Saturday’s loss underscores the theme of the Quakes these past few seasons. No matter how positive things are going, something will undo all progress.
Now, with the season seemingly lost, the team finds themselves in a familiar yet precarious situation.

Austin’s last-second winner was heartbreaking for many reasons. However, it clearly hurt the players the most, seeing their good work slip through their hands.

In an ideal world, Leitch and the club would be following the Philadelphia Union’s plan to a T. Combining a youth movement with smart transfers to elevate the club to new heights. However, even though they hit on a lot of things, they failed at the big moves.

Photo: Austin FC


The Quakes continue to kneecap themselves in the moments that matter, be it on or off the pitch. Since their Shield title win in 2012, the Quakes have rotated through managers and projects like socks. This, combined with their inability to find a true star to build around, has relegated them to the cellar of MLS.

It truly sucks for fans and players to watch their club continue to fail in finding stability. For the foreseeable future, the club will be stuck between a rock and a hard place.


Since Leitch took over the front office, he has adopted the Union model. Due to the varying success of his project, the club is in total limbo.

To survive in MLS, clubs either need a vision or money. Clearly the Quakes’ ownership wants to stay within a certain budget, so the Quakes need a clear plan. Philadelphia’s rise to the top of the Eastern Conference should have served as a model for the Quakes.


At the core of the Union’s plan is to transform their club into a pipeline for academy players to reach Europe. While the youth movement is at the heart of everything, on the field, the youngsters supplement stars. Unlike LAFC or Miami, Union’s stars come from other top leagues but fit the mold of transfers who thrive in MLS.

Photo: Philadelphia Union

By bringing in Monteiro, the Quakes clearly showed their wish to be the Union of the West. Unfortunately, this has caused the team to be stuck in the mud.

This tough start has pushed the club into a total state of limbo. Aspects of their plan work, but they can’t fit on the big pieces. By leaning into the youth movement, the team has created a pipeline that will surely pay off for the team long term.

Additionally, a lot of transfers have hit for the team, but it just won’t translate onto the pitch. Leaning more into either side can’t work, as it will either undo the work of the youth development or push them further from contention. This uncertainty leaves everyone wanting more but expecting less. 

On the bright side, the team isn’t operating without a plan; they have one that makes sense. However, their project needs to bear fruit, or the club needs to rethink its plan.


The team’s core issues are twofold. No manager has implemented a winning strategy, and the team can’t find a true star.

Luchi seemed like the correct choice for Leitch’s project. A manager who made his name, developing young players while creating a winning atmosphere. His appointment marked the end of the Almeyda era, where the club only focused on immediate success.

Two seasons into his term, he’s been bitten off more than he could chew. Saturday’s game reinforced the notion that Luchi is overwhelmed tactically. Even if he’s willing to develop players, he can’t get a system or formation to work. 

Unlike other managers, Luchi truly cares about the club and project, but he’s not cut out for this role. This club needs a manager who is more tactically adept and able to oversee this project from top to bottom.

Photo: —

No disrespect to Espinoza, but the team needs another DP to build the team around. Espinoza is the perfect second creator who can play off a star. Even Monteiro, who was a DP with the Quakes, could have been another perfect third DP.

While the Vela rumors never amounted to much, it’s a clear indication that the team understands they need a star. This roster is already constructed well, and all it needs is a number 10 that can raise this team’s floor and ceiling. A true star can ease the pressure on everyone both on and off the pitch.

With so much clicking for the team, they needed to hit on the most important aspects. If Leitch and the front office could get the correct manager and star, this team could succeed.


It’s a terrible feeling to contemplate giving up on a team barely over a month into a new season. However, the Quakes’ situation demands that conversation.
The team is circling the drain, and the solution seems so far away.

Photo: Austin FC

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