San Jose ended 2018 as the laughing stock of MLS. A dismal 21 points gave them a 0.62 ppg average. They were genuinely horrible, with only two wins at home. The Quakes went through three different head coaches. Absolute bottom of the league. Things looked bleak.
But here they are now, about two-thirds of the way through the 2019 season, sitting at 34 points with a 1.62 ppg average. San Jose has seven wins at home and three on the road. They have beaten their archrivals LA Galaxy twice this year for a combined score of 6-1. Designated Player Chris Wondolowski broke the record for most goals in MLS. Things are looking great for them.
New Head Coach Matias Almeyda may be one of the greatest coaches in MLS right now. Though there were few changes to the roster from 2018, Almeyda has still managed to set them on the right path and they’re currently sitting in 5th place in the Western Conference with 34 points.
Expect to see San Jose in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Notable players on the defense include USMNT left back Nick Lima and homegrown right back Tommy Thompson, who have allowed 32 goals so far (fairly average for the Western Conference). The midfielders include DP Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili and Swedish star Magnus Erikson. Their #9 is the legendary Wondolowski. Though we will never forget his 2014 debacle, he has been playing very well this year so far, earning nine goals and an assist. As a team, San Jose has put 36 into the net so far, which is 3rd highest in the Western Conference behind LAFC (55) and Minnesota United (38).
In the past, the Rapids have usually had the Earthquakes’ number. They have been one of the few teams that Hudson managed to pull off wins. That being said, this team is anything but what they were last year. This is now a team that has risen in the standings and is playing with an identity and a purpose. They’ve shown that they are a team we need to take seriously. Keep in mind too, they come to Colorado in a couple of weeks for another game.
Let’s support our ‘Pids as they look at get some big points on the road in an important game, but even more so for them to be even more ready when the Earthquakes come to our turf in a few weeks.