Quakes Road Woes Continue in Houston

August 13, 2017

The San Jose Earthquakes lost 3-0 to the Houston Dynamo Saturday Night at BBVA Compass Stadium. The loss is San Jose’s sixth straight road loss, with a combined -14 goal differential over that span.

While the Dynamo seemed to generate offense at will, the Quakes could never muster quality scoring chances. Despite San Jose leading in possession, it was the Dynamo that led in shots (17-12), shots on goal (7-3), key passes (13-10), and most-importantly goals (3-0).

Houston began the scoring on a set-piece corner at 21′ with Alberth Elis heading Boniek Garcia’s corner. Houston put the game away at 85′ with Alberth Elis beating (badly, I might add) Andres Imperiale to send a through-ball to a streaking Vicente Sanchez. Houston tacked on a third after Sanchez found his way around Quakes ‘keeper Andrew Tarbell to put the ball on frame, which was officially scored by Mauro Manotas.

Three weeks ago, Chris Leitch was given a homework assignment if the Quakes were to make the playoffs: to work on finishing and set-piece defending. Apparently the dog ate both assignments as the Quakes gave up the game-winner on the 20′ set-piece corner while only converting three of their 12 shots on frame. The Quakes now rank last in the MLS in shot conversion.

Club SHTS SOG Conversion
Atlanta United 255 108 42.35%
Chicago Fire 275 115 41.82%
Houston Dynamo 316 123 38.92%
Minnesota United 230 89 38.70%
New York City FC 343 132 38.48%
Philadelphia Union 270 103 38.15%
Montreal Impact 261 98 37.55%
Toronto FC 304 113 37.17%
New England Revolution 301 110 36.54%
New York Red Bulls 310 112 36.13%
D.C. United 270 95 35.19%
FC Dallas 311 109 35.05%
Orlando City SC 270 93 34.44%
Sporting Kansas City 342 117 34.21%
Columbus Crew SC 298 101 33.89%
Colorado Rapids 201 67 33.33%
Portland Timbers 346 115 33.24%
Real Salt Lake 367 121 32.97%
LA Galaxy 298 97 32.55%
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 268 85 31.72%
Seattle Sounders FC 331 99 29.91%
San Jose Earthquakes 311 92 29.58%

 

A few weeks ago, a report also showed how Andres Imperiale is the definition of Jekyll-and-Hyde with his home and road performances. Yesterday was yet another Jekyll-and-Hyde day for the Argentinean center-back. Imperiale received a yellow card (at first it was a red) after his mark found the ball and beat him in the box, causing Andres to make a blatant foul inside the penalty area; Andrew Tarbell blocked the PK. Imperiale was also the goat in Alberth Elis’s through-ball to Vicente: Imperiale attempted an ill-advised lunge on the ball which allowed Elis to dribble past him to set up the second goal and put the game firmly out of reach.

However, despite Imperiale’s poor defending, Francois Affolter was worse. He was beaten on the set-piece corner at 20′, and finished with just two tackles, one interception, three clearances, and a blocked shot. By comparison, Flo Jungwirth and Imperiale finished with a combined effort of eight tackles, nine interceptions, and six clearances.

The Quakes’ newest DP Vako did not impress. One of Vako’s glaring weaknesses is his inability to play off his left foot. Both at 80′ and 83′, Vako has several chances to score, but relies too heavily on his right. This can be seen especially at 83′ when a simple transfer of the ball to his left would allow him a near-post shot opportunity, but he plays the ball with his right and toe-taps the ball wide of the far post.

With forward/captain Chris Wondolowski playing more as a midfielder than forward, it was shades of Dom-ball all over again. Wondo finished with just two shots (none on target). He actually had more key-passes (three) than overall shots. As I’ve said before, don’t expect the Quakes to win if Wondo is the man tasked with generating offense.

The Quakes return home on Saturday to play the Philadelphia Union.

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