With the international break over, San Jose fans had reason for hope. Marco Urena scored two in his World Cup Qualifier game against the United States Men’s National Team to lead Los Ticos to a 2-0 win, and also scored a game-tying goal versus Mexico. Vako scored for his native Georgia versus the Republic of Ireland. Several Quakes were able to stretch their legs for their national teams, including Anibal Godoy, Darwin Ceren, Jahmir Hyka, and Cordell Cato. Maybe, just maybe, Quakes players were showing signs of things to come for San Jose.
However, whatever hope Quakes fans had prior to Saturday’s match was quickly extinguished by a superior Toronto FC squad. The Quakes loss in familiar road fashion, a 4-0 shelling by the league’s Supporter’s Shield front-runners. Toronto’s first goal was the result of a misplayed punch by Andrew Tarbell at 26′ for a Victor Vazquez game winner. Jozy Altidore picked up a brace with goals at 48′ and 64′, and Toronto put the game away at 66′ with Jonathan Osorio doing the honors.
Toronto left little doubt as to who was the better team, controlling first-half possession 70%-30%, and out-shooting the Quakes 8-3. The Quakes barely managed an attack during the second half as the team failed to put any of their three second half shots on frame. By the end of the match, Toronto had 827 passes (is that a record?), controlled 73% of the possession while out-shooting San Jose 21-6.
The 4-0 loss was not an anomaly. Quite the contrary. In six of his first seven road games, Head Coach Chris Leitch has seen his team concede 21 goals in the second half, and post a -20 goal differential in those six games. The losses have given San Jose a -17 goal differential, tied with last-place Colorado for second-worst in the West.
Quakes fans should be concerned with the lack of attack. Forward/Captain Chris Wondolowski continues to operate as a withdrawn forward, with disastrous results. Wondo finished with just 31 touches, one shot (not on frame), and three turnovers in his 90+ minutes of pitch time. Part of the reason the Quakes are unable to generate an attack is due mainly to relying on Wondo to press the attack.
Defender Kofi Sarkodie was the defensive hole which Toronto exploited. All four TFC goals came on the left-hand side of the attack, and Sarkodie–playing as a right-back–did little to stop it: one tackle, one interception, three clearances, zero blocked shots.
While the Quakes are not technically out of the playoffs, another road loss opens the door for other Western teams to position themselves for a top-six finish. The Quakes are practically in a dead-heat with Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, and the Houston Dynamo, with just four points separating all four teams–RSL, FC Dallas, and Houston have yet to play.
The Quakes return home to play the Houston Dynamo next Saturday, September 16th. A loss to their Western-conference foe at home would certainly doom the team to another year without a playoff appearance.