Most fans expected the Quakes to bounce back after a collapse at the end of last season. After a year under his system, the Quakes profiled to be a team on the rise. Instead, they are playing like the worst team in MLS.


There’s really no other way to describe this start as anything other than disappointing. The team looks bland, and Luchi is out of ideas.

Pellegrino and Costa played good games on the left side and should ease concerns about the issues of last season. Another new addition, Bruno Wilson, looked good alongside Rodrigues. Yueill left the game as the only midfielder who could hold his head high.

Photo: San Jose Earthquakes

The issues plaguing the Quakes this season are the same that killed them last season. Nothing in the attack really works due to the lack of a number ten. More worryingly, Luchi is running out of ideas as his system continues to falter.

Most forecasted the team to finish towards the bottom of the playoff standings, but fans imagined they could finish higher. Now, they may be lucky to avoid finishing last in MLS.


To understand how the team can bounce back, it’s important to focus on the positives. As terrible as this result is, there are some building blocks.

Cowell’s declining production on the wing over the course of last season had the team needing a fresh start on the left. Saturday showed just how good Pellegrino could be as Cowell’s replacement. Pellegrino constantly was the biggest threat in the attack and came so close to scoring with a close header.

Pellegrino’s left side partner, Costa, is a clear upgrade on Trauco. The Brazilian connected well with Pellegrino in the attack but was better defensively. Especially compared to Marie, Costa kept Vancouver’s attack at bay on the left.

Beason’s performances to the start the season had fans begging for a replacement. While Rodrigues was a defensive cornerstone, all attempts to find a partner for him failed.

Photo: San Jose Earthquakes

Wilson promises to be the first partner to succeed. Thanks to Wilson’s presence, Vancouver stayed away from attacking him directly. When they sometimes tried to go straight at him, Wilson’s ability to read attacks snuffed out all their attempts.

Yueill has spent the past few years being the most polarizing player on the Quakes. It’s true that he’s barely made an impact this season, but when he’s allowed to play further up, he can have an impact. When Skahan was taken out and Yueill pushed up, he connected the attack well and clearly opened the attack more.

With a framework being built in the backline, some stability is returning. Also, with time, Pellegrino will come good.


Discussing Saturday’s issues makes you sound like a broken record. Ebobisse looks lost, Luchi’s system constantly breaks down, and no one has any idea how to fix it.

Ebobisse’s struggles have been long discussed, but if Luchi isn’t going to change his system, he needs to be benched. This system forces the striker to just be on the end of crosses rather than try to play behind defenders. If Ebobisse is to succeed, he needs a number ten to relieve pressure for him and open the game up.

Go back a year ago and look how the Quakes were playing. Luchi pushed his team to play attractive, exciting soccer that thrilled Quakes fans.

Photo: Vancouver Whitecaps

Since then, it’s been a complete free fall.  The league understands how to guard Luchi’s system by just packing the box to prevent connections on crosses. Hitting the team on the counter is also the best way for opponents to tear them apart.

To be fair to Luchi, it’s clear that the team needs a number ten to unlock the attack. Tsakiris could play that role, but with a DP spot open, they should bring in an actual talent. Of course, Luchi should still be willing to change his system. 

While Luchi has been willing to be more aggressive with his subs, he’s often too safe about the players he puts in. The Morales was correct for the player being taken out, but Luchi put in Morales to calm the game down rather than take it. He waited until the game was all but over to make actual attacking changes, just showing how he’s mismanaged this situation.

The problems hounding the Quakes are deeply ingrained in Luchi’s system. Unless Luchi changes it, or they land a DP number ten, this team is going nowhere.

Saturday’s game is yet another disappointing game since August of last year. Luchi’s system has been broken by MLS, even though there are some positives. Time is running out for the team, as crazy as it is to say, three weeks in.

 

Player and Manager Ratings:

GK– Daniel- 6

DF– Marie- 5

DF– Wilson- 7

DF– Rodrigues- 6

DF– Costa- 6

MD– Gruezo- 5

MD– Yueill- 7

MD– Skahan- 5

FW– Pelligrino- 7

FW– Ebobisse- 4

FW– Espinoza- 6

 

Subs:

Morales- 5

Judd- 6

Kikanović- N/A

Thompson- N/A

Bouda- N/A

 

Manager

Luchi- 4

 

Featured image:  Vancouver Whitecaps

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