With every passing match, the Quakes’ hot play after López joined feels like a mirage.
Despite the impressive talent on this team, it remains the worst in the league.

With the season fully spiraling out of control, a crucial change needs to happen to prepare the team for the future.

Saturday’s game was a total gut punch. The team worked hard to get the lead and played excellent soccer until the last 15 minutes.

From that point, a collapse felt imminent as the team surrendered more and more possession to Cincinnati. On the sidelines, Luchi failed to meet the needs of the moment. He waited far too long to make any changes as the team’s system fell in on itself.

PHOTO: FC Cincinnati

Since the victory over LAFC last year, the positive attacking play disappeared from the team. Nothing changed until López arrived, and the good vibes were fleeting. At this point, it seems like Luchi finds himself overwhelmed, and a separation might be needed.

As the rest of MLS begins entering a new era, one of the oldest clubs in the nation becomes a relic of the old MLS.

Even if this season is truly lost, which it probably is, the team just can not keep existing like this.

Saturday’s game encapsulated all that plagues them. Plenty of issues surfaced, but it feels that there is no confidence in this side. 

To be fair to the team, for most of the game, they played excellent soccer. They pinned back Cincinnati and got quality chances. Once Espinoza put the Quakes ahead, though, a specter came back to haunt the team. 

Rather than continue punishing the Cincy backline, the Quakes dropped back and allowed their opponents back into the game. From that moment, fans expected the team to collapse.

Under immense pressure, the team continued to make terrible mistakes. From Yueill’s pass that led to a goal to the defense caught in transition, the team’s mentality bristled. No help came as the team drowned without any help to come.

PHOTO: FC Dallas

While the players who continuously made mistakes deserve a share of the blame, Luchi failed as well. As Cincy mounted their comeback, nowhere was the coach to calm things down. With more defensive help needed, the manager waited until the team was down 4-2 to bring on help.

The substitution issues continue to remain Luchi’s biggest weakness, and by not putting Morales in the moment Cincy equalized, he cost the team dearly. Luchi’s system continues to get exposed under pressure, as the defensive shape of the team is too weak. Combining an exposed system with the failure to read the moment, Saturday became another example of Luchi being out of his depth.

Perhaps the worst part of all this is that this is the most talented team the Quakes have assembled. When fully healthy, this should be around the top 5 squads in the West.

Unfortunately, these past two games are not outliers; this is who the team is currently.

It’s a team severely lacking in confidence the moment things go wrong for them.

Sacking a manager midseason rarely works, but for a team so far from any sort of playoff hopes, it’s a worthy gamble. While Luchi still has time left on his contract, the front office shouldn’t operate on the notion of seeing this out. This team desperately needs a fresh start, and even bringing back Covelo would be good. 

Comparing this moment to the Almeyda dismissal is useful in terms of figuring out what the club needs to do. While the vibes aren’t as toxic as they were in 2022, it’s hard to argue the club’s outlook is any better.

None of the squads Almeyda managed were as talented as this one. They mixed aging players with fringe MLS players in a system that never fit either of those groups. Ironically, Almeyda’s system would fit this current group well.

PHOTO: San Jose Earthquakes

Appointing Covelo as the interim coach was never going to fix the team, but it had the players performing well in a good system. Covelo never promised to be this innovative coach, but he bandaged over the cracks and stabilized the team. He gave the front office room to choose their next project with enough clarity.

Above all else, this is what the team needs at the moment. A coach comes in to stabilize the mess and get the players performing once more. Fortunately for the team, there are options on the bench who can step up and provide that role.

It’s beyond time for a change in San Jose.

The team continues to spiral out of control, and they desperately need some sort of stabilizing force.

At this point, there’s no reason for the Quakes not to make a big change. The season practically ended last month, the team’s mentality is shot, and Luchi is out of his depth.
Once more, San Jose finds itself at a crossroads: make the change now and give up on this season, or continue to spiral.

PHOTO: FC Cincinnati

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