Currently, on a four-game winless streak, the Quakes have regressed back to their old selves since the loss to Portland. While it was not the most embarrassing loss of the season, the damage caused by it disrupted positive progress.
This streak has not only plummeted the Quakes back down the standings but also highlighted issues with Luchi’s lineups.

In a cruel twist of fate, just as it seemed that everything was going well, the Quakes befall terrible luck. With officials confirming their mistakes in Portland, it seems that the loss was completely unwarranted.

There’s a feeling that the team failed to recover mentally from what felt like a stolen win. Since then, Luchi’s crumbling system has continued to get exposed on a national level, culminating in the most embarrassing loss in recent memory against NYCFC.

PHOTO: Bay Area News Group

Multiple aspects of this team fail on a regular basis. Being generous with Ebobisse, as the team still finds a way to score, the midfield is dragging this team down. It’s clear that unless a change occurs in the middle, this team’s floor and ceiling are rock bottom.

Perhaps the team can end the season more positively by being willing to make drastic changes. Unless moves come in the summer, it’ll be up to the team to make the necessary adjustments.


To be honest, the lack of production from the strikers is concerning. However, given how the rest of the front line continues to score, the midfield takes the top spot in terms of concern.

The only midfielder whose starting spot is secure is López. From the moment he joined, the Argentine elevated this team’s play. Ratchet, it’s his fellow midfielders who hold this team back.


In recent weeks, Luchi began to experiment with changing the third midfielder in the triangle. When the team needed more offense, he started Tsakiris and Gruezo whenever the team needed an anchor.

Unfortunately, neither player really performed to the expectations placed on them. Tsakiris is still far from being a real force in the midfield and lets the game go past him too often. While Gruezo gives you what you expect from a defensive mid, he’s nowhere near a DP-level player.

PHOTO: Getty Images

The question that Luchi needs to answer is what does he sacrifice, defense or offense? It essentially comes down to which player can help at the moment. There’s no doubt that Tsakiris profiles to be the future of this team, but Gruezo can help in the current situation.

With the team leaking goals, Gruezo’s presence helps shore things up, even if he provides little on the other side. His ability to be that third center back at times gives the team that stability it desperately needs. Again, this comes down to the team paying DP-level money for a role that Judson provided on a much more team-friendly contract. Not having that clear balance in the middle forces Yueill to do too much. Given the team’s defensive struggles, the safer option might be to ride it out with Gruezo.


Ultimately, the heart of the team’s midfield struggles comes down to Yueill. Despite being a starter from the moment the Quakes drafted him, Yueill’s regression leaves fans wondering why he’s starting weekly.

Over his seven years in San Jose, Yueill has played every position in the middle. From trying to be the team’s number ten to the Pirlo-esque role in front of the backline, none have really stuck. To be fair, he fits better as the number six that Luchi plays him as, but he’s still just a league-average player.

While Yueill still passes like one of the better playmakers in the league, his inability to beat his man hurts his production. It’s clear that he’s effective as a game manager but doesn’t do enough to advance the team’s play. Again, this wouldn’t be totally disastrous if the team had a player able to stretch the game.

One would hope that in a truly balanced midfield, two creative players would be anchored by a defensive specialist. Essentially, Luchi needs a true box-to-box player in order for his system to work as intended. 

PHOTO: Getty Images

Replacing Yueill is tough in two ways: he’s the team captain, and the lack of options on the roster is concerning. Despite his drop in production,  Yueill remains the team’s captain, but given Rodrigues’ impact, the Brazilian could step up as a leader. The other aspect concerns fans the most, as the lack of team depth kills them.

If one assumes that the Quakes won’t make any changes in the summer, what options exist for Luchi if he wants to replace Yueill?

Tsakiris comes to mind as being the closest to being that option. However, his issues with tracking back and occupying the same zone as López render him an imperfect option.  

For Luchi’s ideas of a midfield to come to fruition, it needs a midfielder who can elevate the game behind López. Yueill promised to be that player, but his inconsistency rendered him useless.


Given the Quakes’ position at the bottom of MLS, now’s the time to experiment. There’s no point in repeating the same mistakes and hoping for a change.
If Luchi wants to save his job for next season, he needs to take these risks and see if something sticks.

PHOTO: Bay Area News Group

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