One goal was all it took for the Quakes earn three points, jump over two teams in the West, and put themselves in fifth place overall. The win puts San Jose back over the playoff red-line, with just five games remaining on the schedule.
The lone goal was scored by Danny Hoesen at 33′, whose 3.48 shots per 90 lead the team (Chris Wondolowski averages 2.08 while Marco Urena averages 2.48). It was Hoesen’s third goal of the year, and defender Kofi Sarkodie’s first assist in 2017.
Both teams seemed evenly matched: 15 shots apiece, the Quakes’ five shots on goal was one more than Houston’s four. The Quakes held a slight edge in possession 52%-48% while the Dynamo held the edge in key passes 15-11.
In what appeared to be an impossible task a week ago has become a plausible conclusion: the Quakes might actually make the playoffs. If Dallas continues their winless streak (now at nine games) and the Quakes can continue to win at home, San Jose will make the playoffs. However, Dallas’s skid will probably end as they play three of their next four games against Colorado and Minnesota (both at the bottom of the Western Conference table), and against an Orlando City SC team that is 1-6-3 in their last 10 games. The door has been open a bit wider, but the Quakes still have work to do.
Questions to Consider
The win raises more than a few questions for San Jose fans.
First and foremost, should center-back Victor Bernardez remain on the bench? In Toronto, Victor was burned by playing too high and allowing a terrible through-ball go right by him early in the second half to put San Jose into a two-goal hole. With Bernardez on the bench, and despite having iffy defenders like Kofi Sarkodie and Francois Affolter in the lineup, the Quakes managed to record a clean-sheet shutout against Houston. It could be time for Muma to take a seat.
Thompson or Yueill? Tommy Thompson signed with the Quakes at just 18 years of age, and has veteran experience in MLS. In fact, he’s finally beginning to produce: one goal and four assists this season. However, with Vako joining the team and playing as the central attacking mid, the role of the #8 central midfield position has been up for grabs, with the heir apparent possibly being Jackson Yueill, who for all intents and purposes had a decent game.
What to do with Hykachu? Since July 4th, the the Quakes’ record with Hyka as a starter is 0-4-0. The Quakes’ record when Hyka does not play at all? 3-1-0. As a sub? 1-1-1. If recent form is any indication, it’s that the Quakes are better without Hyka on the pitch. So is it time to bid farewell to San Jose’s favorite PokeQuake? At this rate, and as much as I love Jahmir, I would bet he doesn’t come back to San Jose next year.
Where’s Wondo? In his past six games, Wondo has only managed two shots on goal: a tap-in gimme versus L.A. in the final minutes, the other a PK goal versus the Union. The man who was making a run at the MLS goal scoring record appears to be petering out at just the wrong time, and Lando’s record could still be in tact by this time next season. If Wondo continues his scoring slide, it will be up to Vako, Urena, and Hoesen to carry the scoring load, which could either jeopardize or galvanize San Jose’s playoff run.
The Quakes’ next game is at D.C. United on Saturday, September 23, at 4:30pm.