After a great defensive showing against a good Nashville side last week, Quakes’ fans were expecting more of the same against RSL. Unfortunately for fans, the team collapsed defensively and was unable to find any chance of note against a good but not great RSL side. This result marks another worrying turn of form after a great start under Covelo.
Despite a terrible start to the season, the Quakes found themselves in striking distance of the playoff line entering this weekend. However, after the disappointing loss in Utah, the side must figure something out in order to keep their hopes alive.
It’s hard to find any positives from such a poor game, as the team just failed at most aspects of the game. Their ability to keep possession is really the only brightspot, as the side has become much better at keeping and winning the ball since Almeyda’s departure. Outside of a few good individual performances, there really wasn’t anything else of note.
Now the negatives, there were aplenty, with the side failing to break down the RSL backline despite some golden chances. At the same time, Nathan had one of his worst performances in a Quakes jersey, leaving Beason on his own. While the team did have a lot of possession, the midfield was unable to create anything of it.
This loss leaves the Quakes desperately needing a win against the Galaxy this weekend, as their hopes for a playoff push are diminishing by the day. It also feels like the honeymoon period under Covelo is coming to its natural end.
There were a few positives to take from this game, but they mostly were related to possession and individual performances. What’s good for the Quakes is that these positives have been common under Covelo rather than being an exception.
Since Covelo took over, the Quakes have become an elite side in terms of retaining possession which is totally opposite to Almeyda’s system. After this recent game, the team finds themselves top of the MLS in terms of possession. One can imagine that this side would be truly elite if they were able to finish off their quality shots.
Although he missed a great chance, Monteiro’s creativity was the only sort of offense that the Quakes were getting all game. Throughout the game, it was Monteiro who was creating space for others and helping Ebobisse get the ball. It was of no surprise that the best chances of the game all came from the chances created by Monteiro.
Despite having two goals scored on him, JT Marcinkowski was the man of the match with a few truly top class saves. While his defense failed around him, JT saved the side from a more embarrassing scoreline. The off the line save was clearly the night’s best with JT rescuing the team with a great succession of saves.
If the Quakes are able to continue building off the positives from this match, they could perhaps start to turn around this form. It feels like everything comes back down to the possession, as if they could somehow create something from it then they would be in better shape.
Now onto the negatives, it’s hard to describe how boring and uninspiring this performance from the Quakes was. Outside of the keeper, there were issues at every position on the pitch, with some due to Covelo’s tactics.
Starting with the defense, it was a bad time for the Quakes to have their worse defensive performance with Nathan in the backline. While Nathan’s aggressive and passionate play makes him loved amongst Quakes fans, RSL took advantage of his aggression to get runners behind Beason. Marie and López both had awful games, forcing all the pressure onto Nathan and Marcinkowski.
The midfield was also shockingly mediocre, outside of Monteiro, as they failed to create anything with all the possession that they had. While Judson had a solid game, his presence is more beneficial to the defense than the offense. Yueill, perhaps still dealing with an injury, seemed to let the game go past him and had his weakest performance of late.
Interestingly, the attack was more frustrating than anything because they failed to capitalize on the few chances that they created. Espinoza did well to carve apart the RSL backline, but Ebobisse skied a few really good chances. Kikanović is a really interesting utility player who always gives his all, but it felt like he was given the task of replicating Cade’s play which is way too much to ask from him.
While it’s always nice to see Salinas play, it felt like Covelo made the wrong substitution, as the team needed more help offensively then defensively. Both Greguš and Bouda should have been introduced earlier in order to better inject life into a stagnant side. Salinas should have been brought in later on to go after the tired legs in the RSL backline.
Perhaps Bouda should have been given the start, as he would have given the side the better Cade clone and then Kikanović could have been Ebobisse’s sub. The Judson Remedi battle for that final spot in the midfield as both player bring such great defensive prowess but different offensive skill sets. This is where Covelo has the chance to show why he should be in contention for the full time job.
While some of the negatives from Saturday’s game were reminiscent of the Almeyda days, it felt like a lot of the issues came from Covelo’s choices. Covelo’s bright start may be coming to its end with little clarity about the future.
Saturday’s loss felt like a routine MLS loss, but the Quakes don’t have any room to spare as the margin of error continues to shrink. At all levels, the team has to look at themselves in the mirror and figure out what the path from here is. Next week’s cali classico has now taken on even more importance than before, as the team desperately needs a result.
Player and Manager Ratings:
GK- Marcinkowski- 9
DF- Marie- 4
DF- Nathan- 4
DF- Beason- 6
MD- Yueill- 4
MD- Judson- 6
MD- Monteiro- 7
FW- Kikanović- 5
FW- Ebobisse- 6
Bouda- N/A(Didn’t play enough)
Featured Image: Lucas Muller