Don’t look now, but the Quakes are playing their best soccer of the season. With three wins in their last four games, the team figured things out.
Plenty of reasons exist for this bounceback, but the offense has to be the top one.

Saturday’s win over the Rapids showed the grit that’s been missing for almost a year now. It would have been easy for the team to give up, but they’re playing too well.

For the majority of this season, the Quakes played uninspiring soccer. Attacks died because the forwards were too inconsistent. The midfield failed to help progress play and got exposed whenever the team got hit on the counter.

PHOTO: San Jose Earthquakes

Since their draw against Nashville, it’s clear that the team figured something out. New players finally acclimated to Luchi’s system and look great. While it’s only been three games, Lòpez’s addition continues to change everything for this team.

It’s still too early to declare success for this team, but the signs are positive.

Even if they’re a dark horse to even make the play in the game, this is an impressive turnaround.

Less than a month ago, the team’s season seemed dead. Dead last in MLS while playing the worst soccer in the league; even the most optimistic fan found it hard to find anything positive. 

A defense that couldn’t stop leaking goals paired with an anemic offense. It’s no wonder that by April, most turned away from the team. No help seemed to be coming as the team drifted to the bottom.

Looking back at the poor start, the Quakes were victims of bad luck in some games. Particularly, the game against Austin stands out. Besides the Galaxy game, the team stayed in matches until their mentality dropped.

There’s no excuse for the way the team started, but they bounced back better than they did in Almeyda’s final season. Even though there are legitimate criticisms of Luchi’s system, the team clearly still believes in the project.

PHOTO: San Jose Earthquakes

Again it’s telling that the manager kept the locker room together during this slide. It would have been easy for the team to collapse totally. However, despite not being the captain, Espinoza seems to be leading the team through this.

Starting with the LAFC game, Espinoza is playing more freely which inspires the team around him. Like the spokes of a wheel, everything revolves around him. So when he plays well and with faith, the team reciprocates that.

The team is currently in a positive situation, but the work is far from over. Luchi and the team oversaw an impressive bounce back thus far; now, they need to find their next level.

Losing Cowell and other key players stripped this team of a lot of consistency. New players lacked the time to really get used to both the league and the system.

Amahl Pellegrino’s rough start exemplifies these issues. The winger spent his career terrorizing defenses in Norway but struggled in his first few starts. Too often, he tried to force himself into decent positions rather than let the play come to home.

While his performances improved progressively in April, the LAFC game was a revelation. Finally, the player the team brought over to replace Cowell appeared. Given his ability to find open space, Pellegrino replaced Ebobisse as the team’s main scoring threat.

Pellegrino offers the team they’ve never really had a scoring threat on the wing. With the way he’s settled in, it’s a safe bet that he will continue to carry this team’s offense.

Yes, it’s early, but Lòpez completely changed this team upon arrival. His passing and moving off the ball just opened the game in a way that made the team so threatening. His exceptionally quick passes and reflexes allowed the team to play at a pace that terrified backlines.

Maradona’s grand-nephew may be the team’s best passer, even surpassing Espinoza. Given his movement, he constantly finds himself in threatening positions for shots. As the season progresses, it’s not hard to envision Lòpez as being the person who will determine the Quakes’ future.

As players continue to acclimate themselves to Luchi’s system, the team becomes more and more scary for opponents.

With Pellegrino and Espinoza on the wings and Lòpez in the middle, teams struggle to find ways to defend against them.

This current run of form breathed new life into both the fanbase and the team. Luchi found a system that allowed his attackers to be creative and tear apart backlines.
If the team continues this run, they may just find themselves back in the playoff hunt. 

PHOTO: San Jose Earthquakes

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