Quick hits: Quakes draw RSL 1-1 in Desert Friendly
I got around to watching yesterday’s friendly (replay available here) and had a few miscellaneous thoughts to share that went beyond what I’ll cover in my upcoming encore episode of The Aftershock Podcast:
- Harold Cummings and Yeferson Quintana are big boys, and more mobile than I gave either credit for. However, and unsurprisingly given their scouting reports, neither was particularly comfortable on the ball. Basically imagine two Muma’s side-by-side. Prior to this game, and extremely grainy tape of the Portland match, I’d only ever see them play in highlight reels from playing in Latin America, which generally has a lower pace of play. I think their games will actually be well-suited to MLS, stylistically.
- This match was fiesty. Even Shea Salinas, with the patience and the affect of an actual saint, had to be repeatedly calmed down by
a pantomime villainBaldomero Toledo from retaliating against a petulant Sebastian Saucedo.
- Preseason matches always have suspect quality, and this was no exception, but I couldn’t help but be awed by how much more talented this team (and this league) is than only 3 years ago. The difference is truly staggering.
- Eriksson and Yeuill were fairly anonymous amidst the first shift.
- I still don’t like Vako as a left midfielder in a 4-4-2. He’s either a left winger in a 4-3-3 or a number 10. Stay tuned for this to become a dominant talking point this season.
- Shea Salinas remains your starting LB, and despite an improved performance from Joel Qwiberg in his shift, I actually think I’d keep the depth chart as it is. My bet is that Salinas starts the opener, but that Qwiberg starts matchday 34.
- I…kinda really like Mohammad Thiaw. He’s frisky and active, with good size and more quality than, say, Quincy Amarikwa. San Jose only has three true strikers on roster, one of whom (Wondo) can’t play up top on his own. As such, I bet Thiaw wins a contract. Danny Musovski, who I like, saw no playing time and looks like he won’t make it. I hope Reno takes the local boy, because I could see him as the kind of guy who never wows you in practice but quietly bangs in goals, and might end up having a nice pro career.
- Speaking of Quincy, he looked really good. He bagged the lone goal, and powered home another header earlier that was ruled out for some reason. He’s someone who needs to be at full fitness to contribute, and perhaps he needed more time to truly get back from his ACL tear. He’s still a useful bench option for this team, with his excellent physicality and work rate, and higher quality players around him takes more pressure off him to do anything but be a pitbull up top.
- Luis Felipe looked better than he has earlier in this preseason, putting in a delicious cross to Quincy for that goal that was ruled out. Still a developmental project, though. Jimmy Ockford was quiet but solid.
- Paul Marie was…not good. He has a bit of quality on the ball, but my word was he out of his depth off of it. He’s not nearly strong or physical enough yet for the MLS level, and seemed at sea in his positioning more or less constantly. In short, he lacked confidence as a defender, and isn’t athletic enough to compensate for the mistakes. It’s extremely early in his pro career, and it’s very possible that he’ll develop nicely, but for now, he’s a massive downgrade on Cordell Cato as the backup right back in terms of present-tense contribution.
- Chris Wehan came on for Thiaw midway through the second period, which shifted the team to a single striker look with Jahmir Hyka underneath Quincy Amarikwa. I was excited about it, since given the aforementioned paucity of true strikers, I thought a five-man midfield would be an important setup to have in the arsenal, at least as a plan B. Mikael Stahre is a tactically flexible manager, and it looks like he’s going to do his best to get the most talent on the field in the right positions, regardless of his general 4-4-2 inclination.
San Jose’s next preseason match is Saturday, February 10th at 2pm in Avaya Stadium against Reno 1868 FC.