An Open Letter to Dom Kinnear

April 18, 2015

Dear Coach Kinnear:  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  If it’s broken, fix it!!

Things That Are NOT Broken:

Wondo at forward.  When he was at forward, he scored three goals, and was on his way to another great season.  When you decided to play him at mid, or not play him at all, our offense tanked.  In fact, before subbing Wondo on this past Friday, our offense only had two shots.  After Wondo came on, we generated eight shots.  If Wondo is scoring at forward, keep him at forward.  When he stops scoring at forward, THEN move him.

Now I know there’s more to the Wondo story than you’re telling people, and I know you like to play your cards close to your chest, but a little honesty would be great every once in a while.  Wondo’s playing injured, right?  And the whole “fatigue” thing is just a ruse?  Because if you are intentionally benching one of the league’s top scorers, or intentionally playing him out of position for Innocent and Jahn, you are over-thinking it.

The 4-2-3-1 you were running with Wondo up top.  Remember that game in Seattle?  A masterpiece.  Remember that game against Chicago?  Another thing of beauty.  Even the loss at Dallas wasn’t a bad loss as we had our chances to win.  But then you did something which has caused Quakes fans such as myself to question your sanity: you changed formulas.  Don’t let one game in New England throw you.  It was a good system.  It might not work in freezing rain when the ball movement slows, but that’s no reason to abandon it altogether.  Ever since you abandoned the 4-2-3-1, our offense has been stagnant, averaging 0.33 goals/game.

Things That Are Broken and Require Your Immediate Attention:

The 4-3-3 set.  Forget it, move on.  It hasn’t worked all season, it’s time to pull the plug.  In fact, when a team runs the “high pressure” system like NYRB, the more open the formation, the easier it is to pass the ball, and set up the counter attack.  The 4-3-3 kept the field compact, which allowed NYRB to use their press to keep the ball in our half of the field and dominate possession (NYRB had 20% more possession than us in the first 55 minutes, that’s a 70% to 30% possession ratio).   Just do what works and tweak as needed, no more 4-3-3.

Wondo at midfield.  I think I’ve already said enough on this subject.

Nyassi.  Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a good player, but he’s been subbed out against Seattle, Chicago, New England, RSL, Vancouver, and now NYRB.  Shea can go the full 90, Nyassi can’t.  Why keep wasting a sub on Nyassi when you got a great LW in Shea, who is just as good as Nyassi (probably better), knows the team better, and can give you more minutes?

Thompson.  The dude needs more chances.  Since you’re already stacked at forwards with Wondo, Innocent, and Jahn, why not let Thompson play in Sacramento?  It’s obvious he’s never going to get a shot in the current format with Jahn, Wondo, and Innocent playing in front of him, and not playing just hurts his development as a player.  In fact, why not try Tommy in place of Nyassi or Jahn?  Just food for thought.

Defensive players playing out of position.  This was an issue with Bingham coming off his line too much, and when Bernardez got red-carded in Seattle.  It seemed to go away for the past few games and our defense was stellar, but it reared its ugly head against NYRB.  Both goals were scored at the right-back position.  On the first goal, Wynne is nowhere to be found, until after the goal is scored and you can see him trotting back as if he were playing midfield.  On the second goal, Wynne leaves his mark (Mike Grella) to go all the way across the goal to mark an already marked Sacha Kljestan.  This left Grella wide open in the box, resulting in another goal for NYRB.  Defensive players need to stay within their zones.  On a positive note, David Bingham had this issue, and seems to have settled into not coming out of position, but remaining disciplined and sticking to his line.  Bernardez also seems to have stopped going out wide and remains in the middle of the field.

Thank you for your time, and if there are any other issues, I will be sure to write again.  Also, please don’t take this as negativity.  I feel you are doing a great job at turning the team around, and I know it’s not how to start the season, but how you finish it.  So please continue to work at it, just don’t over-think it.

Sincerely,

-A Devoted Quakes Fan

Photo Credit: San Jose Earthquakes Facebook Page

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