MLS Focus: Earthquakes hit bottom

The San Jose Earthquakes have suffered some bad losses since they returned from the MLS is Back Tournament -- 5-1 at LAFC and 7-1 at Seattle -- but they hit bottom on Saturday night when they lost at home to Portland, 6-1, extending their winless streak to seven games (eight if you include the 4-1 loss to Minnesota United in the MLS is Back quarterfinals).

The loss, which kept the Quakes in last place in the Western Conference, brought into question of the future of their second-year head coach, Matias Almeyda -- as well as the player moves, or lack thereof, of general manager Jesse Fioranelli.

The man-to-man tactics that San Jose applies all over the field have produced their share of wins -- it went 11-3-4 after starting out with four defeats in 2019 and reached the quarterfinals at MLS is Back -- but it has conceded easy goals with increasing frequency in recent weeks.

Almeyda wasn't available after Saturday's loss to the Timbers, but Fioranelli, who said the Argentine was suffering from a bad headache, spoke in his place.

"We apologize, I apologize, for the way we performed today," said Fioranelli, who took over as general manager in 2017. "This is not who we are."

Like in 2019, when they lost nine of their last 11 games after climbing to within one point of second place in the Western Conference, the Quakes have been unable to maintain their excellent form they demonstrated at the MLS is Back Tournament. Because of Santa Clara County health restrictions, they were unable to train as a team so they arrived two weeks early in Florida for MLS's summer restart.

“Right now is a very difficult moment," said Fioranelli. "I admit that we are very upset about recent performances. We had a very different face we presented when we were in Orlando. There were different circumstances."

Fiorenelli said the situation is different now.

“It’s a very different football that we’re living right now, whether it’s training conditions, whether it is also the condensed schedule," he said." We had also other disruptions with air quality. But our team in Orlando, was focused day in and they out on football, 14 days straight, without having put in training prior to the tournament. We were able to express ourselves differently."

Fiorenelli said he wasn't making excuses but didn't want to jump to conclusions but he indicated there will be changes, at least in terms of player personnel. Most would consider it about time that Fiorenelli makes some moves.

No MLS team has brought in fewer players this season than the Quakes. Except for Mexican defender Oswaldo Alanis, signed on loan from Guadalajara, all the other signings were players signed as Homegrown Players or SuperDraft picks.

"One thing that I can say," he added, "is that we will have to make certain decisions as to how we want to move forward as a roster."

1 comment about "MLS Focus: Earthquakes hit bottom".
  1. R2 Dad, September 22, 2020 at 11:52 a.m.

    "This is not who we are."

    This is exactly who you are. Quakes got themselves a good manager, but don't have the funds to reinvest as the pandemic caught them off-guard. They over-promised to Almeyda, and if the seat gets too hot they'll dump him to deflect attention. Ownership is so gutless, and MLS has customers not supporters so they'll likely limp along like this until the flu lockdown is over in CA.

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