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Off night: Orlando City SC 5, San Jose Earthquakes 0

Quakes start a couple steps slow and never catch up.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Earthquakes had some optimism they could build on their draw at the weekend, but instead they suffered their worst loss of the 2021 season on Tuesday, when they fell 5-0 to Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium.

In a choppy game that featured two weather delays that totaled roughly 90 minutes in all, Orlando City made quick work of the Earthquakes, who were poor to open the game defensively, and the game was effectively over 30 minutes in.

The Quakes didn’t make many changes for this game, with Tommy Thompson coming in to start, Judson moving back to midfield with Eric Remedi out suspended.

After a weather delay before kickoff of about 30 minutes, the teams kicked off looking to get the full 90 in without another unforeseen stoppage.

The game didn’t start well for San Jose, as Florian Jungwirth kicked Benji Michel pretty hard in the box and the Orlando attacker went down. Nani scored the penalty in the 7th minute as the Lions took the lead.

It got worse in the 16th minute, as Michel and Paul Marie contested for the ball on a foray into the box, and Marie and JT Marcinkowski took each other out and Michel got a final touch to poke it into the net to make it 2-0 to the home side.

And then it continued to be all Orlando. Daryl Dike, making his first start of the season for Orlando City after a loan stint in England with Barnsley, torched San Jose with a too-easy goal off Nani’s feed in the 31st minute.

The game went into another weather delay in the 40th minute, with the rain coming down hard and a lightning alert stopping the game. The second delay lasted just under an hour, and then the teams got back underway.

Matias Almeyda made two chances coming out of the in-game weather delay, with Cade Cowell and Shea Salinas entering for Jungwirth and Marie.

Chofís Lopez had a sharp shot from distance in first-half stoppage time, that tested Orlando goalkeeper Brandon Austin, the first time he was bothered in the game, but he made the stop. The teams went into the break with Orlando City leading 3-0, San Jose starting to wake up after the long break but with 45 minutes to see if they could play their way back in the game in earnest.

The second half started about as bad as the first for San Jose, as Orlando City had acres of space and it only took a few minutes and a free kick that was turned in by Dike in the 49th minute to extend Orlando’s lead even further.

Tanner Beason and Luciano Abecasis entered the game for San Jose in the 57th minute, for Thompson and Chofís.

There was a long video review process in the final quarter-hour, with an apparent handball by Orlando City in their box. But after VAR, referee Chris Penso ruled the ball went off the player’s foot, then hand, and there was no penalty called for the Quakes in the end.

The Earthquakes played fine for the final 40 minutes, but I think that was as much because Orlando took their feet off the gas as much as San Jose raising their game. Everyone knew the game was over and just tried to be smart about getting to the final whistle, and given the fixture congestion on tap, that makes sense.

But Michel made sure to leave a worse taste in the Quakes’ mouths with a goal in the 90th minute, a mirror image of Dike’s first goal, to wrap up the scoring, although Maurcio Pereyra nearly scored in stoppage time, his effort clanging off the post after Marcinkowski pushed the ball off Tesho Akindele’s foot a moment earlier.

But this Earthquakes side is winless in six games, losing five of those, and scoring just one goal in that span. On a night like this where the defense fell apart, too, it’s a major concern. Maybe they just had a bad night, that happens in this league. But maybe this team really needs real reinforcements, and are any coming? There has to be growing concern this particular group can’t compete across a full season.

The Earthquakes will have another tight turnaround, with the team traveling home and hosting the LA Galaxy on Saturday for a return trip of the Cali Clasico. San Jose narrowly lost the first encounter between the teams this season, will the home cooking give them the boost to get the rivalry win this time around?

What do you think? Leave a comment below.