The San Jose Earthquakes earned their second straight victory to remain undefeated in 2017 by beating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2. While giving up two early goals was a sign of the Quakes’ past, scoring three unanswered to win the game could be a sign of the Quakes’ future.
In their first multi-goal game since August 2016, the Quakes of 2017 refused to be a shadow of the 2016 team despite two disallowed goals from Chris Wondolowski. San Jose made the most of a David Ousted red-card to yet again dominate the stat sheet in shots (21-4), shots on frame (4-2), scoring chances (14-2), possession 78%-22%, total passes (645-186), touches (844-367), and pass completion (87%-56%). A far cry from last season’s first two performances in which the Quakes were statistically dominated, yet came away with victories.
For the second straight match, Anibal Godoy deserved Man-of-the-Match honors: a game-winning golazo from 30 yards out, 142(!) touches, 115(!) total passes on 93%(!) accuracy, tied for the team lead with three shots, two key passes, and five tackles. Wow.
Nick Lima turned in another quality performance, scoring the equalizer at 54′ for his first MLS goal and accumulating 112(!) touches, two shots, two key passes, 75 passes, and 10 crosses. Double wow.
Captain Chris Wondolowski had a great bounce-back performance after going 0-5 on shots on goal last week. Wondo put up three shots with a goal to get the Quakes on the board, not including the two goals that were disallowed.
However, some Quakes continued to struggle. DP midfielder Simon Dawkins had plenty of room for improvement despite three key passes. Dawkins managed just two of San Jose’s 21 shots (zero on target), three crosses, five dispossessions, two unsuccessful first touches (for a total of seven turnovers), one tackle, and zero interceptions. In just 45 minutes of play, Tommy Thompson’s sub Jahmir Hyka put up better numbers: three shots (one on frame), three key passes, three crosses, zero dispossessions, one unsuccessful first touch, and a 93% passing accuracy. Hyka also dropped two dimes on both second half goals. (When Jahmir Hyka came on as a halftime sub, I was surprised Tommy was the one being replaced and not Dawkins.)
Flo Jungwirth also had a defensive nightmare to begin the match as he was victimized by Erik Hurtado for Vancouver’s first goal two minutes into the match, and then equally victimized by Nicolas Mezquida at minute 17. Fortunately those were the only two goals, and the only two realistic scoring chances Vancouver saw all night.
The comeback win was the largest since 2013 when the Quakes rallied against the L.A. Galaxy at Stanford Stadium.
After two games, the Quakes lead MLS in shots per game (19.5), dribbles per game (14), and key passes per game (13). The Quakes average two assists per game, tied for second in MLS and a far cry from seasons past. While time has yet to tell what will happen, the Quakes’ two victories are definite signs of improvement, and should be an indicator of good things to come.