have some thinking this is the wall MLS pundits have been saying the team would eventually reach but, as is usual now in San Jose, Matias Almeyda seem to be thinking about that months before anyone else. The Quakes moves in the summer transfer window were solely offensive moves. Carlos Fierro and Andres Rios were signed on to add depth to a group that was playing some of its best soccer in San Jose but were short on depth.

Fierro made his debut in the 58th minute of Saturday’s match in Colorado and had an average(decent?) debut for the Quakes. Thirty-two minutes is not a long time to be able to judge how a player will factor in future matches, but the way Almeyda has turned this team around a lot of Quakes fans were probably expecting at least a brace in his debut.

Next on the Schedule: Sporting Kansas City

The Quakes stay on the road and take on another familiar opponent when they visit Children’s Mercy Park to take on Sporting KC. It’s a tough time for Peter Vermes group who are struggling to stay within striking distance of the final Western Conference playoff spot while dealing with injuries and suspensions. Vermes is going to have to get creative with his lineup because on top of that his team plays three times this week. They visit Orlando City on Wednesday before heading back home. They also may not be with one of their creative players after Gerso went down with an ankle injury in last Saturday’s loss to RSL.

The Quakes are in a comfortable spot in the standings now, but getting points on the road is going to be essential if they want one of the top four places which would mean a home playoff game for the first time since 2012.