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San Jose Earthquakes refuse to hang heads after narrow loss to Sounders

Prevailing belief postgame is that Quakes played well against top foe.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Some coaches are unhappy every single time their team loses. Whether it’s a blowout loss or a close defeat, those coaches will not look on the bright side, at least publicly.

Matias Almeyda isn’t that kind of coach, however.

The San Jose Earthquakes boss is an advocate of the holistic approach, in which some wins aren’t always to be celebrated if the performance is not great, and perhaps more crucially, he will complement good performances even if they come in losses.

That was on display on Wednesday following the Earthquakes’ 1-0 loss to the the Seattle Sounders at PayPal Park.

“I’m really happy because the team was up against the best team in the league and in terms of their football they showed important things,” Almeyda told reporters postgame through an interpreter. “I can’t just take away the result when the opponent shot just one shot on goal. I take away the chances we created against an excellent team, against a really good defense. And we had our chances, this time we weren’t able to put them away, but we had them. I think we would have like to have tied the game, which would have been fair, but I’ll take away what the team has produced here. The first 25 minutes were kind of back and forth, then we started to improve and in moments did things really well.”

It was a paradoxical night for the Quakes: They conceded a goal but it was another unstoppable strike, and it turned out to be Seattle’s lone shot on target all night, an impressive accomplishment for such a potent team. Meanwhile, the Earthquakes had plenty of chances, but unlike previous games they didn’t get any in the back of the net this time.

Almeyda was philosophical about how the game ultimately turned out.

“I’m happy with what the team produced and looking for the tie, and if we tied it, even, we were looking for the win,” he said. “But that’s the way football is: you create, you get there, you impose, but for whatever reason, you can’t put it away. And when you’re up against an opponent of this pedigree, just one shot on goal was all they needed to score a golazo. But I’ll highlight the path that we took for our chances, getting by on the flanks, getting our chances, so I think the search was good.”

It wasn’t just Almeyda who was pleased with San Jose’s performance. Midfielder Jackson Yueill agreed that the home side played well and just came up short in terms of the result.

“They’re a very good side for a reason, because they have really good players and they have a system that they’re all bought into,” said Yueill. “So for sure they’re a challenging team to play against and you saw why tonight. I think we made them suffer a lot, and we know we pressed them hard and they were able to win and they do that against a lot of teams. I think this is a great step for us, regardless of the result. The effort was there, I think the attitude at the end and in the second half from from the team was in the right direction, just about finishing our chances and coming out ready to play at the beginning of the games.”

Considering the Sounders have tended to have the Earthquakes’ number while Almeyda has been coach, the improved San Jose squad take away Wednesday’s game as a positive measuring stick. But they’ll keep working on improving, with the aim to pick up more wins moving forward.

“I think we gave away the goal early on, and [were] a little slow at the beginning. That’s something to still be improved on. But I think a lot of positives to take from this game and a lot of season left to to go for and we’ll get our chances,” said Yueill.

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