After a positive road trip, the Quakes returned home to face one of the East’s superpowers. Philadelphia is one of the best-run teams in MLS and are a perennial contender.

This game would give the Quakes a good way to measure just how much they’ve improved.


Things were not getting easier for the Quakes upon their return from their recent road trip. Awaiting them at PayPal was the Philadelphia Union, the MLS Cup runners-up, and a team that the Quakes hadn’t won against in 10 years.

In what adds to a sustained run of good games, the Quakes were able to withstand a Union storm and find a way to win. Daniel’s return has coincided with the Quakes’ defense looking more and more formidable by the week. Aided by this defense, the team has found a way to get quality wins.

Photo: Sports Vision

This was another good and professional win, with the only concern being how the team’s attack wilted as the game went on. While the Quakes possess a great attack, they struggle to remain in games, especially in the second half. Too often, the forwards and midfield seem to run out of ideas when the second half starts.

With this win, the Quakes have put themselves in a good position to challenge for a spot at the top of the West. Luchi has clearly found a system that works for these players, despite some struggles.


One of the calling cards of the Quakes in the past few seasons has been a truly poor defense with a lack of investment in the backline. Saturday’s game shows just how far the Quakes have come in half a season.

Daniel’s return has been a welcome one, as he has brought much-needed stability to the team. The Brazilian produced some excellent saves against Philly, with some truly important ones down the stretch.

While Marcinkowski performed well in his starts, Daniel offers more help to the backline by not being overly aggressive. He allows his centerbacks to make their own stops and is only there to clean up any mistakes. This lets him rely on his elite shot-stopping abilities rather than on rushing out of the box  to scare opponents.

Very few players have benefited from this offseason as Rodrigues, as the Brazilian has announced  himself as one of the best defenders in MLS. Every time that the Union would threaten, Rodrigues would be there to slow down their attack and muddy up their play. He has been immense no matter who plays next to him, and it’s clear that the team needs him here long-term.

Photo: San Jose Earthquakes

Akapo and Trauco also deserve some shoutouts, who are quickly becoming the best fullbacks that the Quakes have had since 2012. The two full backs are crucial to everything that the Quakes do on both sides of the ball. 

One more thing to add is just how much Cowell’s return helped the team. Just his presence pulled the Union defense apart, which gave Ebobisse a lot of room to work in. It’s not a coincidence that when he came out of the game, the Quakes looked completely dead in the attack.

It’s quite a surprise for fans of the Quakes to see this team’s identity be built off their defense. Thanks to a mixture of new additions and in-house developments, this defense can match up with any other backline in the league.


When the Quakes opened up this season, their red-hot attack drew the eyes of MLS fans. However, the front three have started to slow down in recent weeks.

In the team’s past five games, the Quakes have only scored one goal in the last 30 minutes of a game. This was really seen in their past two games, where the team has failed to break down tiring defenses. Especially against the Rapids, the Quakes’ front three failed to break down a team down a man.

Espinoza still looks fine as games wane, but when Cowell is removed, there is no more threat on the left side. Defenses are now free to focus all their defenders on the Argentine. The Union did find a way to silence the MVP candidate once Cowell was gone.

One potential reason for these midgame struggles could simply be the lack of any game-changer off the bench. Just about every option that the Quakes have on the bench is better at closing a game out, rather than adding anything offensively. Perhaps Bouda could help, but he has yet to be given extended time as a difference-making sub.

Photo: San Jose Earthquakes

A reason for fans to be optimistic is that this is the hardest stretch of the Quakes’ schedule in terms of opponents. The team did open up their season, playing weaker sides and somewhat inflated their numbers. Fans should still remain happy with the results that the team is getting even if the way they get them isn’t the prettiest. 

After this recent good form, it’s hard to find any real critiques of this team. The only real issue has to be how the team slows down towards the end of the game.

Saturday’s game was another validation of Luchi’s changes, with just about every player benefiting from his arrival. By building their identity from the defense up, the team has become the model of stability in MLS. With this result, the Quakes have surely proven to the rest of the league that they are a real threat.


Player and Manager Ratings

GK– Daniel- 8

DF– Akapo- 7

DF– Beason- 6

DF– Rodrigues- 8

DF– Trauco- 8

MD– Gruezo- 7

MD– Yueill- 6

MD– Monteiro- 6

FW– Cowell- 7

FW– Ebobisse- 7

FW– Espinoza- 7

 

Subs:

Kikanović- N/A

Marie- N/A

Judson- N/A

Mensah- N/A

 

Manager

Luchi- 7

 


Featured Image: San Jose Earthquakes

  • A Tough But Necessary Change

    After another loss, the Quakes are heading towards their worst season in team history. Cha…
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place

    Saturday’s loss underscores the theme of the Quakes these past few seasons. No matter how …
  • A Defining Challenge

    Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Quakes this season is figuring out the midfield. Six…
  • RECAP: Finally, A Win

    Finally, after four games, the Quakes won their first game of the season. Not only did the…
  • Can Anything Be Saved?

    Another week, another loss. Without a single point, the Quakes are spiraling towards anoth…
  • A New Low

    Most fans expected the Quakes to bounce back after a collapse at the end of last season. A…
  • A Tough But Necessary Change

    After another loss, the Quakes are heading towards their worst season in team history. Cha…
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place

    Saturday’s loss underscores the theme of the Quakes these past few seasons. No matter how …
  • A Defining Challenge

    Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Quakes this season is figuring out the midfield. Six…
  • RECAP: Finally, A Win

    Finally, after four games, the Quakes won their first game of the season. Not only did the…
  • Can Anything Be Saved?

    Another week, another loss. Without a single point, the Quakes are spiraling towards anoth…
  • A New Low

    Most fans expected the Quakes to bounce back after a collapse at the end of last season. A…
Comments are closed.

Check Also

A Tough But Necessary Change

After another loss, the Quakes are heading towards their worst season in team history. Cha…