If Saturday night’s game proved one thing, it was that this is a new era for the Quakes. Luchi has found a way to create one of the most exciting teams in MLS. It’s still early in the season, but the good vibes are finally back in San Jose.
After a disappointing loss in Atlanta last week, all eyes were on the Quakes to bounce back. Carrying on the positives from last week, Luchi’s side were able to deliver fans a much wanted win.
In a lot of ways, this was a continuation of the positives from last week. The forwards played well and contributed to the build up. While the midfield controlled the tempo of the game and forced Vancouver to play the Quakes’ game.
Had the game ended the way it did at the half, there would be a grocery list of negatives. Daniel continues to look shaky, as Marcinkowski has to be breathing down his neck. The defense did look good, but the fullback situation is still concerning.
Fans will be rejoicing as Luchi has finally unlocked something within this Quakes team. The best part for Quakes’ fans is that this revolution seems to have happened way earlier than imagined.
There were moments against the Whitecaps that tantalized fans into thinking this team has a shot at being amongst the best in MLS. Unlike the Almeyda era, something about this feels sustainable.
Any real discussion about the improvement of this Quakes’ side has to start with the forwards. Ebobisse and Espinoza have started the season in blistering form, with the two of them responsible for almost every Quakes’ goal. An all star nod seems almost certain for both, as they are clearly the cornerstones for this team.
Espinoza looks like a man reborn, as Luchi is giving him the freedom to cut in and force his defenders into trying to guess whether he’ll shoot or pass. Luchi is having Espinoza play in that di María role, where the team’s offense rotates around him. This has only benefitted Ebobisse, who is arguably the best striker in MLS currently.
Outside of Gruezo, who struggled to control the lines, the midfield controlled the game and forced Vancouver into defending almost the entire game. Monteiro was mesmerizing, as he put in great effort on both sides of the ball. Every time the Quakes looked deadly, there was the midfielder looking to find an open teammate.
Yueill also deserves a shoutout, as he has looked excellent with the freedom bestowed upon him by Luchi. With Gruezo behind him, Yueill is now able to play a bit of a more box to box role and roam the pitch. Across both games, he was able to pick out passes from both sides of the pitch, balancing the midfield well with his partners.
Outside of the Vancouver goal, the center backs put in another great shift with Rodrigues looking so much more comfortable next to Mensah. Akapo also deserves a shout out, for not only his goal, but his efforts on the defensive side as the Quakes looked to kill the game off.
Yes it’s only two games in, but there is enough to suggest that this new look Quakes’ team is for real. Luchi has his team playing good MLS soccer and they can only continue to develop.
For the most part, the negatives from last week bled to this week. There are still way too many defensive liabilities and underperforming players.
Daniel played an awful game, coming off his line way too much and making terrible distribution decisions. His poor decision played into the Whitecaps’ goal and he was zapped of confidence after it. Besides a few routine stops, there is little to suggest that he is better than Marcinkowski.
This begs the question, why shouldn’t Marcinkowski be given the start next week? Surely he deserves the chance to beat out Daniel. If he is subpar, than it’s fair to continue with Daniel, but there is nothing to suggest that the Brazilian is that much better.
Besides Akapo, and some of Trauco’s minutes, the fullback position looks weak for the Quakes. Marie continues to be targeted defensively while getting caught up in the attack, which suggests that his best role may be off the bench. Trauco, for his part, has looked fine defensively, but thinks he is Dani Alves in the attack when he should just be there to complement his forwards.
The year of Cade is off to a very slow start despite his great first half performance against Vancouver. He looks to be hunting his shot more than anything which takes away from the flow of the offense. To truly break out, Cade has to find a way to integrate himself into the offense more and play off both Ebobisse and Espinoza.
Again, these issues aren’t fatal and should be dealt with as the season progresses. Fans should definitely keep their eyes on them, but shouldn’t fret too much.
Many expected Luchi’s impact would take longer to be felt, but the manager has found a way to shape the team into his vision. High paced attacking soccer with a tough defense is something that is somewhat foreign to jaded Quakes’ fans. Next week brings the Rapids and another chance to bring great soccer back to San Jose.
Player and Manager Ratings:
GK- Daniel- 5
DF- Marie- 5
DF- Mensah- 7
DF- Rodrigues- 7
MD- Gruezo- 6
MD- Yueill- 8
MD- Monteiro- 8
FW- Cowell- 7
FW- Ebobisse- 9