Whenever a new coach comes in, a certain grace period has to be afforded, no matter if the results are good or bad. It’s in these moments where real change can start to be gauged. For Luchi, there are clear signs of positive change.
Really since Frank Yallop left the team, there has been a lack of a consistent managerial project. Luchi aims to buck this trend by bringing this time into the modern MLS.
Fans have been treated to plenty of positives so far from an exciting offense to a dominating midfield. These changes don’t feel like fool’s gold. There is something promising about the way this team has been set up.
Of course, there are still some growing pains for a manager less than five games in. Certain players have struggled to fit into the team, yet play a lot. Luchi’s sub patterns and lineup choices do need some work, but that should come with time.
Out of all the jobs that he could have taken, Luchi chose one of the hardest. This organization desperately needed a culture change.
The Quakes’ start to the season has been the antidote to the malaise that has sunk into the organization. Dominating and attacking soccer that makes every player a threat is something Quakes fans haven’t seen in years.
All of Luchi’s attacking changes can best be summed up in one player, Cristian Espinoza. Easily one of the best players in MLS, Espinoza has been given the keys to the Quakes’ offense. This has allowed him to float across the right side and be a threat to score or create a chance.
Espinoza’s freedom has allowed for Ebobisse to continue to fine tune his game. There are more and more moments of him dropping back and either helping defend or move the ball forward. In turn this forces defenders to follow him around opening more space for his fellow forwards.
A few words should be said about the defense, as the pairing of Mensah and Rodrigues has brought so much veteran calmness to the backline. The full backs, Akapo and Truaco, have played well and Akapo looks promising.
Outside the attack, fans can clearly see the transformation that the midfield has undergone. Finally, there is a balanced midfield that gets the best out of every player there. Every player has a role that makes sense for both them and the team.
Monteiro continues to be one of the best moves the club has made, as he has become the perfect player to ignite an offense. Similarly, Grurzo has filled that defensive mid position at an elite level, being able to relieve both Monteiro and Yueill of defensive responsibilities. This may be hee best Yueill has looked, the freedom he’s been given has allowed him to be much more of a playmaker.
There clearly has been a tactical revolution over the offseason that has begun to pay off. It’s one that aims to get the best out of every player rather than force them into a role.
Any new coach will have to deal with certain growing pains as they try to kickstart a project. Luchi is no different, but should improve over time.
Of all the players who have struggled to find form under Luchi, Cade has to be the most concerning. This was supposed to be the season where Cade jumped to the next level and became the team’s star. Up to this moment, he hasn’t found much success and continues to show a lack of growth in key areas.
Paul Marie has always been a player that is hard to rank, every team needs a player like him, but there is a danger in over playing him. Under Almeyda, Marie was just an attacking full back while Luchi demands more defensive work. This has clearly affected Marie, as he’s not a comfortable defender and may be more suited on the wings.
Figuring out a sub pattern is crucial in a side that wants to gel together and build consistency. Often this season, he has waited far too long to make any change. His current pattern includes the same players and rarely ever changes them, which is needed so early in the season.
While it’s only happened once, the decision to start Tommy Thompson for the suspended Monteiro backfired on the team. Instead of Thompson, Baldisimo or Cruz should have been given this chance to mold them into that Monteiro role. It’s imperative that correct players are used when others will miss time.
These are somewhat minor criticisms for what has been a promising start to Luchi’s tenure. They should still be addressed in order to keep the magic of this side going.
Luchi’s start to life in San Jose has been positive, as he has brought back a feeling of stability to a side that has been lacking it. There have been some issues, but overall it’s hard to not be optimistic about what Luchi is building. So much of the season is still left to play, but it’s soon time for fans to start dreaming again.
Featured image: San Jose Earthquakes