Saturday’s action continued the Quakes good start to the season. Cristian Espinoza’s brace earned the Quakes their third win of this young MLS season. Luchi’s side is putting together quite the promising run of form.
Luchi’s start to life in San Jose has gone swimmingly. Three wins in six matches with only one truly bad performance should have Quakes fans dreaming.
Almeyda’s time in San Jose could have been characterized as chaos while Luchi’s matches have been more professional. A great combination of a tough defense and a potent offense has given the Quakes a dominant side. It finally seems like the Quakes figured things out with this roster and coaching staff.
There were practically no negatives to take from Saturday’s match. There were a few mid player performances but the team played well. Luchi’s issues with his sub patterns have continued, but he seems to have settled on which players he will use.
Fans have been waiting for a change in fortune like this for years now. By embracing the modern MLS, Luchi has found a model of success.
Outside of the penalty against them, the Quakes dominated the game and made sure that the Dynamo rarely threatened. Espinoza helped the team capitalize on their moments on a night where they should have had more goals.
It’s clear that if the MVP award was handed out today, Espinoza would be one of the favorites. In his fifth season, he is finally getting all the praise he deserves for his excellent performances. Luchi has created an offense that is built around the Argentine and is reaping the rewards.
With Monteiro back, the midfield looked so much better than it did last week. No player on this team is better at transitioning between defending and attacking than Monteiro. He gives all his teammates another outlet and his silky dribbles mesmerize fans and opponents alike.
Even Cade looked good against the Dynamo by being less insistent on being the star. He was unselfish with the ball and tried to get everyone involved in what was his best game of the season.
Almost no one could have predicted how formidable the Quakes backline would become. Mensah is the perfect veteran for this side and exudes calmness on the ball. It’s going to be hard for the front office to not bring him back next season given how he has transformed the backline.
Rodrigues has finally broken out after a rough start to life in MLS. The Brazilian’s tough tackles make him a nightmare to try to get around. At the same time, he is very willing to move the ball forward and is not shy about trying to score.
Just a quick shout out to Carlos Akapo who has become one of the best right backs in MLS. The winger is so good on both sides of the ball and hsa formed a formidable partnership with Espinoza.
Against the Dynamo, the Quakes took care of their business without too much fanfare. This is a welcome sign of a competent team.
To be honest, the only criticisms of the performances are small. There are some criticisms that have continued over the course of the past few weeks.
With Gruezo out and Judson working back to full health, Baldisimo has been forced into a larger role and is clearly struggling to be effective. Benji was largely anonymous when he came on, but Luchi did put him in way too late for him to be effective. Marie is not a starting caliber player and is easily the weakest link in the backline.
As it has been for this start to the season, Luchi’s sub patterns left much to be desired. While it’s good to see Bouda get more of a chance, Luchi puts his subs in once the game is pretty much over. That said, Judson’s introduction earlier into the game did help solidify the game for the Quakes.
These criticisms are minor in the larger scheme of things in these early games, as they can be mended over time. By subbing in Judson early, Luchi showed that he is slowly learning how to better manage games.
In seasons past, the Quakes had some good performances to start the season, but they were all for nothing. This start feels different as the team’s games aren’t chaotic messes that can sometimes result in wins, rather they are professional games where the Quakes control the tempo. Teams that constantly reach the playoffs win games like this even if it’s not the sexiest of styles.
Player and Manager Ratings:
GK– Marcinkowski- 7
DF– Akapo- 8
DF– Mensah- 7
DF– Rodrigues- 9
MD– Baldisimo- 5
MD– Yueill- 7
MD– Monteiro- 7
FW– Cowell- 7
FW– Ebobisse- 6
FW– Espinoza- 9
Featured image: San Jose Earthquakes