Quakes fall 2-0 in loss to Vancouver

San Jose – Two goals, 270 minutes into the 2024 MLS season, sums up the start of the San Jose Earthquakes’ opening to the campaign. The opening month of the MLS season couldn’t end any faster for the San Jose Earthquakes following their 2-0 loss against the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday night in San Jose.

The bright side? If there was anything positive to be said, Saturday night was the first night San Jose was shut out in the three losses to open the season.

“This is not how we planned to start this year,” Earthquakes head coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “We made some changes in the off-season that we expected positive, but the integration, the timing of it right before the season started, it’s not easy.”

Vancouver eventually broke through for two goals following an offensive struggle in the first half for both sides. Alessandro Schopf broke the deadlock in the 75th minute following a Vancouver corner by Ali Ahmed who sealed the win 10 minutes later with a rocket into the far upper corner of the net past Quakes keeper Daniel. 

“I thought we had control of the game,” Gonzalez said. “I had no doubt we were going to at least tie if not score and push for the winner.”

The loss pushes San Jose down to 0-3-0 to open the season with just two goals scored with currently no light at the end of the tunnel. 

“We have to perform on the pitch,’’ Earthquakes midfielder Alfredo Morales said. “At the end of the day, it’s about results.”

San Jose did have their moments early in the match.

In the 12th minute, midfielder Jackson Yueill sent in a deep cross into Vancouver’s 18-yard box, however it went over the head of supposed target Amahl Pellegrino and out of bounds, ending that attack. 

Pellegrino looked back at fullback Vitor Costa as if he was supposed to make a run down the wing in support. Two minutes later, forward Jeremy Ebobisse draws a foul just outside of Vancouver’s 18-yard-box, but Cristian Espinoza’s free kick got saved at the near post by Whitecaps keeper Yohai Takaoka.

Espinoza would get another shot off in the 23rd minute, but Takaoka would deflect it away again. 

The Earthquakes nearly grabbed the would-be opening goal in the 53rd minute, but Pellegrino’s shot from distance was saved at the near post by Takaoka.

“We had too many mistakes,” Morales said, “decision making, the final pass, that’s all it is. “This is why we love this sport, because everything can happen and it’s not so easy. But what matters is you have to respond.”

Gonzalez said in his post-match presser that part of that response is putting certain positions up for grabs.

“We have to analyze. We need some type of change,” Gonzalez said. “What we’ve been doing or starting with hasn’t worked and how we’ve ended hasn’t worked to this point. We’ve had moments where you start to see flashes of what we want to see, but not with that end product defensively and offensively.”

Gonzalez added that while San Jose is looking to make some moves in the transfer market, he’s not fully relying on it.

San Jose (0-3-0) travels to Sporting Kansas City (0-0-3, 3 points) Saturday night for a quick road trip. They return home on March 23 to take on the Seattle Sounders.

Photo by Quakes/Twitter

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