The San Jose Earthquakes’ run in the MLS is Back Tournament came to a close Saturday, as they were still unable to solve Minnesota United, falling to the Loons 4-1 in the quarterfinal round.
San Jose entered the game as slight favorites, but with the Quakes having never beaten Minnesota while Matias Almeyda is in charge, Adrian Heath’s group had their number yet again, and two early goals ultimately sealed the game.
Almeyda made no changes to his starting lineup, as expected, but it is quite likely heavy legs took a toll on the XI over the course of the 90 minutes.
Minnesota hit the Quakes with a one-two punch to take an early lead. An early cross sailed to the far post, and Jose Aja headed it back across the grain of the goalmouth, where Robin Lod was at the opposite post to tap in the opening goal in the 20th minute.
There it is!@MNUFC lead 1-0 thanks to Robin Lod. #SJvMIN pic.twitter.com/ytDIWA9uQk— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 2, 2020
Only 90 seconds later, the Loons doubled their lead, with Earthquakes goalkeeper Daniel Vega making a diving save on a low shot, only for Jacori Hayes to clean up the rebound and score to make it 2-0.
Here Comes Debo #SJvMIN | @JacoriHayes pic.twitter.com/f0d2hCpFmC— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 2, 2020
San Jose needed a boost after the restart, and got one a few minutes into the second half. Tommy Thompson earned a handball penalty by Hayes, and Magnus Eriksson scored yet another goal from the spot to make it 2-1.
But while the Quakes started to push for the equalizer, Minnesota got one chance on the break and made it count, with Luis Amarilla scoring on a breakaway in the 56th minute to restore Minnesota’s two-goal lead.
¡VAMOS!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 2, 2020
Luis Amarilla takes it himself & puts @MNUFC up 3-1. #SJvMIN pic.twitter.com/irb482wkcf
Almeyda made a slew of changes to try and flip the game around, including giving rookie Jack Skahan his MLS debut, but the subs couldn’t find the magic formula to score and flip the game around once again in the tournament.
Another sub, Minnesota’s Marlon Hairston, scored in the 86th minute to make it 4-1 and ice the game for good.
And so ends San Jose’s time in Orlando. This game really was the big litmus test for the Quakes — I think if they had won this one, they could look to win the whole tournament. But they just weren’t able to cover for their mistakes and they just didn’t have the crisp play on both sides of the ball that powered them through in this competition. Having said that, losing just once and reaching the quarterfinals is a pretty good run for San Jose, and hopefully they can build on this experience to show more progress as a team moving forward.
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