After leaking eight goals in the past week, the Quakes are destined to allow the most goals in MLS history. Despite investments in the defense over the past two years, the team continues to regress defensively.
Now, in a season meant to change the fortunes of the club, they find themselves on the verge of breaking unwanted history.

Over the past week, the Quakes leaked 12 goals, if you include last Saturday’s loss to Cincinnati.

A team meant to take a step forward this season ended up being the worst in MLS. 

The backline, when healthy, performs well and meshes in a comfortable way. It’s when injuries hit the team that the team crumbles. With so little depth, it makes it impossible to properly keep this defense at an MLS level.

PHOTO: The Mercury Times

Daniel’s injury remains a turning point in this Quakes’ season. Yes, he struggled in the early season, but his performances last season kept the team alive down the stretch. Now, the weaknesses of his replacements continue to be exposed week in and week out.

While the offense is by no means great, the defense killed the Quakes this past week. No professional team should be shipping out this number of goals over such a short amount of time.

Coming into this season, Leitch brought in necessary pieces to build on an improving backline. However, it’s clear that the plan failed. 

Wilson remains one of the best pieces of business that Leitch has pulled off. The Portuguese found himself among the better defenders in MLS before his injury. His calming presence alongside Rodrigues gave the team the security needed when the Brazilian contributed to the attack. 

Similarly, Costa continues to be an interesting piece for the Quakes. While the defender is not the best at stopping attacks, he continues to give so much to the attack, proving to be another great signing.

In theory, this should have been the recipe that pushed the team to new heights. It might just have if injuries hadn’t destroyed this team. Instead, the lack of depth hampers this team in every conceivable way.

PHOTO: San Jose Earthquakes

The biggest issue for the Quakes is that they don’t have a third starting caliber center back. Munie is still far too green and may serve best as a fourth option at the back. Nothing he’s shown thus far in MLS suggests that he can be a starter in the league at the moment.

Beason is the most interesting player on the Quakes’ backline because of the role he continues to be thrust into. At his best, Beason plays like a serviceable backup; anything else, and you get the poor level of performance that has defined the defender. Again, Beason constantly is forced to be a starter, and if he could be that fourth center back, the pressure would be off him.

As the injuries mount for the team, more and more players will be forced to play roles that they clearly aren’t comfortable in. The issue remains that Leitch didn’t take into account the possibility of too many injuries and players failing to live up to the moment.

Another portion of this season that plagued the team since the moment it happened has been Daniel’s injury. The Brazilian thrilled Quakes fans with his heroics last season, and no replacement has come close to providing what he did.

To be fair, Daniel struggled to start the season. It felt that, like the rest of the team, he failed to match what was needed in the moment. All across the board, his numbers fell, especially those concerning his save percentage.

With his injury ruling him out for most of the season, pressure ramped up on the backups to save the team’s season. Similar to the center backs, in theory, the team shouldn’t have missed too much of a beat. Instead, the misery continued to compound on the team. 

Yarbrough brought plenty of experience to the team but nothing else, truthfully. If fans thought Beasons’ stats were bad, no one can imagine how bad Yarbrough has been. Without a doubt the worst keeper in the league; it’s hard to fault the team for initially betting on such an experienced keeper.

PHOTO: San Jose Earthquakes

Most people ask whether the team should go into the transfer market for a new keeper. While that may be appealing, Emi Ochoa deserves a chance at the starting job until Daniel returns. 

For a while now, it seems clear that Ochoa is the team’s future in between the sticks. Handing him the reins now will give him the chance to show his potential while giving the front office the chance to fully evaluate him. There’s nothing left to lose; they should treat his introduction to MLS the same way the previous regime introduced Marcinkowski to MLS over Vega in 2020.

It’s tough to place all the failures onto the keepers however their mistakes seem to be the loudest.

Unlike the issue with defenders, this may not be the front office’s fault completely. 

This season from hell tortures fans as it has no end in sight. With no improvements on the way, the defensive plan set forth by Lietch and Luchi will continue to fail in the coming months.
By the end of this season, it’s almost certain that the team will have surrendered the most amount of goals in MLS history.

PHOTO: Getty Images

Leave Your Thoughts!

Check Also

Changing Tides

Despite the team’s inability to fully turn things around, Russell’s experimenting is…