Another week, another loss. Without a single point, the Quakes are spiraling towards another lost season.

So much has gone wrong for the team, but is anything salvageable?

Saturday’s loss is by no means the team’s worst, and in a vacuum, it’s not a terrible result. However, when considering the context of this loss, it’s disastrous.

The Quakes’ season is unraveling, and it’s barely a month into the MLS season. Blame for this start is widely shared. From disappointing players to bad signings and managerial choices, it’s tough to find another club worse than the Quakes.

Photo: San Jose Earthquakes

As tough as Saturday’s result was, there is some optimism. In both good and bad ways, Luchi is shaking his formation and style to get something to stick. Additionally, the front office has the flexibility to pull off needed transfers.

It’s easy, and probably correct, to be pessimistic about the future of the Quakes. Nothing the team has shown thus far proves them capable of a comeback, but there is still hope.

After an offseason where the team promised to build on the positives of the last season, all the good vibes are gone. All the hope has slipped through fans’ hands like sand.

It may be unfair to pin everything on him,  but the Carlos Gruezo move defines this moment. Breaking the club’s transfer record to bring in a slightly above-average defensive mid was always a risk. Even if he blossomed under Luchi in the past, clubs seldom use that money on a defensive mid.

To the surprise of no one, Gruzeo has shown nothing to justify the price the club spent on him. Gruzeo’s stats are below average, from his passing to his supposedly “elite” defensive skills. Plenty has already been made this season of his issues defensively and more likely will.

Again, pinning everything on him isn’t correct, but it shows the club’s failure to use a DP spot to raise the team’s level. Plenty of other players have struggled, mainly Ebobisse and Yueill, but none earn what Gruezo does.

Photo: San Jose Earthquakes

While he has been willing to change his system, Luchi spent too much time trying to make it work. After that positive start last season, teams figured out how to defend and exploit his system. Luchi did nothing to fix things last season and started this one doing nothing.

Perhaps the most concerning thing from both the manager and players is their inability to see through a game after leading. The team constantly allows teams back into games after getting the opener. This is a poor reflection on all sides, as it shows the team lacks a leader to calm things down or push the team to continue attacking.

If you consider the wooden spoon as the Quakes’ MLS Cup, the team is well on its way to a title. So many different factors have combined to doom this side, and it’s tough to see any way out.

With this spiral, it’s easy to see why so many have given up on this season. Even in the face of defeat, this team still shows glimmers of hope.

Despite the litany of poor performances, this team still has talent. It’s by far the deepest Quakes team in years. As both Judd and Kikanović have shown, the bench can and will play a significant role this season.

After last week’s disaster, Luchi changed the formation from his typical 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 to make the team more attacking. This wasn’t the first the manager has reacted to slides by adapting his formation.

To correct the collapse last season, Luchi implemented a 3-4-3 to find some stability. This formation worked well by relying on the talented wider players. The backline was tough and allowed the midfield to have less defensive pressure.

Photo: San Jose Earthquakes

A return to that 3-4-3 would be beneficial if the club fails to land a true number ten, but the 4-4-2 is intriguing. With the offensive talents the team employs, it makes sense to double down on it. Judd brings a different way of pressuring the backline, and a partnership with Ebobisse makes sense.

Time is running out, but the team desperately needs to bring in a DP-level number ten. It doesn’t matter if it’s  Carlos Vela; Luchi’s system is screaming for one. An exciting transfer is perhaps the best way to bring back hope to a fanbase that is lacking it.

Only the Quakes could be at the point where they need to think about how to salvage this season a month in. There are a few ways that the team can save this season, but time is of the essence.

An offseason of hope followed by a disastrous start is the only way the Quakes know how to start a season. However, it’s unfair to expect fans to keep caring when nothing has changed. Fans have been waiting over a decade since their last winning season, and nothing about this season is different.

Featured image: Sporting Kansas City

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