For the first time in the 2020 MLS season, head coach Matias Almeyda didn’t face the press after a San Jose Earthquakes game, but general manager Jesse Fioranelli did.
The Earthquakes were battered 6-1 Saturday by the Portland Timbers at home, their second enormous loss in just over a week, extending their winless run to eight games, seven since the local return to play.
Fioranelli explained Almeyda’s absence was due to a “terrible headache,” as speculation online swirled that the manager may be departing, but the GM didn’t say anything more specifically about the Argentine in his time with reporters.
Since it’s not every day the GM steps in for the coach to talk to the press after a huge loss, here are Fioranelli’s full remarks in the postgame press conference, with Almeyda and no players talking to reporters Saturday. He was asked a question between each paragraph here, but I think you can get the drift of the question based on his answer.
“Before we look forward, I just wanted to say two words and explain also why Matias is not here, he has a terrible headache. And I just wanted to step in. Before we look forward to the future we have to get a hard look at ourselves. Today was a very painful loss. And we apologize, I apologize, for the way we performed today. This is not who we are. We know we can do better. We had a long conversation with the players, but rather than speaking much today it’s going to have to be tomorrow, after we have analyzed the game carefully, that we will come to more in-depth conclusions about what went wrong, and how we have to correct the path. So I don’t want to jump to any conclusions tonight. Other than expressing an apology to the fans and sponsors, and the club in general, because this is not who we are.”
“I wish I could spend maybe a little bit more time with you guys to explain where we are at this point in time. We just lost at home 6-1. And there are things that we want to and will correct into the next game. We’ve had several conversations and talks with regards to potential signings, but now’s not the time to speculate about which player we’re going to sign. We have to check ourselves properly, correct things. And we have to stick together as one.”
“Right now is a very difficult moment, I admit that we are very upset about recent performances. We had a very different face we presented when we were in Orlando. There were different circumstances. And it’s not supposed to be an excuse, we are where we are right now. And we know that we have to correct things. I can assure you, based on what the work, effort, and also the commitment has been of the entire first team that I have no doubt that in these last 11 games, we’re going to present ourselves in a different way. And we will keep strengthening this team. From the coaching staff, from players, we’ll have to have some deeper discussions. One thing is for sure. This is not who we are and we will make sure that we will correct the course.”
“You know you’re mentioning external factors that are certainly affecting everyone. Here with the Earthquakes in soccer and everyday life. It’s a very different football that we’re living right now, whether it’s training conditions, whether it is also the condensed schedule. We had also other disruptions with air quality. But our team in Orlando, was focused day in and they out on football, 14 days straight, without having put in training prior to the tournament. We were able to express ourselves differently. But that’s no excuse why you lose 6-1 today. And this is certainly not on the coach. One thing that I can say is that we will have to make certain decisions as to how we want to move forward as a roster. And for that reason I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. I just want to make sure that we analyze it carefully, give ourselves the time. And we’re going to have to do this together.”
“It’s certainly not good enough. And I’m not going to now want to go into more depth as to what the conclusions will be, and how we will correct the course because that’s going to have to be collective effort. Today is the day where, especially during this period of time you’re exposed. When you lose 6-1, you’re alone. What I said to the team is, whether it is the coach whether it is the GM whether it is the player himself. And now we’re going to spend that night alone. Tomorrow, we’re going to get our act together and we’re going to start to commit to a coming back together as a group. And I’m positive that we have it inside of us. Because I’ve seen too much good inside of this locker room. And there’s more quality than what we expressed so far. Much more. We will have to continue to support each other and we will have to strengthen the team. But before we get to those conclusions, it’s time to analyze ourselves.”
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