San Jose’s season got off to a rough start on Saturday. After a hard fought 90 minutes, FC Dallas got a late winner to stretch the Earthquakes’ winless streak to 16 games.
Three thoughts from the game
1. David Bingham is an aggressive goalkeeper
Bingham showed that he will look to command his penalty box. Bingham was quick to leave his line and come out to challenge for balls in the air and to try to sweep up behind his back line.
With San Jose coming out pressing the middle of the pitch, forcing Dallas to attack with long balls and crosses from the flanks, Bingham responded with quick decisions to leave his line to try to claim the balls that Dallas repeatedly lofted in.
For most of the match this worked well; Bingham did well to cut off dangerous crosses before they could reach their targets and to make sure that once he committed to a ball he didn’t get caught in no man’s land. His actions lead to just one mistake, but it was very costly. In stoppage time Bingham came up to try to punch a long ball lofted into the box. He got there and punched the ball down to the feet of Moises Hernandez. Hernandez’s shot was well off line, but fortunately for Dallas Blas Perez was in the right spot and directed it into the open net to give Dallas all three points.
2. 4-4-2 switch takes San Jose out of rhythm
At the 60th minute San Jose brought on Adam Jahn to replace the infective J.J. Koval, switching from their 4-2-3-1 to a more long ball oriented 4-4-2 with Jahn as the target man.
The switch was an aggressive move from Dominic Kinnear, who showed he wasn’t simply going to play for the draw. He wanted all three points, but ultimately the decision seemed to take San Jose out of its rhythm.
Before the Earthquakes was clogging the midfield an attempting to press Dallas in the center of the park. This worked well as Dallas couldn’t find space in the middle of the field and San Jose was able to produce some turnovers further up the pitch that lead to fast transition chances.
With the change, San Jose set further back and when they got the ball back would look to launch it toward Jahn instead of building from the back like they had earlier in the match. After the change they looked much less dangerous and only produced one half chance on goal.
3. San Jose looks improved
The attacking movement was a little disjointed at times, but they were able to create some half chances and perhaps should have come away with a goal.
On defense the back line and midfield handled the tricky attacking threats of Dallas well. They need some individual moments of brilliance to keep a few of the chances out of the back of the net, but the effort put forth deserved more than that heartbreaking result.
The first 60 minutes of the match were impressive and evenly matched and was a much improved performance compared to the 5-0 thumping that Dallas gave San Jose last August.
More efforts like this should hopefully get the team out of the basement and with more cohesion on offense perhaps have them dreaming of a playoff spot.
Player Ratings (1-10, 10=Best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
David Bingham – GK, 6.5: Bingham was very aggressive coming off of his line to challenge for balls in the box, and he was successful more often that not on getting to the balls. One of his few bad decisions was his punch on the high floating ball in the 92nd minute, which didn’t get cleared far enough and ultimately led to the winner. He showed strong reactions, making two good saves from close range and was fine with his distribution.
Shaun Francis – LB, 5.5: Francis had a pretty quiet game. He had no tackles, just one interception, a pair of fouls, seven clearances (to lead the team) and a yellow card. Add his 69% passing accuracy (with an 0 for 2 on crosses) and how Dallas had the most room attacking on his side of the field, and it comes out to a game where he probably should have done more.
Paulto Renato – CB, 7.5: Renato made the play of the game with the goal-line clearance in the first half to keep San Jose in the match. He seemed to have a good understanding with Bernardez as a center back pairing. He led the team in interceptions with four, added three more clearances to the his goal-line save and a blocked shot. He also helped San Jose build well from the back with his passing. An impressive start of the season for Renato.
Victor Bernardez – CB, 6.5: Bernardez had his hands full with Blas Perez and Fabian Castillio, but did well to keep them under wraps for 90 minutes. He had one communication issue with Bingham where he let a ball go that was just barely cleared — hopefully that will be worked out as the season progresses.
Marvell Wynne – RB, 6.5: Wynne kept a lid on the left flank defensively but didn’t offer much going forward. Overall a nice debut defensively with room for improvement from both fullback on the offensive side of the ball.
J.J. Koval – MF, 5: A quiet game from Koval, it was hard to remember at times that he was on the field because he seemed to disappear from the game for long stretches. Was taken off in the 60th minute as Dommink Kinnear switched to a more attacking formation, his presence in the midfield wasn’t missed.
Jean-Baptise Pierazzi – MF, 5: Pierazzi kept his passes simple and did a decent job in helping to get the ball from defense to offense until later in the game when San Jose switched tactics to more long balls towards Adam Jahn.
Shea Salinas – AML, 5: A very pedestrian game for Salinas. He led the team with three dribbles but I only noted one that led to a free kick and a yellow card of former Quake Atiba Harris. He didn’t produce any shots and didn’t complete any of his three crosses.
Matias Perez Garcia – AMC, 6: Perez Garcia didn’t seem to be in sync with the rest of his offensive teammates. He took a long shot early in the game when he probably should have passed into the acres of space in front of Salinas early in the game and then later in the game he passed up decent shooting opportunities for passes.
Sanna Nyassi – AMR, 7: Nyassi worked hard in both phases of the game with most of San Jose’s offense coming from his right flank. He was set up well by Perez Garcia in the 63rd minute, but went with a header that he couldn’t direct on target. His final third work needs polishing (0-of-7 on crosses and three shots with none on target), but overall a nice debut.
Chris Wondolowski – ST, 6.5: Wondolowski had San Jose’s best chances but came away empty-handed. In all he took five shots to lead the team and troubled Dallas quite a bit early in the match before he seemed to disappear in the second half.
Adam Jahn – ST, 5: Came on in the 60th minute and San Jose switched to a 4-4-2 with Jahn as the target man. He did well on his Aerial Duels, winning seven, but didn’t do too much other than that.
Fatai Alashe – MF, NR: Came on for Perez Garcia with 10 minutes to go but didn’t really figure into things.
Innocent Emeghara – ST, NR: Replaced Salinas as San Jose was looking to use up the last few minutes of time left in the match.