San Jose Earthquakes lose 3-1 to D.C. United

Christian Martinez,
Staff Writer

Following a win on the road against Minnesota United FC and a tie against the Vancouver Whitecaps last week, the San Jose Earthquakes lost at home on Saturday.

The Earthquakes played D.C. United at Avaya Stadium for the first time this season and lost 3-1. Danny Hoesen scored the only San Jose goal to keep the Quakes from being shut out at home.

The match started fast-paced with both teams maintaining an equal amount of possession of the ball. D.C. United scored first in the fifteenth minute of the match when Zoltan Stieber received the ball on a long pass from Nick DeLeon. Stieber made a curved inside run to receive the pass behind Florian Jungwirth and squeezed it past San Jose goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell.

D.C. scored again just five minutes later when Luciano Acosta intercepted a bad pass in the Earthquakes’ defensive third of the field. Acosta played a through ball to Darren Mattocks who was able to shoot past Tarbell to the bottom left corner of the goal for a 2-0 lead.

D.C. put themselves on the scoresheet for the third time in the 37th minute of the match when Yamil Asad scored the third and final goal for the United. D.C.’s Paul Arriola intercepted the ball again in the Quakes’ defensive third and quickly turned to play the ball forward. After looking to his left, Arriola played the ball forward to Asad who took the shot on goal with his first touch and curled the ball towards the bottom right corner of the goal past Tarbell’s extended arm.

The Earthquakes responded in the 42nd minute of the match with a brilliant team goal scored by Danny Hoesen. Anibal Godoy pushed the ball forward to Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili who played it to the left for Chris Wehan. Wehan played a through ball to Hoesen on the left side who shot on his first touch. The ball was blocked and deflected back at Hoesen who followed up with another shot at an extremely tight angle but managed to sneak the ball past the goalie for the final score of the game.

“We gave away three goals, we gave away the initiative of the game,” said San Jose forward Magnus Eriksson following the game. “We have to look at ourselves in the mirror now because there is nobody else to blame.”

As the midpoint of the season approaches, things just aren’t working out for the Earthquakes like they did last year. After the first 11 weeks of the season last year, the Quakes had a 4-3-4 record and beat teams like the Portland Timbers 3-0, the Whitecaps 3-2 and it seemed like with the signings of Eriksson and Yeferson Quintana had San Jose looking more like a contender for a playoff spot again this season. This season San Jose at the same point has a 2-3-6 record with the only wins both coming against Minnesota United.

One change that could be throwing off the Earthquakes could be the different coaching styles of previous head coach Chris Leitch and current head coach Mikael Stahre. While the players are moving the ball around the field, it seems like they’re moving it just to move it and don’t necessarily have a plan for possessions like they did last season.

San Jose seems to play more defensive heavy style and depend on counterattacks rather than creating their own scoring opportunities. With players like Quintana, Harold Cummings, Shea Salinas and Nick Lima making up the defensive line as well as Jungwirth holding a defensive midfield position, San Jose should feel freer to push forward and attack. Together these players can hold the middle of the field down and cut down a counterattack so that Hoesen, Vako and Chris Wondolowski can keep putting pressure on the opposing teams’ defense.

San Jose will host the Los Angeles Football Club for the first time in their next home game on June 9 and then play a midweek match against the New England Revolution on June 13.