Quakes Lose Bigly

May 14, 2017

After defeating a tough Portland Timbers team 3-0 at home, the Quakes were riding the jubilation of a two-game winning streak heading into Colorado, who was in the midst of a seven game winless streak which included six losses. After 90 minutes, it was the Rapids celebrating a 3-0 win while the Quakes wondered what went wrong.

The Quakes made¬†several crucial tactical errors, which caused their demise; the first was with their fullbacks. Cato forgot he he was a fullback, opting to play most of the match above the byline. This caused Florian Jungwirth to have to play wide, leaving the right side of San Jose’s defense wide open for the counter-attack. It’s no mistake that Colorado attacked that side 43% of the match. In fact, Colorado’s first opportunity saw an unmarked Alan Gordon push his shot wide, and Cordell Cato barely entering the 18-yard-box when the shot was taken at 11′. At 29′, Cordell Cato is once again caught out of position as Mohammad Saeid has no defender for his cross, which finds Shkelzen Gashi for Colorado’s first goal. On Colorado’s second goal, you can see Jungwirth cheating wide to cover for Cordell, instead of playing back as a safety. Once the ball is stolen from Godoy, the race is on, with Cato nowhere in sight. On Colorado’s third goal, Cato is once again playing way too high to cover his mark, Shkelzen Gashi. A pass to an unmarked Gashi led to Colorado’s third goal as Cordell finds himself vainly sprinting backwards. A quick comparison of Cordell’s heat map versus Portland shows a more evenly distributed Cordell Cato, playing back much more to cut off any Portland counters. Cato finished with one tackle, three interceptions, zero clearances, and zero blocked shots.

Cordell Cato’s heat map versus Portland Timbers. The Quakes are attacking left-to-right

For as badly as Cato played, Sarkodie was worse. The man tasked with guarding Shkelzen Gashi saw Gashi score two goals, and pull off two key passes. Kofi finished with one tackle, one clearance, zero interceptions, and zero blocked shots. Oy vey.

The second problem was with Chris Wondolowski. Wondo played centrally as a withdrawn forward, essentially as a CAM. It would be the equivalent of asking a person with the ball-handling skills of Draymond Green to play point-guard. Wondo barely factored into the game as the Quakes tried to create centrally early on. Wondo managed 26 touches for the entire 90+ minutes despite the Quakes controlling 57% of the possession. Wondo managed one shot (off frame), zero key passes, zero crosses, zero long balls, zero through balls, nothing defensively, one unsuccessful first touch, and one dispossession. Don’t expect to generate offense through the middle if Wondo is the guy controlling the attack instead of finishing it.

The third problem was everyone else. David Bingham managed one save, and booted the ball out of bounds more than few times; the instances in which he did successfully manage to kick the ball into the attacking half, the Rapids were able to recover it most of the time. Flo and Muma were beaten several times on the counter. Godoy and Ceren couldn’t play the ball forward, opting to play it wide to no avail. Hoesen, Hyka, and Urena tried in vain to create offense, but relied on shots from well outside the box which never seriously challenged Rapids ‘keeper Tim Howard.

The Quakes attack. The smallest dot (which represents the least amount of passes to/from) is Wondo playing more-or-less a central mid

All in all, it was a forgetful day, but one that Quakes fans probably won’t forget. Dating back to 2015, the Quakes have a history of losing to last-place teams, or teams that rank near the bottom of the table, often at crucial points¬†in the season. This latest loss to Colorado, who had just five goals in their previous eight games, is a grim reminder that the Quakes have a history of complacency against “lower” competition with Dom Kinnear at the helm. It is also not helpful that the Quakes have two road wins since 2016, something that could/should have changed on Saturday in Commerce City, CO. These are the issues which face Dom Kinnear going into the middle of the season, and which may cost him his job.

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