The pieces were in place for a special night on Saturday for the San Jose Earthquakes, but it wasn’t meant to be.
A six-game winless run coming in, including a battering midweek on the road, came up against a resurgent LA Galaxy team in the Cali Clasico at PayPal Park, but even with a full crowd and hope that the Quakes would turn it on in the derby once again, it didn’t break that way, as San Jose lost 3-1.
The winless streak is now seven games for the Earthquakes, six of those losses, and while the club was in a similar position last season before rising from the dead, seemingly out of nowhere, there’s a fear this may not be a feat that can be replicated.
Still, head coach Matias Almeyda was unbowed postgame and when asked if the team is searching for more midseason reinforcements after the addition of defender Nathan last week, the manager waxed philosophical.
“I think Nathan’s arrival reinforces us defensively,” Almeyda said through an interpreter. “Having depth and backups is always good. I’ve spoken to Jesse [Fioranelli, the GM] and the owner quite a bit recently, and I’ve given them my opinions regarding what we’re looking for in San Jose in the future.
“All coaches always want to have deep squads, that’s normal. We have a roster with lots of youngsters where surely our project and our process, today, it’s really clear it’s different than the Galaxy’s, for example. Our idea is always to compete, but we know our youngsters still have a lot ahead of them to learn, so there’s two different teams that are going to play two different things. One team that’s formed to fight for the title, which is the Galaxy today, and our process is slower, even though we still want to win,” he added.
While Cade Cowell’s late consolation goal was really the only highlight on the night from an Earthquakes perspective on the field, Almeyda seemed visibly boosted by the crowd in attendance and the presence of his mother visiting from Argentina, after his father’s death from COVID earlier this year.
“Honestly I wanted to congratulate [the crowd]. Playing with so many fans there is always so nice, a good feeling,” he said. “To me, today’s game was really special, my mother got to know our stadium. She’s visiting me here and my wish is that my father would also be here. Everybody knows what happened with my father, but it made me happy, I told my mother what this club still means to me. Obviously I wanted a victory.”
Perhaps most notably, considering the skid the Quakes are on and the constant speculation surrounding Almeyda about his future, he ended the translated portion of his postgame remarks by reiterating his commitment to the Earthquakes.
“In life we have to accept when things get sort of twisted. We will double down our bet to push forward. If there’s one thing that’s characterized me in my personal and sporting life, it’s to never drop my arms. We keep going forward until there’s no way around it, and then people above me would have to make decisions. As long as I have the chance to work, I have the energy and desire intact, because I’m aware of the steps that we’re taking,” he said.
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